MA Criminology

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Criminal Justice Research & Policy

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM70561
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Criminology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course provide students with a general overview of the criminal justice field in the context of the inter-relationship(s) between research and policy.

Indicative content: (1) Introduction; (2) Police: policy & research; (3) Prosecution; (4) Sentencing; (5) Crime prevention; (6) Alternatives to imprisonment; (7) Comparative case study; (8) Summary & assignment support.


The unit aims to provide students with a general overview of the criminal justice field in the context of the inter-relationship(s) between research and policy. The course is tailored to the learning needs of those who have a criminological background as well as those who are less well versed in criminological research and criminal justice policies..

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will gain: (1) a general overview of the different institutions and agencies that comprise the criminal justice field; (2) an appreciation of the importance of the types of relationship between research and policy in criminal justice; (3) an understanding of the social, cultural and political contexts that impact criminal justice.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) a workshop used for a range of discursive exercises; (2) high quality learning materials; (3) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Employability skills: In addition to subject-specific knowledge and understanding, Criminology units foster highly employable skills such as the ability to (i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods


Assessment methods: This unit is summatively assessed by a 3000 word essay worth 100% of the overall mark.

Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) developing essay plans. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the submitted essay via Blackboard (Grademark).

Recommended reading

Hobbs, S. & Hamerton, C. (2014) The Making of Criminal Justice Policy. Abingdon: Routledge (available as an e-book in library). There are also a number of good introductions to English criminal justice; my preference is Sanders, A., Young, R. and Burton, M. (2010)/latest) Criminal justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 16
Independent study hours
Independent study 50

Additional notes

Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of 35-40 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands 9-10 hours of study per week consisting of (i) teacher-led activities and sessions, (ii) preparation, required and further reading. Part-time students study the same number of weekly hours per unit but take fewer units per semester. Further guidance will be given regarding study budgeting on this and other course units.

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