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MSc Criminal Justice Policy

About the MSc programme

This programme is based in the Department of Social Policy and offers the following benefits:

  • It is led by internationally renowned criminologists.
  • There is a diversity of staff expertise and research activities.
  • It involves inter-departmental collaboration between Social Policy, Law and Sociology.
  • It provides access to the Mannheim Centre for Criminology.

This MSc provides an opportunity to apply the concepts and theoretical perspectives from criminology, sociology, law and psychology to the subject of crime and the major criminal justice institutions. The programme will provide students with the intellectual tools, from theory, empirical research, and policy analysis, to engage with current debates within criminology and criminal justice. It asks challenging questions such as:

  • How can we explain the significant crime drop seen in most Western nations in recent decades?
  • What can government or other agencies do to reduce fear of crime?
  • Should people go to prison for punishment or as punishment? 
  • Will reduced spending on the police lead to an increase in crime?
  • How can political economy and cultural analysis account for variations in penal policy across states?

The programme is intended for outstanding graduates with an upper second class honours degree in the social sciences or law from the UK, or the equivalent. For detailed information about the equivalence of non-UK qualifications, please see Information for international students. We will also consider other qualifications and relevant practitioner experience.

Programme details

There are two core courses that must be taken by students:

  • Criminal Justice Policy – this course provides a detailed and critical introduction to the study of criminal justice institutions, practices and participants. There is a weekly one and a half hour lecture and a one and a half hour seminar. The course is assessed by examination in the summer term.
  • Dissertation – general dissertation advice is provided in departmental seminars and additionally you will be provided with a personal supervisor who will guide your work.

Additionally, students will be required to choose courses to the value of two full units from a range of half unit options

Mannheim Centre for Criminology – students can also attend the Mannheim Centre seminars which are run in association with the British Society of Criminology Southern Branch. This provides an opportunity to hear about scholar's current research as well as meeting informally with speakers, other criminologists, and criminal justice professionals.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Criminal Justice Policy in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

Graduate destinations

On graduation, most students move into careers in the criminal justice professions, academic or policy research in criminology and criminal justice, and into policy work in governments or charities.


Application code: L4U9 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time 

Intake/applications in 2014: 24/83

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in social science or law, or a degree in another field with relevant practitioner experience (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £9,936; overseas £19,344

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions