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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    12 months full time, 27 months part time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    16 January 2018

Course content

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:

  • Develop students' intellectual, critical and analytic skills in the academic areas of criminology and criminal justice.
  • Produce graduates who have a thorough understanding of the key theoretical and political positions and concepts within criminology and criminal justice and the ability to use this knowledge in sophisticated ways in the critical assessment and development of public policy and interventions.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to explore, through a range of optional courses, particular areas of study that are either professionally relevant or of academic interest.
  • Provide students quantitative and qualitative research method skills in a way that is consistent with the demands of the discipline and the professional market.
  • Develop in students an appreciation for interdisciplinary studies as the only way to confront the complexity of our object of study, an interest in the applied dimension of scientific knowledge and the awareness of the ethical implications of the scientific criminological project.
  • Enhance students' transferable skills including proficiency in oral and written communication; the capacity for independent learning; the ability to reflect about the ethical and ideological components of their work; and the capacity for working co-operatively with others to produce professional outputs in a timely fashion.
  • Develop criminological knowledge and research skills for the writing of a Masters-level dissertation.

Special features

On successful completion of the course, students will have:

  • demonstrated a critical awareness of the functioning and goals of the different institutions and agencies that comprise the criminal justice field in the English criminal justice system, the existing research on what works and the interrelationship between different forms of social control;
  • demonstrated a conceptual grasp of the different theoretical perspectives on crime, deviance and criminal justice, as well as specific areas of criminological research (e.g., interpersonal violence), and the capacity to critically evaluate theoretical developments in these areas;
  • developed an appreciation for the ethical and ideological dimensions of crime control and criminological research and the links between crime control and public policy;
  • recognised the methodological problems involved in the design and conduct of research and will have demonstrated knowledge of the main measurement strategies and data sources relevant to criminology and criminal justice studies;
  • understood the assumptions and practical implications built into criminal justice and criminological positions and how they affect policy formation and research methodologies;
  • demonstrated a critical awareness of research issues and methodologies related to the fields of criminology and/or criminal justice, combined with a knowledge of corresponding skills in undertaking a piece of research commensurate with Masters'-level study.

Teaching and learning

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.

Coursework and assessment

Most course units are assessed by 3500 word essay or by essay and presentation.

Course unit details

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.


  • Supervised summer dissertation of 12-15,000 words. 
  • Part-time master's students undertake a dissertation in the summer months of year two. Please note that the part-time students can extend their registration for extra 3 months to submit their dissertations in December of their second year, instead of September (you will be advised of the exact date on the second year of the course).

Exit awards

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.

Visit the Criminology (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Manchester

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