MRes Criminology (Social Statistics) / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Understanding Violence

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM70552
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Criminology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course focuses on the broad topic of violence, drawing on theory and empirical research to inform a critical discussion of how various forms of violence might be understood and responded to. The unit will begin with a conceptual exploration of 'violence', through considering sources of knowledge, social constructions and the visibility of various forms of violence. The importance of theoretical and methodological approaches in shaping knowledge and understanding of violence will be a key theme running throughout the unit, as will factors influencing responses to various forms of violence. The unit will incorporate a number of sessions devoted to specific types of violence, about which students will develop a contextualised understanding.

Indicative content: (1) Introduction: deconstructing violence; (2) Approaches to understanding, explaining and responding to violence ; (3)  Racially aggravated violence; (4) Domestic abuse; (5) Filial violence; (6) Honour based abuse; (7) Homicide; (8) Modern slavery.



The unit aims to (1) Enhance students' understanding of criminological theory in context with particular forms of violence; (2) Develop students' awareness of the links between approaches to research, theory construction and policy surrounding violence; (3) Explore the complex relationships between power, inequality and violence, drawing upon examples such as ethnicity and gender; (4) Examine knowledge and understanding of various forms of violence through critical discussion of theory, empirical research and responses to violence;  (5) Apply knowledge and understanding developed throughout the course to a particular form of violence, through culminating in the construction of a policy report

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to: (1) Critically evaluate theoretical explanations of violence; (2) Demonstrate understanding of how theoretical and methodological approaches relate to 'knowledge' surrounding violence; (3) Critically discuss contemporary responses to different forms of violence; (4) Illustrate understanding of the complex relationships between power, inequality and violence; (5) Present a critical analysis of empirical research and theory, empirical research and policy  pertaining to particular forms of violence.


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
Report 100%

Feedback methods


Assessment methods: This unit is summatively assessed by a 3000 word policy report 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

Ray, L. (2018), Violence and Society, London: Sage. (Available as an e-book)


Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Caroline Miles Unit coordinator

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.

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