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Course overview

How do we address social problems like poverty, inequality and discrimination? How do societies respond to crime or attempt to prevent it? What impact do social policies have on crime control?

You’ll address questions like this on our joint honours BA Criminology and Social Policy, by studying a variety of modules from both subjects. This degree will broaden and deepen your understanding of crime as a social problem, and how we can respond to it most effectively.

You can tailor your degree to your interests and career goals through optional modules that examine subjects like prisons and society, youth crime, miscarriages of justice, cults and the history of social policy. You can also enhance your CV by studying abroad at a partner institution in locations like Australia, the USA or Canada.

Why choose this course?

  • 5th for criminology and 8th for social policy in the UK according to The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 7th in the UK for social policy according to The Complete University Guide 2020
  • Study abroad in locations such as Australia, Canada and the USA
  • Tailor your degree to you career aspirations through a wide range of optional modules
  • Teaching often recognised by awards such as the University Chancellor's Award for teaching quality

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer ABB excluding general studies, critical thinking and CIE thinking skills
IB score 32

Mature students

At the University of Nottingham we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on our mature students webpage.

Notes for applicants

We are looking for students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from our courses and who will make a valued contribution to the school and University. We will take into account a wide range of factors including post-school experience and breadth of interests as well as exam results.

Our courses require a combination of different skills, and an ability to engage with new subjects and ideas. These qualities in part relate to academic performance, but we will also look at your interests and experience.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Discussion group
  • Lectures
  • Masterclasses
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Presentation
  • Project work
  • Reflective portfolios

Contact time and study hours

You’ll have at least 8-12 hours per week of contact time at lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will also be expected to undertake independent study.

Study abroad

On this course, you can apply to spend a semester studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in locations such as Australia, Canada and the USA.

Teaching is typically in English, but there may be opportunities to study in another language if you are sufficiently fluent.

This will give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons and enhance your CV by experiencing another culture. You can choose to study similar modules to your counterparts back in Nottingham, or expand your knowledge by taking other options.

Year in industry

An optional placement year is available for all undergraduate students whose course does not have a compulsory placement or study abroad element. The University's Careers and Employability Service will support you in arranging this.


Our placements and internship programme provides local, national and international placements to ensure our graduates are competitive in the current job market. You'll have the opportunity to develop key skills and experience in the workplace.


In the first year, you will explore significant traditions and ideas in the disciplines of social policy and criminology in your core modules.

A range of optional introductory modules introduce you to important themes and topics such as deviance, contemporary culture and human rights.

Core modules

Criminology: Understanding Crime and Victimisation

This module lays the foundations for further study in criminology by looking at its development as a discipline. You will consider how crime is defined and counted, and investigate the sources of criminological knowledge.

The main focus is on key theoretical perspectives in criminology, and how they help us to understand and explain crime and victimisation and social reactions to it.

Introducing Social Policy

Focusing on the main concepts and approaches to social policy, this module assumes little or no background knowledge. It looks at the means by which something is framed as a social problem, with particular reference to poverty and issues of exclusion.

You will be introduced to the main areas of social policy, mainly in the UK, and explore how different social groups experience social policies, the interaction of public, private, voluntary and informal sectors in welfare provision, and ways in which it is financed.

Introduction to the Criminal Justice 'System' in England and Wales

This module seeks to introduce and contextualise the function and processes of the agencies and institutions that operate within the criminal justice system.

The module will encourage you to identify the tensions and inequalities that lead criminologists and criminal justice practitioners to promote reform of the criminal justice system. Summary of the topics to be covered include:

  • Theorising criminal justice and punishment: Exploring models of criminal justice and penology.
  • Overview of the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales
  • Key agencies, processes and institutions within the Criminal Justice System including: police, prosecution, judiciary, sentencing, management of offenders, youth justice and alternatives to custody
  • Criminal Justice policy-making process, the role of victims and the politicisation of criminal justice
  • Inequalities and bias within the Criminal Justice System: race, gender and class
  • International influences of criminal justice-policy making: organised crime and terrorism; European Union; International cases studies influencing reform agenda
Investigating Social Worlds

This module introduces you to the nature of social research through exploration of the fundamental philosophical, methodological and ethical debates on 'how to think of social research' and 'how to do social research'.

