BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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
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 and learning across course units consists of: (1) preparatory work to be completed prior to teaching sessions, including readings, pre-recorded subject material and online activities; (2) a weekly whole-class lecture or workshop; (3) a tutorial; and (4) one-to-one support via subject specific office hours.

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

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 90%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, and (2) the formative essay. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the final submitted essay and group presentation 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 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Olga Sanchez de Ribera Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Compulsory for BA Criminology students. 

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of around 30-35 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands around 10-11 hours of study per week consisting of (i) 2-3 timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) 7-8 independent study hours devoted to preparation, required and further reading, and note taking.

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


Return to course details