Criminology

Criminology - MA

2019

Criminology has a long and distinguished tradition at Kent with its research base in the Crime, Culture and Control Cluster.

2019

Overview

The MA was founded by the world-famous criminologist, the late Professor Jock Young. You are lectured, supervised and tutored by a team of scholars and researchers internationally renowned for their world-class teaching and publications.

Criminology is an important part of the activities of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), which is one of the four top institutions of its kind in the UK. In 2012, we were awarded the first National Award for Excellence in Teaching Criminology by the British Criminology Society in recognition of our innovative approach.

The atmosphere of the School is informal and friendly and there is a lively and diverse postgraduate community. Regular staff/graduate seminars introduce you to the work of academic staff and research students as well as academic visitors, and provide opportunities both for sociability and for intellectual stimulation. The large number of academic staff and our favourable staff/student ratios mean that academic staff are readily accessible.

A key feature of the MA Criminology is its involvement in a Common Study Programme. The Common Study Programme is a biannual student-centred conference at which students are invited to present papers, meet students and staff from other countries and exchange ideas.

The School has international links with colleagues and institutions and our current Visiting Professor of Criminology, Jeff Ferrell is an example of this extended network. Professor Ferrell is based at the Texas Christian University, USA where he is Professor of Sociology. He is a leading proponent of cultural criminology and has conducted research on urban culture, graffiti and media.

Think Kent video series

In this talk, Dr Marian Duggan discusses her current research project which is an analysis of how the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (also known as ‘Clare’s Law’) is operating in Kent. Billed by the Government as a domestic violence ‘prevention policy’ and regularly referred to in the media as a ‘success’, she evaluates exactly how this scheme is operating in practice, whether it is achieving its aims of violence prevention and how useful a tool it is in reducing the average of two women a week who are killed in the UK as a result of domestic violence.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research was ranked 2nd for research power in the UK. The School was also placed 3rd for research intensity, 5th for research impact and 5th for research quality.

An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research, gaining the highest possible score of 100%.

Course structure

The programme involves:

  • the sociological study of crime and its application to criminal justice and social policy
  • the study of issues at the cutting edge of current criminological debate with a strong emphasis on the cultural context of crime
  • advanced criminological theory and research methods as applied to crime and criminal justice.

It also offers opportunities for you to develop your career in the areas of criminal justice, policy development and academic research.

We are constantly developing the modules available to you in line with current issues and staff expertise. Each year we announce new choices, for example we are currently working on developing a module convened by Dr David Redmon which looks at documentary film-making from a social science perspective.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  You will be required to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Modules may include Credits

This course introduces students to the logic and methods of social research. The course aims to familiarize students to central topics in research design, the methodological choices necessary to address in designing social research and the ethics of social research. The module introduces students to both positivist and critical/interpretive approaches and the debates behind their selection for conducting research. Students will be versed in the scientific approaches to social research, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The module aims to provide students a robust understanding of social research methods and the decisions needed to write up a research proposal.

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In the late modern period we are presented with an extraordinary wealth of criminological theory. Past and present paradigms proliferate and prosper. This course examines these theories, placing them in the context of the massive social transformations that have taken place in the last thirty years. It is not concerned so much with abstract theory as criminological ideas, which arise in particular contexts. It aims, therefore, to situate theories in contemporary debates and controversies and allows students to fully utilize theoretical insights in their criminological work. In particular we will introduce the current debates surrounding cultural criminology, the debate over quantitative methods and the emergence of a critical criminology.

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The aims of this module are twofold:

First, to provide students with the opportunity to independently carry out an in-depth inquiry to investigate a research question(s) of their choice, producing a coherent review of the relevant literature, a logical discussion and a clearly communicated set of conclusions in the form of a dissertation.

Second, to prepare students to become ‘research-minded’ practitioners in order that they have the capacity to undertake research in practice settings and/or take a lead role in supervising others in such work.

