Entry Points (2021)

Course Overview

This is a unique degree offering in Ireland for students with an interest in both law and the fields of criminology and criminal justice. 

Students have the opportunity to combine the study of a full undergraduate law degree with an additional specialisation that focuses on the causes of crime and the operation of the criminal justice system.

Students will have access to world-class academics that specialise in the fields of criminal law, criminal justice, criminology, psychology and human rights.

On graduation, students will have completed all the modules required to support them to undertake the entrance exams for the Law Society of Ireland, should they wish to qualify as a solicitor.

Students who wish to qualify as a barrister will have the option of taking all additional modules required by the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, through the Legal Professions specialised stream in the final year.

Graduates of this programme will be well positioned to pursue careers as barristers or solicitors specialising in criminal law or working with the agencies and organisations of the criminal justice system.

Students will have the opportunity to engage in a professional work placement in a leading law firm or organisation that specialises in criminal justice. Students on placement will be able to see the criminal justice system in action, thereby supplementing their academic education with practical experience.

As an alternative to a work placement, students can also study abroad at partner institutions around the world, giving them the opportunity to experience their academic education in an international setting and to gain a different perspective on law, criminology and criminal justice.

Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Virtual Open Day

Read questions and answers from our 'Ask a Lecturer' in Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice Live Q&A session.

Explore courses and careers in Law through a video presentation.

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

Dr Diarmuid Griffin, Programme Director and Lecturer

Diarmuid is the Programme Director of this degree and he teaches Criminal Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice on the programme.  Diarmuid’s research focuses on homicide and life imprisonment. His recent book, Killing Time, attracted widespread public attention when it was published in 2018 and his work has been used by judges in the Supreme Court as well as in the Dáil and the Seanad.  Diarmuid gives workshops and seminars in prison to offenders that are serving sentences of life imprisonment.

Listen to a podcast of Diarmuid talking about life imprisonment here.

Tom O’Malley, Senior Lecturer and Barrister

Tom O’Malley lectures a range of subjects relating to criminal justice, evidence and sentencing at NUIG and is a leading expert in sentencing and sexual offences in Ireland. He was recently asked by the Minister for Justice and Equality to chair a review into the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences. The Minister for Justice described the review as an important step in ‘ensuring that victims of sexual violence will not be further traumatised by the trial process, and that perpetrators of such serious crimes can be held to account’. Tom is also a barrister-at-law and has been legal counsel in a number of important criminal law and sentencing cases. He recently acted on behalf of the State in a Supreme Court case that set out new sentencing guidelines in homicide cases.

Watch Tom give a talk on legal issues arising from the offence of rape at the Citizen’s Assembly here.

Dr Conor Hanly, Lecturer

Conor is a leading expert in the areas of sexual offences and trial by jury. He was the lead researcher in ground-breaking work that examined the low conviction rates for sexual offences in Ireland. The research involved interviews with rape victims and their experiences of the criminal justice system as well as examining files from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and cases before the Central Criminal Court. The research provided an insight into the reality of rape in Ireland and the pervasiveness of ‘real rape stereotypes.’

Read an article by Conor on the issue of anonymity for rape defendants here.

Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of School and Lecturer

Charles is a leading expert in the area of disability and criminal justice who’s work focuses on defendants and offenders with mental health problems and intellectual disabilities. He has previously worked as the Legal Officer for Amnesty International and as a legal researcher for the Law Reform Commission. He has conducted research on the use of behavioural genetics in the criminal justice system as well as work on issues of criminal responsibility in relation to individuals with disabilities

Read an article by Charles on the institutional abuse of people with disabilities here.

What is Criminology? 

Criminology is the study of why people commit crime. Criminology deals with one of the major social issues of our time - crime and punishment.

It first emerged as a distinct discipline in the late nineteenth century with the aim of discovering the cause or causes of crime.

Criminologists study questions that give us an insight into a wide range of issues about offending behaviour. For example: 

  • Why is it that men commit more crime than women?
  • What factors influence a criminal to desist from committing further crime?
  • Why does it appear that society is more concerned with the crimes of the powerless rather than with crimes committed by the government, by white-collar executives, and by corporations?
  • Are some people ‘born criminal’ or do social and environmental factors have a more influential impact on a person’s likelihood of committing crime?

Modern criminologists concern themselves with many other related issues such as punishment theory, sentencing policies, penal practices and institutions (such as imprisonment and probation), policing and crime control.

The study of criminology introduces students to some key elements and thinkers of the Western World.  Philosophers and sociologists have informed the development of various theories on criminology and why people commit crime. Criminology also has a practical application and there are many instances where criminological studies have been applied in criminal justice policy and practice.


Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Minimum Grade H5 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at O6/H7 level in the Leaving Certificate including Irish, English, another language, and any three other subjects recognised for entry purposes.

