Understanding And Explaining Crime SOCIO4060

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces students to theoretical debates about the complex and multi-dimensional nature of crime, and conceptual frameworks that have been developed to explain and understand it.


20 contact hours over the course of a single semester. This will normally consist of 2 hours per week and may be a combination of lectures (16 hours) and seminars/workshops (4 hours).

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Sociology requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Sociology 2A and Sociology 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





One 4,000 word essay chosen from a selection of topics (100%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course forms part of the Department's Honours programme in Sociology and its aims embody the intentions of this programme. The principle aim is to build on some of the central themes of the Level 1 and 2 modules and provide students with a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the study of Sociology. More specifically, the module aims to:

■ develop an understanding of the key theories, fundamental concepts, and methodologies employed in criminological analyses of crime

■ examine the relevance of theory to the process of explaining crime as a social phenomenon

■ assess contemporary approaches to criminological explanation

■ enable you to enhance your transferable and inter-personal skills, particularly in communication, time management, individual and group research work, critical appraisal of social issues, and the informed use of information technology

■ provide you with a wide range of skills that will meet the demands of the modern labour market

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ demonstrate an understanding of the key theories and debates in criminology

■ critically analyse the diverse and often competing theoretical perspectives that attempt to explain crime

■ evaluate the capacity of contemporary criminological theory to explain developments in crime and social control

■ demonstrate analytical and oral skills through attendance and active participation in lectures and seminars

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examination) of the course's summative assessment.