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

Criminology and criminal justice engages with a vast range of historical and contemporary issues. In a field that is constantly evolving, experts have become adept at changing their approach to keep pace with new and emerging forms of crime.

The MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice critically addresses key issues and debates relating to crime and the criminal justice system. Exploring issues such as terrorism, sex work, legal and illegal drugs, forced migration, law enforcement, cybercrime and the use of new technologies you will develop an in-depth understanding of crime, deviance and criminal justice from critical, theoretical, policy, legal, political and practical perspectives.

You will study issues of theoretical and social importance, learning from practitioners, lecturers and researchers who are international experts in their fields. The module ’Criminology: Theory and Critical Issues' links directly with the research activities of the criminology staff while ‘Gender Violence and Abuse’ links with the current activities of the Department’s research group of the same name.

You will also benefit from our strong links with the sector. ‘Prisons, Crime and Criminal Justice’ is an innovative module taught within a prison using the Inside-Out learning model that emphasises transformative education. You need security clearance and mandatory prison training before being allowed to enter the prison and eligibility to register on this module is dependent on these being successfully undertaken.

The course will suit those from a wide range of disciplines, who are interested in pursuing a career in the field and those with a professional background in criminal justice who are keen to take their skills to the next level.

Course structure

Core modules:

Criminology, Theory and Critical Issues provides an advanced education in the application of a range of theoretical approaches to the study of crime and criminal justice. These theories of crime and justice are then applied to a range of topical issues including: gender, crime and justice; policing, prisons and punishment; sexual violence and abuse; youth justice; human rights; border crime and transnational justice; cyber-crime, nightlife and alcohol-related violence, and forensics.

Researching Society, Policy and Practice develops your critical understanding of main approaches and methods of social research, and the skills used in this area. The module makes particular reference to the use of research in social welfare practice settings within an ethical framework, exploring areas such as research questions, sampling, methods of data collection and analysis, and interpretation.

The 15,000-word Dissertation gives you the opportunity to explore and write about a suitable subject of your choice under the guidance of a supervisor, and to use the techniques developed in the research modules. It enables you to demonstrate your capacity for independent thought, critical thinking and analysis.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Gender, Violence and Abuse;
  • Prisons, Crime and Justice;
  • Social Policy and Society;
  • Participatory Action Research;
  • Public Sociology: Theory and Practice;
  • Policy Related and Evaluation Research;
  • Quantitative Methods and Analysis;
  • Qualitative Methods and Analysis;
  • Computational Social Science;
  • Analysing Causal Relations in Social Science Research;
  • Placement;
  • Communities, Civil Society and Social Justice;
  • Education and Social Inequality;
  • Sociology of Health and Illness;
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Practices Across Social Research;
  • Global Environmental Law;
  • International Protection of Human Rights;
  • A relevant module from Durham Law School;
  • A language module.

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
International students

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