The module begins with discussions of the primary features, functions and characteristics of social research, the distinctions between social research and other modes of investigating and producing knowledge about the social world and the steps typically involved in conducting social research.

Next, attention is focused on social research paradigms and how the different ontological, epistemological and methodological specificities map onto research questions, methods and designs. Attention will then be placed on some of the principal methods of data collection in the social sciences such as surveys, social experiments, interviews, visual methods, group discussions and observation.

The module concludes by examining issues of ethics, status, power and reflexivity in social research. 

Understanding Contemporary Society

The first part of the module introduces you to some of the contemporary and historical debates in social sciences in the 21st century.

The social sciences are centrally concerned with the investigation of a changing world and the recent arrival of the internet, globalisation, migration and other features will be investigated. However social science is a discipline with a long historical tradition. Here it is key that you have a working knowledge of Marx, Weber, Durkheim and Du Bois to understand the world of the 19th and early 20th century. The module explores the historical and contemporary relevance of these ideas.

The second part of the course mostly relies upon the social science thinking of the 20th and 21st century. Questions such as the impact of the arrival of the consumer society, the importance of difference and diversity, the role of utopia, the importance of art and social movements, the development of the network and mediated society, issues related to gender identity and sexuality, and our shared ideas about the urban setting and the future are all covered in this part of the course.

Overall, you will be introduced to a range of different perspectives in helping you understand a changing world.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

Year two will develop your understanding of the theoretical and methodological foundations of criminology and social policy. We will encourage you to explore these through core modules focusing on research design, political and moral theories of social policy, and the criminal justice system.

Optional modules are chosen from both criminology and social policy.

Core modules

Applied Ethics and Society

The module will explore the application of moral philosophy and applied ethics to various social issues including, but not limited to, addiction, abortion, euthanasia, migration and global justice. 

It will review the main ideas and theorists from the fields of consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics and it will introduce students to the contemporary state of various socially and ethically problematic topics.

Contemporary Theories of Crime, Justice and Society

This module is concerned with how we can make sense of crime, and responses to it, in today’s society. It sets out to look at contemporary theories about crime, justice and society in their historical context. It looks at how ideas have been revised to take account of 21st century realities including globalisation, mass migration, changing gender relations, terrorism, economic and environmental crisis and the rise of risk society.

Political Theory and Social Policy

As an academic subject, social policy is underpinned by a wide variety of social, political and economic theories. Without an understanding of these theories our analyses of both society and of welfare systems are likely to be inadequate. For instance, we may overlook the extent to which policies and welfare reforms are sometimes based upon weak theoretical foundations and assumptions.

This module explores a range of both traditional and contemporary themes and concepts, including liberty, equality, citizenship, needs, class, old and new welfare ideologies, as well as recent developments in welfare theory.

Research Design and Practice (Qualitative Methods)

This module will introduce you to the principles of research design, practice and ethics in relation to qualitative research, and provides experience in designing a qualitative research project.

Research Design and Practice (Quantitative Methods)

This module will introduce you to the principles of research design and ethics in relation to quantitative research, and provides you with experience in designing and conducting your own small-scale research project.

Optional modules

Applied Ethics and Society

The module will explore the application of moral philosophy and applied ethics to various social issues including, but not limited to, addiction, abortion, euthanasia, migration and global justice. 

It will review the main ideas and theorists from the fields of consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics and it will introduce students to the contemporary state of various socially and ethically problematic topics.

Belief, Spirituality and Religion

This module examines the key sociological issues and debates in relation to the religion/spirituality and non-religious belief systems.

