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LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology: An interview with Ulaw Criminology Lecturer, Rachel Stuart

Criminology is the scientific study of criminal behaviour, on individual, social and natural levels, and how it can be managed, controlled and prevented. With such strong connections to law, it is easy to see why students might consider studying both subjects together.

By Cara Fielder. Published 22 February 2019. Last updated 8 March 2022.

But what topics does our LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology include and what career paths can it lead to? We caught up with our Criminology lecturer Rachel Stuart to find out more about the LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology.

Law with Criminology explores the influences that have shaped both the law and the forms of punishment that are a consequence for some people who commit crime. Where Law with Criminal Justice focuses on the processes concerned with punishing the crimes of the poor, Law with Criminology concerns itself not only with the crimes of those that find themselves within the criminal justice system, generally the poor; but those of the powerful too.

The degree is aimed at a wide variety of students, from those who may have a critical view of the law and wish to acquire the skills that a qualifying law degree offers, to those who just want a better understanding of the law. It covers how the law has evolved and the social factors that have contributed to its current administration. It also allows students to gain an insight into how the law is used to control and criminalise certain sections of society.

Personally, I chose to do an LLM in Criminal Justice and Human Rights after the insights that I gained about women in prison from studying criminology. It is this type of context, along with the tools that a working knowledge of the law gives to a student, which makes this an exceptional degree.

The criminology modules that students will be taking are designed to give a critical insight into the law and punishment. In the second year of the degree, students will take two criminology modules; an Introduction to Criminology and Punishment & Society.

An Introduction to Criminology is designed to give students an overview of the wide variety of topics that criminology covers, such as Environmental Criminology, Feminist Criminology, Convict Criminology and Critical Race Theory. Punishment and Society examines the disproportionate use of punishment against certain sections of society; especially the poor, people from BAME backgrounds and migrants. In year three of the degree students will take two further criminology modules Media, Crime & Control and Zemiology – the study of social harms. These are vital for any student of criminology; the media plays an important role in influencing both punishment of offenders and new legislation. Zemiology gives students an insight of behaviour that causes harms to the environment and individuals but is very rarely prosecuted because the perpetrators are powerful, often multinational corporations or nation states.

Our degree offers students the opportunity to enter a wide variety of careers, either practicing law or working within the wider criminal justice system. As the criminal justice system grows, so do career opportunities in fields such as immigration or customs. Areas where a degree that combines the law and criminology will be helpful. Other options for career paths that Law with Criminology offers are varied and include, among others-

  • Community safety
  • Crime prevention
  • Youth offender teams
  • The Home Office
  • Fraud investigation
  • Investigative data analyst
  • Police officer
  • Probation officer
  • Youth offending support officer
  • Emergency planning officer
  • Offender case administrator
  • Adult guidance worker
  • Charity officer
  • Data scientist
  • Forensic computer analyst

It also works very well as the basis for further study and is a good starting point for students who are considering an LLM or other post graduate studies.

The law is a very powerful tool but in order to use it effectively it is important that students have an insight into the societal factors that have influenced its development. This insight gives students the tools needed to not only carve out a career but to effect change. We are offering students an insight into the political motivations that have shaped the law and the tools that mean they can have an impact on the lives of others; whether they are seeking to change the law or wish to work within the criminal justice system

My advice to students is to be prepared to have your preconceptions about the law challenged, be prepared to have your world view turned on its head and then roll up your sleeves. There is work to be done, but it’s so rewarding, as a practising criminologist with a law background I love my work. Most recently I have been working with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine interviewing street prostitutes about their experiences of policing, to better understand the effect that legislation has on sex workers lives. For those students who, like me, are interested in research then this degree is a particularly good starting point but be warned, criminology is highly addictive. The more you learn the more you want to learn, I am still learning and I look forward to sharing the journey with our students.


Learn more about studying LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology at The University of Law.