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Durham University


L3KC09 Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc Postgraduate Taught 2021


Please note: 2021-22 courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.

Degree MSc
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
Start Date October
Location Durham City
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Department(s) Website

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 Structure

You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. You will also undertake two research modules, which will enable you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.

Core modules:

Criminology: Theory and Critical Issues (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.

Researching Society, Policy and Practice (15 credits)

  • Overview of approaches to applied research in social sciences, including different methodological approaches, methods and designs that can be used.

Dissertation (60 credits)

  • A dissertation of up to 15,000 words on a topic of your choice. 

All students also take at least one of the following two modules:

  • Gender, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)
  • Prisons, Crime and Justice (30 credits)


Optional modules: 

In addition, students choose modules to make their total credits up to 180 from either the other optional module listed above and/or other optional modules listed below (depending on module availability in each year), from modules such as:

  • Social Policy and Society (30 credits)
  • Participatory Action Research (15 credits)
  • Placement (15 credits)
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods and Analysis (15 credits)
  • Computational Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
  • Communities, Civil Society and Social Justice (30 credits)
  • Education and Social Inequality (30 credits)
  • Public Sociology: Theory and Practice (30 credits)
  • Global Environmental Law (15 credits)
  • International Protection of Human Rights (30 credits)

Course Learning and Teaching

The MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 1 year full-time course which may also be taken part-time over 2 years. 

The course is taught by lectures, seminar discussion, workshops and presentations, and in some optional research methods modules there are computer-based practicals.  ‘Prisons, Crime and Criminal Justice’ is an innovative module taught within a prison using the Inside-Out dialogical pedagogy that emphasises transformative education.  It involves University students learning together with prisoners, completing the same readings and assessments, as well as group work and group projects.

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 MSc course is research-led at its core. For example, the compulsory module ’Criminology: Themes and Critical Issues' links explicitly with the research activities of the criminology staff. The module ‘Gender Violence and Abuse’ also 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 usually alongside others researching in similar areas.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

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.

Additional requirements

When submitting your online application, you will also need to provide:

  1. Academic Transcript and Certificate (if possible)
  2. Two academic references (it is the applicant's responsibility to obtain their references from their referees).



English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £22,790.00 per year
Home Student £9,800.00 per year
Island Student £9,800.00 per year
International non-EU Student £22,790.00 per year

Part Time Fees

EU Student £12,600.00 per year
Home Student £5,400.00 per year
Island Student £5,400.00 per year
International non-EU Student £12,600.00 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of Sociology


The Department of Sociology is an interdisciplinary department with over 50 years’ experience in teaching and research in sociology and social policy, expanding over time to provide a focus for collaboration across the related academic disciplines of criminology, social work, and community development. We are a leading international centre of excellence in interdisciplinary applied social research that shapes and informs social policy and practice, enhances individual, community and social wellbeing, promotes social inclusion, and forms the foundations of research-led education.