Criminal Justice Policy

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof William Newburn OLD.2.40A


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Criminal Justice Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course will be capped at 30 students with preference given to MSc Criminal Justice Policy students and then those on other MSc programmes in the Department of Social Policy.  Some places are available for those on the Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). Once core course allocations are made, the remaining places will be offered on a ballot basis.

Course content

The course provides a detailed and critical introduction to the study of criminal justice institutions, practices and participants. It begins with an introduction to the nature of crime and contemporary criminal justice policy. It then examines the main elements of modern criminal justice systems (police, courts, prisons, probation, the media, and private security). Special emphasis is given to current issues such as restorative justice and increasing rates of incarceration. The course combines up-to-date empirical work with theoretical perspectives and also emphasises the role of historical and comparative perspectives in understanding current trends.


15 hours of lectures, 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars and 1 hour and 30 minutes of workshops in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Lectures: SA403.1 20 weekly one and a half hour lectures, MT and, LT.

Seminars: SA403.2, 19 weekly one and a half hour seminars, MT and LT.

Workshop: SA403.3,  1 session of one and a half hours in MT

There will be a reading week in Weeks 6 of MT and LT.

There will be a revision session and mock exam in ST.

Formative coursework

Michaelmas Term – formative essay and one-to-one feedback. Summer term – mock exam (one question).

Indicative reading

There are two set texts for the course: M Maguire, R Morgan & R Reiner (eds.) (2012), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 5th edn; and T Newburn (2012), Criminology, 2nd edn.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 11.8
Merit 61.3
Pass 24.7
Fail 2.2

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 24

Average class size 2015/16: 12

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 77%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)