Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
The MSc Criminal Justice & Social Research Methods offers excellent postgraduate training. You will engage with the ethical issues concerning criminology and criminal justice research and with the policies informing the design of research into crime, deviance and punishment. It opens doors to research careers in both the public and private sectors.
This degree, which is eligible for ESRC 1+3 funding, guides you through the theory of criminological and criminal justice research and develops your skills in the collection, analysis and reporting of qualitative and quantitative data. The integration of criminal justice and criminological modules gives you a broader overview of current research and allows you to engage in more specialised criminological and socio-legal studies.
Our Law School is home to the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, the Centre for Law and Society, and the Centre for Child and Family Justice; these centres underpin our postgraduate teaching, which is research-led and research-informed. You will be taught by lecturers who are nationally and internationally renowned researchers.
Your core modules are Research Projects in Practice, Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences, Quantitative Research Methods, Crime and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century, and Criminological Theory. You will choose one module from: Criminological Research in Practice; International Criminal Law; International Human Rights Law; International Terrorism and the Law; Gender, Sexualities and Human Rights; and Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Peace Building. A research-based Criminal Justice dissertation completes your degree.
Your postgraduate degree prepares you for research jobs in the Home Office, Probation Service, Social Services, and other government departments or voluntary organisations. You will develop the skills to undertake and critically evaluate criminological research, which are highly prized by employers. The analytical and communications skills developed through your studies also enhance your employability.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
The Crime and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century module introduces students to the nature and extent of crime and criminal justice policy in contemporary society. Students gain an overview of crime and cirminal justice statistics, with a critical understanding of how such statistics are socially constructed. They also gain an overview of current and recent trends in criminal justice policy, and an in-depth understanding of some of the key social dimensions of crime and justice (e.g. age, gender, race, social class) and some key criminological challenges for the 21st century (e.g. Cybercrime, Corporate Crime, Environmental Crime).
The module aims to:
Develop a critical understanding of the concepts (for instance, ‘crime’, ‘offender’ and ‘victim’) central to criminological study and their relationships to each other;
Foster a critical awareness of the role of power (including individual, corporate and political power) in defining crime, developing policies to deal with it and in labelling offenders and victims;
Identify, debate, analyse and understand emerging patterns of crime and criminal justice that look to characterise and dominate the early 21st century;
Critically study contemporary bases of crime and criminalisation and its intellectual and historical antecedents.
The Criminological Theory module provides students with knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and theoretical approaches that have been developed, and are continuing to develop, in relation to crime, victimisation and responses to crime and deviance.
The module gives students the opportunity to further develop the critical, analytical and written skills necessary to conceptualize and explain criminological problems— as well the evaluative skills necessary to assess and put criminological theories into operation through research.
The Criminal Justice Dissertation gives students the opportunity to further develop their practical skills relevant to the study of criminal justice that inform decisions about the design and application of research and the use of critical analytical perspectives on applied research in the field or in library based research. Students will engage in their own piece of research (empirical or library based) and produce a 15,000 word dissertation based on this.
This module offers an introduction to qualitative research methods that are commonly used in the social sciences. The modules includes sessions on interviewing, ethnography, text analysis, focus groups, mixed methods research and other approaches. These approaches will be discussed looking at examples of studies from different subject areas and in relation to students' own planned or current research.
This module is a general introduction to statistical analysis for students in the arts and social sciences. It assumes some background equivalent to FASS508 or FASS509. After a brief review of that background, the module looks in more detail at the nature and calculation of probabilities; at different approaches to intervals and hypothesis testing; and at the analysis of relationships between variables using correlation and regression. The course is split equally between theoretical input and practical work on the computer using the "R" environment for statistical analysis. Students taking the course for credit undertake three short data-analysis assignments using "R".
This module provides you with first-hand experience of organising and undertaking a group research project on a subject of your own choosing. You will work through processes of research design and strategy, developing research questions, planning and carrying out fieldwork and analysis, and presenting and evaluating research.
Working together in groups of four or five, you will produce a high-quality project report which could take various forms – for example, an article for publication, a multimedia website, or a report suitable for presentation to a funding body. You also make an oral presentation of your work.
Although the module is essentially practical, it also provides the opportunity for you to examine generic issues involved in doing social research and to learn about the contemporary context of research policy and funding.
