LL272      Half Unit
Outlines of Modern Criminology

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Meredith Rossner


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Some familiarity with sociological or psychological literature would be an advantage, but is not a prerequisite.

Course content

This half unit course is a general introduction to the study of modern criminology. The course is highly selective and every effort is made to hold the reading requirements within reasonable limits. It is suitable for General Course students, and a limited number may be admitted on application.

The main focus is on the classical and contemporary theories developed over the past two hundred years to explain and predict criminal behaviour in society. The propositions, assumptions, empirical validity, and policy implications of these criminological theories, as well as the social context in which they were developed, will be examined. Other significant issues in criminology – such as the measurement and extent of crime, the role of demographics (age, race, gender, social class) in the causation of and reaction to crime, and the changing boundaries of criminological research – will also be discussed.

Course content:

1. The history of criminological theory.

2. Trends in crime and crime statistics. How official statistics can be interpreted and the role of crime surveys

3. ‘Classical’ criminology, rational choice, and crime prevention theories.

4. Individual explanations of crime: biological, psychological and psychoanalytical theories.

5. Sociological explanations of crime,  including macro and micro approaches and recent critical theories

6. Criminal justice policy and ‘law and order’ politics.

7. Discrimination, Inequalities, crime and criminal justice

8. Crime and the mass media


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

Indicative reading

Recommended Readings:

  • Vold's Theoretical Criminology by G. Vold, T. Bernard and J. Snipes and A. Gerould. 6th edition (2010)
  • The Oxford Handbook of Criminology by M. Maguire, R. Morgan, R. Reiner (eds) 5th edition (2012)
  • Law and Order: An Honest Citizen’s Guide to Crime and Control by R. Reiner (2007)
  • The Politics of the Police by R. Reiner (2010)
  • Violence: A Micro-Sociological theory by R. Collins (2009)
  • Crime, Shame, and Reintegration by J. Braithwaite (1989);
  • Understanding Deviance, 6th Ed. by D. Downes and P. Rock (2011)
  • Criminology, 2nd ed. by T. Newburn (2012)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 14

Average class size 2015/16: 14

Capped 2015/16: Yes (25)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills