JJUB55168U Introduction to Criminology

Volume 2024/2025

Everyday life is filled with references to crime, violence, and punishment, but how exactly do criminologists make sense of these categories?

How do criminologists explain complex questions about crime causation, or address issues about how much crime is actually present in a given society?


This course will address these and other important crime-related questions in a bid to introduce undergraduate law students to the discipline of criminology. More specifically, this module will introduce and examine the origins of criminological theory, the history and efficacy of the modern prison, the development of modern forms of social control, and the structure and nature of various comparative criminal justice systems.
Importantly, this course has been designed to build a bridge between traditional legal scholarship and the more interdisciplinary approach to crime and punishment advocated by criminologists.
To this end, focus will be placed on the various ways in which cultural dynamics intertwine with the practices of crime and crime control within contemporary society.
The module will be delivered via both innovative teaching techniques (including the use of complimentary media reportage, documentary film, and the close textual reading/analysis of contemporary crime news stories) and possibly through field trips to an appropriate Danish criminal justice organization/institution.
The course will be taught in either two or three-hour lecture blocks, with a final lecture reserved for questions and answers in relation to assessment. The lectures will cover the following subjects:



The course will cover areas including:

  1. What is criminology?
  2. What is crime?
  3. Psychological and sociological explanations of crime and criminality.
  4. Crime prevention strategies.
  5. Crime and deviance as meaning-making.
  6. Crime and Punishment.
  7. Gender and Crime.
  8. Specialist guest lecturers will provide further criminological content.
Learning Outcome

Knowledge: at the conclusion of this course, students will have/be able to:

  • Describe and understand key debates in criminology and criminal justice;
  • Explain crime-related problems using criminological theory;
  • Understand and explain a range of intervention and prevention strategies and describe how to use them in order to prevent certain criminal acts;
  • Critically evaluate the social, political and cultural dimensions of crime from both a historical and contemporary perspective;
  • The ability to analyse popular discourses, texts or programs on the matter of crime and deviance.


Skills/Competencies: at the conclusion of this course, students will have/be able to:

  • Demonstrate skills commensurate with undergraduate study in presentation and debate, both verbal and written, and in utilization of research and empirical data;
  • Gather library and web-based resources appropriate for undergraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and use the available evidence to construct a developed argument to be presented orally or in writing;
  • Conduct research by using library e-journals and other on-line resources;
  • Gained competencies in regard to the organisation of information in a clear and coherent manner through essay writing and seminar-based group discussion;
  • Gained a basic understanding of the relationship between theoretical work and problem solving/policy making.

There is NO set textbook for this course (week-by-week readings will be provided). However, the following books will be useful as background reading


Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology, Third Edition, London: Routledge.

Newburn, T. (2017) Key Readings in Criminology, London: Routledge.

McLaughlin, E and Muncie, J. (2013) The Sage Dictionary of Criminology, London: Sage.

Liebling, A. Maruna, S. and McAra, L (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lippens, R (2009) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Criminology, London: Sage.

Case, S. et al (2017) Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carrabine, E. et al (2009) Criminology: A Sociological Introduction, Abingdon: Routledge.

Davies, P. and Rowe, M. (eds) Introduction to Criminology, London: Sage.


It is illegal to share digital textbooks with each other without permission from the copyright holder.

Good command of English, ready and willing participation, critical analytical abilities, open-mindedness. Willingness to challenge received knowledge.
The course will consist of formal lectures followed by quizzes/question and answer sessions, group-work, field trips and guest lectures.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 170,25
  • Seminar
  • 36
  • Total
  • 206,25
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Informal feedback will take place in the classroom via small group seminar discussion.

Summative feedback will take place via a final written essay/assessment. This will include written feedback on assignments.

Reconciliation of Expectations will be performed at the start of the course and reassessed in the concluding lecture.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Home assignment
Type of assessment details
Individual written assignment

Read about the descriptions of the individual exam forms, including formal requirements, scope and deadlines in the exam catalogue

Read about practical exam conditions at KUnet

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

Hand-in date: October 25, 2024


Hand-in date: January 22, 2025