Minor Criminology

Broadening minor
Minor code


Crime might seem like an easy concept to grasp (e.g. murder), but many phenomena are in the twilight zone between the legal and the illegal (e.g. ecological damage). Some are criminalized, others are awful but lawful. Discussions about the meaning of crime are key to this broadening minor in criminology. This minor also addresses a diversity of possible causes, offenders as well as victims, and keeps an open mind about the most suitable approach to deal with crime, ranging from criminal law to prevention policy, reaching far beyond the limits of the criminal justice system.

Contemporary developments in criminology and in criminal justice and social policies run as a thread through this minor. Given that much of the developments in contemporary crime are inherently global, we pay attention to elements of globalization in view of criminalization, aetiology and approaches to crime, while at the same time not losing track of local particularities of it. Think for instance of topics such as drug trafficking, human smuggling and (irregular) migration, dumping of waste, cybercrime and terrorism.

This broadening minor takes a critical approach to the study of crime, for instance by paying attention to the power dimension that is inherent to criminalization or by focusing on the unintended consequences of crime control policies. We deem it essential to approach crime phenomena and crime policies with a critical, multidisciplinary and comparative gaze. It is impossible to touch upon all the dynamics of criminology within this minor, but students will be introduced to the core concepts, theories and methods of criminology, to the basics of crime control and prevention and to contemporary developments in the field of crime and justice.

Learning objectives

By the end of this minor, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the key concepts in criminology.
  2. Differentiate between different definitions of crime and assess their implications for policy making.
  3. Name and explain the most important criminological research methods and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Understand the importance of criminological research for criminal justice and social policy.
  5. Compare different theoretical approaches to crime in terms of research questions, hypotheses and levels of analysis.
  6. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of criminological theories based on research findings.
  7. Apply the key criminological theories to specific criminological phenomena and issues.
  8. Describe the objectives of different approaches to crime.
  9. Assess the effectiveness of different approaches to crime.
  10. Describe recent developments in the field of criminology.

Special aspects

Students are required to have sufficient command of the English language because the lectures, readings and assessment are in English.

Overview content per week

Week 1 – Understanding criminalization, victimization and criminology
Week 2 – Doing criminological research
Week 3 – Classical, biological and psychological approaches to crime
Week 4 – Early and contemporary sociologies of crime
Week 5 – Critical criminology
Week 6 – Approaches to crime control and prevention
Week 7 – Globalization, multiculturalism and crime
Week 8 – Crimes of the powerful
Week 9 – Presentation of group assignments
Week 10 – Exam

The deadlines for assignments are in week 5 (major work) and 9 (group paper).
During weeks 6 and 7 class time will be provided to work on the group paper.

Teaching methods

Guest lectures
In class discussion groups
Online presentation

Teaching materials

The readings for this course are primarily drawn from the following two handbooks.

  • Carrabine, E., Cox, P., Lee, M., Fussey, P., Hobbs, D., South, N., Thiel, D. and Turton, J. (2014). Criminology. A sociological introduction. Third edition. Routledge.
  • Newburn. T. (2017). Criminology. Third edition. Routledge.

All other supporting documents (journal articles, Powerpoint presentations, videos, newspaper articles, etc.) will be made available for download (through the library).


Method of examination
The assessment for this broadening minor in criminology is a combination of:

  • a written final exam to test the students’ insights in the major theories and crime phenomena discussed in the readings, (guest) lectures and class discussions;
  • a presentation of a major work which refers to key articles by authors that had a major impact on criminology as a social science. Students are expected to explain the important take-away points and explain the contemporary relevance for criminology. This 5 minute presentation is to be delivered virtually via the online learning platform Flipgrid;
  • a group paper about a criminological phenomenon in the twilight zone between legal and illegal. Each group (4 students) is expected to gather information on the criminalization, aetiology and control of their phenomenon. The lecturer will provide a list of topics but students can choose what they want to work on (first come first serve). Group papers are presented in class during week 9;
  • participation to class discussions.

Detailed information about the assessment will be provided in the course manual.

Composition final grade
The assessment combines a final exam, a group assignment, an individual assignment and participation in class discussions. Rubrics will be used to grade assignments.


Final exam


Group assignment


Presentation of major work


Participation to class discussion




Final grade


There will be a feedback moment for each of the assignments and the exam. This will be organized a maximum of 10 days after the grades have been announced. Students will also receive peer feedback about the presentation of major work and the group assignment. The lecturer will provide feedback through rubrics for the group assignment and the presentation of a major work.

Contact information

Lieselot Bisschop
+31/(0)10 408 1755
room: L3-117

Faculty website

Broadening minor
Minor code
Erasmus School of Law
Study points (ECTS)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information.