Criminology and Criminal Justice

Key Information


1 year


2 years

Start Date

September 2024

Typical Offer

See More


Brayford Pool

Academic Year

Course Overview

The MA Criminology and Criminal Justice challenges students to engage with contemporary issues faced by the criminal justice system from both a criminological and legal perspective.

In the 21st Century, the means by which we respond as a society to crime and victimisation is under greater scrutiny than ever before. How we respond to cases of historic sexual abuse, the use of imprisonment as a just and effective means of punishing or rehabilitating criminals, and the challenges posed by organised crime and international terrorism, mean criminological and legal scholarship are being brought to the forefront.

This course is designed to equip students with the conceptual tools needed to engage with such issues, imparting a broad range of cognitive, analytical, and general transferable skills including judging and evaluating evidence, interpreting data, generating and synthesising information, and formulating reasoned arguments.

Why Choose Lincoln

Continuing career support after your course finishes

A focus on theoretical knowledge, understanding, and practical experience

Teaching delivered by experts in the field

Emphasis on the development of professional and research skills

Complete a research project in a specialist area

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How You Study

Students can engage with criminological knowledge and learn to approach the legal questions raised by this in a reflective and critical way. Drawing on staff expertise across both social science and legal disciplines, students are able to study and engage in research on theory, policy, systems and law, and many other issues of historic and contemporary relevance to criminologists and criminal lawyers.

Combining both a social science and legal education, the degree offers a rigorous programme enriched by research, scholarship, and knowledge exchange to prepare students for study and research at postgraduate level, and for the workplace.

Students on this programme are expected to complete six core modules, two optional modules, and a dissertation. During the course, students can take part in lecture and seminar sessions which can include group discussions and some group presentations.

Contact and Independent Study

Weekly contact hours on this programme vary depending on the module being delivered and the stage of study, but generally take the form of seminars, workshops, tutor meetings, and 1:1 support.

Postgraduate level study also involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in contact hours. As a general guide, for every hour spent in class, students are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.


† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Comparative Penology and Penal Policy 2024-25LAW9024MLevel 72024-25This module covers the full breadth of the penal system in England and Wales. By drawing on a comparative methodology, it compares practice in England and Wales with other jurisdictions around the world. We begin by looking at a range of forward-looking and backward-looking approaches to penal theory and question why we sentence people in the way that we do. Building on this, we consider whether these traditional theories are still valid in light of other options, such as restorative justice. Finally, we consider the full range of penal options including, out of court disposals, financial penalties, community penalties and the use of imprisonment. We consider in detail the prison experience , taking into account issues such as race, gender and also age.CoreCritiquing Criminological Theory 2024-25CRI9008MLevel 72024-25This module deconstructs criminological theoretical explanations of ‘crime’ and ‘deviance’. It will address competing theories while exploring the socio-historical and ideological contexts. Theories challenged in this module include positivist, feminist, socio-cultural, socio-political, interpretative and interactionist accounts. Adopting such approaches allows for a thorough critical exploration of relevant debates and expands the application of such theories as a means to understand, critique and explore both contemporary and historical issues. By addressing challenges to these theories, alongside practical application to specific themes, students will be encouraged to deconstruct ‘myths’ and establish a broader understanding. This core module aims to enhance and embed students’ critical thinking, application and grasp of core theoretical perspectives.CoreDissertation (Criminology and Criminal Justice) 2024-25LAW9022MLevel 72024-25The dissertation provides students with an opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of investigative academic work on a chosen area of criminology/criminal justice. Students may develop ideas encountered in the taught modules or with other issues relevant to the degree. The completed dissertation will be an original and independent piece of work. It should, in the context of existing knowledge, demonstrate in-depth understanding, critical analysis and original thinking, as well as general academic and communication skills. Undertaking the necessary research and writing the dissertation will provide academic opportunities to apply the research skills and presentation techniques developed during the programme.CoreIntroduction to Criminal Justice 1 2024-25LAW9025MLevel 72024-25This module aims to develop students' understanding of the broad scope of the criminal justice system. We will focus on policy, theory and practice within three distinct areas: 1. The pre-trial stage; investigation of crime and law enforcement, evidence and policing 2. The trial stage; the prosecution of crime and the ad-judication of criminal proceedings in courts and other tribunals 3. The post-trial stage; penal policies including sentencing, rehabilitation, and restorative justiceCoreIntroduction to Criminal Justice 2 2024-25LAW9027MLevel 72024-25This module is designed to complement Introduction to Criminal Justice 1, which explores the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales, with a particular emphasis on how a case progresses through the criminal courts. This module delves into a number of substantive issues with the majority of the modules divided into three distinct sections: offences, victims, and offenders. Students will be able to consider how public and media attitudes affect the criminal justice system and how we treat victims, witnesses, offenders and the often-forgotten families of offenders.CoreResearching Social and Political Sciences 2024-25SOS9015MLevel 72024-25This module is designed to introduce students to researching in social and political sciences. The aim of the module is to provide a crucial foundation for all students (regardless of disciplinary background) to understand debates around research methods/methodologies in social science; to enable familiarity with a variety of research methods and to equip students to be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of applying specific methodologies/methods to different research projects in social and political sciences. Overall, the module will aim to prepare students for independent studies later in their degree and equip them with transferable research skills.CoreDangerousness, Offenders and Public Protection 2024-25LAW9180MLevel 72024-25This module aims to provide a detailed knowledge and understanding of the concept of dangerousness and the ways in which those who are defined as ‘dangerous’ are managed and treated by the criminal justice system. A distinctive feature will be to understand how those working in criminal justice agencies assess offenders as well as to ask broader questions about matters of justice, equality and human rights in the operation and implementation of public protection policies and practices.OptionalGender, Deviance, Crime and Society 2024-25CRI9002MLevel 72024-25This module deconstructs the interrelationships between gender, crime, deviance and society. It will explore gender through a criminological lens and aims to introduce students to ‘gendered’ explanations of crime and deviance. The significance of gender in the various agencies of the criminal justice system will also be explored, as will its presence a range of discourses around victimhood and offending. The ways in which ‘justice’ can be gendered will be identified and critiqued. The module will also aim to critically engage with notions of harm, dangerousness and risk, and unpick the arguments found within feminist criminologies.OptionalGreen Criminology 2024-25LAW9023MLevel 72024-25OptionalInternational Criminal Justice 2024-25LAW9015MLevel 72024-25This module provides the opportunity for students to develop a critical understanding of the idea of international criminal justice. The module aims to address the key issues and concepts in and policies underlying the enforcement of international criminal law considering the legal and political environment in which international criminal courts and tribunals operate. The principle focus will be the international crimes which come within the jurisdiction of the current international courts and tribunals – that is war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and aggression– and analysing whether these institutions are effective for the pursuit of justice and peace within the international system.OptionalPolice Powers: National and International Perspectives 2024-25LAW9026MLevel 72024-25This module explores the powers of the police in England and Wales and further afield. It looks at the ways in which the police forces are organised and the different national agencies that operate in the area (such as the Serious Fraud Office, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency). Students are then taken through the various stages of policing from stop and search to charge. The various procedures that can be used to obtain evidence, including questioning, search of premises, DNA analysis, are examined. The effect of terrorism threats on police powers is discussed. The module concludes with a consideration of the ways in which police powers can be challenged, including complaints, civil action and exclusion of evidence.OptionalState Crime & Atrocity 2024-25IST9005MLevel 72024-25OptionalTerrorism 2024-25SOP9189Level 72024-25The label ‘terrorism’ is applied erratically with little clear precision or exclusivity to its use and failing to clearly differentiate those labelled 'terrorists'. The long and contested histories of diverse political and ideological struggles in respect of securing the legitimacy of this label, and/or the resistance to it, are often made unclear by the cultural significance the label itself. The aim of this module is to provide a critical understanding of these heated debates focusing on past and current management strategies, their relative strengths and weaknesses, the problems with conceptualisation and their various proponents from the worlds of academia/counter insurgency studies, political and criminal justice/military ‘experts’.OptionalTransnational and Organised Crime 2024-25SOP9190Level 72024-25OptionalVictims and Violent Crimes 2024-25LAW9182Level 72024-25In this module, you can explore victimisation through the lens of violent and organised crime, modern slavery, and cyber offences. There may be opportunities to examine present notions of victimology as well as the wider victim experience, particularly the changing relationship between victims of crime, offenders, and the state. Representations of victimisation can be challenged, alongside popular discourses of the victim and victim status attribution.Optional

