Module Identifier LA39220  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Miss Katherine S Williams  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Professor Alan H Clarke, Dr Gareth Norris  
Mutually Exclusive LA30710  
Course delivery Lecture   30 hours. 2 x 1 and 1x2 hour lecture per week  
  Seminars / Tutorials   6 hours. Three two hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam1.5 Hours A 30 minute compulsory section and one essay to be completed in 1 hour  67%
Semester Assessment Assessed essay of 1000 words required in week 10 - a review of an article  33%
Supplementary Exam By retaking the failed element or both.   
Professional Exemptions Not Required for Professional Purposes  

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1. Explain the main criminological theories
2. Analyse both what a criminological theory is able to do and, often more importantly, the limits of its worth.
3. Analyse and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the existing legal and enforcement provisions from a more socio-legal viewpoint.
4. Explain and analyse the interaction between criminological theory and policy decisions in the area of crime, crime analysis, detection, punishment and treatment.
5. Evaluate the utility of theory to the criminal law.
6. Evaluate the utility of theory to the crime control policy.
7.   Identify problems in the theoretical and explanatory materials and suggest possible solutions.
8. Demonstrate a basic understanding of and ability to evaluate research based on empirical materials, including relevant quantitative material.
9.   Demonstrate effective research skills

Brief description

The course will provide an introduction to theories of criminal behaviour drawn from the major disciplines embraced by criminology. It will include jurisprudential, biological, psychological and sociological theories and consider how and why certain ideas become popular at particular times. This will entail examining the links between theories, political ideologies and state discourses around crime policy.


This module aims to provide students with a basic introduction to criminology. It will present the interdisciplinary nature of the subject by demonstrating how the disparate stands of knowledge build up theories which enable a better understanding of crime and criminality.   This will enable students to appreciate the complex ways in which law, politics and policy interact and impact upon society.


INTRODUCTION: Major themes

Conceptualising and defining crime and deviance;
Theoretical models of crime: individualistic v structural explanations;
Determinism v free will;
Truth and politics;
The impact of theory on policy.


Biological bases of criminal behaviour: physical characteristics,
physiological processes and genetic factors.
Psychological explanations: psychoanalytic approaches, learning
theories and cognitive approaches.
Early sociological perspectives: functionalism and strain theories.
Structural explanations: social exclusion, inequality, poverty and
The Chicago School
Culture and subculture
Conflict theory.   
Social control theory (formal and informal).
Phenomenology, ethnomethodology and labelling.
Critical and radical perspectives.
Feminist criminology.
Criminological realism.
Cultural criminology.
Victimology: towards a victim-centred criminology.


This module is at CQFW Level 6