SP478      Half Unit
Special Issues in Criminology & Criminal Justice

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Johann Koehler


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

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process:



Course content

The course provides a detailed and critical review of the varied perspectives that scholars in and beyond Social Policy bring to bear in the study of crime and criminal justice. Each lecture illustrates and applies a given perspective to one of the titular ‘Special Issues’ with which criminologists grapple. Throughout the course, particular emphasis is devoted to setting those perspectives in conversation, with a view toward exploring lines of potential complement, confrontation, and integration.

Although SP478 is designed as a successor to SP477, SP477 is not a prerequisite for enrolment into SP478. However, students with little prior criminological familiarity are encouraged to consult the Indicative Readings before the Winter Term commences.


All teaching will be in accordance with the LSE Academic Code (https://info.lse.ac.uk/current-students/lse-academic-code) which specifies a "minimum of two hours taught contact time per week when the course is running in the Autumn Term (AT) and/or Winter Term (WT)". Social Policy courses are predominantly taught through a combination of in-person Lectures and In person classes/seminars. Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course.

The course will be delivered in WT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to answer a set of broad questions every week, which will be similar to the summative essay questions and related to the lecture and seminar material covered in that week.

Indicative reading

Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (eds.) (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Sixth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology. Third Edition. London: Routledge.

McLaughlin, E. and Newburn, T. (eds.) (2010) The Sage Handbook of Criminological Theory. London: Sage.

Downes, D., Rock, P., and McLaughlin, E. (2016) Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule-Breaking. 7th Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Newburn, T. (ed.) (2009) Key Readings in Criminology. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the spring exam period.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2023/24: 19

Average class size 2023/24: 19

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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