The following represents the likely format for curriculum delivery:

In mid-November, there will be a two-hour workshop, which will outline the aims, the structure, the process of the dissertation. During the spring term, the students will finalise their proposal with their chosen supervisor. If the dissertation requires ethical research approval, an application will be submitted to the school research ethics committee by the beginning of the summer term. During the summer term and vacation, students will meet their supervisor every fortnight to discuss the progress of their dissertation. The supervisors will provide feedback on written work and will set monthly work plans and targets for the students. The dissertation topic will relate to a key question, issue and problem within social science.

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Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is by six coursework essays and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide a post-graduate programme in criminology of the highest standard with teaching that is informed by internationally recognised research and scholarship
  • give you a comprehensive overview and understanding of contemporary debates in criminology and criminal justice including those around diversity and inequality
  • involve you in a critical analysis of crime and punishment in relation to developments in social theory, sociology and social policy
  • provide an understanding of the social processes that influence the relationship between individuals, groups and institutions
  • focus on the relevance of social science for the analysis and assessment of crime and criminal justice policy
  • provide you with an advanced understanding of the ways in which quantitative and qualitative research methodologies may be used to study crime and criminal justice
  • give you a critical awareness of the political and populist influences on criminal justice policy
  • enable you to understand the emergence of social problems (including crime) and the responses of welfare and criminal justice institutions, including analysis of the theoretical, political and economic underpinnings of these responses
  • build on the University’s close European ties by providing the potential for students to participate in the European Common Study programme in Criminology.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • sociological and cultural theories of crime
  • the historical development of the study of crime and the institutions of criminal justice
  • the ways in which images and notions of crime are constructed
  • the main sources of data about crime, socio-demographics and the economy
  • the impact of political, public and media debates on criminal justice policy
  • the relevance of social science for understanding crime and the workings of the criminal justice system
  • the relationship between sociological theories of crime and punishment and empirical studies of the same
  • patterns and types of offending
  • patterns of social diversity and inequality, their origins and consequences.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • advanced research skills including the ability to identify a research question and to answer it by gathering and analysing appropriate data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
  • understand the nature and appropriate use, including the ethical implications, of diverse social research strategies.
  • distinguish between technical, normative, moral and political questions
  • an ability to communicate sophisticated and complex theoretical ideas to a critical audience.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • the ability to identify and use theories and concepts in criminology to analyse issues of crime and criminal justice within both national and international contexts
  • the ability to seek out and use statistical data relevant to issues of crime and criminal justice
  • the ability to undertake, either on your own, or in collaboration with others, advanced investigations of criminological and criminal justice questions
  • a high level of ability in exploring the inter-relationships between theory, method, policy and practice as applied to crime and criminal justice
  • qualitative methods of data analysis: archival and documentary research, interpretation of texts, the use of electronic search materials appropriate for criminological analysis.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • communication: the ability to communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including where appropriate the use of IT), organise information clearly and coherently, use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical information
  • numeracy: the ability to make sense of statistical material, integrate numerical and non-numerical information, understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology: the ability to produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email, process information using databases
  • work with others:  the ability to define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function, collaborate with others, contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals and have sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference
  • improve your own learning: the ability to explore your strengths and weaknesses, time management, review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship), develop autonomy in your learning, work independently, demonstrating initiative and self-organisation
  • important research management skills include the setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research with clear starting dates (through a dissertation), presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research and developing appropriate means of investigating the use of time
  • problem-solving: the ability to identify and define complex problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
  • Personal career development: you are encouraged to proactively manage your own career progression and we will support you in developing your skills in researching and retrieving information on opportunities for internships and employment and continuing personal and career development.

Careers

Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of Criminology is a particularly valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.

Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers across the criminal justice system, encompassing areas such as counter-terrorism, advocacy, probation, social policy and research. Our graduates have found positions in organisations such as the Civil Service, the Ministry of Justice, various police services and the Probation Service.

Study support

Graduate School

The Graduate School ensures that the academic and social interests of postgraduate students are provided for within the University. It works alongside academic schools to support and develop internationally disctinctive, exciting and innovative programmes of study that combine academic excellence with an exceptional student experience and appropriate learning resources through the provision of:

  • high-quality postgraduate facilities
  • a supportive environment for the intellectual interests of our postgraduates
  • an excellent Researcher Development Programme
  • a strong framework of specialist support for our postgraduates across the University
  • the cultivation of external links with Research Councils, graduate schools and other organisations, both nationally and internationally, to provide further funding and study opportunities.

