MRes Criminology (Social Statistics)

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Understanding Violence

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? No


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 violence; (3) Explaining and responding to violence; (4) Racially aggravated violence; (5) Domestic abuse; (6) Filial violence; (7) Honour based abuse; (8) Homicide; (9) Modern slavery; (10) Course overview and assessment preparation.


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 empirical research and theory.


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 pertaining to particular forms of violence.


Teaching and learning methods

Teaching in academic year 20/21 will reflect both University policy and local and national lockdown restrictions operating at the time of delivery. We will offer face-to-face teaching where possible and provide a like for like on-line experience for those unable to be on campus.

Our teaching models will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide (1) media, activities and other learning material that should be engaged with before scheduled teaching; (2) a timetabled online lecture/workshop session used for a range of online Q&A and follow-up activities; (3) weekly opportunity for 1:1 support. In total, there will be the opportunity for a minimum of 20 hours of contact time.

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.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

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

Theoretical Criminology; The British Journal of Criminology; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Interpersonal Violence; Journal of Family Violence; Homicide Studies.


Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Caroline Miles Unit coordinator

Additional notes

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

Study hours: 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 comprised of (i) timetabled contact hours, (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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