The University of Southampton
Social SciencesUndergraduate study

LL64 BSc Social Policy and Criminology

To what extent can policies remove social problems such as poverty, addiction or anti-social behaviour? Are more crimes committed in unequal societies? How do we protect citizens against social risks and how do we penalise them for specific actions? How does our perception of what is appropriate or wrong change over time and between cultures?

When studying Social Policy and Criminology you will engage with the question of how societies make and recognise social problems and how and when individuals are seen as deviant. You will explore how principles of social justice influence our view of problems and of the appropriate solutions. Health, education and welfare programmes as well as systems of criminal justice have been adopted by most societies. As a BSc Social Policy and Criminology student you will investigate why this is the case and how they work.

Introducing your degree

What are the connections between crime and person’s well being? Do those who are more disadvantaged commit more crimes? Are societies that are more equal less prone to crime? How does crime affect the well being of its perpetrators and victims? The BSc Social Policy and Criminology degree allows you to address issues such as these. It allows students to explore how social inequalities shape criminal behaviour and vice versa, and how the welfare state and criminal justice system interact in dealing with these issues.

The degree offers a high degree of flexibility allowing you to develop your own specialist research interests in the second and third years. Its prepares graduates for a career in a range of sectors, particularly in the management, planning and delivery of social and public services, as well as the criminal justice sector. It also offers an excellent foundation for professional training and postgraduate study.


The programme responds to the growing demand for graduates with the skills necessary for careers in the management, planning and delivery of social and public services, as well as the criminal justice sector. It also offers an excellent foundation for professional training and postgraduate study.

Through this programme you will develop:

  • A knowledge of central theoretical and methodological issues in the study of social policy and criminology
  • A knowledge of selected areas of social life, and of patterns of stability and change within these areas
  • An understanding of the processes through which issues come to be defines as subjects of social policy interventions, the factors shaping the formulation and implementation of policy, and the institutional arrangements arrived at in the UK to address social policy issues
  • A knowledge of the discipline of criminology and its key theoretical perspectives and of the relationship between crime and processes of social change
  • An understanding of the criminal justice system, its institutions and those involved in the system and its representations, and the political, social and economic context within which it operates
  • Your capacity for the critical evaluation of theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence in the fields social policy and criminology, and for the application of such perspectives and evidence in your own work
  • Your capacity to undertake independent social enquiry, using appropriate methodologies
  • Your skills in written and oral communication, the use of information technology, the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, and working co-operatively in groups to achieve designated outcomes
  • Your ability to work independently in identifying and analysing the subjects of your enquiry.

View the programme specification document for this course

Programme Structure

The programme is normally studied over three years full-time, but may be taken on a part-time basis for a period of not less than four and not more than eight academic years. Study is undertaken at three levels (each corresponding to one year of full-time study). There are 30 study weeks in each year. The programme is divided into study modules, eight being taken at each level, four in each semester. Each modules has a credit value of 15 CATS (7.5 ECTS), and each level has a total CATS credit value of 120 (60 ECTS).

The current structure of the programme is set out below. (Please note that not all optional modules will necessarily be available in any given academic year. Details of which modules are available are available from the online programme catalogue

You will have to take 4 modules (60 credits) each semester (ie 8 modules (120 credits) in each year of the programme.

Of the modules shown against each year of your programme, some are compulsory (ie enrolment is automatic) and others are optional. Against each year, you are directed to which modules are compulsory and which are optional. The optional modules below constitute an indicative list. There will always be choice but the options might vary between years.

Key Facts

Taught by leading researchers and lectures such as Programme Leader: Dr Traute Meyer

Combine an interest in social welfare and policy with a more specialised focus on crime and criminal justice.

Career enhancing employability workshops and study-abroad opportunities.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Subject requirements

No specific subjects are required as the first year of the programme is designed to give you a basic knowledge of relevant social sciences disciplines.


GCSE maths and English at grade C or above.

A Levels:

ABB; for applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification, an alternative offer of BBB with an A in the EPQ will be made.


32 points overall, 16 at higher level

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A level applicant or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for a score of IELTS 6.5.

Please note that we cannot accept applicants from Greece on the basis of the Apolyterion alone; it must be supplemented by A levels or an equivalent qualification or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students. If you will be over 21 at the start of your proposed degree programme, you are eligible for exemption from our normal entry requirements. However, you will be required to provide evidence of having completed recent serious and successful study (eg Access, Return to Study, Open University foundation courses) and of your capacity to pursue the course.

All students are required to have GCSE grade C in English and mathematics.

Where feasible, you will be called for an interview. You may find it helpful to discuss your plans with us before applying through UCAS. This will allow you to make sure your chosen course is right for you and give you time to pursue additional academic qualifications if required.

Contextual Admissions

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who flagged in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is BBB from three A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.


