On this degree 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 can open 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 helps you to develop 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 often research-led and research-informed. Many of our lecturers are nationally and internationally renowned researchers. The Lancaster University Law School is ranked 6th in the UK for research impact in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2021, published May 2022), with 88% of its impact rated ‘outstanding’.
Your core modules are Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences, Quantitative Research Methods, Crime and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century, Criminological Research in Practice, and Criminological Theory. You will choose one module from: Criminologies of Violence, International Criminal Law; Feminist Criminology; International Human Rights Law; International Terrorism and the Law; and Transitional Justice, Human Rights and Peace Building. A research-based Criminal Justice dissertation completes your degree.
Your postgraduate degree can prepare you for research jobs in organisations such as the Home Office, Probation Service, Social Services, and other government departments or voluntary organisations. You will have the opportunity to develop the skills to undertake and critically evaluate criminological research, which can be highly prized by employers. Whilst on the degree you will also have the chance to develop your analytical and communication skills which can help to build on your employability.
2:1 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in any discipline.
We may also consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for information.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 5.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Crime and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century
The Crime and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century module introduces you to the nature and extent of crime and criminal justice policy in contemporary society. You will have the opportunity to gain an overview of crime and criminal justice statistics, with a critical understanding of how such statistics are socially constructed. You will also have the chance to 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 (eg age, gender, race, social class) and some key criminological challenges for the 21st century (eg 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.
Criminological Research in Practice
The Criminological Research in Practice module presents research to provide you 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.
The module aims to:
- 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 developments in a selection of criminological topics.
The Criminological Theory module provides you with the opportunity to develop 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 you the opportunity to further develop the critical, analytical and written skills necessary to conceptualize and explain criminological problems— as well as the evaluative skills necessary to assess and put criminological theories into operation through research.
Dissertation (Criminal Justice)
The Criminal Justice Dissertation gives you the opportunity to further develop your 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. You will engage in your own piece of research (empirical or library based) and produce a 15,000 word dissertation based on this.
Qualitative Research Methods
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.
Quantitative Research Methods 2
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".
Criminologies of Violence
This module will provide you with the core conceptual and theoretical approaches that have been developed to explain the problem of violence within criminology. You are given the opportunity to further develop the analytical, critical and written skills required to assess, explain and conceptualize the impact and prevalence of criminal violence on contemporary society. Topics typically include:
· Violence and Civilization
· Violence and the Great Crime Decline
· Violence and Gender
· Violence and the Domestic Sphere
· Violence and Nonhumans
· Drugs and Violence
· Violence and Hooliganism
· Violence and Hate
· Violence and Youth
· Media, Violence and Crime
International Criminal Law
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.
International Human Rights Law
How do international laws protect, govern and shape your human rights?
This module 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 have the opportunity to 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.
Our Law School is home to research-active academics, you will have the chance to benefit from some of their expertise as many teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
International Terrorism and the Law
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.
During the course of your studies you will look at the legal definitions of terrorism – from a regional, national, and international perspective. And you will 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, typically 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 Law School is home to lawyers and research-active academics - you will benefit from their expertise as they teach on areas closely aligned with their own research interests.
Research Projects in Practice: From Design to Dissemination
This module gives you the opportunity to organise and undertake 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, you will produce a high-quality project report in the form of a journal article, and you will also make an oral presentation of your work. You are also encouraged to keep a research diary of the process, which provides the basis for an individual reflective essay which is submitted after the module has finished.
Although the module is has many practical elements, 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.
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. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
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Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022 and 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
The information on this site relates primarily to 2022/2023 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.