They include:

  • transformation of religion
  • the spiritual revolution
  • fundamentalism
  • atheism
  • secularism
  • scientism
  • freedom of expression vs. sanctity of religion
  • religious dress
  • religion/spirituality and sexuality
  • religion/spirituality and youth
  • religion/spirituality and consumerism
The Body, the Self and Others

This module explores the ways in which social identities and subjectivities can be created, maintained and expressed through the body and with reference to 'Others'. It particularly considers:

  • existing sociological theories of identity and 'Otherness'
  • the sociologies of various 'geographies' of the body, including the sociology of food and diet; body modification and adornment; extreme sport
  • presentations of 'self' through work, especially 'bodywork'
  • the corporeal 'mapping' of class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality
  • surveillance discourses and the Foucauldian body
Chinese Society and Culture: Beyond the Headlines

This module focuses on sociological theories of society and culture, with reference to China since 1978, examining social structures and the impact of economic reforms. Topics covered include gender, family and social welfare, inequalities and social capital, education, popular culture, and crime, deviance and justice.

Crime Stories: Crime, Justice and the Media

What is the relationship between crime, justice and the media? Does media depiction simply reflect public interests and attitudes, or help to shape them? Does media representation of 'crime', 'criminals' and criminal justice impact penal and social policies?

These are some of the questions we will debate through drawing on theory, research and illustrative media examples.

Dynamics of International Social Policy

This module introduces you to comparative analyses of different welfare state models and approaches to social policy; institutions, issues and debates in international social policy; and methods of cross-country comparative analysis. Topics include:

  • perspectives of international social and public policy
  • the origins and development of international social rights and standards
  • welfare state typologies and cross-national comparisons
  • international institutions
  • regional social policies
  • globalisation and welfare
  • welfare in less developed countries
  • international migration and the boundaries of welfare
  • discrimination in a multicultural world
  • international cooperation, policy learning and policy transfer
  • comparative research methodology
Ethnicity, 'Race' and Everyday Life

This module examines the intersection of three key concepts in contemporary sociology - ethnicity 'race' and everyday life. It particularly considers:

  • existing sociological theories of everyday life concerning its political relevance and historical specificity as well as methodological issues as to how 'the everyday' has been researched
  • sociological models of ethnicity and 'race', the construction of ethnic boundaries and identities, the relationship between 'culture' and 'ethnicity', and its relevance in the contemporary world
  • a series of empirical case studies illustrating the experience and complexities of ethnic and racial identities in the realm of everyday life
Families and Social Divisions

This module considers sociological approaches to the family ranging from early functionalist accounts to the feminist problematisation of such accounts. Attention will be paid to the ideological construction of the family and the role of social divisions in shaping family life.

Starting from feminist critiques of the family the first part of the module will explore issues of gender, power and patriarchy. Drawing on second-wave feminism, the second part of the module will consider issues of diversity in family practices.

Topics covered will include gender and families; families and class; families and race; migrant and transnational families; sexuality; age and generation. Contemporary debates around the breakdown, democratisation or continuity in contemporary families will also be addressed.

Health: Theory, Policy and Practice

The module will explore the meanings of health and how these meanings have impacted upon policy and practice and health services. This will focus upon both sociological and policy literature.

The focus of the module is very much upon contemporary debate and the way these debates inform health risks and service provision.

History of British Social Policy

How has the nature of social provision been conceptualised over time? How much continuity and how much change has there been in our social welfare system?

This module offers a critical review of some of the key issues in the development of British social policy, including the shift from the Poor Law to an income maintenance scheme, the impact of philanthropy and the changing role of the State in the 20th century.

Human and Child Rights

This module introduces you to critical sociological perspectives on human and child rights.

Human rights and child rights are regularly used in the description and analysis of social change by academics, governments, policy makers, businesses, charities and civil society and a range of other actors. In principle, everyone is in favour of human and child rights. However, ideas and practices about rights, the nature of rights people should enjoy and the nature of things which violate these rights are subject to intense disagreements within and across societies and countries.

The module begins by asking the question: 'What are human/child rights, and where do they come from?' You will be given the chance to examine different theories and debates on the origins, nature and scope of human and child rights at the beginning.

Then, drawing on research studies, news reports, documentary films and case studies of human/child trafficking, modern slavery, forced migration, child labour, maltreatment of migrants, child prostitution and other 'real world' phenomena deemed to constitute human and child rights violations, the module will offer you opportunities to critically interrogate the relationship between human/child rights practices and malpractices, social identity, power and hegemony under contemporary conditions of globalisation. 

