Best UK Universities For A Criminology Degree: The 2024 Guide

Welcome to the definitive guide for 2024 on pursuing a Criminology degree in the United Kingdom. Navigating the diverse landscape of universities offering criminology programmes is a crucial step in shaping your academic journey and future career. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the best UK universities, highlighting their academic prowess, unique offerings, and the distinctive advantages each institution provides for those passionate about the field of criminology.

best criminology universities

Table of Contents

What is Criminology?

Criminology is a multidisciplinary field of study that seeks to understand, analyse, and address the complex phenomenon of crime. It is a branch of social science that explores the causes, consequences, and prevention of criminal behaviour, as well as the functioning of the criminal justice system. At its core, criminology is a field that attempts to answer fundamental questions about crime and its impact on society.

Why Study Criminology in the UK?

Studying criminology is not merely an academic pursuit; it is an exploration of the very fabric that holds societies together. Delving into the field of criminology offers a multitude of compelling reasons that make it an essential and intellectually stimulating choice.

  1. Understanding Human Behaviour: At its core, criminology seeks to unravel the motivations and actions behind criminal behaviour. By studying criminology, you gain a deeper insight into the complexities of human conduct, probing the psychological, social, and economic factors that drive individuals towards crime.

  2. Contributing to Justice: Criminologists play a vital role in the justice system. They help identify patterns of criminal activity, study the effectiveness of laws and policies, and advocate for reforms. By studying criminology, you have the opportunity to contribute to a fair and just society by working towards the prevention and resolution of crimes.

  3. Intellectual Challenge: Criminology is a dynamic and evolving field. It challenges you to think critically, analyse data, and develop innovative solutions to complex problems. It’s a discipline that constantly adapts to new trends and issues in society, making it intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

Top Criminology Universities in the UK

Here are the best universities for Criminology degrees in the UK entering 2024 using the latest QS World University Rankings. 

  • Loughborough University
  • University of Bristol
  • Durham University
  • University of Warwick
  • University of Birmingham

1. Loughborough University Criminology Review

Loughborough University offers a dynamic Criminology programme that combines theoretical knowledge with practical applications. Students engage in a variety of modules covering topics like criminal psychology, crime prevention, and forensic analysis. The programme stands out for its hands-on approach, providing opportunities for real-world experiences through placements and internships. Loughborough’s commitment to research-led teaching ensures that students are at the forefront of contemporary criminological debates, preparing them for diverse career paths in the criminal justice sector.

  • Duration: 4 years full-time with placement year
  • Fees: UK: £9,250; International: £23,000
  • Start date: October 2024

2. University of Bristol Criminology Review

The University of Bristol’s Criminology programme is known for its interdisciplinary approach, integrating insights from sociology, law, and psychology. Students explore the complexities of crime and justice through a range of modules that foster a holistic understanding of the field. Bristol emphasises the development of critical analysis and research skills, encouraging students to undertake independent projects. With a focus on global perspectives, the programme equips graduates to address contemporary challenges in criminology, making them adept problem-solvers and socially conscious professionals.

  • Duration: 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Fees: UK: £9,250; International: £23,900
  • Start date: October 2024

3. Durham University Criminology Review

Durham University’s Criminology programme combines academic excellence with a supportive learning environment. Students benefit from a comprehensive curriculum covering core criminological theories and emerging issues in the field. Durham places a strong emphasis on research-led teaching, allowing students to participate in ongoing projects and contribute to advancements in criminological knowledge. The programme’s connections with criminal justice agencies provide valuable opportunities for practical experiences, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for successful careers in various sectors of criminal justice and beyond.

  • Duration: 3 years full time
  • Fees: UK: £9,250; International: £24,750
  • Start date: September 2024

4. University of Warwick Criminology Review

The University of Warwick’s Criminology programme is characterised by its innovative and research-driven approach. Students explore a diverse range of topics, including cybercrime, white-collar crime, and global justice. Warwick’s commitment to cutting-edge research means that students engage with the latest developments in criminology, contributing to the university’s reputation for academic excellence. 

The programme also encourages students to critically evaluate policies and practices, fostering a deep understanding of the societal impact of crime. Graduates from Warwick emerge with a well-rounded skill set, ready to address the evolving challenges in the field of criminology.