For more details see our Graduate School page.

Postgraduate resources

Our postgraduate students are given 24-hour access to dedicated office space within the School and are able to take advantage of excellent library and computing facilities.

The Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology

All Canterbury-based Kent postgraduate students are offered the opportunity to add an international dimension to their criminological study by participating in the Common Studies Sessions in Critical Criminology. This student-led event provides the opportunity to exchange ideas and deliver papers on topics relating to critical, cultural and international criminology at a bi-annual conference run in collaboration with Kent’s international criminology partners, which include Erasmus University, Rotterdam; the Universities of Barcelona, Bologna, Ghent, Hamburg, Middlesex, Porto and Utrecht; ELTE, Budapest; the Democritus University of Thrace; the University of the Peloponnese, Corinth; and the CUNY Graduate Center, New York. The Common Study Sessions are hosted in turn by each of the participating institutions.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: The British Journal of Criminology; Urban Studies; Theoretical Criminology; Crime, Media, Culture; Ethnography.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A good honours degree in criminology, sociology, social policy, law or other related social science discipline, or substantial experience in social or political research or a relevant profession.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

The School has a long-established tradition of conducting criminological research.

Crime, Culture and Control

The group covers a diverse range of topics, employs both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and draws upon different theoretical traditions. We have particular expertise in the following areas: cultural criminology; crime, punishment and social change; drug use; gender, crime and criminal justice; penology and imprisonment (especially of female offenders); policing; quasi-compulsory treatment for drug-using offenders; race, crime and criminal justice; restorative justice and young offenders; crime and the ‘night-time economy’, terrorism and political crime; violence; youth crime and youth justice.

Present and current research has been funded by the ESRC, the Home Office and the Youth Justice Board.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Phil Carney: Lecturer in Criminology

Photographic theory; spectacle; radical criminology; cultural criminology; critical visual culture; post-structuralist critical theory; desire and power; the micropolitics of fascism.

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Dr Caroline Chatwin: Senior Lecturer in Criminology

European drug policy; young people and victimisation; drug use and subcultural studies.

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Dr Simon Cottee: Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Sociology of crime and deviance; sociology of intellectuals; terrorism and apostasy; coercion; political violence.

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Dr Marian Duggan: Lecturer in Criminology

How research and theory can inform policy and practice in reducing sexual, gendered and hate-based victimisation.

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Professor Chris Hale: Professor of Criminology

How political debates around law and order have affected responses to crime; quantitative analysis of crime data, especially the relationships between crime and fear of crime with wider economic and social changes; evaluations of new interventions and crime reduction strategies; policing; youth crime. 

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Professor Roger Matthews: Professor of Criminology; Director of Studies for Postgraduate Criminology

Penology, community safety and crime prevention, prostitution, armed robbery, punitiveness, left realism. Recent publications include: Prostitution Politics and Policy (2008); Doing Time: An Introduction to the Sociology of Imprisonment (2009).

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Professor Larry Ray: Professor of Sociology

Sociological theory; globalisation; race and ethnicity; violence. 

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Dr David Redmon

Ethnographically recording experiential encounters and rendering expressivity with audiovisual and written mediums and using media to depict the experiential life of animals, objects, places, and people within haptic, somatic and physically tactile modes of expression.

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Emeritus Professor K. Stenson: Professor of Criminology

Criminological theory, risk and governance, youth crime.

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Dr Simon Shaw: Lecturer in Criminal Justice

Youth crime; youth justice; politics of crime; criminal justice policy-making.

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Professor Alex Stevens: Professor of Criminal Justice; Deputy Head of School

The politics and practice of criminal justice, with a specific emphasis on national and international drug policy, youth justice, gangs, organised crime, probation practice and the use of evidence in policymaking. 

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Criminology - Taught MA at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £7500 £19000
Part-time £3750 £9500

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: