Criminal Law

By Ethan Moser - Last update

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What is Criminal Law?

Criminal Law refers to the part of legal studies that defines criminal offenses. Students interested in careers in criminal law will study the punishment of  actions that cause harm to the well-being of individuals and to society as a whole.

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Criminology – the study of crime and criminals
  • Law and History – the study of the interactions between law and history and how the two have shaped one another.
  • Legal Studies – the study of the practice of law.
  • Criminal Justice – the study of the delivery of justice to those who have committed crimes.

Studying Criminal Law in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students an introduction to the foundational areas of law, including legal skills, contract law, tort law, and constitutional law. Criminal law will often be a core area of study in subsequent years of study.

Depending on the sub-discipline of legal studies, students will likely move from exam-based study modules to more hands-on ‘clinical’ modules. Most Criminal law modules will combine lectures, exams, case studies, and written practical work.

Most undergraduate Criminal Law courses run for three or four years. In some cases universities will facilitate work or internship experience as well.

It is common that all law-based courses will required students to complete long-term research projects including a final dissertation or Capstone project. This will ensure the completion of a rigorous curriculum and prepare students for postgraduate studies and/or careers in criminal law.

A bachelor’s degree in Criminal Law is adequate for many jobs in the legal field. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start working as solicitors or barristers, or as diplomats, journalists, and broadcasters.

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in Criminal Law will serve you well in the job market as it provides you with a unique and marketable skill set.  A law degree teaches students how to think logically and analytically as well as equipping them with invaluable research and communication skills.

Many recent graduates have entered into ‘entry-level’ positions working as journalists, accountants, solicitors, and barristers in Ireland and abroad. Some have gone on to work as research assistants, lawyers, or teachers.

Other careers in criminal law that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training, and/or experience to qualify for.

Related Jobs Include:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Solicitor / Barrister
  • Lawyer /Legal Assistant
  • Legal Researcher
  • Professor / Lecturer
  • Diplomat
  • Journalist / Broadcaster
  • Author
  • Foreign Affairs Consultant
  • Insurance Agent

Further Study

An undergraduate degree in Criminal Law is often the first step towards further postgraduate study. Postgraduate students will often specialize in their particular legal sub-disciplines, often times while working as an assistant or junior lawyer for a local firm in their field.

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What points do I need to study Criminal Law?

  • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, English, Irish or another language.

Are there any particular qualities you need to study Criminal Law?

  • Law students will need to enjoy problem solving, history, sociology and cultural studies, Additionally law students will need to be detail-oriented, focused, determined, and curious.

Where can I study Criminal Law?

  • Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • The Irish Proclamation of 1817 made foods like porridge and potatoes legally reserved for “lower orders of people.” Lawmakers hoped that this would protects the vulnerable communities against famine.
  •  According to Trinity College legislation, it is illegal for any student to walk through campus grounds while carrying a sword!
  • Of all crimes committed, only around 10% of them are reported to the police!



Ethan Moser

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
Employment Law


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