M.A. Criminal Justice

Liverpool Hope University | Liverpool, United Kingdom
Liverpool Hope University’s MA Criminal Justice provides an opportunity for criminal justice professionals and recent graduate students to work together to gain an understanding of the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of the criminal justice system, and to apply this to practice and policy in the field.

Description of Criminal Justice


Liverpool Hope Universitys MA Criminal Justice provides an opportunity for criminal justice professionals and recent graduate students to work together to gain an understanding of the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of the criminal justice system, and to apply
this to practice and policy in the field.

You will gain knowledge and understanding of the major theories relating to crime and punishment, and the history and workings of the contemporary criminal justice system. You will be able to apply this knowledge to a range of issues and areas of debate within the criminal justice field.

Graduates of the MA Criminal Justice go on to careers in the police and law enforcement, law and legal profession, judicial and court work, probation, social work and welfare, youth services, and positions within central and local government. You will follow a programme of study suitable for both professionals working in the field and graduates who wish to pursue a career in criminal justice.

You will study in a stimulating environment which will enable you to explore the philosophies and structures of the criminal justice system and gain an understanding of its main areas of contention, including ethical issues that arise from the workings of that system. In addition, you
will develop an understanding of the issues and limitations of social research in the area. You will develop specific skills in social research, enhance your ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in written form, and develop the ability to work independently at a high academic level.

Future Career Opportunities

The MA Criminal Justice will enhance the career development and prospects of those working within the criminal justice settings, as well as helping to prepare recent graduates for a career within many areas of the criminal justice system, including the probation service, the police, youth justice or the prison service. Graduates will also have developed the skills in research and communication and in critical and flexible thinking that are sought after by a wide range of employers.

Detailed Course Facts

Tuition fee

Home and EU £4,800; International students £5,900

Not specified
Start date September  2016
Credits (ECTS) 180 ECTS
Duration full-time 12 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Part-time, Full-time

Course Content

The programme consists of seven modules (four compulsory and three electives) and a dissertation (final research project) totaling 180 credits. You will be assessed for each module. Assessment methods will vary and may include academic essays, reports, presentations and examinations, a research proposal and research dissertation.


  • Theories of Crime (compulsory 30 credits): You will reflect on and attempt to evaluate a range of theoretical approaches that have attempted to explain crime. Attention will be paid to the development of theories about crime and criminality and to debates about how these should be assessed.
  • The Sociology of Punishment (compulsory 15 credits): You will gain a deeper understanding of the aims and philosophies relating to the punishment of offenders. You will examine how these aims and philosophies have related to and informed the major sociological theories of punishment.
  • The Criminal Justice System (compulsory 15 credits): You will critically evaluate issues relevant to the criminal justice system and to help them gain a good understanding of the various debates emanating from these issues. After considering the history of the development of the criminal justice system, the module will focus on some of the main areas of the current criminal justice system - particularly the police, the courts and prisons. In doing this a number of contemporary issues will be examined - including miscarriages of justice, bias in the criminal justice system and the rehabilitation of offenders.
  • Research Matters (compulsory 15 credits): You will understand the methodological principles and practices that underpin independent research at Masters level. You will examine the research process, including design, data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation.
  • Women, Crime and Criminal Justice (elective 15 credits): You will examine the patterns of and explanations for female crime - examining both classic and contemporary theorising. It also examines the way the criminal justice system treats female offenders and women who work within it.
  • Ethnicity, Class and Criminal Justice of crime (elective 15 credits): You will focus on the ways in which the criminal justice system is influenced by social class and ethnicity. In particular, how the class and ethnic background of those who come into contact with the criminal justice system affects the manner in which they are treated. The module will enable students to critically evaluate the notions of impartiality and bias by focusing on the areas of race and social class.
  • Police and Policing of crime (elective 15 credits): You will start by looking at the historical development of the modern police institution. You will then investigate a range of substantive topics and issues and examine and evaluate the relevant literature and you will be introduced to current debates about the role and effectiveness of policing.
  • Work-based Learning (elective 15 credits): For this module you will be required to secure a work placement that is relevant to the academic studies at Masters level, allowing substantial work experience and skills development. A work-related learning contract is negotiated to suit the needs of the programme, the employer and the student.
  • Negotiated Learning (elective 15 credits): This module gives you the opportunity for independent study of a topic that would otherwise not be available in the taught modules. The full details of the module aims, outcomes, learning strategy and method of assessment are negotiated between the tutor and the student.
  • Dissertation (compulsory 60 credits): The focus of the research project will be on an issue of relevance to the study of crime and justice and/ or the workings of the criminal justice system. The study can involve the collection of primary data or a literature-based dissertation with an emphasis on theory development, or a dissertation which involves secondary data analysis.

English Language Requirements

CAE score
180(Grade C)
TOEFL paper-based test score (read more)
TOEFL iBT® test (read more)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

Requirements for Criminal Justice

  • Normally an Honours degree (minimum 2.2) in any relevant discipline. Equivalent and appropriate professional experience will also be accepted.
  • The programme is taught in English. Students whose first language is not English are normally required to have an IELTS 6.5 (including reading 6, writing 6), TOEFL paper based 560, TOEFL ibt 83 or other equivalent recognised English language qualification.

Work Experience for Criminal Justice

No work experience is required.

More Information

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Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Liverpool Hope University is the only ecumenical university in Europe. It has two teaching campuses, the main campus, Hope Park, which is home to the University's Faculties of Sciences and Social Sciences, and Education; and the Creative Campus, which is home to Arts and Humanities. The university has a student population of approximately 7500 and attracts students from some 65 countries worldwide.

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