Criminology BA (Hons)

Course code L311

What is special about this course?

How curious are you about crime, why it happens and what we are doing to prevent it?

If you are interested in studying crime and victimisation then the BA (Hons) Criminology provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop a critical understanding of the major theories deployed throughout criminology. 

Criminology draws on a wide range of human and social science disciplines and is both a theoretical and empirical subject, with many of criminology’s most significant advances achieved through empirical studies. Core to this programme is developing clear and confident research methods and analysis skills. You will also develop a critical understanding of the local, national and international context of crime, offenders, victimisation and responses to crime (including cybercrime, crime in literature, and globalisation and crime). 

In the first and second years, you will follow a traditional broad approach to the study of criminology. In years three and four, you will examine, in-depth, particular areas of criminology, allowing you to study specific topics and themes which reflect staff research specialisms. Each year, you will build on your analytical and research abilities through the core research methods modules. 

The degree also offers the opportunity to study other Humanities subjects such as sociology, history, literature, archaeology, politics, and theology.

Please see our FAQ sheet for further information on this course.

Special features

  • You will have the opportunity to study the social world in relation to crime and its control
  • You will develop your research and methodological skills, which you can take into your future career
  • You will have the opportunity to attend the annual staff/student Social Sciences conference, with the opportunity to present at the conference in your 4th year, further enhancing the graduate skills you develop as part of the course
  • You will develop and enhance your digital skills The nature of the degree will give you greater flexibility in employment, advanced study and research opportunities
  • Taught by highly experienced academics
  • Exciting modules are offered at upper levels of the course, based on the research of course staff
  • Full-time and part-time options mean you can fit your studies around your personal circumstances
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above
  • These must include at least two from the list of relevant academic subjects
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis
  • This is a Category 2 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required for specific optional modules/unit(s), where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in optional module/unit(s), but an alternative pathway exists to achieve target qualification. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage

Advanced entry

  • HNC Social Sciences (12 SQA credits) with 3 additional SQA credits at level 7 and at least grade C in the Graded Unit, will be considered for direct entry to year two

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

You will study the following core modules:
Semester 1

  • The enquiring student
  • Understanding the social world

Semester 2

  • Comparative institutions of justice
  • Introduction to criminological theory

You will also choose two option modules from our range of humanities subjects. 

Year 2 - DipHE

You will study the following core modules:
Semester 1

  • Qualitative research methods
  • History of crime and punishment

Semester 2

  • Practical research and analysis skills
  • Politics of policing

You will also choose two option modules from our range of humanities subjects. 

Year 3 - BA

Core modules may include: 
Semester 1

  • Advanced social research methods
  • Victimology
  • Psychology of criminal justice

Semester 2

  • Strange cases: crime literature and the construction of crime
  • Gender, crime, and justice
  • Understanding violence and crime in sport

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

You will study the following core modules:
Semester 1

  • Cultural criminology
  • Globalisation of crime

Semester 2

  • Restorative justice
  • The darker side of the internet

You will also complete a dissertation (both semesters).

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of scheduled video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors. There is normally a weekly two-hour timetabled video conference lecture for each module.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): up to 10 years

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • HTC
  • Inverness
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • This fully online course can be studied from anywhere in the world
  • Students based near to one of the listed campuses should apply to, and be enrolled and supported by, their local campus
  • All other students should apply to, and will be enrolled and supported by, UHI Perth

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £915 £915
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £305 £305

Rest of the UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,120 £6,120
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,020 £1,020

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK studying online from their home country, or living in the UK but assessed as international for fee status, the following fees apply:

This includes EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK and EEA and Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,540 £6,960
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,090 £1,160

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of this degree, you will have a wide range of employment opportunities in the commercial, statutory, and voluntary sectors, including: 

  • Community development worker
  • Detective
  • Police officer
  • Prison officer
  • Probation officer
  • Social worker
  • Youth worker
  • Education (teaching)
  • Researcher
  • Central and local government
  • Police and prison services
  • Court services
  • Security services
  • Non-profit-making organisations, including the NHS
  • Educational institutions and charities that work with young offenders or victims of crime

Apply for Criminology BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.