Minor Criminology

Verdiepende minor
10 weken


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 harmless acts are criminalized, other acts are ‘awful but lawful’. This broadening minor introduces students to different perspectives on crime, criminalization and victimization. The course offers tools for a critical understanding of a diverse range of crimes, their causes, and their offenders and victims. In addition to understanding crime, the minor explores a variety of approaches to respond to crime, ranging from criminal law to social prevention. Students will be introduced to the core concepts, theories and methods of criminology, to the basics of crime control and prevention and to current issues in the field of crime and justice.

Contemporary developments in criminology and current issues in crime, criminal justice and crime policies run as a thread through this minor. Given that many developments in contemporary crime are inherently global, we pay attention to the role of globalization in criminalization, causes and approaches to crime, while at the same time not losing track of local particularities. Think for instance of topics such as organized drugs trade and the role of the Port of Rotterdam, dumping of waste and the role of global inequalities, and cybercrime and terrorism.

Students will learn about different perspectives to understanding crime, criminalization and victimization. The dominant perspective in this broadening minor is a sociological and critical approach to the study of crime, by paying attention to power dimensions that are inherent to criminalization and by paying attention to unintended social consequences of crime control policies.

Learning objectives

After successfully completing this minor, students will be able to:
1. Describe the domain of criminology
2. Explain and apply core concepts in criminology
3. Explain, compare and apply different perspectives on crime and criminalization and assess their implications for law and policy
4. Describe basic research methods in criminology and assess their strengths and weaknesses
5. Describe and compare different sources of crime data and assess their strengths and weaknesses
6. Identify and describe the key criminological theories
7. Apply the key criminological theories to specific criminological phenomena and current issues
8. Describe, compare and assess different approaches to and strategies of crime control
9. Describe and analyse current issues in crime, crime control and criminology

Special aspects

Classes are expected to be on Tuesdays (4 hours) and Thursdays (4 hours). The definitive schedule will be available on 13 July 2020.

The duration of the course is 10 weeks, including the final exam; 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 exams) are in English.

Overview content per week

Part 1: Basics in criminology
Week 1 – Understanding crime and criminology; perspectives on criminalization
Week 2 – Crime data and researching crime

Part 2: Key ideas in criminology
Week 3 – Foundations of criminology: biology and choice; psychological theories
Week 4 – Classical sociological theories of crime, radicalizing approaches in criminology
Individual assignment (blog post) due

Week 5 – Walking tour in Rotterdam South
Midterm exam (parts 1&2)

Part 3: Crime control
Week 6 – Criminal justice; crime control and prevention
Start group project

Part 4: Current issues
Week 7 – Globalization, multiculturalism and technology
Week 8 – Corporate and state crime; green crime
Week 9 – Presentations of group projects
Group project due

Week 10 – no classes
Final exam (parts 3&4)

Teaching methods

Interactive lectures
Guest lectures
Student-led discussions

Teaching materials

The readings for this course:
Carrabine, E., Cox, A., Cox, P., et al. (2020). Criminology. A sociological introduction. Fourth edition. London: 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 blog post on a key reading in criminology. Students choose a key reading from a provided list to write their blog about and are required to comment on other blogs as well.
• A group project (4-5 students) about a criminological phenomenon that is in the twilight zone between legal and illegal. Topics are chosen from a provided list. Groups gather arguments for and against criminalization based on academic and non-academic sources. In week 9, each group organizes a plenary discussion in class.
• A midterm exam consisting of open questions (covering parts 1 & 2 of the course).
• A final exam consisting of open essay questions on crime control and current affairs (covering parts 3 & 4 of the course).
Participation (optional): students provide input for class discussions by connecting mandatory readings to news items.

Composition final grade
Blog assignment (individual): 20 percent
Group project (group): 20 percent
Midterm exam (individual): 25 percent
Final exam (individual): 25 percent
Participation (individual, optional): 10 percent
For passing the minor it is not required that all parts are assessed as sufficient, as long as students have submitted all assignments (except participation) and the final grade is 5.5 or higher. Rubrics will be used to grade the assignments.

Students receive written feedback on all written assignments based on rubrics. The lecturer will provide online feedback on proposals for the group project. A collective feedback moment for the final exam is organized within 10 days after the final grades have been announced. Students also receive peer feedback on their blog through blog comments and on their group presentation.

Contact information

dr. Gwen van Eijk
Room: L3-115


Verdiepende minor
10 weken
Erasmus School of Law
Studiepunten (EC)
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information.