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. In addition to the information provided on this course page, our What You Need to Know page offers explanations on key topics including programme validation/revalidation, additional costs, contact hours, and our return to face-to-face teaching.


The Lincoln Centre for Crime and Justice is a research group which unites academics and practitioners from a range of disciplines to investigate and improve crime and justice outcomes through research, consultancy, and knowledge exchange. Our research covers four core themes: health and wellbeing, violence and harm, data and technology, and reducing offending.

Explore Research
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How you are assessed

The way students will be assessed on this course will vary for each module. It could include coursework, such as a dissertation or essay, written and practical exams, portfolio development, group work or presentations, and production of a research proposal.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly - usually within 15 working days of the submission date.

Career Development

Postgraduate study is an investment in yourself and your future. It can help you to further or completely change your career, develop your knowledge, enhance your salary, or even prepare you to start your own business. Criminology graduates can pursue work in a variety of different areas including the civil service, police, academia, and the National Probation Service, although the combination of both criminological and legal analysis covered by the course offers graduates a wide array of different career choices.

Why Postgraduate Study?

How to Apply

Postgraduate Application Support

Applying for a postgraduate programme at Lincoln is easy. Find out more about the application process and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page. Here, you'll also be able to find out more about the entry requirements we accept and how to contact us for dedicated support during the process.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

First or second class honours degree in a relevant subject such as Criminology, Law, Social Policy, Politics, Sociology, and Psychology.

We are also happy to consider applications based on work or personal experience .

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.

Course Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below.

Course Fees

The University offers a range of merit-based, subject-specific, and country-focused scholarships for UK and international students. To help support students from outside of the UK, we offer a number of international scholarships which range from £1,000 up to the value of 50 per cent of tuition fees. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Course -Specific Additional Costs

For each course you may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required. Some courses provide opportunities for you to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for travel and accommodation will be covered by the University and so is included in your fee. Where these are optional, you will normally be required to pay your own transport, accommodation and general living costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and you will find that our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that you are required to read. However, you may prefer to purchase some of these for yourself and you will be responsible for this cost.

Funding Your Study

Postgraduate Funding Options

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate study, from Master's Loans to scholarship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Postgraduate Events

To get a real feel for what it is like to study at the University of Lincoln, we hold a number of dedicated postgraduate events and activities throughout the year for you to take part in.

Upcoming Postgraduate Events
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Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Chloe Wilson

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.