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The Department of Criminology at Swansea University has run a successful MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology since 1997. Students of the Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology will have the opportunity to learn about crime, the criminal justice system and cutting edge themes in criminology from leading experts in the field. The MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology specialises in the application of criminological knowledge to the workings of the Criminal Justice System and this is strongly reflected in the exciting range of diverse and cutting-edge modules on offer.
The MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology focuses mainly on the application of knowledge to the operation of the criminal justice system, reflecting the policy/ practice orientation of members of the staff team.
Whether you are a practitioner working in the criminal justice system, a researcher wishing to gain a firm foundation for a research degree in an ESRC recognised Doctoral Training Centre, or an undergraduate aspiring to a career in criminal justice, our Masters-level degree in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology is for you! The MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology offers you:
• an up-to-date and high quality programme which includes some of the most important theory and research in criminal justice and criminology
• an opportunity to develop your ability to apply criminal justice and criminological knowledge to research and the operation of the criminal justice system
• an opportunity to develop and apply research methods knowledge and skills
• enhanced employability for those wishing to pursue a career in the criminal justice system and for those interested in an academic or research career
Modules on the MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology typically include:
• Ethics and Philosophy of Social Research
• Quantitative Methods
• Qualitative Methods
• Case Studies in Applied Social Research
• Data Visualisation
• Crime, Drugs and Alcohol
• Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice
• Applied Criminal Justice
• Understanding Policing
• Youth Justice: Research, Policy & Practice
• Criminal Justice System in England and Wales
• Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
• Human Trafficking
The MA in Applied Criminal Justice & Criminology will open the door to a range of careers, including: Local Government, Police Force, Prison Service, Social Work, Victim Support, Teaching, and Probation Service to name a few. Enhancing your career prospects whilst studying on this course, you will have a wealth of opportunities to take advantage of in order to boost your CV and form important employment links for the future.
Every student is allocated a Personal Tutor who offers academic and pastoral care throughout the student’s stay in Swansea. Several lecturers invite senior criminal justice practitioners, managers, and policy makers to deliver lectures on key aspects of criminal justice policy and practice. The Department of Criminology also ensures that MA in Applied Criminal Justice & Criminology students participate in social events through the Criminology Society which organises events that give students opportunities to socialise and meet others in the Department of Criminology. There may also be placement and research internship opportunities available to students (subject to availability). Research internships provide opportunities for students to observe practices in a criminal justice agency and then produce their dissertation on a topic that is relevant to the work of the agency.
- Christie Owen, MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology graduate 2010 -11
“There are a range of different modules covering a broad spectrum of subjects. Helpful tutoring means that those who have not studied Criminology previously will find the subject easy to pick up. There are plenty of approachable staff and lecturers to seek advice if you are unsure. Lectures are well structured with scope for debate with your peers and lecturers, as well as informative media such as videos and power point presentations. There is continuous mentoring while completing dissertations, with supervisors engaging well with students and aiding them in making it more manageable. Supervisors are continuously available to answer any questions or solve any problems that arise while writing such a large piece of work. The library services are also extremely helpful, with access to many books, journals and the internet with a room specifically for postgraduates which is very much needed during busier periods.
The Masters degree in Criminology encouraged me to pursue a career in the Prison Service. After graduating I was offered a position following my first interview and the course has given me skills to use in my new position.”
- Peter Doyle, MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology graduate
Retired Detective Chief Inspector and Senior Investigating Officer Peter, from Kenfig near Porthcawl, had specialised in Homicide and Serious Crime Investigation and has an extensive background in Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) investigation.
“The course was challenging for me as I do not possess a first degree – a particular challenge was writing in an academic style. I overcame the challenges by applying practice and more practice – plus support from those within the College and my family. I believe the key is not worrying about every mistake you make but learning from them instead.
“I chose Swansea University because it has an excellent reputation for criminology studies and I also worked in Swansea for many years as a police officer. It was a great honour to meet people on my course from such a wide spectrum and of all ages – this was very inspiring, I was made to feel welcome by everyone involved.”
