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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Criminology (LAWS08137)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course aims to give an introduction to a wide range of questions about offending behaviour, crime and its control, drawing on criminological theory and research. The course introduces the origins and development of thinking about crime, patterns of offending behaviour, the problems of determining what we know about crime and the implications for how we should respond. In particular, the course encourages students to think independently and critically, and to apply theoretical ideas to real-world problems of crime and its control.
Course description The course introduces a variety of social science perspectives and aims to develop students' ability to appraise arguments critically in terms of their logical coherence and the use made of evidence. It encourages students to think about how theoretical knowledge can be applied to contemporary issues of crime and its control, and to understand the socio-economic framework in which offending and criminal justice responses take place.

The course is divided into ten sections which look at different aspects and levels of analysis and how they contribute to our understanding of offending and criminal justice:

1. Thinking about crime and criminology
2. Crime and the individual
3. Crime and society
4. Crime and inequality
5.Crime and the city
6.Crime and conformity
7. Crime and criminalization
8. Forgotten criminology?
9.Knowing and not knowing about crime
10. Explaining the contemporary world.

There are two themed lectures each week, and a linked tutorial which takes place the following week. Tutorials are a central part of the teaching of the course and are where students are encouraged to apply the theoretical ideas introduced in the lectures to particular contemporary problems. Tutorial work is active, critical and discursive. Students may be asked, for example, to redesign a housing estate on the basis of criminological theory; create victim impact statements on behalf of victims marginalised by the criminal justice system, and advise the government on the introduction of new youth justice policy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the origins and scope of criminological arguments.
  2. Describe and summarise the main theoretical perspectives within criminology.
  3. Assess the strengths and weakness of these perspectives.
  4. Understand and interpret contemporary crime patterns and trends.
  5. Apply criminological theory to contemporary problems of crime and control, and critically assess the use of evidence.
Reading List
There is no one textbook that completely covers the content of the core lecture programme. Students may, however, find the following books of use throughout the course, especially in preparation for tutorials.

- Newburn, T (2012) Criminology. Cullompton: Willan. (second edition) This is a useful and comprehensive introductory text book.

- Vold, G.B., Bernard, T.J. and Snipes, J.B. (2010): Theoretical Criminology (6th edition). Oxford University Press. This is a useful and comprehensive text book, which tends to be USA-focused. If you can┬┐t find the most recent edition, previous editions are just as useful.
- Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A. and Wincup, E. (eds) (2009): Criminology. (2nd edition) Oxford: OUP. This is a good, UK-focused text book.
- Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (2012): The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (5th edn). Oxford: OUP. This is a more advanced text book, with an up-to-date review of research in British Criminology at a more advanced level.

Students may also be interested in two very good readers which have a good selection of excerpts from important articles:

- McLaughlin, E., Muncie, J. and Hughes G. (eds) (2002): Criminological Perspectives (2ndedn). London: Sage.
- Newburn, T (2009): Key readings in Criminology. Cullompton: Willan.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will develop the ability to:
- Think independently and critically.
- Apply theoretical ideas to real-world problems.
Special Arrangements None
KeywordsIntroduction to Criminology
Course organiserDr Anna Souhami
Course secretaryMrs Suzanne Strath
Tel: (0131 6)517000
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