Introduction to Cultural Theory

This module is focused on the conceptual issues that are at stake when we seek to study culture and concentrates on current themes in the study of culture. Through focusing on topics of subjectivity and identity, performativity, memory, emotions and the senses you will be introduced to the work and thinking of a range of cultural theorists, such as: Butler, Freud, Hall, Said, Sedgewick and Williams.

The module will also cover issues such as the formation of hegemonic and marginalised identities, hybridity and globalisation, queer theory, and the relationship [or not] between social structures and individual agency.

Miscarriages of Justice

The module will cover the following broad themes:

  • The adversarial system of justice
  • Key concepts and debates surrounding miscarriages of justice
  • Interpretations and understandings of the term ‘miscarriage of justice’
  • The scale of the ‘miscarriage of justice’ problem both nationally and internationally
  • The causes of miscarriages of justice and psychological and sociological explanations for these causes
  • The consequences of miscarriages of justice for individuals and society
  • Formal criminal justice responses to miscarriages of justice and their effectiveness
  • Informal individual and collective responses to miscarriages of justice, such as campaigns against miscarriages of justice
  • Case typologies of miscarriages of justice
Police, Policing and the Police

This module is concerned with the sociology and politics of policing. The main focus will be on England and Wales but the module will draw on literature and experiences from other jurisdictions around the world and from the United States of America in particular. It will cover a range of topics such as:

  • the meaning of, and differences between, police, policing and the police
  • the history and development of policing and the policesince the 18th century
  • the occupational and organisational cultures of the police
  • the governance and accountability of the police
  • police powers
  • specialisation in policing eg crime detection, traffic policing, public order policing, terrorism and political policing
  • policing strategies and tactics
  • policing and the media
  • police ethics
  • policing social diversity
  • the pluralisation of policing
Prisons and Society

This module focuses on the relationship between imprisonment and society, paying specific attention to the England and Wales prison estate and UK Society. The module requires reading, questioning, and evaluating of the following topics:

  • Notion of a criminally deviant act and consequent ramifications (for example, imprisonment)
  • Relationship between welfare provision and imprisonment rates (for example, social exclusion issues)
  • The political and historical natures of punishment (for example, overt versus covert practices)
  • Prisoner population demographics in England and Wales
  • Roles, responsibilities, and issues for Her Majesty’s Prison Service
  • Prison culture (both staff and inmate)
  • Institutionalisation theory and the nature of imprisonment
  • Provision and receipt experiences of prison mental healthcare
  • Sociological research in prisons (for example, (in)famous ethnographies/contemporary analysis)
  • Future directions for imprisonment (for example, reducing reoffending strategies)
Social Research and Community Engagement

This module provides you with an opportunity to apply the insights and skills of social science to enhance your understanding of the role of the voluntary sector in contemporary society with special reference to the city of Nottingham. At the heart of the module is a one-semester community engagement opportunity where you will spend on average eight hours a week, but varying from week to week, with a local community organisation.

The placement enables you to experience at first-hand the challenges, dilemmas and opportunities to make a difference that local organisations face every day. They will have the opportunity to deploy social research skills and academic knowledge to assist the organisations in question.

The teaching element of the module will provide the following: at the very start an overview of the role of the voluntary sector in contemporary society, theories of civil society, and an introduction to some of the models of community organising and public sociology a two day training package in the autumn semester on models of community organising delivered by Nottingham Citizens an opportunity to reflect on progress with the community engagement advice on how to construct the assessment.

The module will also draw on two outside speakers from local community organisations to provide rich, first-hand accounts from within the voluntary sector.

Sociology of Health, Illness and the Body

When a person is deemed to be mentally or physically sick, this involves taking on a particular social role and coming under the care (or power) of others. This module examines the power relations of medical care, cultural meanings (and thus 'treatment') of different illnesses, and the impact that illness has on our personal and social identities.

Theories of Welfare

As an academic subject social policy is underpinned by a wide variety of social, political and economic theories. Without an understanding of these theories our analyses of both society and of welfare systems are likely to be inadequate. For instance, we may overlook the extent to which policies and welfare reforms are sometimes based upon weak theoretical foundations and assumptions.

