BA Criminology

CK113: aims, features and outcomes

Welcome to the first undergraduate criminology degree in Ireland! Launched in 2014, it is a unique and progressive degree, with a modern pedagogy, raising big questions about crime, social justice and criminalisation, and based in a Republic with a particular history of political and cultural issues. We teach critically, and most of it, as in world criminology, is in a broad sense sociological. Our BA does little technocratic criminology, security studies or legalistic criminology. We don't do CSI or police science; we don't teach you how to catch criminals but we will open up the very contemporay question of what causes crime, who are the criminals and whether we should criminalise them. The degree is multi-disciplinary, independent and academic. It provides a strong and interesting social science and humanities education before you go onto more vocational or technical postgraduate study or training. Here are some general things you need to know about this degree.....

it is an NFQ Level 8, Major Award. This is a three-year, full-time, interdisciplinary degree in Criminology, with an associated and optional International Pathway year abroad that would e a fourth year. To obtain the award of the BA (Hons) degree a student will be required to have achieved 180 credits by obtaining 60 credits in each of First, Second, and Third Arts (Criminology). For more details, read over these web pages and see the UCC Calendar entry

Based in the Department of Sociology at UCC, this programme aims to explore the causes of crime, the roots of moral censure, the fictions and myths of human deviance, the motivations for anti-social behaviour, the tragedy of victimization, the connections between crime and socio-economic development, the reasons for corporate and state crime, and the cultural nature of criminal justice systems.

Students will see the value of using different disciplines to analyze complex global issues involving major cultural differences, and will acquire a sophistication of understanding, sensitivity and analysis that will prove invaluable for many people-oriented careers today. We are proud of our students' social and political awareness, and believe that this is a key product of the BA, along with practical research skills and analytic depth.

Apart from the core modules in sociology, criminology and social science research methods, in Years 2 and 3 this BA draws upon a wide range of social sciences, arts and humanities modules - criminology, sociology, history, politics, applied social studies, applied psychology, philosophy, law, modern languages - enabling students to forge their own distinct pathways through the degree. It captures the full interdisciplinary and international flavour of contemporary criminology, and our External Examiners agree that we are on a par with high quality undergraduate criminology programmes anywhere. This growing international reputation and presence is reflected in our rapidly growing number of partnerships with both European and North American universities. We in turn offer a 4-year International Pathway version of the degree, where students can study criminology abroad in their third year before returning to us for their final year.

The first year or Year 1 of the degree is foundational, and provides the tools of the trade needed to take the criminology modules in Years 2 and 3. It involves a look at criminology's history, its key studies, concepts and debates. It introduces students to Sociology, Psychological Criminology and Law & Society, and offers options in Philosophy, Government & Politics and a Language, all of which can be followed up in subsequent years through the degree.

What is unique and different about the UCC BA Criminology?

  • A compulsory core in the sociology of crime and deviance running throughout Year 2; taught by one of the founders of the journal Theoretical Criminology, looking at classical studies, contemporary critical criminology and the meaning of evil; 
  • Research-driven teaching from a top-quality staff with experience in teaching and/or researching criminological topics in top universities, widely published in their own fields, regularly undertaking funded research, and an ex-Cambridge Institute of Criminology Programme Director with exceptional experience of developing criminology degrees;
  • A menu of fascinating option modules such as Policing Modern Society, Terrorism, Victimology, Women, Social Control and Coercive Confinement, Education in Prisons, Corporate Crime, Criminal Law, Penal Policy, Human Rights, Comparative Policing, Sex Offenders, Animals and Crime, Online Crime, Human Trafficking, Cities and Crime, Policing and Popular Justice in Ireland, Regulating the Environment, Sociology of Courts and Sentencing, Political Sociology, Forensic Psychology, Crime & Media in Ireland, Religion & Magic in Reformation Europe, Gender and Crime, Moral Responsibility, Crime, Violence and Revolutionary Ireland, and War, State & Society.
  • A technical language stream, optional in Year One and possible throughout, in Irish, French, German, Spanish and Italian, with accompanying cultural and literary modules relevant to criminology, such as those on Primo Levi, the Italian media and German national identity;
  • The delivery of an international knowledge in criminology with constant reference throughout to studies of Irish crime and criminal justice;
  • A commitment to small-group teaching, continuous assessment rather than examinations, engagement with students not mere knowledge dissemination, improving study skills and delivering a Study Skills module in Year 1, and a personal tutor system to mitigate the transition from school.