BASS Social Anthropology and Philosophy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Foundations of Criminal Justice

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM10421
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course introduces students to the institutions that form the criminal justice system (CJS) and explores key features and debates relating to each of them in historical, social and policy context.

Indicative content: (1) Introduction to the CJS ; (2) The police (3) Suspects’ rights; (4) Crown Prosecution Service; (5) The court system; (6) Sentencing; (7) Victims; (8) Prisons; (9) Probation; (10) Course summary and assessment support.


This course unit aims to (1) familiarise students with the history and structure of the core agencies of the criminal justice system (CJS) in England and Wales; (2) introduce students to different sources of information on relevant criminal justice issues; (3) give students a critical appreciation of how the CJS operates; (4) develop students' autonomy and independence as learners.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to: (1) understand the role of core agencies of the CJS; (2) have a critical appreciation of how the CJS operates; (3) be able to find, understand and critique academic sources.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods 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) whole-class sessions used for a range of exercises and activities; (2) high quality online learning materials; (3) a tutorial; (4) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Knowledge and understanding


Intellectual skills


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 a 2500 word court case analysis worth 100% of the overall mark. Formative assessment consists of a 1000-word court case analysis. 

Feedback methods

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) the formative case analysis. Summative feedback will be given on the submitted assessment via Blackboard (Grademark).

Recommended reading

Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology. 3rd Ed. Devon: Willan Publishing.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
William Floodgate Unit coordinator

Additional notes

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) 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) and LLB (Law with Criminology) students for whom this subject is compulsory, BA (Econ) students (all pathways) and BA Social Sciences (BASS).

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

Pre-requisites: None.

See Criminology timetable


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