September 2024

Criminology and Social Justice MA

Master's Degree, September 2024


The Criminology subject area is situated within the Department of Law, Criminology and policing and builds on the successful Criminology undergraduate provision. The Department is small, friendly, and focused on providing students with a personalised, transformative student experience.

This course is uniquely designed to offer students a foundation of critical criminological knowledge through which concerns relating to matters of social justice, equality and diversity are examined, promote access to social justice for all within the criminal justice system and wider society.

This will equip students to be prepared for the ethical challenges in applying their knowledge to this challenging area of practice and enquiry in their future careers.

You will be taught by an experienced team of academics, some of whom draw on their experience within the Criminal Justice System, and all of whom are actively engaged in innovative research, which informs their teaching. This provides our students with a contemporary knowledge of criminological and social justice issues to support the Newman mission to empower our students to transform society.

The Department has links with overseas institutions, with the teaching team being invited to present and share their research and knowledge, developing this extended academic network for the benefit of our students.

Students can study full-time (1 year) or part-time (over 2 years) electing to progress at their own pace. The programme is timetabled to enable participation by working and to promote a work / life balance.

Students will be taught through a blended approach to learning that balances traditional teaching methods, such as tutorials, lectures and seminars, with other delivery methods such as field observations, opportunities for work-place observation and learning, the use of virtual learning environments, external expert speakers, interactive learning workshops, and external visits. The programme views your learning within the ‘classroom’ as one part of a rich learning environment, which includes your own lived experiences.

We continue to accept applications for September 2023. Applications to join us in 2024 can be submitted from this September.

The MA Criminology and Social Justice has the following special features:

  • Provides a broader perspective than other Criminology courses by exploring the relationship between criminal and social justice, in both a local context, and a global context.
  • Draws a conceptual distinction between crime and social harm
  • Reflects the University’s commitment to Social Justice.
  • Opportunities for students to negotiate the content of modules with staff.
  • Taught by committed research active staff who have experience as practitioners.
  • Opportunities for students to engage with practitioners in a variety of criminal justice settings.
  • Highly focused and student-centred programme with small class sizes and a high level of individual support for students
  • Enhanced employability skills needed for careers in a range of criminal justice agencies, public bodies, local and central government, and community organisations.

This course, while located in the field of criminology, has a distinct and contemporary focus on issues of social justice in relation to individuals, particular sections of society and the community as a whole. The course guides students through a stimulating learning journey, that moves through the discipline of Criminology and beyond, to encounter and reflect upon broader themes of respect for others, social justice, and ethical practice.

The programme is designed to guide students in their understanding and exploration of key criminal justice concepts and their awareness of the relationships between economic, political and social power and their  distribution within society and influence on social and criminal justice. This enables students to reflect and critically analyse the criminal justice system and social justice interventions, drawing on relevant history and cultural context, along with social and political theories, to inform and influence the practice of critical criminology.

This progressive understanding and reflection will enable students to focus on areas of interest to either enhance their current professional roles or prepare them for future career preferences, though completion of their research dissertation which enables student to engage at the forefront of the criminology discipline.

The MA in Criminology and Social Justice programme draws on a range of assessment methods resulting in a balanced portfolio of assessment which provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate a range of academic skills that enhance their capacities as critical citizens and prepare them for employment.

Assessments include:

  • Essays – on negotiated topics and with negotiated titles
  • Group work/individual presentations
  • Critical review
  • Presentation of seminar papers
  • Research proposals
  • Practical research projects
  • Research reports
  • Dissertation – students will have the opportunity to reflect their own personal interests in undertaking a dissertation in relation to a topic of their choice, reflecting their chosen field of current or future practice.

This programme is designed to support the learning needs of postgraduate students, with teaching and learning provided through a range of blended learning approaches, drawing on online lectures and materials that can be studied at the student’s own pace. Alongside this, structured sessions are timetabled for one day each week. This blended approach enables students to meet virtually and in person, within interactive lectures, seminars and workshops, to explore material and develop their understanding by engaging in critical discourse with their peers. Experienced tutors guide and support students on their learning journey, providing supporting students in their academic development.

On successful completion of this programme of study student will have skills that  enable them to pursue careers or further study in any of the fields indicated below:

  • Community development
  • Community Rehabilitation Companies
  • Criminal Justice policy
  • Government Departments such as the Home Office and Ministry of Justice
  • Local Government
  • National Probation Service
  • Police and Crime Commissioners Office
  • Police Services
  • Policy and campaigning organisations
  • Public and private sector prison governor grades
  • Research
  • Social Work
  • Teaching
  • Third Sector organisations’ leadership
  • Victim agencies
  • Youth Justice

In addition, students are ideally placed, on completion of this programme of study, to continue to advance their studies to gain a PhD through a further programme of Doctoral study.