The Criminological Research in Practice module presents cutting-edge research to provide students with insights into the realities of criminological research in practice, the process of research from inception of idea through development of research proposals (and applications for funding) and execution of fieldwork to dissemination of findings and contributions to development of theory and knowledge. Lectures showcase individual research projects, highlighting methodological (including practical and ethical) difficulties and how they are overcome, and the relationship between the research process and expanding the body of knowledge within the field of criminology.
Develop a critical understanding of the realities of criminological research from project inception through to dissemination of findings.
Foster a critical awareness of experiencing unforeseen methodological, practical and ethical challenges in the research process and ways to overcome these.
Provide a working familiarity with a range of funding sources and how to apply to them.
Develop knowledge and understanding of cutting-edge developments in a selection of criminological topics.
This module seeks to examine law in its social and cultural context, focusing specifically on its gendered context. It is socio-legal in emphasis. In other words, the module examines laws less for their own sake than for what they reveal about the role of law, and its operation in practice. In so doing, the module offers both theoretical and practical engagements with the law and assesses the contribution a feminist perspective can offer to understand socio-legal relations. The module will look, for example, at law’s theoretical underpinnings and its assumptions about the individual. The module will explore various areas of both public and private law and examine law’s role in challenging, creating or reproducing gender relations and the ways in which the law is used to reward and punish different forms of gendered and sexual conduct and identity.
What are the merits of international criminal justice? And what are the main challenges that present themselves in this area of law?
This module provides you with an opportunity to consider these key questions as you benefit from an introduction to substantive international criminal law.
You will explore the central theme of international crimes, deepening your understanding of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Within your analysis, you will address the role of international courts and tribunals, mixed and hybrid courts and tribunals, as well as developments in national courts.
This is your chance to critically engage with stimulating examples of prosecution and punishment, which are central to the subject of international criminal law. Your studies will be informed by the convenor’s cutting-edge research on transitional criminal justice and retrospective justice.
A combination of independent reading and regular seminars will provide you with a sound grasp of this fascinating legal discipline.
The overall aim of this module is to introduce students to the role of law in transitional justice and peacebuilding and to provide an overview of the prevailing themes, issues and challenges faced within the field. The module will allow students to examine and critically assess the development and efficacy of various institutions and processes designed to deal with grave & systematic human rights violations in countries which are in transition from conflict or repression, to peace. Students will explore and critically evaluate various mechanisms such as truth commissions and assess their impact and contribution within the wider context of peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. Contemporary challenges in the field such as the inclusion of economic and social rights and gender issues will also be explored.
Terrorism continues to be one of the greatest global challenges we face in the pursuit of international peace, stability and security.
This is a stimulating module that explores concepts from many areas of the law, including civil liberties, international law, criminal justice and human rights.
In the course of your studies you will look at the legal definitions of terrorism – from a regional, national, and international perspective. And you’ll have the opportunity to use counter-terrorism case studies to examine specific aspects of preventative justice measures.
This is a fast-moving and unpredictable area of law, so the material that we cover may change in order to track the prevailing issues and latest developments. However, you will consider civil liberties alongside some of the contemporary challenges facing domestic and international legal systems.
The examination of the topics is carried out through a vigorous interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach – offering you greater understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.
Our prestigious Law School is home to some of the most highly-regarded international lawyers and research-active lecturers - you will benefit from their expertise as they teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
How do international laws protect, govern and shape your human rights?
This course provides an overview of the various rights that are protected through international instruments: civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
You will also be given a general introduction to regional and universal systems for human rights protection and promotion. This will focus on the UN human rights system but you will be encouraged to take a comparative view of regional human rights protection systems.
You will gain a substantive and procedural knowledge of human rights through the international system. And you’ll engage with some key debates in this legal arena, such as the development of human rights and the human rights obligations of non-state actors.
To get the most from this module, you will have some knowledge of general international law and have a law or social science background.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Undergraduate Degree: 2:1 (Hons) degree (UK or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualifications here: International Qualifications
English Language: IELTS - Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 5.5
We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes
Pre-sessional English language programmes available:
4 Week Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5
10 Week Overall score of at least 5.5, with at least 5.5 in writing and no individual element below 5.0
Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and Funding; Faculty Scholarships and Funding; Law School Fees and Funding
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