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This course is designed for all those who want to acquire a thorough understanding of the more recent and often complex trends and developments in crime, criminal justice, and governance more broadly. Combining theoretical reflection and practical application, the course aims to provide you with an opportunity to specialise in the latest developments in criminology, criminal justice and governance studies.


The programme welcomes recent graduates (whether UK based or international students), mature students, and professionals in one of the relevant fields (e.g. police officers, prison officers, probation officers, social workers, lawyers, magistrates).

The MA programme is block taught. You will be required to attend four 3-day blocks of intensive teaching and discussion that normally run between September and May. This format allows students to combine their studies with either part-time or full-time professional activities should they wish to do so.

A significant effort will be made in the programme to tailor teaching contents both to your individual educational and professional background and to your intellectual or professional interests. The programme has a teaching format which will provide you with many opportunities to discuss your own intellectual interests or professional experience. You will also be offered an opportunity to take an elective. The programme includes an additional half day dissertation workshop where you will be able to prepare for your dissertation research.

The distinctiveness of the programme resides in its multidisciplinary curriculum which is simultaneously rooted in the University’s dual honours approach to undergraduate teaching and interdisciplinary approach to research.

Students will be assigned a personal supervisor from the teaching team. They will be available for help or advice at any time during the course.


  • To introduce students to recent and contemporary theorising in criminology and governance studies
  • To show students how recent and contemporary theorising in criminology and governance studies has attempted to describe, analyse and interpret contemporary developments in criminal justice, transnational justice, international justice, and governance more broadly
  • To enable students to think through methodological problems and choose appropriate methods for the study of crime, criminal justice, and governance
  • To enable students to critically assess research in a number of fields within criminology, criminal justice, and governance studies more broadly
  • To enable students to design and complete a research project and understand the importance of the research process in the social sciences


All American and Canadian students will be eligible for a 10% bursary towards the overseas rate of tuition for the course. In addition, all students graduating from one of our 30 North American partners will be eligible for a further 15% bursary. Finally, if a previous exchange student from one of the partner universities decides to come back to Keele for graduate study, they will be eligible for a 50% bursary. Further information can be found here.

All students are eligible for an ERASMUS grant for the period spent at an EU partner institution. 


The taught Masters programme requires satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits. The MA programme in Criminology and Criminal Justice includes four 30-credit module blocks and one 60-credit dissertation of 15-20,000 words. All module blocks include at least 12 teaching sessions. The programme includes, in chronological order:

  1. Contemporary Criminology: Theory and Practice
  2. Researching Crime and Criminal Justice
  3. Contemporary Challenges in Criminal Justice
  4. Advanced Topics in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Alternatively, Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice (dependent upon student numbers and resources permitting)

Each module block comprises the following:

  • Three days of intensive face-to-face contact between staff and students. Each day is sub-divided into four thematically linked sessions and several members of staff contribute to each day.



This module block will introduce you to criminological theories and perspectives. However, in contrast to many if not most theoretical modules in criminology, this module block explicates theories or perspectives in criminology by applying them to particular issues and problems. This module block will thus include sessions on topics such as (e.g.):

the political economy of crime and crime control in the 21st century; biopolitics of security; crime, crime control and the modern imagination; crime, disorder and the governance of space;  crime, historical and global contexts; consumerism, popular culture, and crime; the phenomenology of ‘edgework’; terrorism, organized crime, and complexity; cultural and critical criminology; post-structuralism and criminology.


This module block includes sessions on topics such as (e.g.):

interpreting quantitative research data; researching fear of crime; interpreting qualitative research data; ethnographic research; research on urban dynamics and migration; uses and misuses of statistics; databases and datasets in criminology and criminal justice; oral history and documentary analysis in criminal justice studies; researching courts and prisons; research in cultural and critical criminology; feminist research in criminology and criminal justice.


This module block will introduce you to a number of contemporary issues and developments in criminal justice and governance studies. The module includes sessions on issues such as (e.g.):

risk society, surveillance, and actuarial justice; plural policing and nodal governance; late modern precautionary culture; technology and criminal justice; fines and fixed penalties; criminal injustice and miscarriages of justice; the expanding prisoner complex; prison life and prison work; community, crime and criminal justice; policing the state of exception; transitional justice and reconciliation.


This module block consists of sessions on topics proposed by students themselves, as well as sessions based on individual staff members’ and dissertation supervisors’ expertise.


Graduates from our course have found employment in a variety of occupations including: the accelerated police and prison graduate training programmes; the probation service; in other criminal justice agencies; in the voluntary sector with organisations such as Victim Support and NACRO; and in a variety of other graduate level jobs. In addition, a number of graduates have gone on to take postgraduate courses at Keele and elsewhere.

Visit the Criminology and Criminal Justice MA/PgCert/PgDip page on the Keele University website for more details!




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