BA Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Foundations of Criminological Scholarship

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM10441
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module is designed to give all first-year students studying criminology a number of essential transferable skills and subject specific skills that they can then build on throughout their undergraduate career and beyond.

Indicative weekly topics: (1) Orientation; (2) Locating books & articles; (3) Statistics & media; (4) Essay writing 1- structure; (5) Essay writing 2 - referencing; (6) Presentation skills; (7) Essay writing 3 - assessment & feedback; (8) Exams & revision; (9) Criminological research & politics; (10) Criminological research & ethics.


This course unit aims to: (1) develop students’ skills in producing written evidenced argument, using university-level, academic standard writing; (2) develop students’ abilities to communicate ideas and to present arguments verbally; (3) give students a formal space within the curriculum in which to reflect on the requirements for University level learning, researching, reading and writing.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to: (1) produce evidenced, well-constructed, logical criminological arguments in both written work and in group work discussions; (2) critically reflect upon their own work and other people’s arguments; (3) develop university-level essay writing technique, with appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation; (4) master effective revision and exam techniques; (4) display presentation skills; (5)  use key e-learning resources (including bibliographic databases, e-journals and books) and assess the quality of web sources.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 21/22 will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) a subject hour used for a range of exercises and activities; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) a tutorial; (4) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Knowledge and understanding

- Understand what University study involves and the various expectations (e.g. work and attendance, assessment criteria, etc).

- Know the roles of different staff members (e.g. academic advisors, teaching staff, teaching support office, etc)

- Understand what a critical academic argument involves

- Know how to select reliable and relevant academic sources of information

Intellectual skills

 - Critically reflect upon their own work and other people’s arguments.

- Be able to produce evidenced, well-constructed, logical criminological arguments in both written work and in group work discussions.

Practical skills

- Locate, use, cite and reference using the Harvard system academic literature, legal sources and official data sources appropriately within written work.

- Have a familiarity with the various e-learning resources (including bibliographic databases, e-journals and books and assess the quality of web sources).

- Demonstrate a University level essay writing technique, with appropriate spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

 - Utilize effective revision and exam techniques

- Use active reading and note-taking methods learned

- Demonstrate good presentation skills

- Work effectively in a team

- Demonstrate critical thinking and writing skills

- Show an awareness of the services supplied by the University’s Careers Service and ways to enhance employability during the first year

- Effectively use the library and its services.

Employability skills

(i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.

Assessment methods

This unit is summatively assessed by 2500 word essay worth 100% of the overall mark for the unit. Formative assessment is by group presentation and a 1500-word ‘first draft’ essay.

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) the group presentation; (3) the formative essay. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the final submitted essay via Blackboard (Grademark).

Recommended reading

Finch, E., and Fafinski, F. (2019) Criminology Skills (3rd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 13
Independent study hours
Independent study 40

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Aisling McLaughlin Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of 35-40 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands 12-13 hours of study per week consisting of (i) timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) preparation, required and further reading.

Restricted to BA (Criminology) students ONLY for which this subject is compulsory.

This course is available to incoming study abroad students university wide.

Pre-requisites: None.

See Law School timetable


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