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MA Criminology and Criminal Justice

1 year 2 years Lincoln Law School Lincoln Campus [L] Subject to Validation

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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 furnish 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.

How You Study

Students can learn to engage with criminological knowledge and 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 have the opportunity to study and engage in research on Criminological Theory, Penology and Penal Policy, Terrorism, Policing, International Criminal Justice Systems and Criminological Research Methods, amongst many other issues of contemporary relevance to both criminologists and criminal lawyers.

Combining both a social science and legal education, the degree aims to offer 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 complete four core modules and two optional modules, plus a dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Critiquing Criminological Theory
  • International Penology and Penal Policy
  • Researching Social and Political Sciences
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice

Optional Modules

  • Police Powers in the Criminal Justice System
  • Green Criminology
  • International Criminal Justice
  • Gender, Deviance, Crime and Society
  • State Crime & Atrocity
  • Transnational and Organised Crime
  • Terrorism

Contact and Independent Study

Weekly contact hours on this programme vary depending on the module being delivered and the stage of study. Postgraduate level study involves a significant proportion of independent study, exploring the material covered in lectures and seminars. As a general guide, for every hour in class students are expected to spend at least two - three hours in independent study. For more detailed information please contact the programme leader.

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 to name some examples.

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 after the submission date.

Entry Requirements

First or second class honours degree in a relevant subject.

Key Contacts

Professor Matthew Hall
01522 83 5526

+44 (0)1522 886644

Master's Level

Critiquing Criminological Theory (Core)

This 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.

Dissertation (Criminology and Criminal Justice) (Core)

The 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.

Gender, Deviance, Crime and Society (Option)

This 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.

Green Criminology (Option)

In the 21st century, environmental harm is an ever-present reality of our globalised world. Over the last 20 years criminologists, working alongside a range of other disciplines from the social and physical sciences, have made great strides in their understanding of how different institutions in society, and criminal justice systems in particular, respond (or fail to respond) to the harm imposed on ecosystems and their human and non-human components. Such research has crystallised into the rapidly evolving field of green criminology.

This module will critically assess a wide range of issues and debates of concern to scholars in this field including the application and suitability of criminal justice processes both domestically and at the international level as a means of addressing environmentally polluting activity. The module will also explore the legal and political barriers to tackling climate change through criminal and other forms of law within the context of the predominantly neo-liberal politically economy of the global north.

International Criminal Justice (Option)

This 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 torture – and analysing whether these institutions are effective for the pursuit of justice and peace within the international system.

International Penology and Penal Policy (Core)

This module looks in depth at the various outcomes of the criminal justice process to question what the criminal justice system achieves and how it does it. The module will examine various rationales for 'punishing' offenders on the one hand and 'rehabilitating' them on the other. Taking an international perspective, the module will compare and contrast the penal estate of several jurisdictions to critically assess the present state of prisons, restorative justice and other disposal options. In particular, the module will examine the widespread privatisation of prisons (and other aspects of the penal estate) and it will examine the evidence we have for the system relying increasingly on alternatives to custody.

Introduction to Criminal Justice (Core)

This module is designed to develop a critical knowledge of the legal workings of the criminal justice system and broaden students' appreciation of relevant legal and practical questions raised by the operation of that system beyond the traditional ‘social science’ orientation of criminology. The module is designed to enable students to evaluate criminal justice scenarios from a legal and operational perspective and to engage with the resulting debates and the overall ‘balancing act’ that frequently must be struck by legal and criminal justice practitioners in real life. The module will cover the running of criminal trials, introduce the complexities of evidential questions and deconstruct the legal principles behind various crimes and sentencing exercises.

Police Powers in the Criminal Justice System (Option)

This 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.

Researching Social and Political Sciences (Core)

This 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 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.

State Crime & Atrocity (Option)

This module explores the relationship between state power, crime and atrocity. It uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine how harm comes to be defined in particular ways and explores how and why certain forms of violence are subjected to criminalisation at national and international levels.

The module critically engages with core aspects of international criminal law, international relations, politics and criminology, applying theoretical insights to both historical and contemporary examples of state crime and atrocity. By concerning itself with both the theory and practice of violence, it aims to strengthen and enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of how state crime and atrocity occurs, how these might be responded to, and the problems and possibilities of prevention.

Terrorism (Option)

The 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’.

Transnational and Organised Crime (Option)

During the last decades of the twentieth century transnational organised crime emerged as a growing problem requiring an international response.

By exploring transnational crime in the context of globalising justice, this module aims to introduce students to the phenomena of organised crime and criminal organisation and its implications for social justice. Drawing on literature from a number of disciplines, it will explore definitional issues and theoretical explanations before moving on to examine trends in serious crime activity, government responses and the difficulties in data collection.

Career and Personal Development

Criminology graduates can go on to 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.

Careers Services

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing your course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual and website resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities.
The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages here

Other 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.

Tuition Fees

  2018/19 Entry*
Home/EU £7,300
(including Alumni Scholarship** 25% reduction)
International £14,000
(Including International Alumni / Global Postgraduate Scholarship** £2,000 reduction)
Part-time Home/EU £41 per credit point
Part-time International £78 per credit point

* Academic year September- July
** Subject to eligibility


A new system of postgraduate loans for Master's courses has been introduced in the UK. Under the new scheme individuals will be able to borrow up to £10,000 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate Master's qualification.


As a postgraduate student you may be eligible for scholarships in addition to those shown above.

Guidance for Part-time Postgraduate Fees

To complete a standard Master's Taught programme, you must complete 180 credit points.

Full time students will be invoiced for the programme in full upon initial enrolment.

For part-time students, tuition fees are payable each credit point enrolled. To calculate your part-time fees, multiply the part-time fee per credit point by the number of credits you intend to complete within that academic year. This is usually between 60 and 90 credit points per year.

For example, if the fee per credit point for your programme is £38, and you enrol on 60 credits, the tuition fee payable for that academic year will be £2280.

For further information and for details about funding your study, scholarships and bursaries, please see our Postgraduate Fees & Funding pages [].

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.