This programme critically addresses a range of key issues and debates relating to crime and the criminal justice system. You will have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of crime, deviance and criminal justice from critical, theoretical, policy, legal, political and practical perspectives and will address issues of historical and contemporary concern such as terrorism, prostitution, legal and illegal drugs, crime in the night-time economy, forced migration, gender and crime, domestic violence, crime prevention, prison and punishment, policing, youth crime and justice, law enforcement and the use of new technologies. You will also study issues of theoretical and social importance with lecturers who are international experts in their fields.
You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. You will also undertake a module on research design which enables you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.
Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice (30 credits)
Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
Research Design and Progress (15 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)
You may choose modules to the value of 60 credits.
In previous years, typical modules offered were:
You will also have the opportunity to take a range of modules from other programmes within the Faculty such as those associated with the MSc in Risk and Security.
The MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 1 year full-time programme which may also be taken part-time. The programme’s core consists of a 60 credit dissertation module, one 30 credit module on Criminological Theory, one 15 credit module on Theories of Social Research and one 15 credit module on Research Design. You are also required to undertake 60 further credits of modules from within SASS or other related departments which may be taught in a variety of ways.
Core teaching on the programme falls primarily within the two 10 week terms, the second of which commences one week prior to the undergraduate term. Depending on module choice you may receive between 6 and 8 hours of tuition per week in either or both of these terms.
The programme is taught according to a variety of approaches. Modules such as ‘Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice’ operate a standard 2 hour session within which lecturing, seminar discussion, workshops or presentations may take place. Modules such as ‘Perspectives on Social Research’, ‘Quantitative Methods’ and ‘Qualitative Methods’ operate a weekly lecture series followed by seminar discussion. Other modules such as ‘Statistical Exploration and Reasoning’ operate computer-based practicals. Prisons, Crime and Criminal Justice is an innovative module that emphasises transformative education. It is taught within a prison each week using the Inside-Out dialogical pedagogy whereby university students learn together with prisoners, completing the same readings and assessments, as well as group work and group projects (please see the website for further details). For this module you will need to undertake security clearance and mandatory prison training before being allowed to enter the prison.
Following completion of teaching in terms 1 and 2, the ‘Research Design’ module allows for 4 day long workshops. Reflecting on the process of research design, the module supports the student in formulating the research question for their dissertation.
The MSc programme is research-led at its core. The compulsory module 'Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice' links explicitly with the research activities of the criminology staff; the module ‘Crime Violence and Abuse’ links with the current research activities of the School’s research group of the same name; and ‘Drugs, Crime and Society’ is taught by an internationally renowned expert in the field. You will subsequently undertake a 60 credit dissertation on a topic of your choice supervised by staff who are actively researching in a relevant area. While this module is intended to afford an opportunity for a significant piece of independent and original research, it includes up to four hours of regular supervision which takes place typically from the end of term 2. You will also participate in two one-hour workshops convened by a supervisor and usually alongside others researching in similar areas.
While teaching is intensive, particularly in terms 1 and 2, it is intended that the programme presents options for part-time study. Consequently, teaching is undertaken where possible in timetable slots which take place late in the afternoon.
Taught by those with academic and professional experience in the subject, this course will develop the student’s ability to understand the criminal justice system, at both theoretical and operational levels, from UK and international perspectives. The core module applies social science to explain why crime concentrates in specific places at particular times. Then by analysing social, economic and political influences (including youth, race, gender and media), it explores how different societies attempt to control crime and offenders. This leads the student into examining the constituent parts of the CJS process, exploring the challenges surrounding risk assessment, diversion, sentencing, policing and prisons.
The course leader is Dr Rebecca Coleman, whose Ph.D. relates to Applied Psychology. An experienced lecturer in the field of Criminal Justice she is also an active researcher, with a specific interest in violent offenders and evidence based policing. She has worked with the Police, Home Office and NGO’s in generating innovative approaches to issues of crime and disorder.
Assisting will be Professor Stuart Kirby. Stuart is a chartered psychologist and following a 30 year career with Lancashire Police, retired as a Detective Chief Superintendent, and joined academia. He is widely published in the field of Policing and Criminal Justice and has extensive research experience. He has also trained and presented to Criminal Justice agencies in Europe, USA, Canada, India, UAE, and Australia.
This course is designed to enhance the development of those already working in the CJS. It is also aimed at developing those who wish to be employed in the diverse field of Criminal Justice or the Security industry.
For those with professional experience those who wish to continue their studies can enrol onto the Professional Doctorate programme.
