What's a typical day for a Criminology student?

by Dan Miller

Hi, I’m Dan. I study Criminology at Lancaster University. After completing my undergraduate degree in Criminology (BA), I am currently doing postgraduate study in Criminology and Social Research Methods (MSc). Alongside this, I work part-time for the University, helping to ensure students are loving their time here. Today, I’m going to take you through a typical day of studying and working at Lancaster University.

smartphone home-screen showing a variety of apps with the word ‘Calendar’ in focus

09:00 - starting the day

To manage studying and working effectively, I start my day by grabbing a coffee (so stereotypical, I know!), and checking my calendar, my to-do list, and my emails to help me get a sense of what I’ve got on. My smartphone is crucial here – my calendar and my emails are connected to my University account, then I also use a to-do app called ‘Things 3’ to ensure I stay on track. I’d definitely recommend it!

10:00 - watching a lecture

At 10:00, I have a lecture to watch for my module on violence. Whilst watching, I make some notes to ensure I understand the content. The lecturers are often at the forefront of their field, and their passion shines through on a variety of interesting topics from cybercrime to violence. This lecture was really interesting (for me, anyway!), exploring how we can measure violent crime and how it’s changed over time.

12:00 - work meeting

At 12:00, I have a work meeting timetabled in. It’s always great to catch up with everyone I work alongside and it’s a good opportunity to have a break from the academic side of things! I always do my best to separate work from studying so I can effectively focus on each one.

13:00 - taking a break

Today isn’t a ridiculously busy day for me, but even on the quieter days, it’s really important to pace yourself. I’m currently working from home, and I’m very lucky to live on a farm in the Lake District. After lunch today, I decide to go on a walk with the dogs and feed the sheep. The sheep in the foreground is one we raised by hand, hence the interest in the camera. Her name is Houdini because she keeps escaping!

white sheep named Houdini standing in a field with other sheep behind her, against a cloudy backdrop
Houdini the sheep

15:00 - seminar

After a good break, I have a seminar timetabled in for 15:00. In criminology, a variety of topics are explored as a group. This week, the seminar is about hunting in East Africa – a slightly controversial topic! It’s always fascinating seeing the different opinions people have, often reflecting different experiences. Though some believe that hunting is never necessary, others recognise that it’s a way of life – both in terms of culture and food.

screenshot showing the console for the “R” programming language and an orange histogram
Quantitative approach to criminology

16:00 - task

One of my modules this year is about analysing and interpreting data from studies in social sciences such as criminology. I completely understand how boring this sounds to many people – but I find it really interesting. Though criminological research is often approached qualitatively, I think a quantitative approach can have so many benefits. For example, quantitative approaches can help us to illustrate increases and decreases in the volume of crime. Indeed, a quantitative approach was used to demonstrate the crime drop – a reduction in the volume of crime since the mid-1990s.

The module I’m doing at the moment involves a task each week. Below is an example of what I’m doing today using a programming language called “R”. This is one of many different skills you can gain on this degree!

17:00 - Time to stop!

Before I sign off for the day, I tidy up my notes from my lecture and seminar, then reply to any outstanding emails to ensure I am still on top of everything. Today has been a fairly structured day. Tomorrow, I have more flexibility, and I am planning to use this time to do some work on my assignments. Each day is different!


Dan is studying MSc Criminology and Social Research Methods at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.

We update our courses regularly and sometimes the course details change - please visit our website for the most up to date information.

Follow Lancaster University on social media