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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Cybercrime (LAWS10245)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce students to the criminological study of cybercrime, including what it involves, how it is carried out, the motivations of cybercriminals and explanations of their behaviour, and how it can be prevented. Week by week, students will gain an understanding not only of the nature of different kinds of cybercrime but also of criminological research findings on this topic. The course covers a range of relevant criminological theories, explores how they can be applied to the study of cybercrime, and how these theories can be tested empirically. The focus of the course is on cybercrime (its causes, and what we know about different kinds of cybercriminal) and on the implications of theoretical and empirical research for its prevention. A distinctive feature of the course, however, is that it will enable students to gain not only an understanding of 'scientific' criminological research on cybercrime but also to understand the field within wider critical, policy and historical contexts.
Course description Indicative weekly seminar topics are as follows:

1. Introduction;
2. Towards a typology of cybercriminals and cybercrime: Who, why, what, when and how?
3. Computer 'hacking';
4. Disrupting online services;
5. Social engineering and user deception;
6. File-sharing and media 'piracy';
7. Cyber bullying and online harassment;
8. Child sexual abuse and cybercrime;
9. Darknet and cryptomarkets in illegal goods and services;
10. Conclusion: The limits of criminalisation, cybercrime prevention, and social policy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
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. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main forms of cybercrime, including patterns and trends, and the motivations and characteristics of offenders; relevant research methods, theories and key research findings on cybercrime.
  2. Apply skills and abilities in locating, analysing and evaluating relevant research studies, findings and theories; to specific areas of cybercrime, in order to analyse that area and make a reasoned assessment and evaluation grounded in relevant research literature
  3. Exercise autonomy in self-directed study within the framework of the course structure; identify one or more topics of importance within the field, and develop and apply research skills to investigate and analyse those topics.
  4. Use communication skills to explain, discuss and examine this specialised topic (verbally in seminars; in written form in informal class exercises; and formally in written assessments); use a range of ICT applications to study, research, organise and present information for a required purpose; demonstrate basic understanding of the workings of computers and the Internet and how these relate to cybercrime and its prevention.
  5. Development of capacity for independent research and critical thinking; managing and structuring time in order to undertake required study and assessments; investigating problems as part of a research community; working professionally and ethically when researching and discussing sensitive topics and issues.
Reading List
Core library resources for this course (all should already be available in the University Library):

Yar, M. and Steinmetz, K. (2019), Cybercrime and Society (3rd edn).
Holt, T., Bossler, A. and Seigfried-Spellar, K. (2018), Cybercrime and Digital Forensics (2nd edn).
Clough, J. (2015), Principles of Cybercrime (2nd edn).
Jewkes, Y. and Yar, M. (eds) Handbook of Internet Crime.
Wall, D. (2007), Cybercrime.
King, R. and Wincup, E. (eds) Doing Research on Crime and Justice (2nd edn).

Research texts:
Yar, M. (2014), The Cultural Imaginary of the Internet: Virtual Utopias and Dystopias.
McGuire, M. (2007), Hypercrime.
Williams, M. (2006), Virtually Criminal.
Newman, G. and Clarke, R.V. (2003), Superhighway Robbery

Aggression and Violent Behavior
British Journal of Criminology
Computer Law & Security Review
Criminal Justice Review
Criminology & Criminal Justice
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
European Journal of Criminology
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Information, Communication & Society
International Journal of Cyber Criminology
International Review of Law Computers & Technology
Journal of Applied Security Research
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
New Media & Society
Policing and Society
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment
Social Science Computer Review
Theoretical Criminology
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Richard Jones
Tel: (0131 6)50 2032
Course secretary Angie Jones
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