9 ECTS credits
250 h study time

Offer 2 with catalog number 4015520ENR for all students in the 1st semester at a (E) Master - advanced level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Enrollment Requirements
Volgtijdelijkheid: De student is ingeschreven in de Master Criminologische Wetenschappen en heeft reeds credits behaald voor de studiedelen "Penologie en penitentiair recht", "Criminologische Sociologie", "Methoden van criminologisch onderzoek II" en "Criminologie en Victimologie Werkcollege". Ofwel is de student ingeschreven of geslaagd voor het voorbereidingsprogramma en heeft reeds credits behaald voor de studiedelen "Penologie en penitentiair recht" en “Criminologische Sociologie". Ofwel is de student ingeschreven of geslaagd voor de bachelor Politieke wetenschappen minor criminologie en heeft reeds een credit behaald voor het studiedeel “Penologie en penitentiair recht”. Ofwel is de student ingeschreven of geslaagd voor de bachelor Sociologie minor criminologie en heeft reeds een credit behaald voor het studiedeel “Penologie en penitentiair recht”. Ofwel is de student ingeschreven of geslaagd voor de 2de Master Rechten afstudeerrichting criminologie en heeft reeds credits behaald voor de studiedelen "Penologie en penitentiair recht" en "Criminologische Sociologie".
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Educational team
Kristel Beyens (course titular)
An-Sofie Vanhouche
Lars Breuls
Marlies Heirstrate
Activities and contact hours
48 contact hours Lecture
6 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
100 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

The course covers penitentiary policy, imprisonment, community sanctions and immigration detention from national and international comparative perspectives in an in-depth, broadening and critical manner, with attention to recent developments in penological research and practice.

It focuses on the following themes: experiences of punishment, digitalization of sentence execution, international penological comparisons, bordered penality, release procedures, victims and restorative justice, and prison monitoring.

Course material
Digital course material (Required) : Opdrachten in het kader van het werkcollege, powerpoints, discussievragen, bijkomende literatuur, video's en podcasts worden ter beschikking gesteld. Alle lessen worden opgenomen en ter beschikking gesteld., Canvas
Additional info

The course is taught alternately in Dutch and English. For Erasmus-students, the Dutch classes are replaced by literature and other digital material.

This course is organized during three weeks (on Monday, Tuesday and Friday) to guarantee an interactive and intensive interaction. Next to the theoretical lectures, guest lectures and debates are organized, inviting researchers and experts from the field. A detailed schedule will be made available through the learning platform CANVAS at the start of the academic year.

This course is also offered to work students. For them, two contact moments (Q&A) of maximum 2 hours each will be organized. During the first contact, information is provided on the content of the course, the college assignments and the exam. During the second contact moment, the opportunity will be given to ask questions about the course content with a view to preparing for the exam. The lessons for the day students are recorded (if permitted) and made available to all students through the learning platform CANVAS. More information about the exam and the assignments will be provided through the learning platform at the start of the academic year.

Each year we try to organise optional visits to penitentiary settings.

Learning Outcomes

General competencies


  • Graduates have a deep and critical understanding of the central concepts and paradigms of criminology and of international criminological theories related to a wide range of sub-disciplines and the practices.
  • Graduates have an in-depth understanding and working knowledge of the latest developments in the criminological policy and research domain and know how to frame this in a historical perspective.
  • Graduates can independently deepen insights in the field of criminological policy and research from a chosen analytical framework and thus increase theoretical literacy with regard to their own fields of interest.
  • Graduates can independently develop in-depth knowledge and insights into issues related to punishment, with a focus on punishment implementation. This is done through knowledge transfer and independent work.
  • Graduates can independently process scholarly in-depth insights into punishment. They can do this at the theoretical level and from national, international and comparative studies. 
  • Graduates can reflect in a structured manner on the link between theoretical knowledge and penological practices. 


  • Graduates can independently conduct a critical literature review on a criminological related research topic by collecting relevant international and national literature and critically processing and correctly reporting insights from the literature.
  • Graduates can understand and evaluate criminological policy and research reports.
  • Graduates can independently develop and delineate a problem statement for criminological research and relate this problem statement to criminological theories and research findings.
  • Graduates possess the communication skills necessary to report research findings and insights clearly and concisely, in writing and orally, to peers.
  • Graduates can engage in discussion and debate on current issues and theoretical developments within the field and do so on the basis of critical, soundly based reflections and with an open view.


  • Graduates have a critical and inquisitive attitude that demonstrates intellectual curiosity and honesty as well as an attitude of lifelong learning.
  • Graduates have a strong interest in social and criminological topics and an ethical-scientific attitude.
  • Graduates deal respectfully with the emotional aspects of the phenomena studied.
  • Graduates seek their own path, with an open mind and free from prejudice.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Written Exam determines 30% of the final mark.
PRAC Practical Assignment determines 70% of the final mark.

Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Examen Schriftelijk with a relative weight of 30 which comprises 30% of the final mark.

Within the PRAC Practical Assignment category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • WPO Praktijkopdracht with a relative weight of 70 which comprises 70% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

The assessment consists of the following assignment categories:

  • Written exam determines 30% of the final grade. This is a written exam, where the knowledge and application of the scientific literature covered and the class content are tested.
  • Practical assignments determine 70% of the final grade. Students complete individual and group assignments related to the required literature, lessons and visits.

Due to the interactive nature of the subject, students are expected to be actively engaged in all classes.

All assignments must be submitted by the deadline according to the formal requirements before the student can participate in the exam.

If the student has not passed the entire course after the January exam period, partial credits for passed assignments are transferred according to the arrangement determined in the study guide on CANVAS.

Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Criminology: Standaard traject (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Teaching in Social Sciences: criminologische wetenschappen (90 ECTS, Etterbeek) (only offered in Dutch)