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MA Criminology and Sociology

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  • Objectives
    To provide students with a systematic understanding of the diverse range of criminological approaches. To provide students with advanced knowledge of key theoretical traditions in criminology. To provide students with a critical awareness of the problems of, and responses to, crime and criminality within cultural, economic, moral, social and political contexts. To provide students with an advanced understanding of the distinctive character of the criminological and sociological research process. To provide students with an up to date knowledge of the main traditions of criminological and sociological research To establish a critical understanding of integration of theory, concepts, data, and analysis To train students in the design and conduct of original research To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further independent, self-directed learning To enable students to enhance their intellectual, sociological and generic skills in preparation for further academic and/or professional work. Postgraduate Diplomas are identical to those for MA Schemes with the exception of the Learning Outcomes of the Dissertation. Diploma Students do not write a dissertation.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications A good undergraduate degree in sociology or a related discipline that has already been awarded, or in the case of students in the final year of their degree, that is anticipated. For British students a good first degree means an upper second class honours degree. More mature students need only satisfy the University that their background is suitable for a higher degree by virtue of other forms of training and experience and in exceptional cases this could include someone without a first degree.For non-native speakers of English either a TOEFL score of 580 or a IELTS score of 6.5 is required. We also offer a Graduate Certificate in Sociology to prepare students for post-graduate study.
  • Academic Title
    MA Criminology and Sociology
  • Course description

    Course Description
    The MA in Criminology and Sociology provides students with a critical understanding of crime and social order, allowing students to study practical research methods, theories of criminal behaviour and criminal justice, social deviance, social regulations, comparative and globalisation issues in criminology.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1

        COLONIALISM, CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION
        CONSUMER CULTURE
        CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN SOCIOLOGY
        CONVERSATION ANALYSIS AND THE DYNAMICS OF REAL-TIME SOCIAL INTERACTION
        Core: CURRENT CONTROVERSIES IN CRIMINOLOGICAL RESEARCH
        Core: FORMATIVE DEBATES IN CRIMINOLOGY
        Core: MA DISSERTATION
        Core: SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH DESIGN
        CULTURAL STUDIES: THEORY AND HISTORY
        DYNAMICS OF HOME AND WORK IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
        GAY, LESBIAN AND QUEER LIFE: GENDER, SEXUALITIES AND CHANGE
        GAY, LESBIAN AND QUEER LIFE: HISTORY AND VISUAL CULTURE
        GENDER DIVISIONS AND FEMINIST THEORY
        GENDER, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
        GLOBALIZATION, INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND ETHNICITY
        INTERVIEWING AND QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
        MEDIA THEORY
        QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS FROM UNIVARIATE TO MULTIVARIATE METHODS
        SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
        SOCIETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
        SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE AGE OF GLOBALISATION
        SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 1
        SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 2: SELECTED SPECIAL TOPICS
        TEXTS, DOCUMENTS AND ETHNOGRAPHY
        THE CONTEMPORARY NATION STATE
        THE DYNAMICS OF GLOBALISATION
        THE USE OF CULTURE: KNOWLEDGE, POWER AND DIFFERENCE

    Teaching and Assessment Methods
     
    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : An advanced knowledge of the intellectual foundations of criminological debate
        A10 : In depth knowledge of a chosen field through independent original research
        A2 : A systematic awareness of the latest theoretical developments in criminology
        A3 : An ability to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in criminology
        A4 : An advanced comprehension of the principles of research design and strategy, such as the formulation of research problems and appreciation of alternative approaches to research
        A5 : A critical understanding of the relationships between criminological theory and empirical research
        A6 : An understanding of a range of qualitative and quantitative methods and skills
        A7 : An appreciation of the centrality of research questions to criminological enquiry
        A8 : A practical understanding of how to address the ethical and political dimensions of research
        A9 : A critical understanding of the significance of competing epistemological and ontological positions for sociological research

        Teaching Methods
        The course provides two foundation modules in criminological theory and a foundation module in sociological research design, which is supplemented by additional specialised methods training to focus on key issues in criminological research. In addition, students choose from a range of options in Sociology and other departments to pursue their own specific interests in the field in following three further modules or four half options. The MA Course Director liaises with students before the course begins to advise on possible pathways. The Department uses lectures to present material, ideas, data and arguments, in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates. Lectures are also used to stimulate students interest in learning the methods for criminological analysis. In each module the issues, arguments and methods are covered in lectures are explored further through classes, seminars and workshops for which students have to prepare through either hands on practice or assignments. The course is designed to involve clear connection between the foundational theories and principles in the modules and the specific criminological research methods training held in five supplementary specialised seminars. For instance, tensions between naturalistic inquiry and concerns over ethical principles affecting research in the human sciences are explored to reflect upon the researchers role with regard to witnessing criminal activity, rule breaking and wrong doing. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on developing students theoretical understanding of criminological work through the structuring of the material in SC555 and SC655, which provide an advanced understanding of the intellectual foundations of the discipline with a systematic awareness of the latest thinking in criminology. Classes and seminars provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the modules. In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.

