Course Objective

Learning objectives of the course:

(A) Subject-specific learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course the student should have basic knowledge
• the main fields and themes in criminology;
• recent developments in the field of crime and criminal justice.

(B) Academic skills
The student is able to:
• apply criminological theories of crime and punishment to offending
behaviour, and reflect on strengths and limitations of criminological
theories and approaches.

(C) Social and communicative skills
The student is able to:
• present the findings of a small piece of research;
• write a short paper in conformity with academic standards.

(D) Study skills and professional orientation
The student is able to:
• independently collect academic literature;
• work effectively in a group.

Course Content

How common are violent crimes? Why do some people commit crime? How
should we punish offenders? What is the impact of being a victim of a
This course will provide answers to these types of questions. Students
will be introduced to the four main themes in criminology. First, how do
we define and measure crime, and what is the prevalence of different
crime types? For example, students will learn how definitions of crime
can be time and context dependent, and they will be introduced to
different data sources that criminologists can use to estimate the
prevalence of crime. Second, students will learn about different
theoretical approaches that are used to explain why crime occurs.
Specifically, attention will be paid to psychological and sociological
explanations of crime. Third, different responses to crime will be
examined in this course. Students will learn about various
justifications for and purposes of punishment, and about the roles of
different actors in the criminal justice system. Moreover, different
types of sentences, as well as approaches to crime prevention, will be
covered. Fourth, attention will be paid to the consequences of crime.
What are the effects of crimes on victims, and how does society in
general, and the criminal justice system in particular, deal with
victims of crime?
Throughout the course, the global theme that is central to period 2 of
the first semester (terrorism) will be studied from each of these four
aspects of criminology, in lectures and in in-class or take home

Teaching Methods

Teaching on this course consists of two interactive seminar style
lectures per week (90 minutes each). Most of the lectures will consist
of an (interactive) lecture (first 45 minutes) and a seminar with tasks
and assignments (second 45 minutes). Please note that attendance of all
lectures is mandatory. Students who miss more than one lecture are
required to make an extra assignment to be able to pass the course.

Method of Assessment

Assessment for this course consists of three components:
1) Group presentation
2) Paper
3) Exam


Key reading: Newburn, T. (2017). Criminology, 3rd edition. Oxon / New
York: Routledge.

This book is available as an e-book via the University Library of the
Vrije Univeristeit Amsterdam. Search for ‘Newburn Criminology’ in

General Information

Course Code R_CrimL
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator dr. J. Verbruggen
Examiner dr. J.M. Harte
Teaching Staff dr. J. Verbruggen
prof. dr. mr. W. Huisman
I. Regan MSc

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Study Group