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Course content

Who is it for?

This degree is for independent, critical thinkers who want to work, or are working, within criminal justice or want to undertake further research. Many of our students have undergraduate criminology degrees, and come from universities across the world. Often they want to continue their learning or specialise within a specific subject area. Students also come from other science, humanities and legal backgrounds and from within the criminal justice system. Research methods form a key component of the programme so having an interest in data collection and analysis is valuable.

Objectives

At City we believe crime is multi-dimensional, which is why this MSc course brings the victim into focus, not just the offender. The criminal mind is complex and our understanding of it matters – not just to the individual, but also to their family, the community and wider society at large.

We live in a criminogenic global society; one that is producing new forms of crime, and new criminal opportunities. City’s Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc course unpicks the power of the criminological imagination within this society.

This is not a Masters that focuses purely on criminal justice or crime control – instead we emphasise cutting-edge theoretical analysis and methodological training, so you can research the contemporary significance of crime and see how it can be a powerful marker of social and institutional change.

Originally part of City’s MA in Human Rights, this degree offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between criminology and human rights violations. It is global in outlook because, by its nature, crime is transnational and is taught by eminent criminologists who author the books that appear on reading lists across the country.

Here are some of the questions the course poses:

  • Why don’t more people commit criminal acts?
  • What does crime tell us about the society in which we live?
  • Why is crime considered abnormal but at the same time central to news, fiction and popular culture?
  • What would a victim-centred justice system look like?

Teaching and learning

We will teach you through a combination of lectures, interactive workshops and seminars, in the first and second term (September-April). This is supplemented by insight from external visiting criminologists, criminal justice charities, research agencies and, in some cases, retired criminals. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions, debate your ideas and present your own evidence around particular arguments.

During the dissertation phase of the degree you also have the chance to visit the Central Criminal Court (otherwise known as the Old Bailey) and in some cases undertake a prison visit. One student is currently in New York, researching the New York Police Department, as part of her dissertation on the stresses of being a police officer in 2016.

The majority of postgraduate sociology modules are assessed by coursework. However, if you choose to study some modules outside of the department you may have different assessment methods so please check this carefully. You will need to gain a minimum pass mark of 50% in all assessment components.

Dissertation

The dissertation marks the point in the course where you begin to take hold of your research and let your criminological imagination come into play. The dissertation (of 15,000 words) accounts for one third of the total marks for the Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc degree. By the end of the first term you will have to start considering your dissertation topic. You may already know you area of focus, but we offer guidance and support through dissertation workshops.

Modules

You will take three 30-credit compulsory core modules and two 15-credit elective modules. Your choice of elective modules will hone your degree towards your own area of interest. In the final part of the course you take part in a dissertation workshop and produce a dissertation over the summer period.

The first module, ‘Analysing crime’ makes up the course’s theoretical base. You then research contemporary developments in criminal justice and penal policy within the second core module. At this point in the course you get to choose from a number of elective modules covering diverse topics including the dark side of media notoriety and celebrity, and the criminal mind. All these modules draw on the School’s research strengths making them unique to City.

Core modules

  • Analysing crime - This core module offers an advanced introduction to the study of contemporary crime, deviance and control. It explores key issues and debates within criminology (relating to theory, research, policy and practice) and considers the possible futures of the criminological enterprise.
  • Criminal justice policy and practice - This core module focuses on recent developments in criminal justice and penal policy. Outlining the complex process through which policy is made, it explores a number of key controversies relating to prison, probation and judicial policy.
  • Research Workshop - Delivered by experts in the field, this core module will introduce you to the main research methods used in the social sciences (both quantitative and qualitative), and will provide you with the skills to formulate, design and carry out a small piece of research for your dissertation.
  • Dissertation

Elective modules

  • The criminal mind
  • Victims: policy and politics
  • Developments in communication policy
  • Celebrity
  • Mediating Gender and Sexuality
  • Research Design, Methods and Methodology
  • Rationale and Philosophical Foundations of Social Research
  • Introduction to Quantitative Inference
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Applied Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Survey Research Methods
  • Multivariate Data Analysis
  • Statistical Modelling

NB: Elective module choices are subject to availability and timetabling constraints.

Career prospects

The Criminology and Criminal Justice course is taught by internationally recognised experts and prepares you for careers across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

From research to policy development and from the security services to the criminal justice system and victim support, you will have a wealth of employment options once you graduate. Previous graduates are now working in:

  • The Metropolitan Police
  • The National Probation service
  • The UK Foreign Office
  • The prison service
  • Education
  • Mental health
  • Criminal justice charitable sector
  • Doctoral research
  • Prison Service.

Visit the Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSc) page on the City, University of London website for more details!

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