Law & Criminology

Do you want to make a difference? Do you care about issues such as inequality and injustice? If you do, then you will enjoy studying law and learning about subjects such as human rights and how to protect them. But apart from the big issues, law and criminology is something that affects us all in our everyday lives, from buying a phone to renting a place to live, and this makes it a fascinating subject.  

Law is also a prestigious subject and law graduates are highly valued across many sectors. Many enter the legal profession, but if that isn't the path you wish to take, there will be many other options open to you. 

Criminology is a fascinating subject that explores the meaning of crime and why certain behaviours are regarded as criminal. You will explore the consequences of being labelled 'criminal', and how society responds to criminal behaviour by detecting, punishing and rehabilitating individuals who commit offences. You will also consider the impact of crime and criminality on victims and society in general. A Criminology degree will continually challenge you to uncover the motivations behind those who commit crimes, putting these into the context of policy and prevention.  

  • Best University in the UK for Teaching Quality and Student Experience and ranked in the Top 10 in the UK for Student Experience for the subject of Law (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2021)
  • Top 10 in the UK for Student Experience for the subject of Criminology (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2022)

Why study Law & Criminology at Aberystwyth University?

  • Law has been taught at Aberystwyth since 1901. The Department has a proud tradition of scholarship and research, and has prepared generations of people from all over the world for professional careers and for life in general. Our long history is a testament to our teaching acumen. 
  • Aberystwyth University offers you a broad range of opportunities to study criminology. Whether you want to focus on criminology exclusively, or study it alongside one of its cognate subjects, including law, psychology and sociology, you will be guaranteed a quality degree experience. 
  • Our undergraduate schemes have a particular emphasis on the psychological understanding of criminal behaviour, youth justice, the policing and prevention of crime and criminal justice policy, process and systems.
  • We have educated Ministers of State, politicians and leaders. But we have also educated people who have become solicitors in small, medium and large multi-national firms, barristers, teachers, police officers, university lecturers, journalists, television presenters, social workers, and probation officers - all making their own contribution to changing society for the greater good. 
  • Choose to come here to study, and you will find a stimulating, supportive and rewarding environment within a dynamic, forward-looking department that has a distinctive identity, a wealth of experience, excellent teaching and dynamic research activity, backed up by superb library and IT provisions. 
  • We offer work placements while you study your undergraduate degree. For example, our placement modules such as Employability Skills for Professionals and the Criminal Justice Placement help you to gain valuable experience and develop the skill set that employers look for, while gaining credits towards your degree. 
  • In addition to work placements, you can take advantage of other opportunities to develop practical skills and get hands-on experience during your studies by taking part in our Family Law Clinic, joining our very active mooting society, volunteering at our ground-breaking Dewis/Choice research project which is focused on addressing the increasingly high-profile issue of abuse of elderly people, or volunteering with our Veterans Legal Link Project. 

 

“Aberystwyth has become such a special place for me. For starters I met my girlfriend here and I’ve made lifelong friends from all over the world. I’ve joined some great societies and helped found the first futsal club and the lecturers here are just so helpful in supporting you academically! ”
Alex Alex Alex, BSc Criminology
“The Criminology department is so welcoming! Staff and students know you by name, so every lecture, every seminar, and every interaction is personal. This makes it feel like they really care. The staff go above and beyond... You really couldn't ask more of them.”
Sam Sam BSc Criminology

Employability

Developing skills that will make you attractive to employers and that will give you a head start when looking for work is about extending the skills that you already have, making contacts, broadening your ideas, and understanding how to gain and use your experiences to enhance your future prospects. 

The Department of Law & Criminology puts employability at the heart of the curriculum, with students gaining essential skills and knowledge for the workplace throughout their degree scheme. We work closely with our bespoke Careers Service which supports students to recognise their interests and maximise their potential. Our aim is to prepare our students for a wide range of professional careers, further study and for life in general. Students wishing to gain first-hand work experience can benefit from one of our credit-bearing work placement modules.

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

  • citizens advice 
  • finance 
  • HMRC 
  • immigration
  • local government 
  • paralegal work 
  • political research 
  • providing legal advice (as a solicitor or barrister) 
  • the civil service. 

An undergraduate degree in Criminology provides a range of career opportunities. Whether you would prefer to work hands-on as a practitioner in the criminal justice system or think that you would be better suited to a career in research or policy making, studying with us means that you can begin to put the fundamentals that you have learned from your degree into practice.

Our modules are designed around the current needs of employers and the legal and criminal justice professions, and we place great emphasis on the development of your professional skills. We also work with the Aberystwyth University Careers Service to ensure that all our students get the careers advice they need. 

Becoming involved in extra-curricular activities like societies, volunteering and work experience during your studies is a good way to show employers that you have a proactive attitude. We encourage you to try to make the most of your time with us. 

 

Research

Areas of focus include people marginalised because of youth or old age, human rights, migration, law and gender, international law, legal theory, commercial law, constitutional law, devolution and the changing constitution of the United Kingdom. 

Our Veterans Legal Link project does research into access to justice for military veterans and their families. More information on this project and our other projects can be found on the pages of the Department of Law & Criminology. 

Three staff have won Welsh Crucible Awards in recent years, aimed at early-mid career researchers, to develop their research leadership potential. We currently have around 30 PhD students - many from overseas. 

Our Law staff contribute significantly to the research base of Law & Criminology. Such contribution comprises both the supply of subject expertise and work which feeds into the development of academic and professional infrastructure, networking and significant impact activities. Other contributions have been made at the national, UK and international levels through refereeing and reviewing, guest lectures, external examining, development of collaborative projects, advising on research policy, as well as participation in and organising conferences and research meetings. 

Established in 2015, the Centre for Age, Gender and Social Justice is the first dedicated service that addresses issues pertaining to domestic abuse for older and non-binary people. Undertaking participatory action research, the centre is unique in that it combines both service delivery with a research project. The research has highlighted the need for specialist training for organisations, to recognise the prevalence, nature and complexity of domestic abuse in later life. Many victim survivors have described this service as lifesaving. 

In the Department of Law & Criminology, we work closely with this initiative, providing volunteering opportunities and training to our students, many of whom have benefited greatly from its provision.  

Criminology is a dynamic and challenging field, where criminals and the crimes they commit are continuously changing. This can lead to many opportunities for new lines of research. 

Research staff put their expertise to use as members of public sector and international advisory bodies, including 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.