Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

BA Social Policy and Crime

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In this Section:

If you want to ...

  • learn about why social problems and inequalities exist
  • explore why some groups of people experience discrimination
  • study why some activities are seen as deviant or criminal
  • consider why powerful members of society negotiate the justice system more adeptly than others
  • examine social and criminal justice responses to crime

... then BA Social Policy and Crime is the course for you.


BA Social Policy and Crime explores how poverty, health, housing, education and crime amongst others come to be viewed as social problems.

In doing so, it involves an investigation of how modern societies understand human need, equality and social justice and considers the ways in which the institutions of the modern state and supra-states address social problems and how they provide for people's welfare. 

In this course, crime moves to the centre stage as you study in depth this fast-growing policy area.

You will examine the social processes by which particular acts of behaviour, or particular social groups, become defined as deviant or criminal, and investigate the ways society seeks to control deviance and criminality. You will also explore the sociology of crime looking at specific theories that pay attention to issues of class, gender, 'race' and age.


Year One

BA Social Policy and Crime Year One invites you to start thinking sociologically about the nature of various social issues and problems, but specifically about the policy area of crime. You will start to become and independent learner and gain knowledge of how to think critically through the range of modules listed below.

In partnership with us, you will discover some key concepts and debates within social policy, giving you a broad foundation for your studies at Years Two and Three.

Compulsory modules

Crime and Deviance will introduce you to prevalent issues of crime and deviance, encouraging students to approach these topics using their sociological imagination. It will aim to answer the following questions: What are the classic and contemporary characteristics of crime and deviance?- Why are some people seen to be deviant and some not and what are the implications of this- How is crime controlled in society?

Social Policy From the Poor Laws to the Present explores the social, political, economic, cultural and global influences that have shaped the United Kingdom’s welfare state. It shows how the Poor Laws influenced ‘Classic Welfare State’ of the 1940s which, in turn, rested upon false assumptions about the nature of the family, of work and of nationhood.

Understanding and Researching the City will allow you to engage in a sociological exploration of the city and urban spaces in which they live and learn. You will be able to think critically about your everyday lives in a social scientific way. Students will be introduced to a range of social issues and the local community and be given an opportunity to research areas of interest.

Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society introduces key knowledge and training in the social sciences by teaching you the underpinnings of social research, how to undertake ‘real world’ research and think critically about the social world around you and your own everyday life.

Identities, Inequalities and Policy is based around three strands of, identity, inequalities and policy. The content of the module will focus on specialist debates within these broad areas. In this way you will benefit from interaction with active researchers and contemporary agendas.

Discovery modules

You also choose a discovery module from across the university.

Year Two

Compulsory modules

Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods allows you to build bridges between big ideas and social problems. Drawing on the research skills developed in year one, the module provides you with a thorough understanding of how to design and conduct your own social research, and interpret results in an accurate manner. We explore qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches to social research, providing for how these can be applied in routine and rare contexts

Crime, Law and Regulation explores theories in the sociology of crime with particular attention upon issues of class, gender, 'race' and age. Crimes of the powerful are often ignored or seem to be invisible, but you will be introduced to debates on the regulation of corporate crime. Regulating crime will be covered with consideration given to the fear of crime, issues of crime prevention, community safety and policing.

Optional modules

You choose one of the following optional modules.

  • Disability Studies: An Introduction
  • Globalization: Equality and Diversity
  • Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy
  • Comparative Public Policy

You choose another of the following optional modules.

  • Welfare and Crime: Continuity, Conflict and Change
  • Urban Disorders, Social Divisions and Social Control

You then also one more of the following optional modules.

  • Victims, Crime and Victimology
  • Victims, Crime and Restorative Justice
  • Youth Crime and Justice
  • War Crimes and Genocide
  • Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy
  • Disability Studies: An Introduction
  • The Sociology of Gender
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Racism and Ethnicity Studies: A Global Approach
  • Debates in Childhood and Youth
  • Emotions, Power and Contemporary Society
  • Urban Disorders, Social Divisions and Social Control

Discovery modules

You then chose a discovery module from across the university.

Year Three

Compulsory modules

The Social Policy Dissertation brings together the conceptual and research skills developed over the course of your studies. It allows you to complete a significant piece of research on a policy topic of your choosing.  An academic expert will act as your supervisor mentoring through all stages of the research process. The dissertation will be between 10,000 and 12,000 words.

Optional modules

You choose two of the following optional modules.

  • Governing Cultures, Identities and Emotions
  • State Crime and Immorality
  • Education, Culture and Society
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families
  • Sex Work: Theory, Policy and Politics
  • Understanding Interpersonal Violence

You then choose another optional module from the following list.

  • Policing
  • Approaches to Social Exclusion in Later Life
  • Governing Cultures, Identities and Emotions
  • Citizenship, Identity and Social Change
  • Postcolonialism and Critical Muslim Studies
  • Disability Rights and the International Policy Context
  • State Crime and Immorality
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families
  • Class in Everyday Life
  • Protest and Social Movements
  • Sex Work: Theory, Policy and Politics
  • Critical Mixed Race Studies - Global Perspectives
  • Gender, Technologies and the Body

Discovery modules

You also choose a discovery module from across the university.

Further information

It is also possible to study this programme through a part-time route, the programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. For more information about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience, please visit the Lifelong Learning Centre’s website.

For more in-depth information on BA Social Policy and Crime modules, please see our Programme and Module Catalogue.

Taught by experts

In the School of Sociology and Social Policy, we draw upon our research strengths to provide an inspirational student experience. Throughout, you will be taught by academic experts working a variety of fields and traditions. The curriculum is centred around innovative ways of analysing both the most pressing issues of the day and the problems we face from one generation to the next.

Staff publish their work widely in books, leading academic journals and make major contributions to the policy-making process. The school has a strong commitment to the public face of our disciplines, engaging widely in the established and social media settings. It is here that staff members in the School build bridges between big ideas and practical problems.

Working in Partnership

We promote a meaningful partnership between academic staff and students.  Through paid internships connected to particular research projects students have the opportunity to be involved in research activities throughout their time at Leeds. Such opportunities extend beyond the curriculum and provide essential employability skills.

We work closely with our students through the student-staff forum to ensure that we respond quickly to study needs and that curriculum remains innovative, relevant and exciting. Undergraduate students in the School of Sociology and Social Policy run a group that offers advice and support, and can help you with course choices, module options, careers advice and employability. The group acts as an official link between students, academic staff and the School’s dedicated Student Experience Manager.

Our research focuses on both the national and global context and so will your curriculum. Academic staff in the School of Sociology and Social Policy have research partnerships across the globe and internationalisation is embedded in our work. With this in mind, as part of your degree programme, you will have the opportunity to study abroad as part of our extensive Study Abroad programme coordinated by Dr Shona Hunter.

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