BSc (Hons) Criminology and Youth Justice

This Criminology degree provides a critical introduction to two significant and challenging social issues – crime and youth justice.

The youth justice system in England and Wales is responsible for sentencing and working with young people under the age of 18 who have committed a criminal offence. The system also intervenes with young people whose behaviour is problematic before they enter the formal court system.

The main aim of the youth justice system is the prevention of youth crime. As well as understanding criminal behaviour in people of all ages, you will explore the main issues around youth crime and the youth justice system, as well as how society responds to young offenders.

Find us on Twitter @USWCriminology.

Get a glimpse of what it's like to study at USW before you apply

Introduction to Criminology - Free Online Taster Course

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
L611 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
L611 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A

Year 1

  • Exploring Crime and Deviance
  • From Theory to Impact: Essential Research in Criminology
  • Crime Unmasked: Contemporary Crime and Challenges
  • No change
  • Beyond the Books: Academia, Employment and Professionalism in Criminal Justice
  • Diversity, Crime and Justice
  • The Real Impact of Crime: Vulnerability and Victims

Year 2

  • Beyond the Headlines: In-depth Understanding of Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice
  • Public Protection and Safeguarding: The Challenge of Keeping People Safe
  • Researching Crime, Security and Justice
  • Unmasking Violent Crime
  • Substance Use and Misuse: A line too far?
  • Beyond Borders: Serious, Organised, and Transnational Crime
  • Work Experience 

Year 3

  • Working with Young People and Young Adults in the Justice System
  • Trauma and Youth Offending
  • Criminal Justice Inquiry: Dissertation
  • Behind Bars and Beyond: Exploring Prisons, Probation, and Resettlement
  • Exploring Homicide: From Corporate Homicide to Serial Killers
  • Breaking the Silence: Examining Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence


Teaching on this course takes a challenged based approach, with interactive lectures and workshops, providing you with the knowledge and understanding of real world criminological issues. Outside of the classroom you will complete reading, library and topic-related research and project work.

You will be taught by research active world-renowned experts in criminology, in addition to hearing from expert practitioner guest speakers and taking topic-specific field trips.


This course assesses students in a range of inclusive and authentic ways, preparing you for graduate employment. The majority of assessments are coursework based, and include group work, problem-solving and project management.

Featured Lecturer:
Professor Katy Holloway and Professor Fiona Brookman

Professor Katy Holloway and Professor Fiona Brookman

Fiona Brookman is Professor of Criminology at the University of South Wales, UK. She has over 20 years of experience in teaching and research in the fields of policing, violence and homicide. Using mainly qualitative research methods, her research focuses on the dynamics and causes of homicide and violence, violence prevention and the investigation of homicide.

She has extensive experience of conducting in-depth interviews with violent offenders and of interviewing and shadowing homicide detectives and forensic scientists (in Britain and America). Her research is helping to enhance police practice and directly informing violence reduction initiatives. She currently leads a Leverhulme-funded project exploring the role of forensic science and technology in homicide investigation.

Fiona is Director of the Criminal Investigation Research Network (CIRN), a member of a Home Office Expert Advisory Panel on Serious Violence Policy and invited member of the National Police Chiefs Council Transforming Digital Forensic Research Working Group.

Fiona has over 70 publications including those in international journals as well as numerous chapters in edited collections. She is lead editor of the Handbook of Homicide (Wiley: 2017) and author of Understanding Homicide (Sage: 2006). She is currently writing the second edition of Understanding Homicide. Hear the podcast on Corporate Homicide and read more about Professor Brookman's research.

Professor Katy Holloway's research focuses on illegal drugs. She has conducted studies that have investigated a wide range of drug-related issues including: drug use among arrestees, the causal connection between drug use and crime among prisoners, the effectiveness of drug treatment, the use of Take-Home Naloxone among opiate users, the implementation of the Welsh Substance Misuse Strategy, and the characteristics of opiate overdose events.

Katy leads the Substance Use Research Group at USW and is currently leading a study of the misuse and diversion of opiate substitution medication. The philosophy of harm reduction underpins Katy’s research and she has recently been co-opted onto a sub-group of the Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse to investigate the potential benefits of introducing safer injecting facilities in Wales. Listen to an interview with Professor Holloway here.

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Contextual offers

We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.  

Other qualifications and experience

We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.

To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.

If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here.

Typical A-Level Offer

CCC (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C in the Skills Challenge Certificate and CC at A Level (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Merit Merit Merit (this is equivalent to 96 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 96 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course


August 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK. 

Admissions statement

Graduates have gone on to have very successful careers in the criminal justice system and youth justice systems with many working for Youth Justice Services, the Probation Service, Victim Support, the Police Force, Prison Service and other areas related to the justice system such as Women’s Aid, drug and housing agencies and Pupil Referral Units.

Many graduates also progress to a criminology PhD or criminology research degree.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.