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Subject details

  • Topics
    • Putting Theory into Context
    • Biological and Psychological Theories
    • Introduction to Sociological Theory
    • Understanding Youth Offending
    • The Problem of Arson
    • The Problem of Fraud
    • Situational Factors
    • Labelling and Restorative Justice
    • Crime from a Gendered Perspective
    • Applying Theory Race and Ethnicity
    • The Victimiology Perspective
    • From Theory to Public Policy
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Online assignment submission
      • Podcasting/Leacture capture
    • Online Materials
      • Printable format materials

After successfully completing this subject you should be able to:

  1. Appreciate the breadth and diversity of criminological theories from a psychological, biological and sociological perspective.
  2. Critically compare and contrast the utility, strengths and limitations of different theoretical approaches to explaining the causes of offending and the implications for public policy
  3. Demonstrate written and verbal communication skills applying critical thinking, analysis and application to a real world context
  • Assignment 1 - Research Essay (50%)
  • Assignment 2 - Weekly Topic Questions (50%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject

No eligibility requirements

Special requirements

No special requirements

This is a survey subject that aims to introduce students to the central concepts of modern theories of crime, linkages with their historic antecedents and criteria for evaluating theoretical validity. A range of different perspectives will be presented covering the dominant sociological and psychological explanations of crime and criminality. On completion, students will have an understanding of the nature of theory, the ideas of key theorists and have the ability to critically evaluate theoretical explanations.

Using an inter-disciplinary approach, this degree explores how offenders and offending have been conceptualised, and the consequent implications for the criminal justice system. There is a diverse range of theoretical frameworks used to understand crime; in this subject we will particularly focus on sociological, psychological and biological perspectives. The types of policies and interventions which have been promoted, and adopted, have been influenced by the extent to which weight is given to individual, social or environmental factors.

This subject will consider how different theoretical approaches can be applied to understand a selection of contemporary crime problems, the strengths and weaknesses of different explanations and the implications for prevention and intervention.

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