  • Duration: 3 years full-time
  • Fees: UK: £9,250; International: £24,800
  • Start date: 23 September 2024

5. University of Birmingham Criminology Review

The University of Birmingham’s Criminology programme is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of crime and its societal implications. The curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics, including criminal law, policing, and social justice. Birmingham’s commitment to practical learning is evident through opportunities for fieldwork, placements, and engagement with criminal justice professionals. The programme also encourages students to explore the intersectionality of crime, addressing issues of race, gender, and social inequality. Birmingham’s Criminology graduates are well-equipped to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice landscape and contribute meaningfully to positive societal change.

  • Duration: 3 years full-time
  • Fees: UK: £9,250; International: £22,380
  • Start date: September 2024

Criminology University Rankings in the UK

Here is the latest list of the best universities for Criminology in the UK as we enter 2024:

RankInstitutionEntry StandardsStudent SatisfactionResearch QualityContinuationGraduate prospects outcomesGraduate prospects on trackOverall Score
1University of Cambridge1953.5499.294.078.0100.0
2University of Oxford1833.983.5592.092.097.0
3University of Bath1553.973.3997.
4University of Glasgow2063.823.4697.
5London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London1714.073.37100.
6Loughborough University1553.733.5798.
7University of Bristol1643.573.2297.
8Durham University1584.023.2394.
9University of Warwick1473.963.2994.374.080.085.7
10UCL (University College London)1833.7699.376.076.084.9
11University of Manchester1523.623.5196.762.072.084.8
12The University of Edinburgh1883.503.2499.454.064.084.8
13University of Birmingham1423.853.4296.370.068.084.8
14University of York1493.793.4797.
15University of Leeds1483.583.1796.768.076.084.1
16University of Nottingham1443.713.3296.
17Lancaster University1473.803.4198.458.062.084.0
18University of Exeter1573.913.1694.566.054.083.7
19University of Surrey1324.103.2296.
20Cardiff University1493.813.2995.
21University of Southampton1423.843.5397.
22University of Sheffield1423.802.9195.668.072.082.6
23Swansea University1373.973.1495.662.068.082.4
24University of Aberdeen1774.012.8694.368.070.081.8
25Glyndwr University, Wrexham1084.662.38100.
26University of Stirling1923.793.2292.852.070.081.4
27University of Leicester1253.883.1897.758.066.081.2
28University of Liverpool1373.133.3297.
29Aston University, Birmingham1263.712.9995.566.076.080.8
30University of East Anglia UEA1383.553.5389.654.090.080.7
31City, University of London1303.523.4396.
32University of Kent1173.683.5695.860.070.080.6
33University of Hull1223.943.3093.860.070.080.4
34Edinburgh Napier University1754.032.9994.856.066.080.0
35Queen's University Belfast1413.703.3494.952.044.079.6
36Royal Holloway, University of London1323.762.9795.656.060.079.4
37University of Sussex1283.553.2894.558.060.079.1
38Keele University1223.722.9294.
39University of Worcester1214.242.3992.966.074.078.4
40University of Lincoln1203.823.3396.646.056.078.4
41Nottingham Trent University1203.882.8296.558.066.078.4
42Newcastle University1393.353.0896.548.058.078.3
43Manchester Metropolitan University1243.912.8292.964.062.078.3
44Bangor University1283.822.8197.644.060.078.0
45University of Plymouth1223.963.2693.846.054.077.6
46Brunel University London1063.812.8690.
47University of Essex1233.633.4088.958.060.077.1
48University of Central Lancashire1263.743.2390.756.062.076.9
49Edge Hill University1283.922.4891.462.060.076.9
50University of Portsmouth1273.872.9593.752.052.076.8
51Ulster University1233.833.3189.658.056.076.8
52University of Sunderland1113.842.7992.368.072.076.7
53Bournemouth University1143.892.1893.
54University of Salford1243.893.1991.
55Aberystwyth University1264.1197.452.078.076.3
56Oxford Brookes University1153.842.8292.848.068.075.7
57Northumbria University, Newcastle1293.353.0692.750.058.075.6
58Sheffield Hallam University1153.842.8994.
59Bristol, University of the West of England1173.992.9292.
60University of Roehampton1103.802.9490.354.062.074.9
61Leeds Beckett University1183.882.6192.
62University of Suffolk1013.992.6984.
63University of Winchester1183.602.2993.
64Bath Spa University1113.862.7391.
65Abertay University1603.942.3388.362.060.074.3
66Liverpool Hope University1223.852.4890.642.070.073.9
67Birmingham City University1243.932.4191.544.062.073.9
68University of Huddersfield1223.733.0889.
69Staffordshire University1124.212.5597.636.032.073.9
70Liverpool John Moores University1233.952.5692.
71University of Greenwich1213.932.5592.742.052.073.7
72University of Derby1234.042.5991.
73University of Chester1263.602.2594.
74Coventry University1164.012.9484.452.064.073.4
75Solent University (Southampton)1113.862.0492.756.058.072.6
76University of Brighton1103.482.8392.346.058.072.6
77University of Westminster, London1073.952.9092.730.056.072.5
78Anglia Ruskin University1043.852.7389.
79University of Gloucestershire1173.702.5390.
80London Metropolitan University1023.843.1087.344.054.071.8
81Canterbury Christ Church University1043.872.6589.850.054.071.6
82University of Northampton1043.821.9192.750.062.071.4
83Goldsmiths, University of London1123.213.2583.752.062.071.4
84University of Bedfordshire1023.943.0984.646.068.071.3
85University of Bolton1074.4091.471.2
86Teesside University, Middlesbrough1163.802.6087.540.060.070.7
87University of East London953.662.5988.
88University of South Wales1203.4690.458.056.070.0
89De Montfort University1033.573.1887.446.040.069.9
90York St John University1164.042.0190.
91Middlesex University1063.742.7980.
92Leeds Trinity University1143.9287.442.080.069.5
93Kingston University1173.8392.840.048.069.2
94Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh1393.681.8096.926.068.4
95Buckinghamshire New University1023.7891.768.1
96University of Wolverhampton1003.8092.646.050.068.0
97University of Bradford1173.6994.
98St Mary's University, Twickenham1093.5988.766.9
99University of Cumbria1063.6089.366.5
100London South Bank University1023.8485.634.058.064.8
101Plymouth Marjon University1154.2172.962.9

