Study law and criminology in the UK

Surrey science student in lab

What is law and criminology?

Law and criminology relates to the rules set by society and government and the problems related to crime and social disorder. Although laws and what is defined as criminal behaviour can vary around the world, the principles you will study in Law and Criminology will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to specialise in the area you are most interested in. Some of the specialist topics covered include crime theory, punishment in society and the criminal justice system.

Studying a Law and Criminology degree will do more than just prepare you for a legal career. It will teach you to think about ethics, the relationship between individuals and governments and examine current and historic legal systems. 

What are the different fields in law and criminology

Law has a number of fields that you can specialise in, including:

  • Criminal law - A system of law focusing on the punishment of lawbreakers.
  • International law - Centres on laws between nations that bind relations with one another.
  • Family law - Focuses on laws that affect family relationships.
  • Environmental law - Covers laws that concentrate on human activities impacting the environment.

5 reasons to study law and criminology

There are many reasons to study law and criminology:

1. Receive an advanced knowledge of law

Through your studies, you will gain a deeper understanding of the principles of law and criminology, looking at real-world examples of how to apply that knowledge in legal cases.

2. Transferable skills

An undergraduate or postgraduate degree in law and criminology will equip you with a variety of transferable skills. The skills you will learn and develop will make you desirable to employers, both in the legal industry and out of it.

3. Prestigious career

Law graduates have the opportunity to go on and change the world. You will be able to pursue a career as a barrister, family lawyer, human rights lawyer or as an environmental lawyer, where you can make meaningful and lasting impacts on individuals and on society.

4. High earning potential

Law graduates will typically benefit from a high earning potential; from £25,000 for entry-level solicitor roles (National Careers Service).

5. Structured further study

You will have the advantage of having a clear further study path, with specific courses required to follow certain careers.

Why study law at the University of Surrey?

University of Surrey's Criminology degree is ranked in the UK top 10 (Guardian University Guide 2022). Studying Law and Criminology at the University of Surrey means you will be based in the School of Law. Our law school will help you gain the skills and knowledge required to pursue a legal career.

Through a student-focused approach, you will learn the fundamentals of Law and Criminology with the opportunity to study specific modules that interest you.

The School of Law at Surrey is renowned for giving students the opportunity to gain practical legal experience. Undergraduate students can take part in the Professional Training Year programme that offers students the chance to take a work placement in prestigious organisations which have included the European Parliament and the House of Commons in UK Parliament.

Surrey offers a programme of career sessions to help and support you in pursuing your dream job. Graduates of Law and Criminology at Surrey have secured roles in a variety of global companies, including:

  • Clifford Chance
  • Eversheds
  • Electricité de France.

The School of Law also boasts a number of research centres including:

  • China Law Centre
  • Surrey Centre for Law and Philosophy
  • Environmental Regulatory Research Group
  • Surrey International and European Law Research Group.

Degree options at the University of Surrey

There are a range of law and criminology degrees you could progress to after studying the relevant pathway at the University of Surrey International Study Centre:

Undergraduate degrees

  • Law with Criminology BA (Hons)
  • Law with International Relations BA (Hons)
  • Law LLB (Hons)
  • Criminology BSc (Hons)

Careers with a law and criminology degree

Graduates of Law and Criminology will benefit from a range of job opportunities, with students able to pursue legal and non-legal careers. Some of the jobs you could follow include:

Law focused roles

  • Legal Executive
  • Barrister
  • Solicitor
  • Tax Consultant
  • Management Consultant
  • Paralegal

Criminology focused roles

  • Prison officer
  • Detective
  • Criminologist
  • Forensic science technician
  • Probation officer


Is criminology in demand in the UK?

There are various options for criminology graduates in the UK. You can pursue a variety of roles, including:

  • Law enforcer
  • Detective
  • Criminologist
  • Criminology lecturer
  • Security

Which subject is best for criminology?

Having previous learning and experience in sociology, psychology, law, or criminal justice can provide a solid foundation for pursuing a career in criminology.

How long does it take to become a criminologist in the UK?

Becoming a criminologist in the UK typically requires a bachelor's degree, which can take around three to four years, followed by potential further education in the form of a masters or experience gained from a work placement.

Why I chose criminology?