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Criminology with a semester abroad - MA

Course Description

Criminology has a long and distinguished tradition at Kent with its research base in the Crime, Culture and Control Cluster.

The MA was founded by the world-famous criminologist, the late Professor Jock Young. You are lectured, supervised and tutored by a team of scholars and researchers internationally renowned for their world-class teaching and publications and the semester you spend abroad further enriches your experience and widens your networks.

Criminology is an important part of the activities of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), which is one of the four top institutions of its kind in the UK. In 2012, we were awarded the first National Award for Excellence in Teaching Criminology by the British Criminology Society in recognition of our innovative approach.

The atmosphere of the School is informal and friendly and there is a lively and diverse postgraduate community. Regular staff/graduate seminars introduce you to the work of academic staff and research students as well as academic visitors, and provide opportunities both for sociability and for intellectual stimulation. The large number of academic staff and our favourable staff/student ratios mean that academic staff are readily accessible.

A key feature of the MA Criminology is its involvement in a Common Study Programme. The Common Study Programme is a biannual student-centred conference at which students are invited to present papers, meet students and staff from other countries and exchange ideas.

The School has international links with colleagues and institutions and our current Visiting Professor of Criminology, Jeff Ferrell is an example of this extended network. Professor Ferrell is based at the Texas Christian University, USA where he is Professor of Sociology. He is a leading proponent of cultural criminology and has conducted research on urban culture, graffiti and media.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/175/criminology-with-semester-abroad

Course structure

The programme involves:

- the sociological study of crime and its application to criminal justice and social policy

- the study of issues at the cutting edge of current criminological debate with a strong emphasis on the cultural context of crime

- advanced criminological theory and research methods as applied to crime and criminal justice.

It also offers opportunities for you to develop your career in the areas of criminal justice, policy and government. We are constantly developing the modules available to you in line with current issues and staff expertise. Each year we announce new choices, for example we are currently working on developing a module convened by Dr David Redmon which looks at documentary film-making from a social science perspective.

You have the opportunity to spend a semester (spring or summer) at one of our European partner universities. Our partner universities include Erasmus University, Rotterdam, University of Hamburg, University of Ghent, ELTE University in Budapest and Utrecht University.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

SO869 - Theories of Crime (20 credits)
SO870 - Research Methods in Criminology (20 credits)
SO875 - Drugs, Culture and Control (20 credits)
SO881 - Cultural Criminology (20 credits)
SO882 - Young People, Crime and Place (20 credits)
SO940 - Prisons and Penal Policy (20 credits)
LW870 - Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (20 credits)
LW871 - Policing (20 credits)
SO824 - Sociology of Violence (20 credits)
SO825 - Terrorism and Modern Society (20 credits)
SO998 - Dissertation (60 credits)


Assessment is by six coursework essays and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide a postgraduate programme in criminology of the highest standard with teaching that is informed by internationally recognised research and scholarship

- give you a comprehensive overview and understanding of contemporary debates in criminology and criminal justice including those around diversity and inequality

- involve you in a critical analysis of crime and punishment in relation to developments in social theory, sociology and social policy

- provide an understanding of the social processes that influence the relationship between individuals, groups and institutions

- focus on the relevance of social science for the analysis and assessment of crime and criminal justice policy

- provide you with an advanced understanding of the ways in which quantitative and qualitative research methodologies may be used to study crime and criminal justice

- give you a critical awareness of the political and populist influences on criminal justice policy

- enable you to understand the emergence of social problems (including crime) and the responses of welfare and criminal justice institutions, including analysis of the theoretical, political and economic underpinnings of these responses

- build on the University’s close European ties by providing the potential for students to participate in the European Common Study programme in Criminology

- enable mobility to a partner university in another European country to give you a new perspective on criminology and criminal justice policy in a different learning environment

- provide the experience of a different way of life in another European country, enhance the appreciation of diversity and intercultural dialogue, promote personal development, and build the skills, flexibility and outlook for both organised and independent mobility in future training, education and employment.


Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of Criminology is a particularly valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.

Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers across the criminal justice system, encompassing areas such as counter-terrorism, advocacy, probation, social policy and research. Our graduates have found positions in organisations such as the Civil Service, the Ministry of Justice, various police services and the Probation Service.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the Criminology with a semester abroad - MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)


The other students on my programme came from many different countries. This helped make discussions much more exciting as we could share experiences and stories which really helped broaden my understanding of social policy around the world.

(Student Profile)

Ben Thomas

What attracted you to the course?

I did my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Criminology at Kent, and I really enjoyed the course and the way it was taught. However, I had particular areas of interest that I wanted to explore further. As I did a joint honours degree, I didn’t have the opportunity to research and write a dissertation, so coming back to pursue a postgraduate degree seemed like the obvious choice.

What have you particularly enjoyed about the course so far?

I love the seminars. This year, the lectures and seminars are combined, which means you have the opportunity to interact more with the lecturers, and the discussions we have in class are generally very good. The classes are a lot smaller in size too, so we are able to bounce ideas off one another. Opportunities such as the Erasmus exchange programme and the Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology also mean that we are exposed to the wider European and international perspectives and debates.