How are the Rankings Measured?

The ranking methodology includes several key indicators, such as teaching quality, research output and reputation, industry connections and engagement, international diversity, and citations. These indicators help evaluate the academic environment, resources, faculty expertise, and global impact of relevant institutions. The rankings also consider factors like student satisfaction, graduate employability, and the influence and reach of research conducted by the universities.

Dissertation Topics for Criminology

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of criminology and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

  1. The Impact of Social Media on Criminal Behaviour: Investigate how social media platforms influence criminal activities, including cyberbullying, online radicalisation, and digital evidence in criminal cases.

  2. Restorative Justice Programmes: Evaluate the effectiveness of restorative justice programmes in reducing recidivism and promoting rehabilitation, and explore their implementation in different contexts.

  3. Mental Health and Criminal Justice: Explore the intersection of mental health issues and the criminal justice system, considering the treatment of mentally ill offenders and alternatives to incarceration.

  4. Cybercrime and Victim Responses: Analyse the experiences of victims of cybercrimes, their coping strategies, and the role of support services in assisting them.

  5. Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: Investigate the prevalence of human trafficking and modern slavery, as well as efforts to combat these crimes and support victims.

  6. Crime Prevention Strategies in Urban Environments: Examine urban planning and design interventions aimed at reducing crime, such as the impact of improved lighting, surveillance, or community engagement.

  7. Gun Control and Crime Rates: Analyse the relationship between gun control policies and firearm-related crime rates in different regions or countries.

  8. White-Collar Crime and Corporate Responsibility: Explore issues related to white-collar crime, corporate fraud, and the responsibility of corporations in preventing and addressing such crimes.

Frequently Asked Questions about UK Criminology Universities

Criminology is the study of crime, criminal behavior, and the criminal justice system. A Criminology degree typically involves exploring the causes and effects of crime, criminal justice policies, and methods of crime prevention.

Graduates with a Criminology degree can pursue various careers, including roles in law enforcement, criminal justice, social work, policy analysis, and research. The degree opens doors to diverse opportunities within the criminal justice system and related fields.

Yes, Criminology programmes develop skills such as critical thinking, research, data analysis, and an understanding of social issues. Communication and problem-solving skills are also honed, making graduates well-equipped for roles in the criminal justice sector.

Many Criminology programmes offer specialisations, allowing students to focus on areas like criminal psychology, cybercrime, penology, or criminal law. Specialisations enable students to tailor their education to align with specific career goals.

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