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Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc

Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc

Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Criminology Law / Legal Studies Criminal Law

Course type


Course Summary

Course Summary

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

Course Learning and Teaching

The MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 1 year full-time course which may also be taken part-time. The course’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. You are also required to undertake 60 further credits of modules from within the Department of Sociology or other related departments which may be taught in a variety of ways.

The course 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. Prisons, Crime and Criminal Justice is an innovative module that emphasises transformative education. It is taught within a prison each week using the Inside-Out dialogical pedagogy whereby university students learn together with prisoners, completing the same readings and assessments, as well as group work and group projects (please see the website for further details). For this module you will need to undertake security clearance and mandatory prison training before being allowed to enter the prison and eligibility to register on this module is dependent on these being successfully undertaken.

The ‘Research Design’ module is taught in weekly lectures and seminars in term 1. Reflecting on the process of research design, the module supports the student in formulating the research question for their dissertation. The MSc course is research-led at its core. The compulsory module 'Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice' links explicitly with the research activities of the criminology staff. For example, the module ‘Gender Violence and Abuse’ links with the current research activities of the Department’s research group of the same name. You will subsequently undertake a 60 credit dissertation on a topic of your 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 six hours of regular supervision which takes place typically from the end of term 2. You will also participate in two workshops convened by the course Director and usually alongside others researching in similar areas. While teaching is intensive, particularly in terms 1 and 2, it is intended that the course presents options for part-time study. Consequently, teaching is undertaken where possible in timetable slots which take place late in the afternoon.

Different course options

Full time | Durham University | 1 year | OCT-20

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



The purpose of the dissertation is to give students the opportunity to work on a suitable subject of their own choice and to utilise the techniques developed in the research modules. An MSc dissertation is designed to assess a student?s ability to define a researchable ?thesis? in the light of past and current academic research. Students need to demonstrate a capacity for independent thought and to use their critical and analytical abilities, including the use of appropriate research methods, in the interpretation of a substantial quantity of relevant material (empirical and theoretical). Further, they need to be able to write up the results of any research carried out in an extended and coherent form, paying close attention to matters of structure in addition to normal expectations regarding referencing and bibliographic information.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students need to have an upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent. Applications from a professional range of criminal justice backgrounds and experiences will also be considered.