Why do people commit crimes? Can anything be done to support crime prevention or, once crimes have been committed, to prevent or reduce levels of reoffending? What steps should be taken to rehabilitate offenders to ensure their reintegration into society?

If you’re interested in the answers to any of these questions, or have some of your own, then Criminology may be the subject for you. A Criminology degree will equip you with key concepts and theories to define, investigate, recognise, and respond to crimes and those who are accused of or commit them. 

Criminologists address questions including what is crime, and how has crime changed over time? What are the impacts of the ‘criminal’ and ‘victim’ labels? How can we reduce offending and properly address the issue of victimisation? Are our prisons fit for purpose? At Aberystwyth, we give you the chance to expand your criminological imagination, learn how criminological research is undertaken and develop the skills required to conduct research of your own. We want to help you fulfil your potential to become a 21st century Criminologist!  

  • Top 10 in the UK for Student Experience for the subject of Criminology (Good University Guide 2024, The Times and Sunday Times)
  • Top 5 in the UK for Teaching Quality for the subject of Criminology (Good University Guide 2024, The Times and Sunday Times)

Why study Criminology at Aberystwyth University?

  • We offer a stimulating, supportive and rewarding environment within a dynamic, forward-looking department that understands crime, its impact and the Criminal Justice system.
  • Criminologists at Aberystwyth are particularly interested in the experiences of specific groups within the criminal justice system or associated groups, such as young people, innocent prisoners, those with mental health issues, victims, offenders, policymakers and criminal justice and other practitioners.
  • Our modules cover areas including criminal and forensic psychology, youth justice, wrongful convictions, policing, cyber security, terrorism, drugs and imprisonment.
  • You will draw on sociological, psychological and criminological theories and real-world examples to explore the consequences of being labelled a ‘criminal’, the impact of crime on victims and society, and to uncover the motivations of those who commit crimes, putting them into the context of policy and prevention.
  • You can study Criminology alongside Law, giving you an insight into the legal framework impacting the criminal justice system.
  • You will have opportunities to develop practical skills and get hands-on experience, all while gaining credits towards your degree.
  • Criminology has been taught at Aberystwyth University for almost two decades and has a fantastic reputation for teaching quality allied to core employability skills.
  • Studying Criminology allows you to develop a range of transferable skills, ready for your career in the criminal justice system and beyond.
“The Criminology department is so welcoming! Staff and Students know you by name, so every lecture, every seminar and every interaction is personal. This shows how much the University care. The staff go above and beyond… You really couldn’t ask more of them.”
Sam Sam BSc Criminology
“Aberystwyth has become such a special place for me. I have joined some great societies, along with founding the first futsal club! The lecturers are extremely helpful in supporting you academically.”
Alex Alex BSc Criminology


The Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University puts employability at the heart of the curriculum, giving you the essential skills and knowledge needed in the workplace.  

Working alongside our Careers Service, and with the advantage of its bespoke networking and careers events, we can help you develop skills to prepare for a wide range of professional careers, while still recognising your interests and maximising your potential. Students wishing to gain first-hand experience can benefit from one of our credit-bearing work placement modules.  

With a Criminology degree, there will be many paths open to you in areas such as:  

  • Youth Justice 
  • The Probation Service
  • Policing (e.g. the Police, Crime Analyst, Civilian Investigations Office, National Crime Agency) 
  • The Prison Service (e.g. Prison Officer, Governor)
  • Security services (e.g. MI5, MI6, G4S)
  • Substance misuse agencies 
  • Youth Offending Service
  • Social work 
  • Victim Support (e.g. Drug & Alcohol Treatment Worker)
  • Social, criminological, political and other research 
  • Citizens’ Advice  
  • HMRC  
  • His Majesty’s Inspectorate
  • Immigration 
  • Local Government  
  • Charitable organisations
  • The Civil Service
  • Academia/research including further postgraduate study.


Aberystwyth University has a long and distinguished record of undertaking cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines. Under-pinned by a strong research strategy, the Department of Law and Criminology plays an active role to achieve its mission to educate, inform and inspire future opinion formers and leaders.

Areas of focus include: 

  • Youth Justice 
  • Policing 
  • Miscarriages of Justice 
  • The prison service, including the Read and Grow project
  • Art, Antiquities and Heritage crime 
  • Interventions to reduce offending 
  • Risk assessment 
  • Crime rates 
  • Criminogenic factors 
  • People marginalised because of youth or old age
  • Crime, control and prevention
  • Green criminology 
  • Armed Forces research
  • Domestic abuse.

Criminology Staff

Our expert staff contribute significantly to the flourishing research base within our department and in the wider Criminological environment. Given our strong links in the areas of policing, prisons and youth justice, as well as local government and non-governmental organisations, you will benefit from our extensive networking at national and international levels. Research staff use their expertise as members of a wide range of public sector and international advisory bodies, including the All-Wales Data Sharing Project, the Law Commission's Welsh Advisory Committee, National Advice Network Wales, the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) and the Wales Anti-Slavery Leadership Group. The rise in the popularity of ‘public criminology’ has also seen contributions to external partners such as the BBC, including a podcast on murder in Wales, available at Staff are also active members of the Wales Youth Justice Academic Advisory Panel and the Probation Development Group (Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice), both of which are advising the Welsh Government in relation to the possible devolution of youth justice and probation services, and of the National Hwb Doeth group, which provides training to youth justice practitioners and undertakes research and advisory roles in relation to the development of youth justice in Wales.  

Several criminologists in the department have operational experience working in youth justice, probation and police services. They maintain links with these services, and this provides for opportunities for student placements and collaborative research with the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Justice Board, among others. 

Studying through the medium of Welsh

Aberystwyth University prides itself on being a bilingual University, and Criminology - or Troseddeg - at Aberystwyth offers more Welsh medium credits than any other University in Wales. As a leading Welsh University, we are proud to offer dedicated support services and Halls of Residence for Welsh-speaking students, encouraging the sense of community and the feeling of a home away from home. Qualifying students will automatically receive the University's Welsh-medium scholarships and can also apply for Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol scholarships. Find out more about our Welsh Medium Scholarships

Study or Work Abroad

Aberystwyth University offers every student the opportunity to study, volunteer or work in another country either for an academic year, a single semester, or a few weeks during your holidays.

Find more information on our Global Opportunities webpages.