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Introduction to Criminology

Delve into the fascinating study of criminology and gain an insight into work as a criminal justice professional.

8,133 enrolled on this course

Back of an ageing detective who is looking a crime pictures from a spider gram on the wall

Introduction to Criminology

8,133 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Understand the growing discipline of criminology

In our globalised world, international organised crime, such as online fraud and trafficking, has expanded exponentially. Crime also appears to be constantly in the public gaze – from media attention to politics, leading to an intensification of public fears.

However, even with this increased attention, knowledge and understanding of crime and victimisation remains limited.

On this three-week course, you’ll delve into the growing discipline of criminology. You’ll discover how it embraces sociology, psychology, law, and forensics as you explore the areas of study in contemporary undergraduate criminology.

Go behind-the-scenes of working in criminal justice

The course will help you further your awareness and understanding of crime and the complex operation of criminal justice in society.

It provides a window into the often challenging, but equally rewarding nature of the day-to-day work of criminal justice professionals – those who interface with those who commit a crime, but also with the victims of crime.

This will help you understand how and why criminal justice approaches are developed and put into practice.

Learn from the experts at the University of Hull

You’ll learn from the specialists at the University of Hull, one of the institutions that pioneered the exciting study of criminology more than 40 years ago.

This expert insight will help you understand the role of a criminologist – from identifying definitions and patterns of crime to becoming aware of the academic approaches that have contributed to our understanding of murder.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to Criminology

    • Introduction

      Welcome to our 'Becoming a Criminologist' course.

    • Topic 1: What is crime?

      You will be provided with a real-world case study which will underpin your engagement with criminological and victimological theory, prompting you to consider why people commit crime and why people become victims.

    • Topic 2: Why do people commit crime?

      This section introduces you to theories of crime and explanations of criminal behaviour.

    • Topic 3: Theories of victimisation

      This topic asks you to consider why some individuals and groups are victimised at higher rates than others.

    • Reflection: Three Practitioner's Perspectives

      Here we consider three police officer's perspectives regarding the case study introduced in Topic 1.

  • Week 2

    Exploring Murder

    • Topic 1: What is Murder?

      Theoretical definitions of murder: Why are some forms of violent killing are treated as murder while others are not? Legal definitions: How murder is currently defined in other countries.

    • Topic 2: Legal definitions of murder

      Murder is a criminal offence and Common Law offence which signifies that decisions on what constitutes murder are not initially defined in any statute but are based on case law. Murder is the most serious form of homicide.

    • Topic 3: Motivations and theories of murder

      Exploring killings in more depth and looking at confrontational and revenge murder.

  • Week 3

    Policing in Action

    • Topic 1: What are the challenges from 'county lines' crime?

      This topic explores what is meant by 'county lines' crime. It explores who is involved, what they are doing, what the impact of this crime type is and the challenges this set of activities has had on law enforcement agencies.

    • Topic 2: Identification, containment and rolling back the threat

      This topic examines how law enforcement agencies identify, contain and roll back the threat from county lines crime groups. In doing so it provides an overview of the techniques used, and the challenges faced by crime fighters.

    • Topic 3: Consequences and the duality of victims and perpetrators

      This topic examines the consequences of county lines crime, and the particular position of some of those involved in county line activities as both victims and perpetrators of crime. The societal impact is explored here.

    • Topic 4: Drugs

      This topic examines drugs, focusing on how drugs are classified and the debate around drug use as a criminal offence.

    • Reflection: how will this area develop in the future?

      This concluding topic invites the you to think about how county lines criminality will develop into the future. It does this through considering technological, sociological and tradecraft developments.

    • Assessment

      A quiz to reflect on what you've learnt during the past three weeks

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify definitions and patterns of crime
  • Recognise the range of academic approaches within criminology and other aligned disciplines that have contributed to our understanding of murder
  • Perceive crime & criminal justice as evolving and fluid concepts

Who is the course for?

This course is designed as an introduction to the first year of a BA degree course in Criminology.

It will be of particular interest to those wanting to study a Criminology undergraduate degree and pursue a career in criminal justice.

Who will you learn with?

Professor of Intelligence and National Security, University of Hull.

I am a senior lecturer within the School of Criminology, Sociology and Policing at the University of Hull.

Who developed the course?

University of Hull

The University of Hull has been changing the way people think for more than 90 years. As England’s 14th-oldest university, they have a proud heritage of academic excellence, life-changing research and excellent teaching. Their vision is to shape a fairer, brighter and carbon neutral future for all. As the Official University Partner of Team GB they believe extraordinary is in everyone, and together with Team GB, they’re going to help you find it.

  • Established

  • World ranking

    Top 60Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Buy this course

$54/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 10 Aug 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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