        Assessment Methods
        Outcomes A1 to A9 are assessed through coursework, which includes oral presentations and practical skills based assignments (SC905), as well as essays. In addition, the assessed work for all MA students includes a dissertation, which specifically assesses A10.

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : An advanced ability to search, summarise and critically review criminological literature
        B2 : A critical ability to comparatively review competing theories and explanations
        B3 : An ability to construct an original criminological argument
        B4 : An advanced ability to formulate researchable questions
        B5 : An ability to creatively evaluate, analyse and interpret empirical evidence

        Teaching Methods
        Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their modules, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example. Preparation for classes involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of sociological texts and the collection and analysis of empirical data to hone methodological skills. Class tutors provide feedback on all student work through comment and discussion. In addition, tutors also engage students outside the classroom during office hours, appointments, and by email. Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills. Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development. Their dissertations are used to demonstrate self direction and originality in tackling and solving research problems, whilst also acting to advance their capacity for self-directed knowledge and understanding. Additionally, MA students, along with PhD students and staff, are encouraged to attend the two-day annual residential Graduate Conference, which is held in February off-campus. Addressing a different topical theme each year, it provides a stimulating forum for intellectual debate and discussion.

        Assessment Methods
        Outcomes B1, B2 and B3 are judged and evaluated by essays in SC555 and SC655, B1 and B4 are assessed through both practical skills based assignments (in SC905) and essays. All five outcomes will be assessed once more in the MA dissertation. Demonstration of advanced intellectual skills is a key criterion in awarding distinctions for essays and dissertations.

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : An advanced ability to retrieve relevant socioloical literature using library and online searches
        C2 : A practical ability to summarise, evaluate and review criminological arguments, texts and findings
        C3 : A practical ability to summarise, evaluate and review sociological arguments, sociological texts and sociological findings
        C4 : A comprehensive understanding of the principles of research design, and an understanding of the merits of different methods
        C5 : An ability to choose and apply an appropriate method of research
        C6 : A capacity for self-direction and originality in the planning and conduct of a piece of research
        C7 : An ability to make judgements about the best use of time and data in meeting their research objectives
        C8 : An ability to plan, conduct and present a medium scale piece of research

        Teaching Methods
        In SC905 students learn to conduct literature searches and reviews and to work on various aspects of the sociological process, typically found in a research proposal. Throughout the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, and giving presentations. Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations. In addition the dissertation is particularly valuable in developing students practical sociological skills.Students who have a particular interest in extending or deepening their practical sociological skills may do so by choosing from a range of further methods modules (such as SC504, SC523, SC520, SC620) when deciding on their optional modules.

        Assessment Methods
        Skill C1 and C3 are specifically assessed in assignments for SC905, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed module essays. C2 is specifically addressed in assignments for SC555 and SC655. While all the modules assess an understanding of C3 through C7, the full range of these skills is assessed in the marking of the MA dissertation.

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : An advanced ability in presenting ideas and evidence to others orally, in a clear and concise manner and an advanced ability to present ideas and evidence to others in writing, in a clear and concise manner
        D2 : An ability to collect and present materials using information technology
        D4 : A good self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
        D6 : An essential understanding of how to plan, set appropriate time schedules and assess the feasibility of projects; a keen awareness of the need to reflect on their own work and to respond constructively to the comments of others

        Teaching Methods
        Key skills are taught and learned throughout the course through a range of strategies, such as requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific writing assignments and essays, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation. Issues of dissemination are discussed in SC905. Students learn to manage their own research projects through the support and advice of supervisors. They are given feedback on all their coursework and on their dissertation research and are encouraged to reflect on their own work and improve on it. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every module.

        Assessment Methods
        Key skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework. Oral communication skills (D1) and IT skills (D3) are specifically assessed on SC905, and written skills (D2) and constructive response (D6) by most by coursework and the dissertation. The MA dissertation is an overall assessment of communication, research management, and problem solving skills.

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