Criminology at University of Surrey

Hello! My name is Isabel and I’m a final year Criminology student at the University of Surrey. In this blog I am going to explain some of the reasons I am loving my time on my course here at Surrey!


Criminology has a variety of modules. In first year, most modules are compulsory to provide you with a basic understanding of the research methods and theories that you will draw on throughout your time on the course. As you progress through the years, they are increasingly optional. In final year, all modules are optional, and you have the freedom to write your dissertation on any topic from the course that has interested you. As a result, after gaining a broader understanding of Criminology as a whole, you can tailor the course to your specific interests, from research policy to crime prevention.  Some of my favourite modules studied include forensic science, criminal law, hate crime, and youth crime. I am often asked what career path I want to follow after finishing studying Criminology, and the diverse range of modules has provided me with many possibilities for opportunities I could pursue.

Placement Year

Having initially applied to the three-year course, I was happy to discover that I had the opportunity to change my course length to add a placement year (or ‘sandwich year’) right up until my final year. The course is flexible so you can also change from the four-year to three-year course whilst studying.

I was lucky enough to do a placement year within the Criminology department at the University. My role was as a research assistant on a project studying women’s experiences of food in prison. My main tasks were editing podcasts, carrying out a literature review, and most excitingly helping to run focus groups in prisons and transcribing them afterwards. I found this opportunity very valuable as not only did I gain transferrable skills such as interviewing but I now have experience and security clearance in prisons which will be useful for my career prospects.

Top Tips

My top tips for study Criminology are:

Use the resources:

One resource provided by the lecturers that has helped me is online material, such as recordings of the lectures so you can watch them back, as well as suggested reading lists. Other resources at the University include different study environments like the library, the Hive, and the Spark (these are great buildings to have a look at when looking round the University).

Ask for help when needed:

If you are struggling either academically or personally, there are many different options to turn to for help. As well as talking to the lecturers, who are very friendly and always willing to help, Surrey provides support systems like peer supporters, personal tutors and academic skills and development in the library. However, I find that friends are also great people to turn to at University to get advice from people going through the same experiences as you!

Enjoy yourself!

Time at University flies by. As important as it is to focus on studying, it’s also a time to meet new friends, try out new societies, and experience new and fun things. During my time at Surrey, alongside learning all about Criminology, I have tried new sports such as lacrosse and surfing, as well as joining the yoga committee as social secretary. Make sure to remember to have fun too 😊

Find out more

For more information about studying Criminology, and related courses such as Sociology and Media and Communications, have a look at this YouTube video: Sociology, Criminology, Media and Communication | University of Surrey – YouTube

Author: Isabel Beaumont, Criminology student at The University of Surrey