Selection process:

We usually make our decisions based on your UCAS form alone. Only candidates who require special consideration, for example on grounds of age or non-standard entry qualifications, are interviewed. We welcome applications from under-represented groups and from those with qualifications other than A-levels.



Please note:

In exceptional circumstances we will consider applicants for direct entry into the second year if they have met the entry criteria and have already completed part of the course at another institution. Please note that such requests are considered on an individual basis and at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor. We do not accept applicants for direct entry into Year 3.


This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The programme structure for the 3 year course is below.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

Our first year programme will introduce you to social policy and criminology as academic disciplines; students will explore how “social problems” are constructed and how social policies are chosen. “Crime” is one key social problem. You will discuss how societies respond to it. You will also start your thorough study of social theory and research methods.


Optional Modules

In addition to the compulsory modules below you must chose 2 optional modules. Your available optional modules can be sociology and social policy modules, but they may come from disciplines across the university for example anthropology, criminology, demography, economics, politics and international relations, social statistics or modern languages etc.



In addition to this, our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers our students the chance to take optional modules outside their core disciplines across all three years of study. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future.

Year 2

In your second year you will take four compulsory modules. In these you will study in detail qualitative and quantitative methods in order to be well prepared for your final year when you will conduct your own research as part of your dissertation. You will also study how and why policies were developed as part of the British welfare state to protect citizens against social problems. Crime is one of these problems; your criminology modules will illuminate how it has been perceived and addressed in modern society.

You will also have the opportunity to take four optional modules from a list, two in the first semester and two in the second. One of these will need to be a Criminology module, the remaining two will come from a broad range of social science disciplines.

Optional modules in semester 1 or 2 (topics subject to possible annual change)

One of your choices must be made from the following list:

CRIM2002 Crime, Media & Culture

CRIM2006 Criminology: Policy & Practice

CRIM2008 Criminological Psychology


One of your choices must be made from the following list:

SOCI2003 Gender and Society

SOCI2008 Race and Ethnicity

SOCI2017 Class Structure and Inequality

SOCI2035 Children and Society

SOCI2033 Environment, Development and Society

Year 3

In year three you will study different societies, their social problems and the social policies countries have agreed on from a comparative perspective and you will study how groups and societies identify victims. You will also conduct your individual research project in a double-module dissertation. In addition you will be asked to chose one criminology module and one social policy module from a range of options (see two list of examples below). Most of these will be taught in student-led seminars. In addition to these two you will be able to make two free choices from modules across the University. You are free to choose modules within your disciplines, but also to pick a rather different subject if this suits you better.


Optional modules in semester 1 or 2 (topics subject to possible annual change)


One of your choices must be made from the following list:

CRIM3001 Penology

CRIM3006 Global Crime and Justice

CRIM3007 Violent and Sexual Offenders

CRIM3008 Victimology


One of your choices must be made from the following list:

EDUC3025 Social Justice and Inclusive Education

GEOG3010 Geographies of health

GEOG3053 Geography for social justice, welfare & rights

SOCI3073 Cyber Lives: New Technologies and Social Change

SOCI3086 Children and Society

SOCI3079 Focusing on Families

SOCI3082 Race Ethnicity in Society

SOCI3084 Environment, Development and Society

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,250 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copyingIn some cases, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations will be submitted online. However, in some cases students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
PlacementsPlacements (including Study Abroad Programmes): Social Sciences partners with academic departments in a number of other countries to provide study abroad opportunities. Please contact the International Office for information about the expected costs of participating.
OtherOptional visits: Some modules may include optional visits (museums, conferences, prisons [Criminology]). You will normally be expected to cover any costs such as travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Employability is embedded into modules from the first year onwards and right from the first lecture. We explain the degree skills which are taught throughout the modules and offer a number of optional employability modules.

The skills you will acquire are in high demand. Our degrees are a passport to vocational and non-vocational careers alike, with recent graduates employed in education, local or regional government, social work, international organisations, the third sector and the media.

Read more about the careers and employability support we offer.

Learning & Assessment

Learning and teaching activities designed to help you develop your knowledge and understanding, subject-specific intellectual skills and transferable skills:

  • Lectures.
  • Seminars designed to facilitate group discussions of issues, concepts and theories associated with social sciences.
  • Small group discussions based around case study material.
  • Practical workshops which provide hands-on experience of using a range of methods of collecting and analysing data and enable you to assess these methods based on your own and others’ use of them.
  • Statistical workshops which enable you to understand statistical techniques and the use of statistics in the social sciences through practical examples.
  • Computer workshops which give you practical experience of how to process, store and analyse data using appropriate software.
  • Research skills workshops which facilitate discussion, peer review and support, and self reflection on the appropriateness of your own research (dissertation) proposal and intended methodological and theoretical approaches.
  • Dissertation workshops designed to promote discussion, peer review and support, and reflection on your dissertation at different stages in the research process.
  • Dissertation tutorials which provide you with one-to-one discussion with your dissertation supervisor on issues connected with your research.
  • Individual or small group presentations.
  • Independent study.

