- The MA is taught by world class interntional experts; theorists, academic researchers and leading practitioners.
- Unrivalled location is close to the Royal Courts of Justice, Westminster, Scotland Yard and the London legal quarter.
- Complete an internship in criminal justice practice, the development of criminal justice policy or the conduct of criminological or criminal justice research as part of the MA.
The MA provides a comprehensive and integrated programme of advanced academic study in the fields of criminology and criminal justice. We aim to enable you to develop a critical understanding of the functions and practices of the criminal justice system and how these relate to political concerns about crime and disorder. We also provide you with the opportunity to focus upon specialised areas of criminal justice law, institutional activity and policy development, both in the UK and internationally.
Programme format and assessment
Written examination and essays; compulsory core module; optional modules; compulsory research module leading to a dissertation. Part-time students are taught at the same time as full-time students.
Programme modules for MA Criminology & Criminal Justice
Criminology and Criminal Justice (Core Module)
This aims to provide the core knowledge of criminology and criminal justice: the critical analysis and application of its key concepts and theories. It will provide an overview of the criminal justice system and the theoretical doctrines upon which it is founded. This will include theories of crime causation and crime prevention, traditional and radical penology and restorative justice. The course will include advanced study of key law and policy developments relating to areas such as policing and crime prevention, the role and legitimate interests of victims, sentencing and other judicial decisions, the use of custodial and non-custodial punishments. These will be examined in relation to key concepts such as: miscarriages of justice; effective and efficient criminal justice processes; competing rights and duties between victims and offenders and between the individual and public interest; equal treatment on grounds of gender, class, race and ethnicity and other factors of diversity. The module will be assessed in June by means of an open-book, 3-hour written examination.
Drugs, Crime and Criminal Justice (half module)
Political and policy responses to illicit drugs are critically appraised in the context of illicit drug use in post-industrialised societies and theories of normalisation of patterns of use. This module provides a critical understanding of the criminological debates about the links between drug use and crime. This module closely examines the approaches taken by criminal justice agencies to illicit drugs and their users and critically reviews of the extent to which their purposes and effectiveness are supported by empirical research.
Policing and Police Powers
This is a revised version of an established criminal justice course that is now offered as a half option in the first semester. This course examines the role of the police as a central part of the criminal justice system and of the state’s formal machinery for maintaining order, enforcing the law and controlling crime. In recent years, policing and the police have been central focal points for debate in the politics of criminal justice, as well as one of the fastest-growing areas in academic research within criminology. The course examines the social science, legal and theoretical scholarship analysing the nature and functions of the police. The course looks closely at the historical development of the police organisation, its characteristics and dynamics, police specialisms (such as crime investigation, intelligence-led policing and paramilitary policing), problems in policing (such as discrimination and corruption), and mechanisms for accountability and control. The course is assessed by two 3,500-word essays which are submitted in February.
Prison Studies (half module)
The unprecedented growth in the size of the prison population in England and Wales, together with the associated social and fiscal costs, underlines the importance of penal policy and the need for critical examination and debate. Prison law and policy are examined, exploring theoretical foundations and political construction, in the light of modern research evidence. The module will specifically evaluate data on the social utility of imprisonment, particularly in relation to its role in crime prevention. Included are: prisoners' rights; the imprisonment of women; gender and race discrimination; parole; and life sentence prisoners.
Racism, Ethnicity, Crime and Criminal Justice (half module)
Recently, few topics have exercised criminal justice practitioners and policy makers more than those of racism and discrimination. This module provides a critical examination of the concepts of 'race', ethnicity, racism and discrimination and the broader historical, political and policy contexts. It describes the statistical evidence on the experiences among different ethnic groups of crime, victimisation, policing, sentencing, imprisonment and employment within the criminal justice system. The module examines the range of theories employed to explain these patterns and, finally, provides an overview of developments in law, policy and practice relating to 'race relations', 'anti-racism' and the management of diversity.
Research Module and Dissertation
A course in research methods will provide formal training in various methodologies and will support the ongoing independent research of the students, together with individual supervision. It will provide students with an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge in a particular area of interest and will be assessed by a 12,000 - 15,000 word dissertation to be submitted in August.
Sentencing and Criminal Justice (half module)
A thorough and critical understanding of criminological theories of punishment and their application to contemporary sentencing laws and policies are provided in this module. Developments in sentencing law and practice in England and Wales are evaluated in relation to their aims and objectives. Key policy in sentencing theory concerning the protection of individual rights and the promotion of the public interest are examined, and you are introduced to specific dilemmas in the sentencing of offenders; such as the 'dangerous' offender, and offenders differentiated by gender, age, race and social class. Finally, you examine sentencing practice and public knowledge and attitudes to crime and punishment.
Youth Justice (half module)
Children deserve, and for a long time have had, special provision within the criminal justice system. The concepts of 'care' and 'treatment' retain more relevance where young offenders and their welfare are concerned. The module focuses on the social response to juvenile offending in the light of what is known about the nature and circumstances of delinquent behaviour. Pre-trial procedures are examined and also the structures and rationales of the courts and their alternatives. The wide range of sentencing options and alternatives available to the courts and other agencies are critically appraised and certain special categories of offenders are given detailed consideration.