Criminology has a long and distinguished tradition at Kent with its research base in the Crime, Culture and Control Cluster. Aimed at international students, this programme provide an introduction to high-level academic study leading to a recognised postgraduate qualification.
You gain a clear, confident and advanced understanding of the subject while receiving coaching in academic study and writing. Language and study support are also given in the first year to help you achieve your full potential.
The skills you develop on this programme include critical thinking, data analysis and presentation of key findings as well as transferable skills such as time management, IT and problem solving.
About the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR)
SSPSSR has a long and distinguished history and is one of the largest and most successful social science research communities in Europe. An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, with 99% of the research submitted judged to be of international quality.
The School supports a large and thriving postgraduate community and in 2010 distributed in excess of £100,000 in Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) quota awards, and in University and SSPSSR bursaries and scholarships to new students.
Academic staff specialise in research of international, comparative and theoretical significance, and we have collective strengths in the following areas: civil society, NGOs and the third sector; cross-national and European social policy; health, social care and health studies; work, employment and economic life; risk, ‘risk society’ and risk management; race, ethnicity and religion; social and public policy; sociology and the body; crime, culture and control; sociological theory and the culture of modernity.
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%.
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. Most programmes will require you 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.
|Compulsory modules currently include||Credits|
PREM6001 - Advanced Academic Study Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences
This module focuses on the development of skills specific to level 6 study in fields within the Social Sciences and Humanities. The aim is to develop and enhance students' confidence in their ability to conduct literature searches and analyse and evaluate sources specific to their discipline. Students work with journal articles and other appropriate sources on topics of particular relevance to their field. In this respect, the course is tailor-made according to each individual student’s needs. Participants on LA508 will benefit from the expertise of a tutor trained in the teaching of English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP). Carefully guided and facilitated by their tutor, students will develop their writing and oral skills appropriate to level 6. They will be introduced to and prepared for the academic culture pertaining to their discipline, including expectations concerning written conventions, problem solving, critical thinking, team-working and seminar participation.View full module details
PREM6002 - Independent Research Skills
The module is designed to encourage student autonomy and to develop self-confidence in students' ability to research a topic independently. Participants are guided and facilitated by the tutor through a series of group workshops in which the sharing of ideas is encouraged for exploration and discussion. Students are further supported via bi-weekly 1 to 1 tutorials during which they will discuss their work and progress with the tutor. LA524 is similar to our longer 30 credit module (LA525) and operates in a similar manner; the students themselves produce the materials which allows for bespoke support. However, LA524 is designed for those who require a little more language assistance.View full module details
PREM6011 - Advanced English for Academic Study in Humanities and Social Sciences
The module develops students' language skills in relation to English for Academic purposes, with a specific focus on English for Social Sciences and Humanities. This includes the ability to interpret and evaluate discipline-specific academic texts; analyse, discuss, summarise and synthesise written and visual information, both in writing and orally; create and organise subject specific written texts effectively and submit them in grammatically accurate English; present the results of discipline-specific research projects coherently to an educated audience. Demonstrate a critical awareness of different academic cultures.View full module details
SO505 - Sociology of Crime and Deviance
The aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of the nature and extent of crime and deviance in contemporary society, and the main ways in which they can be explained and controlled. Focusing upon contemporary sociological theories of crime against a background of the classical ideas within the field, this unit will provide undergraduates with an opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date debates.View full module details
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SO536 - Criminal Justice in Modern Britain:Development, Issues and Politics
The module will be organised around the following themes:
• The history, development and structure of the institutions of the CJS
• Current issues facing the CJS
• Crime, crime control and social exclusion
• Crime prevention and community safety
Within the organisation of the module students will be encouraged to cooperate on issues based around the above themes and to participate verbally within the context of class discussions, group presentation and class debate.View full module details
SO601 - Welfare in Modern Britain
This module provides a broad introduction to welfare services in modern Britain, with a focus on England. Successful students will improve their understanding of the recent history and current organisation of the following areas of social welfare provision. These include education, health, social care, and housing.
