CriminologyOrganization logo: Erasmus University Rotterdam

About this minor

Explore approaches to crime control and prevention, a twilight zone between the legal and the illegal. This minor introduces students to various perspectives on a diverse range of crimes, their causes, offenders and victims. The minor explores approaches to crime control and prevention. Current developments in criminology, crime and justice are discussed regarding sustainability and inequality and the local and global context that shapes them.

Crime might seem like an easy concept to grasp (e.g. murder, theft), but many phenomena are in the twilight zone between the legal and the illegal (e.g. ecological damage). Some harmless acts are criminalized, other acts are ‘awful but lawful’. This broadening minor introduces students to different perspectives on crime, criminalization and victimization. The course offers tools for a critical understanding of a diverse range of crimes, their causes, and their offenders and victims. In addition to understanding crime, the minor explores a variety of approaches to respond to crime, ranging from criminal law to social prevention. Students will be introduced to the core concepts, theories and methods of criminology, to the basics of crime control and prevention and to current issues in the field of crime and justice.

Contemporary developments in criminology, crime and justice run as a thread through this minor. We pay attention to how crime, subversion and approaches to it relate to inequality and sustainability. Given that many developments in contemporary crime are inherently global, we pay attention to the role of globalization, while not losing track of local particularities in crime (policy). Think for instance of topics such as exploitation of migrant workers in the Netherlands, cybercrime, radicalization and deforestation.

Students will learn about different perspectives on crime, criminalization and victimization. The dominant perspective in this broadening minor is a sociological and critical approach to the study of crime, by paying attention to power dimensions that are inherent to criminalization and by paying attention to unintended social consequences of crime control policies.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain and apply core concepts in criminology
  • Describe research methods and data sources in criminology and assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • Describe the key criminological theories and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Assess the implications of different perspectives on crime for crime prevention and control
  • Apply the key criminological theories to specific criminological phenomena and current issues
  • Describe and compare different approaches to and strategies of crime control and prevention
  • Express and debate one's own understanding of behaviour in the twilight zone between the legal and illegal with one's peers
  • Collaborate with one's peers about real-life cases of behaviour in the twilight zone between the legal and the illegal

Teaching method and examination

Interactive lectures, Guest lectures, Student-led discussions

Teaching material

  • Carrabine, E., Cox, A., Cox, P., et al. (2020). Criminology. A sociological introduction. Fourth edition. London: Routledge.
  • Journal articles and media sources to be distributed on Canvas.

We advise you to buy your own copy of this book because we will use most of the chapters. Please make sure to buy this 4th edition (2020) because there are significant changes compared to earlier versions.
All journal articles, videos, media sources, and Powerpoint presentations will be made available for download on Canvas.


  • A blog post on a key reading in criminology. Students choose a key reading from a provided list to write their blog about and are required to comment on other blogs as well.
  • A group project (4-5 students) about a criminological phenomenon that is in the twilight zone between legal and illegal. Topics are chosen from a provided list. Groups gather arguments for and against criminalization based on academic and non-academic sources. At the end of the course each group organizes a plenary discussion in class.
  • A final exam consisting of open (essay) questions (covering all parts of the course).
  • A participation assignment where students provide input for class discussions

Blog assignment (individual): 20 percent
Group project (group): 25 percent
Final exam (individual): 45 percent
Participation (individual): 10 percent

For passing the minor it is not required that all parts are assessed as sufficient, as long as students have submitted all individual and group assignments. The assessment matrix will be provided in the syllabus.

Rubrics will be used to grade the assignments.

Good to know

  • This minor is taught face-to-face on campus (offline) and is not suitable for online/remote attendance as course meetings will not be recorded.
  • The duration of the course is 10 weeks, including the final exam; note that there will be no education free week.
  • Students are required to have sufficient command of the English language because all lectures, readings and assessment (written assignments, oral presentation and written exams) are in English.
  • All assignments are mandatory.
  • The majority of course meetings are not mandatory. It would however be very much appreciated if you would attend the meetings as there are various interactive components. There is also quite a lot of educational research that shows that course attendance has a positive effect on learning and academic results. Please note that the meetings in week 9 of the minor are mandatory as we expect all students to be present in class to participate in the group presentations.

Additional information

  • Code
  • Theme
    Behaviour and society
  • Credits
    ECTS 15
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Erasmus University.


  • Start date

    4 september 2023

    • Ends
      31 augustus 2024
    • Term *
      Block MINOR
    • Location
    • Instruction language
These offerings are valid for students of TU Delft