BSc (Hons) Criminology & Criminal Justice 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.

2021/22 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
LM3G Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
LM3G Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A

Year One: Criminology and Criminal Justice and Youth Justice Degree

The first year offers an introduction to the youth justice system, and criminology and criminal justice. You’ll gain a better understanding of crime and the victims of crime, with an emphasis on children, young people and society.

  • Understanding Criminal Justice
  • Criminological Theory
  • Understanding Crime, Victims and Society
  • Children, Young People and Society
  • Introduction to Youth Justice
  • Researching Crime and Criminal Justice I

Year Two: Criminology and Criminal Justice and Youth Justice Degree

You will study:

  • Penology: Prisons Punishment and Offender Management
  • Researching Crime and Justice II
  • Understanding Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice
  • Contemporary Issues in Substance Misuse
  • Understanding Probation and Offender Management
  • Policing (optional)
  • Professional Practice (optional)

Year Three: Criminology and Criminal Justice and Youth Justice Degree

In the final year, you can conduct an in-depth investigation in an area that interests you. Modules you will study include:

  • Critical Issues in Criminal Investigations (optional)
  • Terrorism, Security and the War on Terror (optional)
  • Guided Independent Study – Youth and Adult Justice
  • Women and Criminal Justice
  • Comparative Youth Justice
  • Contemporary Issues in Youth and Crime
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders: Theory and Practice (optional)
  • Dissertation (optional)

Subject to revalidation from 2021
This course is subject to revalidation, this means it is under review as part of the University’s standard quality assurance and enhancement processes. Course and module content is indicative and may change through the revalidation process. As soon as the course is revalidated, the details will be confirmed and published on the University website.
In the unlikely event the course does not go ahead as planned, or is significantly amended, we will write to inform you. If this happens, we’ll help you to find a suitable alternative course either at USW or at another provider.


You will study through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. Study includes visits to outside agencies to gain a unique insight into the British Criminal Justice System.

You will also have the opportunity to learn from a number of visiting speakers from within the sector. They will provide you with unique, varied perspectives and knowledge from different areas within the Criminal Justice System.

Research-informed teaching

The Centre for Criminology has a long history of research on the probation service and custodial institutions, and related topics such as the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders, effectiveness and accountability in policy and practice, inter-agency partnerships and relationships between the criminal justice system, the Third Sector and the UK and Welsh governments. It also conducts high-quality research into the use of drugs and alcohol, violence and homicide, and criminal investigation.


You will be assessed through a variety of methods including essays, exams and case studies.

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.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 80 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.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
DBS £53.20
For 2nd year students electing to do the Professional Practice module where their placement requires it. The fee covers the cost of the enhanced check, online admin fees and the post office checks.
Placement expenses: work placement £0 - £300
2nd year students can undertake a period of work placement if they take the Professional Practice module. Student's undertaking placement may incur costs associated with travel and expected workplace attire will vary according to the placement.
Other: Text books £0 - £200
The library will hold text books, but students may wish to purchase their own copies.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU 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 students

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

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.