This module explores a range of both traditional and contemporary themes and concepts, including liberty, equality, citizenship, needs, class, old and new welfare ideologies, as well as recent developments in welfare theory.

Youth Crime and Justice

This module explores the phenomena of youth, crime and justice. Analysis of official statistics and self-report survey data will be placed within a broader understanding of the social construction of youth, drawing on political, media and other sources. The module will critically assess explanations of youth crime and desistance, including major theoretical explanations and developmental/life course perspectives.

The second half of the module considers social responses to youth crime and the role of the youth justice system in particular. The various discourses which inform youth justice will be compared and the ways in which they have been applied in different jurisdictions will be assessed. Finally, the module will consider the recent focus on early intervention, emerging arguments for minimum intervention and the potential for youth justice reform.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

Year three provides the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge through researching for and writing a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

There is also a choice of optional modules allowing you to specialise in your areas of interest.

Core modules


For the dissertation, you will explore a topic of your choice under the supervision of a designated dissertation group tutor. Work on the dissertation extends over both semesters in the third year. The subject matter must be relevant to your honours subject and approved by the tutor.

The study may be entirely based on the analysis of secondary literature; alternatively it may involve the collection and analysis of primary data, including documentary or textual data, on a scale appropriate to the work-load involved.

During the autumn semester, you should identify a topic and decide on an appropriate strategy of enquiry and analysis. Initial reading and planning for the dissertation should be undertaken mostly in the autumn semester, including literature reviews. A dissertation plan is submitted by the end of November. Any empirical investigation should be substantially underway by the end of the autumn semester.

In the spring semester analysis of the literature and any primary material should be completed and the dissertation written up by early in the summer term.

Optional modules

Ageing and Global Policy Responses

While an ageing population is a common concern of many developed countries across the globe, understandings and experiences of ageing could vary in different socio-economic and cultural contexts and personal circumstances.

This module introduces key concepts of ageing, raises your awareness of diverse experiences of ageing among different social groups and facilitates students to consider opportunities and risks that come with ageing societies.

Based on the Age-friendly city framework of the World Health Organisation (WHO), this module focuses on eight policy domains (namely transportation, housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, community support and health services, communication and information, civic participation and employment, respect and social inclusion and social participation) and facilitates you to critically review the age-friendliness of existing policies and provisions.

Analysing Public Policy

This module examines how public policy is made within government. It provides a critical understanding of how policy is formulated, implemented and evaluated.

The module focuses on key phases of the policy process, from agenda-setting to policy impact. The module provides an applied understanding of policy analysis by examining relevant case studies (for example, child abuse, ageing population).

Another Country: Crime and Crime Control in South Africa

This module looks at crime and ways of controlling it in South Africa (SA), a country with a different history and social structure to the UK. The focus will vary from year to year but is likely to include the:

  • impact of colonialism and white minority rule on crime and crime control in SA since the country's transition to democracy in 1994
  • relationship between forms of criminal and transitional justice and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in coming to terms with violations of human rights under apartheid
  • nature and extent of crime in contemporary SA with a focus on contemporary problems such as gangsterism and organised crime, (sexual) violence against women and children and violent xenophobia
  • usefulness of criminological theories developed in different social contexts (primarily in the US and the UK) in understanding and explaining crime in SA, and in suggesting ways of controlling it
  • political economy of crime and crime control in one of the most unequal societies in the world and the relationships between crime and other forms of social harm, criminal justice and social justice, crime prevention and social policy
  • history and development of policing and the response to crime including the reform of the state or public police, the pluralisation of policing and the 're-segregation' of South African society since the end of apartheid 1620
Capitalism and Social Justice: Moral Economies of Inequality

This module will address debates over the nature and meaning of inequality in contemporary society. It will consider these debates from the perspective of historical sociology looking initially at the idea of a distinction between capitalist political economy and pre-capitalist moral economy (E.P. Thompson), going on to discuss alternative accounts of political economy as a form of moral economy, such as those offered by Karl Polanyi, T.H. Marshall, as well as recent French pragmatist thought associated with Luc Boltanski, and the arguments of Thomas Piketty.

