6 ECTS credits
180 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4019645DNR for all students in the 1st and 2nd semester at a (D) Master - preliminary level.

1st and 2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Educational team
An-Sofie Vanhouche (course titular)
Lars Breuls
Activities and contact hours
12 contact hours Lecture
28 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
Course Content

In this course we will look at why we should study crime and criminal justice in a comparative and international context, and the difficulties we encounter when we do so. Drawing on several researches and case-studies striking differences and similarities will be illustrated in the roles of criminal justice actors and ways of handling crime. Careful attention is given to policy and practice transfer.

The following topics will be discussed: 1) comparative criminal justice: similarities and differences; 2) the methodology for comparative research; 3) policy and practice transfer; 4) the globalization of crime and crime control; and 5) Southern and/or green criminology.

Course material
Handbook (Recommended) : Comparative criminal justice: making sense of difference, Nelken, D., Sage Publications, 9781847879370, 2010
Handbook (Recommended) : The Routledge Handbook of European Criminology, Body-Gendrot, S., Hough, M., Kerezsi, K., Lévy, R., & Snacken, S., Routledge, 9781138812734, 2013
Digital course material (Required) : PowerPoint slides made available, Canvas
Digital course material (Required) : International articles/chapter from books - case-studies, Canvas
Handbook (Recommended) : Globalization and Crime, Aas, K.F., 3de, Sage Publications, 9781526445230, 2019
Additional info

Given that we will make several visits to criminal justice practitioners abroad, we will allow a maximum of 12 students for this course. If you would like to participate in this course, please register as soon as possible. Once twelve people have registered, it is no longer possible to participate or register. No selection interviews will be held.

A study visit (of 5 days) is part of this course. Student availability for this international field study is expected in the class-free week following the January exams. Attendance is required. 

Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

General competencies of the programme:

  • Graduates have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of key criminological concepts and paradigms and international criminological theories within the broad field of criminology;
  • Graduates are able to undertake independent research in criminology by collecting relevant international and national literature, critically analyse the findings and write reports;
  • Graduates are able to communicate effectively in order to present research findings clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing, to colleagues;
  • Graduates are encouraged to engage knowledgeably in the contemporary scholarly debate in their chosen subject, whilst adopting a critical yet open mind-set.

Specific competencies of the course:

  • Graduates have specific knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts and research methods within comparative criminology;
  • Graduates can compare, contrast and contextualise Belgian criminal justice policies and practices with those of other jurisdictions in their own research, thereby not assuming that how we respond to crime in Belgium is universally shared;
  • Graduates are able to write and present a scientific paper, including an international comparative dimension;
  • Graduates actively participate in (class) discussions and debates, in particular at the field study visit, whilst evaluating arguments and their factual support, assessing the value and relevance of the ideas of others and making reasoned judgements.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Oral Exam determines 20% of the final mark.
Other Exam determines 30% of the final mark.
SELF Paper determines 50% of the final mark.

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

  • Mondelinge presentatie with a relative weight of 20 which comprises 20% of the final mark.

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

  • Evaluatie verblijf with a relative weight of 30 which comprises 30% of the final mark.

Within the SELF Paper category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Geschreven paper with a relative weight of 50 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

Distribution of points: 

1) Oral Exam (20%):

Oral presentation of paper and response to questions. The oral defence will take place in the examination period.

2) Study visit (30%)

Evaluation during the stay of the visit, including attendance and participation during classes, discussions and field study visits.

In case of absence due to attested force majeure, replacement assignments will be provided.

No retake of the study visit is possible in July-September. Therefore, the score for the study visit is retained in case of a re-examination in the August-September exam period.

3) Paper (50%)

A paper, to be submitted 8 weeks after the end of the international study visit. The paper will be based on an assignment given in the 1st semester.

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)