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SP10358: Critical thinkers in criminology

[Page last updated: 01 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: ES 20%, OT 80%
Assessment Detail:
  • Essay 20% (ES 20% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
  • Other 80% (OT 80% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
SP10358A - Reassessment Essay 20% (where allowed by programme regulations)
SP10358A - Reassessment Other 80% (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit students will be able to:
  1. Read academic texts critically and carefully and take meaningful notes on them;
  2. Chart the trajectory of criminology, how it has developed over the last half-century and which other fields and disciplines it draws upon and has influenced;
  3. Identify and analyse some of the most important 'watershed' publications in criminology;
  4. Discuss what makes a work 'classic' and analyse how these works have shaped our understanding of criminological issues;
  5. Compare differences in argumentation and theoretical/methodological approach.

Aims: The purpose of this unit is to chart the development of Criminology as an academic discipline via detailed consideration of the lives and works of some of the scholars who have shaped its evolution. In so doing, students will be introduced to key theoretical approaches including, for example, classicism, feminism, deviancy theory, studies of incarceration, cultural criminology, and studies of state power.

Skills: The unit will foster the following intellectual skills:
* an understanding of how criminologists draw on/synthesise evidence to make an argument or develop a theory
* an ability to assess the merits and appropriateness of different explanations for crime, deviance, and victimisation
* an ability to recognise how key works of criminology develop a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement.
The unit will foster the following professional/practical skills:
* an appreciation of how criminologists apply different methods of analysis to a range of problems and to critically reflect on different approaches
* good written and oral communication skills, both individually and in group environments.
The unit will foster the following transferable/key skills:
* the ability to recognise the features of a well-presented, coherent argument and be able to develop a reasoned critique
* the ability to marshal evidence and theory to support or challenge an argument in such a way as to demonstrate a critical awareness of the origin and bases of knowledge
* the ability to work and communicate as individuals
* skills in working and communicating effectively as a team
* skills in information technology
* critical and analytical skills.

Content: This unit will offer an exploration of key seminal texts that have shaped the discipline of Criminology. These texts will reflect key theoretical orientations in criminology such as: classicism, feminism, deviancy theory, studies of incarceration, cultural criminology, and studies of state power.

Programme availability:

SP10358 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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