I’m really enjoying the Sociological Theories of Violence module, which links to my chosen dissertation topic on gangs and homicide. The module covers all areas of violence and brings together all aspects of criminology, such as feminism, masculinity and inequality, which is fascinating.

How does the postgraduate student experience differ from that of an undergraduate?

The postgraduate experience completely expands your knowledge. You become more engaged with the reading and have a greater understanding of the material. By undertaking a broader analysis of the subject, you can take what you’ve learned in one module and apply it directly to another. You also develop your existing skills and gain new ones, for example, in presentation and research.

Postgraduate study is a lot more focused than at undergraduate level, but it’s also more personal – you get to know everyone better and you have the opportunity to interact more with people. There are many opportunities to network, from attending conferences or going abroad on an exchange programme and meeting exchange students, to socialising with invited speakers and the School’s academic staff.


Taught Postgraduate Scholarships - 20+ Awards

The school will award £500 to all First Class honours degrees (or their non-UK equivalents) and to very good upper 2.1 (i.e., 68%+), and is subject to academic transcript, references and personal statement. All applicants, who have accepted a place on one of the following programmes, will be automatically considered for a scholarship. There is no need to make a separate application.•MA Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies
•MA Criminology
•MA Criminology with a semester abroad
•MA International Social Policy
•MA Methods of Social Research
•MA Political Sociology
•MA Sociology
•MSc Environmental Social ScienceThis award of £500 is in addition to the Kent £1000 loyalty discount available to those who have finished their undergraduate studies in the previous academic year and who are going straight into postgraduate study at the University of Kent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Home, EU and International fee paying students with First Class honours degrees (or their non-UK equivalents) and to very good upper 2.1 (i.e., 68%+) are all eligible.

Application Procedure

While there is no formal closing date, we recommend you apply for your chosen course as soon as possible, before the end of July 2016.Awards are subject to academic transcript, references and personal statement. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Further Information



The Templeman Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

This scholarship covers the tuition fees for one year of a full-time taught postgraduate programme at the University of Kent.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full-time taught postgraduation tuition fees for one year


•Applicants must be University of Kent Graduates.
•Applicants must already hold, or be expected to achieve, a first class honours degree from the University of Kent.
•Applicants must have received, and accepted an offer for a full-time taught postgraduate degree (any subject) at the University of Kent for 2016-17.
•Full-time UK (home), EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply.

Application Procedure

Email the Scholarships Unit ([email protected]) with the following:•Subject line: Templeman Scholarship
•Include in the email: ◦ full name
◦student application number or current student ID number
◦previous University of Kent undergraduate student ID number
•Attach a covering letter addressing "Why I wish to pursue my chosen postgraduate degree at Kent".

Further Information



Graduate School Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The University of Kent offers a broad variety of postgraduate study and research opportunities across a range of superb locations in Canterbury, Medway, Brussels and Paris. Our postgraduates benefit from teaching and supervision by world-leading researchers and have access to excellent facilities and training opportunities. The Graduate School Scholarship Scheme was established in 2009 to celebrate the founding of the University's Graduate School, which is responsible for the strategic development of graduate education and research within the University. The scholarship provides a £1,000 reduction (£500 per annum for part-time students, for 2 years) in tuition fees to University of Kent 2015 graduates who earn a Bachelors degree with honours (or undergraduate Masters degree) and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2015.Candidates can hold the Graduate School Scholarship in conjunction with other awards except where these awards offer full fees and a Research Council UK equivalent maintenance grant. The Graduate School Scholarship cannot be held in conjunction with the University's loyalty discount.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1000 towards tuition fees


Exclusively for 2015 Kent graduates who are registered at Kent by 1 October 2015 for a self-funded postgraduate degree programme.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application. The tuition fee reduction will be provided to all eligible 2014 graduates on registration.

Further Information



Music Scholarships - 15 Awards

The University of Kent recognises the role that music and culture plays in the development of the individual and the benefits cultural activities bring to the wider University community. It offers Music Performance Scholarships of up to £5,000 each year to talented instrumentalists and singers studying for any degree. The scholarship is intended to encourage excellence and development in music performance, and includes instrumental/vocal tuition with experienced teachers. Around fifteen scholarships are awarded to new applicants each year. In return, recipients are expected to make a major contribution to the musical life of the University. Scholarships will normally be allocated only to those students whose musical interests and talents can be supported within the University community.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Music Scholarships/Awards are intended to recognise and encourage excellence. Applicants would usually be expected to demonstrate some or all of the following criteria when submitting their written application:•an advanced ABRSM grade (or equivalent, including RockSchool, Trinity or other international musical qualifications)
•a significant musical profile whilst in school / college / university or the local community
•appropriate performing experience at county or national level / conservatoire, e.g. youth choir, county orchestra, wind band, jazz or big band
•experience in giving public performances, e.g. gigs or solo recitals, major role in musical theatre productions

Application Procedure

There is no deadline prior to the start of the academic year, but early application for is advisable. If you would like to discuss the Music Scholarship/Award Schemes prior to your application, contact Susan Wanless, Director of University Music, Tel 01227 823305.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree in criminology, sociology, social policy, law or other related social science discipline, or substantial experience in social or political research or a relevant profession. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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Recipient: University of Kent

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