Assessment methods designed to test your achievement of the learning outcomes in the areas of knowledge and understanding, subject-specific intellectual skills and key skills:

  • Essays.
  • Review papers (in which you are required to critically review one chapter-long article of relevance to the module using a range of additional sources).
  • Formal, unseen end of module examinations.
  • A library exercise in the core module “Social Science Perspectives” (designed to ensure that you have attained basic skills of library usage and appropriate presentation of academic material).
  • Statistical exercises (to assess your understanding of statistical concepts and practical techniques).
  • Dissertation proposal (which will assess your ability to formulate an appropriate research question, identify appropriate method(s) of data collection and present a short literature review of selected sources likely to be relevant to the research topic).
    Dissertation (which assesses your ability to undertake independent, in-depth study of an area of sociology and social policy).
  • Group research projects (which assess your ability to work with others in the production of a shared output).
  • Case study review (in which you are asked to interpret or critically comment on the material contained in the case study).

Please note these assessment methods cover the core and compulsory modules. Other methods may also be used on optional modules.

Graduate Attributes

Graduate Attributes are the personal qualities, skills and understanding you can develop during your studies. They include but extend beyond your knowledge of an academic discipline and its technical proficiencies. The Graduate Attributes are important because they equip you for the challenge of contributing to your chosen profession and may enable you to take a leading role in shaping the society in which you live.

The University of Southampton identifies a set of undergraduate attributes that aspire to support graduate employment. We offer you the opportunity to develop these attributes through your successful engagement with the learning and teaching of your programme and your active participation in University life. The skills, knowledge and personal qualities that underpin the Graduate Attributes framework are supported by your discipline. As such, each attribute is enriched, made distinct and expressed through the variety of learning experiences you will experience. Your development of Graduate
Attributes presumes basic competencies on entry to the University

Global Citizenship
Global Citizens recognise the value of meaningful contribution to an interconnected global society and aspire to realise an individual’s human rights with tolerance and respect.

The Social Policy & Criminology degree puts transnational and global issues at the centre of its teaching philosophy. Our students also benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the Division of Sociology and Social Policy. The Division includes Sociologists, Social Policy specialists, Criminologists and Anthropologists.

We are also committed to comparative approaches which help students to understand the similarities and differences between societies. We run a strong Erasmus and Exchange programme which allows our students to spend a semester abroad to broaden their horizons and learn about other societies in Europe and beyond. We also have strong links with the Web Science undergraduate degree and the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre.

Ethical Leadership
Ethical Leaders understand the value of leading and contributing responsibly to the benefit of their chosen professions, as well as local, national and international communities.

Social Policy & Criminology tackles subjects such as social justice, racism, and economic disadvantage, Human Rights and global politics. Through such topics, students are encouraged to think about how decisions affect humans at every level of society and what might be done to improve such decisions. Ethical Leadership is also encouraged through student-centred learning and the requirement to lead discussions and group projects.

Research and Inquiry
Research and Inquiry underpin the formulation of well-informed new ideas and a creative approach to problem resolution and entrepreneurial behaviours

Social Science students are trained in research methods from the first week of their degree and continue through to graduation. The training is designed not just as a means of conducting degree-level research, but also to form the foundation of future research. The ability to formulate new ideas and the ability to test and analyse innovative concepts forms the core of our degree programmes.

Academic attributes are the tools that sustain an independent capacity to critically understand a discipline and apply knowledge

Independence of thought is a key requirement of social policy & criminology students and critical thought is embedded in the curriculum. Social Policy, Criminology and Social Science in general, combines intellectual rigour with its practical application.

Communication Skills
Communication Skills encompass an individual’s ability to demonstrate knowledge, and to express ideas with confidence and clarity to a variety of audiences

Our students are required to pursue the highest standard of communication. Through essays and reviews, to seminar discussion and presentations, Social Policy & Criminology students are able to express complex ideas with clarity. You will also be able to use digital forms of communication such as social media and web based tools.

Reflective Learner
The Reflective Learner is capable of the independent reflection necessary to develop their learning and continuously meet the challenge of pursuing excellence

Students are encouraged to think about how the modules they take relate to the world and how academic knowledge helps to understand it. Reflexivity also means that students will learn to recognise what further help they need to continue changing and adjusting in rewarding ways.

The skills, knowledge and personal qualities that underpin the Graduate Attributes framework are differently supported by the University’s disciplines. Each attribute is made distinct and expressed differently through the variety of learning experiences delivered by the University’s Faculties.

Refer to  for descriptors of each attribute.

Study Locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Social Sciences is based on the main campus of the University in the M...Find out more

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