I grew up in the Medway towns in Kent but have also lived in Peterborough and Cheltenham. Medway is very quiet compared to Leeds so it has been an even greater experience living in this city for my degree. I enjoy real life crime programmes which encouraged me to take this subject and I still have a great interest in things like that, only my degree helps me to understand and analyse it. It's also, surprisingly, a great conversation starter: no one ever knows what criminology is and I find myself regularly setting the record straight... no, it's not forensic science and no, I am not studying to become a criminal.
Why I Chose BA Criminal Justice and Criminology at Leeds
I decided to apply for the course at Leeds because I wanted to choose a subject that I had never previously studied and because I had a really big interest in the criminal justice sector. The course sits within a well-established Law School which makes it unique as criminology degrees at other universities are often taught by sociology departments.
Initially I wanted to become a Police officer but my course has really encouraged me to look into other areas of the criminal justice sector, of which there are many.
My Passion for Criminology
Criminology is vital to the running of criminal justice policy, its research being the basis of governmental policy. Without this research, policies would not reflect the thinking, behaviour and values of society and so I have a strong belief that my area of study is vital in the everyday lives of people in our society. I love the spread of disciplines my course looks into, from forensic psychology to criminal law; both extremely interesting in very different ways.
During the first two years of my course, I have really enjoyed all of my core modules, especially Forensic Psychology, Victims and Restorative Justice and Criminology: Theories and Concepts. These have encouraged me to read around my subject and I am hoping to focus my dissertation on something to do with one of these areas next year.
The Learning Facilities
The learning facilities within the School are good; we have the newest building on campus which is beautiful to look at. The common room is the best place to be, especially on a nice day with the sun shining through the glass fronted building.
All resources that are necessary for seminars and core reading are always put online so they are always accessible, no matter where you are and you do not have to spend all hours of the day at the library!
I really could not fault the support the School of Law has given me, the lecturers are always happy to help and each dedicate at least four hours of their week for open door sessions (which I have made much use of). One thing you will notice when you come here is how often you read a text and realise suddenly that that's one of your lecturers! This just goes to show that only the best lecturers teach here, so make use of them.
You are also assigned a personal tutor who you can meet up with as many times as you like to encourage you and monitor your progress. I have always found the advice of all our lecturers, and even PHD students, very helpful.
Leeds@Skills is in my toolbar and is a great resource. It helps with everything you could need; I'm always forgetting how to reference!
Outside of Studying
I have been involved with the Student Staff Forum for the past two years as a year representative and a society representative and we lead very interesting discussions. I have also been involved with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee during my second year which has been equally interesting and valuable to the school. Furthermore, I have been very involved with our course society, CrimSoc, as Vice President and recently elected President. These roles are very challenging and hugely fulfilling along with getting the opportunity to talk to some very interesting people within the criminal justice system and of course competing in our CrimSoc netball team. I also volunteer with a programme called Knowledge which is run by the Union in partnership with West Yorkshire Police which has been an amazing experience and I have met so many interesting and wonderful people!
Life in Leeds
I always knew I would love Leeds as a city there is just so much to do! It really does cater for everyone's needs, no matter what your interests. There is a buzzing nightlife and the new Trinity Shopping Centre is excellent, with numerous restaurants. Everything is very accessible and the transport links are great.
My Advice to Prospective Students
For those interested in applying for the BA Criminal Justice and Criminology course, do it!
This course is brilliant for those who are interested in law, sociology, psychology, politics and criminal justice and is guaranteed to turn all of your current views upside down. The criminal justice system is always changing which makes Criminology a very relevant course and there will always be something you become passionate about.
The School of Law offers a more law based course for those who want a more widespread course rather than sociology/ social policy based course which I have found a particularly positive element. Although there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate sociological elements due to the great range of electives in 2nd and 3rd year.
If you come here, please get involved in everything you possibly can- you won't regret it! But be warned: it is NOT CSI.
I have mixed feelings about what I want to do when I finish my degree which are somewhere between doing an MA Security and Defence, finding more programmes which are researching restorative justice or training to go into probation. Or maybe I'll take a gap year and travel.