The module will discuss substantive topics of race, gender and class and also the impact of colonialism (and post-colonialism) on the formation of Western welfare states. The module will conclude with a discussion of sociology as critique of liberal public reason.

Contemporary Developments in Welfare Policy

The module will explore the contemporary developments and debates in the provision and delivery of welfare services. The module will examine theories of welfare, the funding of the welfare state and key changes in welfare policies, such as the increasing focus on markets and consumer choice, partnerships, the personalisation of service delivery, and the increasing role of the not for profit sector in service delivery.

Crimes and Harms of the Powerful

The module will cover the following broad themes:

  • State crime, corporate crime, state-corporate crime, harm, green crime
  • State-facilitated and state-initiated corporate crime
  • Capitalism, neoliberalism, austerity and indifference
  • Crimes of commission and omission
  • Command and control regulation vs. business self-regulation
Cults and New Religious Movements: Power, Belief and Conflict

This module serves as an introduction to the study of new religious movements, including groups sometimes referred to as 'cults', and the theoretical concepts used to understand them. A particular focus will be on the degree of tension such groups exhibit with their broader social and religious environments, as well as how they are conceived, both in academia and the media.

It will also consider how issues discussed more broadly in sociology, such as deviance, authority, violence, modernity, globalisation, sex and gender, and group dynamics, bear on our understanding of new religious movements.

Cyber Crime

This module introduces you to the criminological study of cyber crime. It draws on key literature and current research to consider the ways in which new and emerging forms of digital media and information and communication technologies provide opportunities for a variety of deviant and criminal behaviours. The module will typically cover the following broad themes:

  • Criminological definitions and theories of cyber crime
  • Case studies of types of cyber crime including for example: fraud, identify theft, hacking, revenge porn, sexting, online harassment, trolling and cyberstalking
  • Victims’ experiences of cyber crime
  • Why individuals commit certain types of cyber crime
  • Cyber crime in a global world
  • The policing, surveillance and regulation of cyber crime
  • The implication of the ‘internet of things’ for privacy and security
Education and Society

This module seeks to connect the historical and more contemporary debates in education to a critical understanding of society. The main focus is through a discussion of sociological, philosophical and policy based issues to explore the purpose of education in a modern globalised world. This however only becomes possible if we question more neutral and instrumental approaches to education and seek to more explicitly explore its connection to more normative values and concerns.

In this respect, the module will seek to connect ideas in education to a diversity of ways of conceiving of citizenship now and within the past. Most of the module is informed by European, North and South American traditions within sociology although it will also draw on examples and ideas from elsewhere.

Exploring Social and Cultural Life Through Films

Using different genres of film, this module examines contemporary theoretical and empirical debates in relation to a host of issues closely associated with theproduction and contestation of identity, culture, and everyday life. Underpinning by the central theoretical theme of cultural production, consumption, and practices.

The module will illustrate the problematics of culture through the sociological exploration of social condition, identity, consumerism, consumption, consumer culture, slavery, choice, voluntary simplicity, intimacy, body, embodiment, sexual culture, desire, sexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, dress, fashion, multiculturalism, human rights and social inclusion/exclusion.

Gender and the Media

This module will explore key debates and issues around contemporary representations of gender in the Anglo-American media. It will draw on case studies from a range of media genres, including television, men's and women's magazines and newspapers, as well as considering questions of audience, pleasure and spectatorship.

It will examine how mediated representations of gender intersect with other axes of difference such as 'race', class and sexuality, further exploring how changing mediated gender representations might be linked to wider social change.

Gender, the Family and Social Policy

Introducing feminist approaches to social policy, this module considers how social policy and the development of the welfare state have been underpinned by ideas around gender difference and the structure and responsibilities of the family.

We will examine feminist perspectives on welfare, considering how policy might reflect and perpetuate the gendered division of labour in the family and society more broadly. For example, we will examine whether the 'male breadwinner' model has been replaced by a policy commitment to gender equality.