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Entry Requirements

Students should have a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in either criminology, or in a relevant   associated subject including but not limited to criminology, psychology, sociology, policing, law, social work.

Equivalent professional experience, reflected through relevant work experience in a criminal justice agency or third sector related role, will be considered.  Consideration will also be given to mature applicants with considerable ‘life experience’ for whom study at postgraduate rather than undergraduate level, is appropriate.

Students from other HEIs requesting a transfer into the programme will be considered in line with the University transfer and Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) procedures.

Course Fees

The full-time and part-time course fee for September 2024 is £8,850. All part-time masters courses are payable in the first two years of study, unless otherwise stated.

An alumni discount is available to students who have completed a full undergraduate or PGCE course with Newman.

Postgraduate Loans

You can apply for a postgraduate loan when enrolling on a full masters’ degree (180 credits), to use as a contribution to the cost of studying and living expenses. For further information visit the postgraduate loans website.

Additional Costs

There are likely to be some additional costs associated with your programme of study that you need to be aware of. These may include:

  • Text books. You may wish to purchase recommended textbooks for your personal use to support your study. Copies of key texts will however be available on loan from the library at no cost.
  • Printing costs. Lecture materials and journal articles for seminar preparation can be accessed in digital format. There is a small charge per sheet for printing on campus and printing credit can be obtained through the Newman e-store.
  • Field trips. Additional field trips may be organised to enhance your student experience you may be asked to make a contribution.
  • Travel to and from campus and other living costs are not included within your course fees.


Please be aware that, as with any course, there may be changes to the modules delivered, for information view our Changes to Programmes of Module Changes page.

Timetables: find out when information is available to students

  1. This module is designed to enable students to engage with a range of approaches to the study of the concept of Justice. This theoretical grounding enables students to develop a critical understanding of how both criminal justice and social justice is distributed in contemporary society. The module is multi-disciplinary drawing on a number of disciplinary approaches to develop students’ capacity to synthesise theory with analysis of real-world phenomena.
  2. This module is designed to enable students to engage with a range of sociological, psychological and critical theories within the field of criminology and to relate them to potential methodological (ethnography, historical, quantitative, qualitative, etc.) approaches to social research. It will introduce students to a range of criminological texts, providing an opportunity to explore both the theoretical explanations these texts offer and the research methodology used by their authors. The particular problems presented by the different methodical approaches, including ethical issues, will be explored with a view to enabling students to apply their learning to developing the theoretical and methodological grounding for their own Master’s dissertation.
  3. This module focuses on the relationship between justice and place, exploring how justice, both criminal and social, is distributed in different geographic locations. By studying the history and geography of differing locations (cities, countries etc) together with the operation of social policies and criminal justice agencies students will develop a critical awareness of places a sight of justice (and injustice). A recurrent theme that will run throughout the module will be how criminal and social justice are linked and interventions within one impact on the other. This is reflected in the modules assignment which requires students to explore social justice solutions to problems often responded to through criminal justice interventions.
  4. This module will introduce students to the interdisciplinary framework of psychosocial studies and explore how this generates new perspectives on criminal behaviour. Initial tutor led input will critically engage with psychosocial theory that seeks to fuse psychoanalytic and post structural insights on the individual, society and culture. Students will then select an enquiry topic from a range of socially harmful and criminal behaviours, and present their findings in the form of a seminar paper to the rest of the group.
  5. This module provides students with the opportunity to explore a topic of their own choosing through autonomously undertaking empirical research (either qualitative or quantitative) supported by a member of staff from the subject area (or elsewhere) with appropriate specialist knowledge. They will be expected to engage with knowledge at the forefront of the discipline, identify and use established techniques of research and enquiry to produce a formal written thesis in line with the University’s guidelines. Students will build upon the proposal developed in CRM702 working with their supervisor to refine their proposal, gain ethical approval and carry out their project. Workshops supporting students to develop skills for their field work are timetabled and students are encouraged to work independently with their supervisor to arrange supervision. In addition, writing retreats are delivered in the later stages to facilitate the analysis and writing up stages of the research process.

Additional Information

General Academic Regulations: Terms and Conditions for students attending our courses