Criminal Justice

UCAS codes

  • M211 -

Course contact

Geraldine O’Donnell
0800 027 1000 (44 141 849 4101 outwith UK)

Qualifications and durations

BA - 3 years
BA Hons - 4 years

Start date(s)

  • September

Tuition Fees

Additional costs
Please note that for some programmes of study there may be additional costs involved which are not included in the tuition fee advertised. These could be, for example, for study materials, fields trips or equipment. Programme leaders will be able to provide detail of any additional costs.


The way society and governments experience and deal with crime is an increasingly high-profile issue. This degree, the only one of its kind in Scotland, will prepare you for employment in a range of occupations including the police and prison service, criminal courts and the fiscal service.


BA Criminal Justice - University of the West of Scotland

2017/18 session

  • Level 7 in Paisley
  • Levels 8-10 in Lanarkshire


SQA Highers: BBBC including English or relevant alternative
GCE A-Levels: CCC including English or relevant alternative
Irish Leaving Certificate: HL: H3 H3 H3 H4 including English or relevant alternative
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 24 points (including 4, 4, at HL)
SQA HNC: Social Science, Social Studies
SQA HNC: Social Sciences; Social Studies; or relevant discipline (for SQA awards, with Grade B in the Graded Unit)
SQA HND: Social Sciences; Social Studies; or relevant discipline
There is no direct entry for third year.

Criminal Justice is the study of concepts, structures, organisations and processes involved with the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime, the workings of the criminal law and criminal court system and the treatment of offenders within society.

Guest speakers also form part of the programme to further deepen your understanding of the subject. Inspector Keith Jack from the Violence Reduction Unit and Inspector Patrick Murphy from the One Glasgow Reducing Offending Team have recently spoken to students. The programme recently ran a Criminal Justice Employment Information Day which was attended by the Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland, SACRO, Victim Support and Turning Point Scotland.

Year 1

A grounding in the nature of criminal justice and an appreciation of the interdisciplinary disposition of the subject area. In previous sessions, modules have included Introduction to Scottish Criminal Justice and Criminal Law, and the History of Crime and Justice.

Year 2

Study of theoretical disciplines and the role of research is complemented by subjects including deconstructing crime, the politics of criminal justice and investigating the social world.

Year 3

Core modules will enhance your understanding and analytical skills while emphasising a more applied and critical approach to issues in criminal justice. Modules include Penology and Prisons, and Policing and Youth Justice. Other options include the Economics of Crime and Justice, Introduction to Forensic Science, and Youth and Gang Violence.

Year 4 (Honours)

Core modules will deepen your evaluative and critical skills and your ability to conduct research through a dissertation. In previous sessions, modules have included Crime as Social Harm, Comparative Criminal Justice, and Security in a Global Age.
Graduates work for the police and prison services, as well as the criminal courts administration and the Fiscal Service. Community justice provides work opportunities in sectors related to restorative justice and mediation, community safety and working with offenders, victims and witnesses. The private security industry has a demand for managers with a knowledge of the criminal justice system especially in the area of fraud detection and internet crime.

Study abroad

It is possible for students to undertake a two-week exchange programme with Washburn University in Kansas, University of the West of Florida and Florida Pacific University. Opportunities exist for students to study in the EU through the Erasmus+ Programme.

Useful Information

  • 88% agreed staff are good at explaining things (NSS 2015)

    94% students in work/further study 6 months after graduating (HESA performance indicator 2014/15)

    New Level 7 students joining us in September 2017 will study at the Paisley campus throughout their degree. Existing students – and students joining us at Level 8 in 2017 – will complete their degree at our Lanarkshire campus.

    For course availability check UCAS