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Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSc)

Course Description

This programme critically addresses a range of key issues and debates relating to crime and the criminal justice system. Students have the opportunity to develop in-depth understanding of crime, deviance and criminal justice from critical theoretical, policy, legal, political and practical perspectives. Addressing issues of historical and contemporary concern such as terrorism, prostitution, legal and illegal drugs, crime in the night time economy, forced migration, gender and crime, domestic violence, crime prevention, punishment, policing, youth crime and justice, law enforcement and the use of new technologies. Students study issues of theoretical and social importance with lecturers who are international experts in their fields.

Course Structure

Students take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Students also undertake a module on research design which enables students to develop a research proposal for their dissertation.

Core Modules:
Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice (30 credits)
-Apply theories of crime and justice to topical issues
-Theory and practice of criminal justice
-Analysis of contemporary politics
-Governance of criminal justice

Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
-Introduction to social scientific research
-Establishing cause and interpreting meaning in social sciences
-Essentials of quantitative and qualitative research in social science research

Research Design and Progress (15 credits)
-Formulating research questions
-Ethical review procedures
-Research proposal design, evaluation, and development
-Conversational analysis in practice
-Qualitative interviewing.

Dissertation (60 credits)
-A dissertation of up to 15,000 words.

Optional Modules:
Typical modules outlined below are those that were available to students styuding this programme in previous years. Choose modules to the value of 60 credits, listed below (60 credits)
-Gender, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)
-Drugs, Crime and Society (30 credits)
-Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry (30 credits)
-Cybercrime and cybersecurity: (30 credits)
-Sociology of Forensic Science (30 credits)
-Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
-Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
-Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

You will also have the opportunity to take a range of modules from other programmes within the Faculty such as those associated with the MSc in Risk and Security.

Learning and Teaching

The MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 1 year full-time programme which may also be taken part-time. The programme’s core consists of a 60 credit dissertation module, one 30 credit module on Criminological Theory, one 15 credit module on Theories of Social Research and one 15 credit module on Research Design. Students are also required to undertake 60 further credits of modules from within SASS or other related departments which may be taught in a variety of ways.

Core teaching on the programme falls primarily within the two 10 week terms, the second of which commences one week prior to the Undergraduate Term. Depending on module choice students may receive between 6 and 8 hours of tuition per week in either or both of these terms.

The programme is taught according to a variety of approaches. Modules such as ‘Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice’ operate a standard 2 hour session within which lecturing, seminar discussion, workshops or presentations may take place. Modules such as ‘Perspectives on Social Research’, ‘Quantitative Methods’ and ‘Qualitative Methods’ operate a weekly lecture series followed by seminar discussion. Other modules such as ‘Statistical Exploration and Reasoning’ operate computer-based practicals.

Following completion of teaching in terms 1 and 2, the ‘Research Design’ module allows for 4 day long workshops. Reflecting on the process of research design, the module supports the student in formulating the research question for their dissertation.

The MSc programme is research-led at its core. The compulsory module 'Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice' links explicitly with the research activities of the criminology staff; the module ‘Crime Violence and Abuse’ links with the current research activities of the School’s research group of the same name; and ‘Drugs, Crime and Society’ is taught by an internationally renowned expert in the field . Students subsequently undertake a 60 credit dissertation on a topic of their choice supervised by staff who are actively researching in a relevant area. While this module is intended to afford an opportunity for a significant piece of independent and original research, it includes up to four hours of regular supervision which takes place typically from the end of term 2. Students will also participate in two one-hour workshops convened by a supervisor and usually alongside others researching in similar areas.

While teaching is intensive, particularly in terms 1 and 2, it is intended that the programme presents options for part-time study. Consequently, teaching is undertaken where possible in timetable slots which take place late in the afternoon.

Visit the Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSc) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally an upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent. We are keen to consider applications from a professional range of criminal justice backgrounds and experiences.

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