ASOA15076U Understanding crime and criminal justice

Volume 2019/2020

Elective Course

Course package:

Knowledge, Organisation and Politics
Culture, lifestyle and everyday life




This course will introduce the students to different ways of understanding crime and criminal justice, both theoretically and more practically. The theoretical part of the course consists of a wide span of criminological theories like subculture, deviance, labelling, strain, and control theories. These theories will be used to explain crime and relevant social institutions like prisons, the legal system, and the police. Crime concerns many levels of the society, and the course will span from micro perspectives on criminals and victims, through social institutions, to larger macro perspectives in the general society. Some of the main topics will be the police and the justice system, prison and punishment, crime statistics and other measures of crime, criminal careers and exit strategies, informal and formal social control, crime prevention, and newer types of crime in the digital age and the challenges these present.


An important part of the course will be to link criminological thinking to different data sources and real life events. There will be a wide inclusion of documentaries, YouTube-videos, podcasts, news articles etc. to use for discussions during the lectures. The students will be expected to watch/listen/read some of these outside of the lectures.


The lectures will also include visits from people working inside crime related institution such as the police, prisons or Ministry of Justice, as well as with crime prevention and other crime-related jobs. This is to introduce the students to how criminology can be used in future jobs.


Learning Outcome

After the end of the course, the students are expected to:



  • Describe the basic criminological theories taught throughout the course
  • Understand how crime is closely connected to culture, time, and space
  • Describe different institutions working with crime related assignments
  • Reflect on individual and structural factors for crime
  • Understand how criminological theory can be used in crime related jobs



  • Use criminological theory to reflect on crime
  • Compare criminological theories to each other
  • Discuss presentations of crime



  • Transfer criminological theories to developments of crime
  • Look up, take a critical standpoint to, and acquire new knowledge and reflect on the learning process

The curriculum consists of approximately 650 pages of literature on criminological theory, crime related institutions, and other relevant research. Most of the literature are peer reviewed articles and book chapters.

There are no requirements for this course. Knowing basic sociological theory is an advantage, but not required.
Mainly class teaching. As well as visits from people working in relevant jobs or with relevant topics who will bring cases to discuss in class.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 60
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 118
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Students are expected to be active in class

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
5-day exam

A written take-home essay is defined as an assignment that addresses one or more questions. The exam is based on the course syllabus, i.e. the literature set by the teacher. The written take-home essay must be no longer than 10 pages. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Exam registration requirements

Sociology students must be enrolled under either BSc Curriculum 2016 or MSc Curriculum 2015 to take this exam.

Credit- and Exchange students can be at both bachelor and master level.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Find more information on your study page at KUnet.

Exchange students and Danish full degree guest students please see the homepage of Sociology; and


Written assignment with one or more NEW questions asked.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see the learning outcome.