Additional Requirements


4 years

Next start date

September 2022

A Level Grades (2021)


Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

1 (More Info)

Closing Date
NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

Course Outline

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3* 

Year 4

Core Law Modules

Core Law Modules



Professional Work Placement


Core Law modules




Criminal Justice and Criminolgy Modules

Advanced Criminal Justice and Criminology Modules

Criminal Justice Modules




Legal Skills Modules

Legal Skills Modules

Legal Skills Modules





Optional Modules: 

  • Critical Thinking for Lawyers
  • Family Law
  • Teanga an Dlí (Legal Irish)





Forensic, Abnormal and Clinical Psychology


Optional Modules:

  • European Human Rights Law
  • Public International Law
  • Alternative Dispute
  • Teanga an Dlí (Legal Irish)





Study Abroad


Optional Modules:

  • Jurisprudence
  • Administrative Law
  • Applied Legal Theory
  • International Protection of Human Rights Law
  • Family Law
  • Teanga an Dlí (Legal Irish)



*Year 3 

Caithfidh na mic léinn a dhéanann Teanga an Dlí seimeastar amháin ag staidéar ar champas Gaeltachta Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh ar an gCeathrú Rua agus seimeastar amháin eile ar shocrúchán oibre i dtimpeallacht lán-Ghaeilge. (Students who study Legal Irish will spend one semester studying at NUI Galway’s Gaeltacht campus in An Cheathrú Rua and one semester of professional work placement in an Irish-speaking environment.)

Further Education

Graduates may also wish to further studies with a master’s degree in criminology, criminal justice, international law or international criminal law.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Law (BCL) programme will be well equipped to succeed in professional studies at either the Law Society (solicitor) or the Honourable Society of King’s Inns (barrister).

Graduates of the Law, Criminology and Criminal Justice programme will be well prepared to pursue careers opportunities with criminal justice agencies (such as the Gardaí, Courts Service) as well the non-governmental sector, international organisations, statutory agencies and research institutes.

This degree will also provide an excellent platform for graduates interested in working outside of the professions – as more and more areas of life are legally regulated, the comprehensive grounding in the law and the criminal justice process that graduates receive during this degree will make them attractive to a wide range of potential employers in industry and the public sector.


Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Students will have the opportunity to work in firms with a substantial practice in criminal law, a statutory agency that has a criminal justice remit or national and international nongovernmental organisations (NGO).

In advance of Professional Work Placement, law students receive one to one CV preparation advice along with interview support and coaching.

Study Abroad

Students opting for study abroad will undertake criminology / criminal law / criminal justice focused modules in one of our partner Universities.

Students can also take advantage of our links with leading international universities to spend a year studying abroad. Students will have the opportunity to take law and/or business modules taught through English. More information on these opportunities is on our International Study <link:  http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/school-of-law/internationalstudy/ 

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,733 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€3,593 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student Contribution

€3,000 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€16,666 p.a. 2021/22

*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Contribution Charge + Student Levy

Student Levy: €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here https://su.nuigalway.ie/


Find out More

Administrative Offices: Room 406, Floor 2, Tower 2, Concourse (Arts/Science Building)

Office hours:  11.00 - 13.00, 14.00 - 16.00 (Monday – Friday)

Phone: +353 (0)91 492389

Email: law@nuigalway.ie

What Our Students Say

Garda Michael

Garda Michael O'Donnell |   Garda, An Garda Siochana

Having studied Criminology and Criminal Justice at NUI Galway I have gained an extensive understanding of all aspects of the criminal justice sphere. Such knowledge has been hugely beneficial to me in all areas of my work as a member of an Garda Síochána. The course is extremely interesting, delivered to a first class standard, in a friendly and approachable environment. I found it has been fundamental to my career and educational development

Jane Holian |   Judicial Researcher, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

NUI Galway is a great place to study criminal law based law subjects, as there is a great faculty for it there. I particularly enjoyed the criminal justice module and found it to be a great basis of knowledge for my work. I'm sure that a law degree that focuses on criminal justice would be hugely beneficial for future graduates applying for judicial researcher roles, or any role that involves research, policy, or going on to further post-graduate study. Studying criminal justice definitely shaped the career choices I've made and made me realise that I was interested in and enjoyed research.


  • School of Law Undergraduate Prospectus

    School of Law Undergraduate Prospectus PDF (4 MB)

  • Undergraduate Prospectus 2020

    Undergraduate Prospectus 2020 PDF (18.4 MB)

  • Quick Guide to Courses

    Quick Guide to Courses PDF (2.4 MB)

  • A Level Quick Guide 2020

    A Level Quick Guide 2020 PDF (2 MB)

  • CAO Brochure

    CAO Brochure PDF (1.3 MB)

  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Prospectus 2020 PDF (20.6 MB)

  • QQI / FETAC Pathways Guide

    QQI / FETAC Pathways Guide PDF (45MB)