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 acts are criminalized, others are awful but lawful. This broadening minor deals with a diverse range of crimes, their causes, and their offenders and victims. In addition to understanding crime, the minor explores a variety of actual and suitable approaches to deal with crime, ranging from criminal law to social prevention, reaching beyond the limits of the criminal justice system.

Contemporary developments in criminology and current issues in criminal justice and crime 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, causes and approaches to crime, while at the same time not losing track of local particularities of it. Think for instance of topics such as 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

After successfully completing this minor, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the domain of criminology

  2. Explain the core concepts in criminology

  3. Describe, apply and compare different definitions of crime and assess their implications for policy making

  4. Describe and compare the most important criminological research methods and assess their strengths and weaknesses

  5. Describe and compare different sources of crime data and assess their strengths and weaknesses

  6. Identify, describe and compare the key criminological theories in terms of research questions and core concepts

  7. Apply the key criminological theories to specific criminological phenomena and current issues

  8. Describe and compare different approaches to crime control

  9. Assess different approaches to crime control in terms of goals, effects and justice

  10. Describe current developments in the field of criminology

Special aspects

Classes are expected to be on Mondays and Thursdays (2 x 4 hours). The duration of the course is 10 weeks, there will be no education free week.

Students are required to have sufficient command of the English language because all lectures, readings and assessment (written assignments, oral presentation and written exam) are in English.

Overview content per week

Part 1: Basics in criminology

Week 1 – Understanding crime and criminology; crime data and doing criminological research

Part 2: Key ideas in criminology

Week 2 – Classical theories, biology and psychology

Week 3 – Sociologies of crime: culture, control, conflict and social change

Week 4 – Place, space and urban criminology; walking tour in Rotterdam South

Week 5 – Green crimes, terrorism, human rights and crimes of the state

Individual assignment (blog post) due

Part 3: Crime control

Week 6 – Approaches to crime control and prevention

Part 4: Current issues

Week 7 – Globalization, multiculturalism and technology

Week 8 – Crimes of the powerful

Week 9 – Presentations of group assignments

Group assignment (paper) due

During weeks 6 and 7 class time will be provided to work on the group paper

Week 10 – Exam

Teaching methods

Interactive lectures
Guest lectures
Working groups
Student presentations

Teaching materials

The readings for this course:

  • 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.

  • Journal articles and media sources to be distributed on Canvas.

It is highly recommended to buy a copy of the book. All journal articles, videos, media sources, and Powerpoint presentations will be made available for download on Canvas.


Method of examination

The assessment is a combination of:

  • A written exam consisting of open essay questions on crime phenomena and approaches to crime and control;

  • A blog post on a key reading in criminology. Students choose a key reading from a provided list. The blog argues why this reading is still relevant for criminology, policy or society. The blogs and comments are posted online on a dedicated blog (Wordpress).

  • A group paper and oral presentation about a criminological phenomenon in the twilight zone between legal and illegal. Groups (4-5 students) choose a phenomenon from a provided list and describe its definition, criminalization and control. Papers are presented in class in week 9.

  • Participation to class discussions (optional). Students may provide input for class discussions by connecting mandatory readings to news items and by providing feedback on group presentations.

Composition final grade
Written exam: 50 percent
Group assignment: 20 percent
Individual assignment: 20 percent
Participation: 10 percent

For passing the minor it is not required that all assignments are assessed as sufficient, as long as you have submitted all parts and the final grade is 5.5 or higher. Rubrics will be used to grade assignments.

There will be a feedback moment after each of the assignments and the exam. The lecturer provides written feedback on the individual assignment and the group assignment based on rubrics. Feedback on the exam will be organized a maximum of 10 days after the grades have been announced. Students also receive peer feedback on their blog through comments on their blog and on their group presentation.

Contact information

dr. Gwen van Eijk
room: L3-115

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.