Taught course

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Durham University · Department of Sociology

Entry requirements

Normally an upper second class honours degree (2:1) or equivalent.

An undergraduate degree in social sciences is desirable but not compulsory and we welcome students with degrees in arts, humanities and science subjects. You should demonstrate clearly why you are interested in the MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice degree in your personal statement. We are ALSO keen to consider applications with a professional background in criminal justice.

Additional requirements

When submitting your online application, you will also need to provide:

  1. Academic Transcript and Certificate (if possible)
  2. Two academic references (it is the applicant's responsibility to obtain their references from their referees).

Months of entry


Course content

This course critically addresses a range of key issues and debates relating to crime and the criminal justice system. You will have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of crime, deviance and criminal justice from critical, theoretical, policy, legal, political and practical perspectives and will address issues of historical and contemporary concern such as terrorism, sex work, legal and illegal drugs, crime in the night-time economy, forced migration, gender and crime, domestic violence, crime prevention, prison and punishment, policing, youth crime and justice, law enforcement and the use of new technologies. You will also study issues of theoretical and social importance with lecturers who are international experts in their fields.

Course Structure

You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. These will include a core ‘Researching Society, Policy and Practice’ module which will enable you to develop research skills and your own research proposal, in preparation for completing your dissertation.

Core modules:

Criminology: Theory and Critical Issues (30 credits)

  • Apply theories of crime and justice to topical issues
  • Theory and practice of criminal justice
  • Analysis of contemporary politics
  • Governance of criminal justice.

Researching Society, Policy and Practice (15 credits)

  • Overview of approaches to applied research in social sciences, including different methodological approaches, methods and designs that can be used.

Dissertation (60 credits)

  • A dissertation of up to 15,000 words on a topic of your choice.

All students also take at least one of the following two modules:

  • Gender, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)
  • Prisons, Crime and Justice (30 credits)

Examples of optional modules:

In addition, students choose modules to make their total credits up to 180 from either the other optional module listed above and/or other optional modules listed below (depending on module availability in each year), from modules such as:

  • Social Policy and Society (30 credits)
  • Participatory Action Research (15 credits)
  • Placement (15 credits)
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods and Analysis (15 credits)
  • Computational Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
  • Communities, Civil Society and Social Justice (30 credits)
  • Education and Social Inequality (30 credits)
  • Public Sociology: Theory and Practice (30 credits)
  • Global Environmental Law (15 credits)
  • International Protection of Human Rights (30 credits)

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
£10,900.00 per year
International students
£25,000.00 per year

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    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