The module will thus examine how social policy excludes or incorporates women at the intersection of the public/private divide, problematising the terms 'justice', 'citizenship' and 'inequality' in relation to gender. Throughout, we will also consider how gender intersects with other axes of difference and inequality, such as 'race' and class.

Governance and Policy in Africa and Asia in International Comparative Context

This module examines responses to challenges facing social policy makers in Africa and Asia taking a comparative case study approach. Topics include:

  • approaches to the study of international comparative governance and policy
  • designing and delivering inclusive and sustainable healthcare, social security, education and criminal justice systems in countries with large rural and informal urban sectors
  • good governance and building institutions to challenge corruption
  • rural-urban migration and the challenges of creating urban infrastructure and sustainable cities
  • food security and famines
  • indigeneity and social policy in contested spaces
  • social policy in failed states and during conflict and war
  • working with international agenciesInternational comparative research methods
Migration and Transnationalism

This module examines key issues and concepts connected to the movement and settlement of people in Europe and beyond. Informed by a transnational studies perspective, the module considers migration debates and practices in a critical, comparative and historically informed manner.

The first part of the module explores the political, social and economic factors that cause people to move in an increasing interconnected world. The second part of the module is dedicated to the examination of the different theories of integration and settlement and processes of inclusion and exclusion.

The key issues and concepts addressed will include those of transnationalism and diaspora; gender and intersectionality; transnational families and global care chains; multiculturalism, integration and assimilation; identity, home and belonging.

Rehabilitation, Risk and Desistance

This module aims to develop critical understandings of:

  • the concepts of 'offender' rehabilitation and the changing nature of rehabilitative enterprises over time
  • the role of risk in the organisation of the criminal justice system and responses to offending
  • research about desistance from crime and its relationship to rehabilitation and risk

The module will explore the role of key agencies involved in rehabilitation including the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies and the experiences of those subject to community justice.

Restorative Justice

There are significant problems with the way that crime is defined, who achieves victim status and how crimes are dealt with. This module considers an alternative approach, restorative justice, in responding to some of these challenges.

It combines lessons from a broad spectrum of disciplines to understand why people behave the way that they do, why current approaches are ineffective and to interrogate the range of 'restorative' approaches that have developed to provide a more effective response to crime and victimisation.


This module will chart the evolution of the social construction of the victim and presence in criminal justice policy by examining the historical, theoretical and research material in victimology. The module will cover the following broad themes:

  • Theoretical underpinnings of ‘victimology’
  • The victim’s movement
  • Key issues and debates in the field of victimology
  • Various approaches to responding to victim needs by both governmental and non-governmental organisations
Work, Employment and Society

This module considers:

  • historical and comparative study of work (paid and unpaid), employment and society
  • the changing nature and meaning of work in society
  • social inequalities in work such as class, gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality
  • heoretical and empirical understandings of work
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Confirmed July 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

EU tuition fees and funding options for courses starting in 2021/22 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.

If you choose to take an optional placement module, you will need to factor in travel costs, which will be dependent on location of placement and proximity to term-time address.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.


A degree in criminology and social policy can provide a solid foundation for work in local or national government, or in voluntary associations engaged with the social issues deriving from criminal behaviour. You could also enter a criminal justice career, in areas including the police, prison or probation service.

Your personal tutor will oversee your academic and personal development, and will offer support with your studies and welfare. There are also regular careers talks and events on enhancing your CV.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge that you will build throughout this course, you'll develop key transferable skills that are in high-demand by employers. These skills will benefit you in roles within local or national government, voluntary associations engaged with the social issues deriving from criminal behaviour, and with private companies with interests in security and risk assessment.

Graduate destinations

Our criminology and social policy degree can open doors to a career in various sectors including government, criminal justice, law enforcement, law practice and community safety.

Recent graduates from the school are now working with the Youth Justice Board, Ministry of Justice and other governmental departments.

Average starting salary and career progression

98.7% of undergraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £21,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £31,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" I fell in love with the campus as soon as I arrived on the open day and then I was even more delighted to meet such inspiring lecturers and support staff. "
Rebecca Wild

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.