Introduction to Criminology

Course content

Everyday life is filled with references to crime, violence, and punishment, but how exactly do criminologists make sense of these categories?

How do criminologists explain complex questions about crime causation, or address issues about how much crime is actually present in a given society?


This course will address these and other important crime-related questions in a bid to introduce undergraduate law students to the discipline of criminology. More specifically, this module will introduce and examine the origins of criminological theory, the history and efficacy of the modern prison, the development of modern forms of social control, and the structure and nature of various comparative criminal justice systems.
Importantly, this course has been designed to build a bridge between traditional legal scholarship and the more interdisciplinary approach to crime and punishment advocated by criminologists.
To this end, focus will be placed on the various ways in which cultural dynamics intertwine with the practices of crime and crime control within contemporary society.
The module will be delivered via both innovative teaching techniques (including the use of complimentary media reportage, documentary film, and the close textual reading/analysis of contemporary crime news stories) and possibly through field trips to an appropriate Danish criminal justice organization/institution.
The course will be taught in either two or three-hour lecture blocks, with a final lecture reserved for questions and answers in relation to assessment. The lectures will cover the following subjects:



  1. What is criminology?
  2. What is crime?
  3. Individual explanations of crime
  4. Structural explanations of crime
  5. Researching crime: Methods in criminological research
  6. Preventing crime
  7. Youth and Crime
  8. Crime and deviance as meaning-making
  9. Crime and Punishment
  10. Gender and Crime
  11. Guest Lecture: Cybercrime and digital criminology
  12. Conclusion and exam preparation
Learning outcome

Knowledge: at the conclusion of this course, students will have/be able to:

  • Describe and understand key debates in criminology and criminal justice;
  • Explain crime-related problems using criminological theory;
  • Understand and explain a range of intervention and prevention strategies and describe how to use them in order to prevent certain criminal acts;
  • Critically evaluate the social, political and cultural dimensions of crime from both a historical and contemporary perspective;
  • The ability to analyse popular discourses, texts or programs on the matter of crime and deviance.


Skills/Competencies: at the conclusion of this course, students will have/be able to:

  • Demonstrate skills commensurate with undergraduate study in presentation and debate, both verbal and written, and in utilization of research and empirical data;
  • Gather library and web-based resources appropriate for undergraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and use the available evidence to construct a developed argument to be presented orally or in writing;
  • Conduct research by using library e-journals and other on-line resources;
  • Gained competencies in regard to the organisation of information in a clear and coherent manner through essay writing and seminar-based group discussion;
  • Gained a basic understanding of the relationship between theoretical work and problem solving/policy making.

The course will consist of formal lectures followed by quizzes/question and answer sessions, group-work, field trips and guest lectures.

There is NO set textbook for this course (week-by-week readings will be provided). However, the following books will be useful as background reading


Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology, Third Edition, London: Routledge.

Newburn, T. (2017) Key Readings in Criminology, London: Routledge.

Hale, C, Hayward, K, Wahidin, A, and Wincup, E. (2013) Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McLaughlin, E and Muncie, J. (2013) The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, London: Sage.

Liebling, A. Maruna, S. and McAra, L (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lippens, R (2009) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Criminology, London: Sage.

Case, S. et al (2017) Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carrabine, E. et al (2009) Criminology: A Sociological Introduction, Abingdon: Routledge.

Walklate, S. (2007) Understanding Criminology, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Good command of English, ready and willing participation, critical analytical abilities, open-mindedness. Willingness to challenge received knowledge.


The feedback will be both formative (i.e. undertaken through quizzes and small group seminar discussion), and summative (via a final written essay/assessment). Students will receive oral feedback in response to class/seminar work, and written feedback on their final assignment.

Reconciliation of Expectations will be performed at the start of the course and reassessed in the concluding lecture.


7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 171,25
  • Seminar
  • 35
  • English
  • 206,25


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Bachelor choice

1 semester

  1. Students enrolled at Faculty of Law: No tuition fee
  2. Professionals: Please visit our website  
Please see timetable for teaching time
Contracting department
  • Law
  • Department of Sociology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Keith John Hayward   (13-706a6e796d336d667e7c667769456f7a7733707a336970)
Saved on the 28-04-2022

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