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Course Description

This ten-hour eCourse will introduce participants to the subject of criminology in general, as a discipline charged with the task of empirically analysing actions society defines as crimes. Over five sessions, participants will explore the interconnected issues and human-driven elements of crime and deviant behaviour, and how they relate to art crime offenders.


Key concepts covered include:

➣ A review of the core literature and debates that make up the discipline of criminology.
➣ An introduction to the various key criminological theories and how they have emerged
➣ The key components of criminological theory and the ability to apply theory to specific contexts and art crimes.
➣ Explore how to arrive at reasoned and informed judgment on issues relating to art crimes and their respective punishment.
➣ The value of case studies in the investigation of criminal behaviour.

Participants will come away with a foundation in understanding and critically evaluating various criminological theories used to explain the etiology and epidemiology of criminal behaviour.


Course Instructor

Dr. Marc Balcells is a Spanish criminologist, a professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, and an associate professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Marc holds degrees in Law (Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona), Criminology (Universitat Autònoma; Barcelona), and Human Sciences (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), and masters both in Criminal Law (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Universitat de Barcelona) and Criminal Justice (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York). A Fulbright scholar, he obtained his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, at John Jay College. His research revolves around cultural heritage crime and, more specifically, the criminological aspects of archaeological looters. He frequently appears in Spanish media outlets to raise awareness about cultural heritage crime. Other research interests of Marc are victimology and cybercrime.

What You’ll Learn


Why people break laws and how society reacts to law-breaking.


About the origins of modern criminology and about the diversity of thinking on crime and criminal behaviour within the field of Criminology.


About the links between the theories and criminal justice policies.


How to evaluate the empirical evidence related to criminological theories.


How to compare and critique differing theoretical perspectives.

How People Are Reacting

I took this online course as an introduction to the topic when the COVID pandemic prevented me from attending ARCA’s PG Cert program in Italy. The course gave me an exciting baseline introduction and I look forward to taking their summer professional training program next year.

Sarah Scott

As a university student taking courses in organized crime and terrorism, I wanted to understand better how art intersects with these more well known types of criminal behaviors. Professor Tijhuis and Professor Albertson gave me an excellent overview and I look forward to seeing what other courses on the subject ARCA develops.

Luis Rodriguez