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Criminology and Sociology

Course Description

This course combines the schools’ expertise in criminology and sociology and explores the sociological context of issues in criminology.

A broad range of criminology and sociology subjects are studied which develop knowledge and understanding of broad spectrum of topics within this field including; crime, organisations and administrations in the field of criminal justice, the social causes and consequences of crime, social change and social structures, culture and identity and related issues.

The broad yet specialised nature of this degree allows students to develop advanced and specialised knowledge and skills in criminological and sociological research.

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

Demonstrate advanced, specialised knowledge and skills across a range of criminology and sociology applications, including an understanding of community cohesion and social identities, of criminal behaviour, its causes and consequences, its prevention and the response by criminal justice agencies.
Conduct empirical research projects. Students will have developed specialist research skills and critical thinking across a range of criminological and sociological areas and an understanding of the complex contexts in which criminologists and sociologists work.
Demonstrate the ability to problem solve and reason scientifically, even in complex contexts using appropriate qualitative and quantitative skills, including identifying, formulating and solving social problems and problems related to crime. Students will have the ability to create, evaluate and assess a range of options, and apply ideas and knowledge to a range of situations.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced level theories and empirical evidence concerning crime, its causes and consequences, including the definition of deviant behaviour, public opinion, the media and fear of crime, political reactions to crime, support for victims, offender management and related topics.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced level sociological theories and sociological findings, related to topics like the functioning of public sector organisations, social stratification, political and social movements, social values, consensus and conflicts, culture, community and identity, the social function of law.
The course prepares for a wide range of employment including:

Law-enforcement agencies: the police, customs, the prison service
Public administration: including crime prevention units, offender management, general administration, international institutions
Political associations, work for members of parliaments, for lobby groups related to the criminal justice system and to issues of social justice broadly conceived
Research institutes, researching criminological and sociological issues
Academic institutions such as universities
Course Sturcture
A full MA is valued at 180 credits, a Diploma at 120 credits and Certificate at 60 credits.

The first 120 credits are achieved by following a programme of taught courses. The final 60 credits will be achieved through dissertation, after successful completion of the taught part of the course.

The course employs a wide range of teaching and learning strategies, both formal and informal. These include: lectures, individual study – some of it involving assigned readings - interactive discussion of case studies in class, small group work and essay writing. The MA Criminology and Sociology very much employs the concept of “active learning” by students.

The programme is offered on a full-time and part-time basis.

Full Time Study:

In full-time mode, the course normally lasts for a period of twelve months. Taught courses are undertaken September – May, and the dissertation completed from May to September.

Part Time Study:

In part-time mode, the course normally lasts for a period of two and a half years. Taught courses are undertaken from September to May over a period of two years, and on successful completion of the 120 credits of taught courses, the dissertation may be undertaken. Lectures are concentrated on one day per week for part-time students.

Taught Modules
Compulsory Modules:

The Research Process: This module introduces the main varieties of both quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences and addresses the principles of research design and issues of data collection.

Key Issues in Crime and Justice: This module focuses on four main themes: comparative criminology, comparative criminal justice, comparative victimology, and criminological perspectives.

International Case Studies in Criminology: This module provides an internationally comparative perspective on key areas of criminological concern. These include questions of crime and deviance, criminological theory and the operation of systems of criminal justice.

Sociology Modules (choose 2):

Researching Community: This module examines the developments in the field of community research and related theoretical and policy debates surrounding the application of ideas of ‘community’ to current economic and social changes.

Case Study: Case Study introduces students to sociological analysis by selecting a topic of joint interest to students and lecturer.

Social Theories of Culture: Social Theories of Culture introduces students to the sociological study of culture by introducing and assessing theories.

MA students take part in the fortnightly lecture series of the School of Social Sciences. Visiting speakers and Bangor staff present topics related to social policy, criminology and sociology.

The dissertation is undertaken on completion of the taught modules. It is valued at 60 credits (one-third of the MA degree) and will be around 20,000 words in length.

Under guidance of a dissertation tutor, students will in their MA dissertation work independently on a topic of their choice. This may be a piece of empirical research including primary or secondary data analysis or a theoretical dissertation. Part-time students in employment may choose a topic related to their profession and an area in which they wish to develop further expertise and specialisation.

Visit the Criminology and Sociology page on the Bangor University website for more details!

Student Profiles

125th Anniversary Scholarships - 20+ Awards

125th Anniversary Research Scholarships£5M investment for up to 125 research studentships and bursaries from Sept ‘09To celebrate our 125th anniversary, Bangor University is launching a five year programme of postgraduate expansion. This starts in 2009-10 when we will invest around £5M in up to 125 research studentships and bursaries, with further expansion and more opportunities to apply for in the future. The new Scholarships scheme offers opportunities to the very best students to work with our leading academics and rising stars across each of our six Colleges: Arts & Humanities
Business, Social Sciences & Law
Education and Lifelong Learning
Natural Sciences
Health & Behavioural Sciences
Physical & Applied SciencesThe majority of the Bangor 125th Anniversary Scholarships will be fully-funded studentships, covering all fees for three years plus an annual maintenance allowance. A number of research studentships will specifically be available for outstanding international students. In addition, there are a large number of Bursary awards worth £6,500 a year and a variety of targeted awards.For further information, and to register your interest at the earliest opportunity, follow the web link below.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Fully-funded research studentships + maintenance allowance


The new Scholarships scheme offers opportunities to the very best students to work with our leading academics and rising stars across each of our six Colleges.

Application Procedure

Initially, follow the web link below to register your interest. Further information will be sent directly.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A single or joint honours degree of at least 2(ii) in Criminology, Sociology, Law, Political Science, Social Studies, Social Policy, or a related academic discipline.Applications from candidates who have relevant professional experience in lieu of a bachelor degree will also be considered. All applicants in this category will be invited for interview.

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