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Crime Science

Crime Science


After this module, the student is able to...

  • explain the key theories and approaches of Crime Science.
  • differentiate the (classical) sociological-criminological approach from modern Crime Science.
  • apply the Crime Science mind-set to solving real-life crime and security problems.
  • critically reflect upon crime and security policy making.
  • synthesise theories, methods and approaches from other disciplines and is able to apply them to crime and security problems.
  • evaluate responses to current crime problems and how they are handled by security professionals (real case studies).
  • analyse long-standing as well as pressing future issues in crime prevention and detection.


Crime and security problems are increasingly studied as complex phenomena. They evolve and behave dynamically. To address current crime and security challenges (e.g. terrorism, cybercrime, travel crime, human trafficking, piracy), a shift from classical offender-focused and sociological approaches to a problem-solving framework is on its way. The cross-disciplinary Crime Science studies specific types of crimes (rather than criminality) and emphasises the problem-solving research approach. The aim is to apply the scientific method to understand, prevent and disrupt specific crimes. Crime Science not only describes crime and security problems but focuses on solving real-life crime issues.

A principal element of this module are case studies and lectures by leading crime science researchers and practitioners. Guest speakers include world-leading academics from University College London (the founding institute of Crime Science), the University of Manchester, as well as intelligence analysts, and policymakers. Topics covered include large-scale terrorism prevention, online radicalisation, cybercrime (e.g. botnets and their monetisation by criminals), human trafficking, open data crime analysis, and money laundering. There will be room for discussion with guest speakers, and students will have the opportunity to interact with the speakers.

The module consists of lectures/case studies with guest speakers.

An integral part of crime science is the cross-disciplinary mindset. The Applied Crime Science Challenge is an assignment that fosters this approach. In this project, students will work on an applied problem introduced by external stakeholders (in previous years: the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice). The aim is to develop an innovative solution to a real-life problem to assist practitioners in their work. At the end of this module, each student will present his/her proposed solution in an open poster fair.


UvA-students can register themself from 7 December 2017 (look for code 5512CRSC6Y in SIS) until a week before the start of the course. If you have any trouble while registering please contact:

Other parties, such as contract students, students from other institutions or UvA employees, who are interested can register from November 2017 via the application form on Datanose.

You also can find the timetable on Datanose.

Teaching method

  • Lectures on the foundations of Crime Science
  • Case study lectures by leading crime and security researchers and practitioners

 Study materials

  • Literature (academic articles, white papers, newspaper articles, opinion pieces, etc.) will be made available at the beginning of the module.


Check the website.

Assessment and testing

There are two types of assessments:

1. Two take-home exams on the literature and lectures (one based on weeks 1-6, one based on weeks 7-12). (total weight: 50% of the final grade)

2. Applied Crime Science Challenge (designing a crime and mitigating the crime of another student). Consists of a poster-presentation and a brief report. (total weight: 50% of the final grade)


This module is inherently cross-disciplinary: students from diverse academic backgrounds are strongly encouraged to register for this module. This module will be of particular interest to those students who are interested in crime and security problems and come from diverse disciplines (including the social and behavioural Sciences, the natural sciences, computational sciences, and the humanities).

Students who have an interest in crime and security problems, but are uncertain how their background fits with this module, are strongly encouraged to register for this module. If you have any questions or doubts regarding this matter, please contact the module instructor Bennett Kleinberg . Crime Science is by definition cross-disciplinary and needs input from diverse disciplines. 

Crime Science
Mode Short-term, open uva courses
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Conditions for admission Open
Starts in February