Criminologists investigate the causes, consequences and reactions to crime – and this course gives you hands-on experience in real-world situations, designing, analysing and evaluating criminal justice and crime control strategies.
With an interesting and varied curriculum, this programme has a very strong emphasis on applied knowledge and job market skills. You’ll learn by doing; bridging the gap between the classroom and the police station, the lecture theatre and the community centre, and between research and policy. This course is intended to create sophisticated criminological practitioners, able to navigate the realities of criminal justice and crime control, with superior experience, skills and knowledge of how to think, act and reflect criminologically.
This MA has a strong emphasis on communication, research, problem-solving, teamwork, and policy analysis. These skills will be developed through classroom discussion and debate through practical engagement with external criminal justice and community safety organisations. You’ll be taught by a team of expert criminologists from a variety of specialist backgrounds, including: law, sociology, psychology, history, and politics.
Classes will be interactive, discursive, and task-based. There will be few traditional ‘lectures’, but plenty of workshops where you’ll be involved in planning, preparing and leading. With support from staff, you’ll have the freedom to shape the course of your learning and focus on your personal interests and career ambitions.
The course is flexible, teaching is blended between fortnightly 2-hour workshops interspersed with preparation and online support. Assessment is task-based and varied, and will include: written essays, oral presentations, events organisation, engagement projects, research projects and problem-solving exercises. The Crime Control and Community Safety Hub provides a separate resource room and office space for students on this degree to meet and undertake project work.
You’ll be provided with a high level of support throughout your studies, and academic support tutors work with small groups to provide support and advice.
The MA in Criminal Justice and Crime Control aims to produce postgraduates who are versatile communicators, effective problem-solvers, policy analysts, and evidence-led decision makers.
Completing this course opens up a wide range of careers in the following fields: policing, probation, offender management, prison service, community safety, crime prevention, private and corporate security, civil service, border agency, customs and excise, military policing, security services, legal professions, social housing, offender rehabilitation, youth justice, supporting people, crime analysts, victims and survivors support, local government, and retail / industrial surveillance.
The skills you’ll develop on this programme will be transferable in a number of other careers, including: information technology, management, and administration. Careers in retail and hospitality management, marketing and sales, financial services, research and product development are also successfully pursued by graduates with criminology qualifications.
* All modules are subject to availability.
The MA Criminology allows you to develop specialist knowledge of the current trends and historical debates surrounding crime causation, crime control and regulation.
This innovative, interdisciplinary course is taught by experts from sociological, legal and psychological backgrounds with real-world experience. You will benefit from research-led teaching as well as strong links to wider criminal justice professions and industry.
Whether you are a recent graduate, or a practitioner or professional already working in the criminal justice field, this course will enable you to gain a critical understanding of contemporary criminological and socio-legal issues and engage with a diverse range of methods used to research them.
Aims of the course:
On successful completion of the course, students will have:
This course is taught by an interdisciplinary team using a variety of delivery methods: lectures, workshops, student-led presentations and debate, group work and individual research.
Most course units are assessed by 3500 word essay or by essay and presentation.
You will be doing 180 credits in total, 120 of which will be taught modules and the remainder 60 credits in the form of a dissertation.
Course units are of the value of 15 or 30 credits. You will be required to select course units to a total of 120 credits, and so must choose a minimum of four course units or may be able to choose a maximum of eight course units to make up your course of study. The availability of individual optional course units is subject to change (due, among other factors, to staff availability to deliver the course units in any given year).
The course has a compulsory research component, in which you must write a 12,000 to 15,000 words dissertation (60 credits). The taught element of the degree programme will total 120 credits and the research element of the degree programme will total 60 credits i.e. you will study 180 credits for a master's programme. Your dissertation must be within the area of one of the units you have chosen. The research element of the course is supported by weekly research methodology lectures delivered throughout semesters one and two designed to improve your legal writing and research skills.
Students who fail to fulfil the requirements to pass the 180 credits necessary to attain the final degree of MA can leave the course with the award of Postgraduate Diploma by passing 120 credits at the pass mark of 40%, or can qualify for the Postgraduate Certificate by passing 60 credits at the pass mark of 40%. Students who do not fulfil the criteria for passing the taught element of the course at the Masters' level of 50% will not be permitted to progress to the dissertation element of the course, and will leave the course with the highest award that the credits that have been passed will allow.