Taught course

Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

Birkbeck, University of London · Birkbeck Law School

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in law, the humanities or social sciences; other honours degrees will be considered.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

Birkbeck’s MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice offers a unique opportunity for advanced study of criminal law and criminal justice from an interdisciplinary perspective. Taught by academics experienced in criminology and law and researchers from the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR), this postgraduate degree course provides you with an insight into cutting-edge debates in criminal law and criminal justice grounded within legal, criminological, policy and humanities-oriented perspectives. This course is also distinct in how it offers you the chance, at the end of your studies, to decide whether you would like to receive an MA or LLM, so your chosen award is based on your own needs, career path and area of specialism.

Students on this course are drawn from a range of backgrounds, including those with pre-existing knowledge or experience of criminal law and the criminal justice system, and those with a desire to pursue a specialism in this area. It caters both for those who would like to advance in their existing career and those who want to carve out a new career path. 

This MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice introduces you to theoretical debates and perspectives that underpin an understanding of the relationship between criminal law and criminal justice. You will be able to tailor the degree to your own interests with option modules and will be supported to pursue your own independent research on a relevant area of your choice.

  • You can look forward to a stimulating, flexible learning environment, learning alongside students with diverse backgrounds and professional experiences.
  • You will be taught by staff who are part of a proud tradition of critical scholarship in criminology and criminal justice, who address issues of crime through power and inequality, and are led by principles of social and racial justice. 
  • We are home to the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research. Its director, Professor Jessica Jacobson, leads a team of outstanding researchers. Academics and researchers at ICPR bring a wealth of knowledge to this Master's course, leading compulsory and specialist modules and providing research project supervision.
  • Students can attend specialist research seminars, such as the Criminology Seminar Series and the Race and Justice Seminar Series, which feature national and international scholars speaking to current issues and groundbreaking interdisciplinary research.
  • We use electronic learning environments to enhance our teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library. 
  • Candidates with an outstanding academic record who demonstrate high potential for strong performance on one of our Master's degrees can apply for a Postgraduate Fee Award.
Careers and employability

Postgraduate studies in criminal law and criminal justice offer you a range of career opportunities, giving you a pathway to promotion within an existing career, helping you transition into a new career, or giving you the chance to pursue a specialist area of knowledge.

You will find criminal law and criminal justice graduates in the following kinds of roles: 

  • legal practitioners
  • positions within the third sector including non-government organisations (NGOs) and voluntary organisations
  • positions within criminal justice agencies, such as the police, prisons and youth justice system
  • local government or civil service roles 
  • education, research and academia.  

As well as honing their research skills, Birkbeck’s MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice graduates complete the degree with a set of valuable attributes, for example: 

  • the ability to critically evaluate and assess a range of sources
  • the ability to present persuasive arguments 
  • the ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • high-level oral and written communication skills in English.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • LLM
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700