9 ECTS credits
250 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 1023666BNR for all students in the 1st semester at a (B) Bachelor - advanced level.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Enrollment Requirements
Taught in
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Educational team
Jenneke Christiaens (course titular)
Jasmine De Backer
Activities and contact hours
30 contact hours Lecture
6 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
220 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

This course of 9 credits consist in lectures (6 credits) and a seminar (3 credits). 

Lectures (6 credits) The lectures focus on most important criminological theories and their explanation for crime, criminal behaviour and victimization are studied (the traditional, neoclassical and rational choice theories, the biological, physiological and biosocial theories, the psychiatric and psychological theories, the social process theories, the control theory, the social ecology and the cultural theories, the anomie and the strain theory, the conflict, Marxist and radical theories, the feminist theories, the post-modern theories). For each of them the general main propositions and their explanations for criminal behaviour and victimization are studied. Attention is been given to the underlying (implicit) presuppositions concerning human nature, society and order/disorder comes about. Finally, we will consider the impact these theories have on society and it's crime-punishment complex. 

Seminar (3SP) The aim of this seminar is to apply actively the insights from the lectures (first semester) through assignments. An explanatory note on these assignments will be available to the students. The seminars sessions are not compulsory, but the assignments are. However, students have to submit the yearly assignments on time in order to be able to participate in the exam for this course. The same applies for the second exam session. 

Course material
Handbook (Required) : Criminological theory, Franlin P.Williams & M.D. McShane, 6de, Pearson, 9781292041759, 2013
Digital course material (Required) : Een kwart eeuw stijging in geregistreerde criminaliteit: Vooral meer registratie, nauwelijks meer criminaliteit, K. Wittebrood, P. Nieuwbeeta, Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, 48 (3), 227 - 242
Additional info

This component is also taught to evening (working) students: a maximum of 3 sessions of 3 hours are planned. Students have to comply with the assignments of the practica session. 

(incoming) Erasmus students can follow this course as a reading course. Specific assignments will be part of the evaluation of this reading course.   

Learning Outcomes

Specific competenties

Knowledge and insights:

  • Students have knowledge and understand the different criminological theoretical frameworks
  • Students have insight in the historical development of the theoretical frameworks and the central concepts of the treated theories. 
  • Students know and have insight in the most important critiques concerning the different criminological theories.
  • Students can compare and analyse different theories in their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Students can discuss the relationship between theoretical frameworks and different policy or practical examples of crime policy. They can formulate critical scientific reflections on these practices.


  • Students develop a logical, argumentative and structured way of criminological thinking.
  • Students can expose criminological ideas and reflections in a clear and understandable (written) way. 
  • Studenten can formulate ideas in a clear, comprehensible way using carefull grammar.
  • Students can write a scientific reflection paper on criminological theoretical frameworks in relation to a specific/practical criminological issue. 
  • Students can communicate their own scientific insights and reflections in a synthetic, systematic and structured way. 


  • Students develop an interested, open and independent learning attitude towards criminological scientific and theoretical thinking and the historical development of different theories.
  • Students develop an investigative attitude towards theoretical frameworks, its basic conceptual fundaments and assumptions. 


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Written Exam determines 80% of the final mark.
PRAC Practical Assignment determines 20% of the final mark.

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

  • Written Exam with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 80% of the final mark.

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

  • Practical Assignment with a relative weight of 1 which comprises 20% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

Distribution of marks:

This course and lectures (80%): are evaluated by a written exam with multiple choice questions and at least one open (essay) question.

The seminars and connected assignments (20%): The participation to practical seminars as well as the fullfilment of the related assignments are compulsory. Students that are absent during these seminars and/or did not submit (all) the assignments cannot participate in the January exam session, and are automatically redirected to the second exam session. 

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:
Bachelor of Criminology: Standaard traject (only offered in Dutch)
Bachelor of Criminology: Verkort traject (only offered in Dutch)