The module starts with a basic mapping and description of key institutions and issues. It then moves on to: The policy-making process: paying for welfare services; social policy implementation by government and professions; assessing the impact of social policies.
The teaching will emphasise debates, arguments and controversies. Students will learn how to put together an argument and persuade others.View full module details
SO602 - Social Research Methods
In this module you will begin to understand the process and debates surrounding how researchers learn more about the social world. What techniques and approaches do social researchers draw upon to organise, structure and interpret research evidence? How do we judge the quality of research? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the range of frameworks and methodologies? The first part of the module introduces you to the conceptual issues and debates around the ‘best’ way to explore social questions, forms and issues, and an overview of some popular methods for doing so. In the Spring Term, you will spend most of your time applying what you have learned in a group research project and an individual research design project.View full module details
SO657 - Digital Culture
This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking.View full module details
SO659 - Risk and Society
The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a ‘risk society’ which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous ‘risks’ which shape our lives. The course will explore basic concepts of risk, hazard and probability and how risk is managed and communicated. Topics will include risk and globalization, and risk and the media. Developments will be examined through key examples such as ‘mad cow’ disease and genetically modified ‘frankenfoods’. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.View full module details
SO727 - Contemporary Sociological Theory
This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies that have shaped key developments in contemporary social theory. It surveys the development of social theory through the second half of the twentieth century and up to the present day. Following on from the SO408 module on ‘classical’ social theory, it questions the distinction between the ‘classical’ and the ‘contemporary’ so as to highlight the intellectual decisions, values and problems involved in the packaging of social theory under these terms. It also provides critical introductions to the following theorists and issues: Talcott Parsons and his legacy; Symbolic Interactionism up to Goffman and beyond; The Frankfurt School: Critical theory and the crisis of western marxism; Jurgen Habermas and the decline of the public sphere; Michel Foucault and a his understanding of ‘power’; Pierre Bourdieu and the reproduction of inequality; From Modernity to Post-modernity?; The feminizing of social theory; Globalization, networks and mobilities; New challenges for the twenty-first century.View full module details
SO750 - Popular Culture, Media and Society
This module introduces and applies ideas in critical, cultural and communications theory to debates and issues surrounding media and popular culture, focusing on such themes as cultural elitism, power and control, the formation of identities, the politics of representation, and the cultural circuit of production and consumption. It investigates the relationship between the development of contemporary society and societal values and the changing technological basis of mediated culture.View full module details
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SO833 - Design of Social research
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.View full module details
SO869 - Theories of Crime
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.View full module details
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SO824 - Sociology of Violence
This module will examine the ways in which violence is understood in social science research, and will provide advanced discussion of the major theoretical and research themes involved in the analysis of violence. It will critically examine data on the prevalence, nature and effects of violent crime, and will consider issues of violence, aggression and masculinity. This will be done with particular reference to examples, such as racist crime, homophobic crime and domestic violence. The module will approach violence from both interpersonal and societal perspectives and will include consideration of collective violence and genocide. It will further examine solutions to solutions to violence and conflict resolution, the effects of intervention strategies and non-juridical responses to violence.View full module details
SO825 - Terrorism and Modern Society
This module explores key issues, debates and controversies in the cross-disciplinary study of terrorism and political violence. Since 9/11, terrorism and jihadist violence in particular has become one of the most contentious and politically charged issues of our time. Yet it remains poorly understood, in part because of the contention and consequent polarization surrounding it, but also because of the methodological challenges in researching the individuals and groups involved in terrorist activity. One of the core aims of the module is to help shed a light on the challenges - methodological, practical and ethical - of researching an issue saturated in danger, secrecy and stigma.
What is terrorism and how should it best be defined? Why does the term "terrorism" carry such a potent stigma? What are the master cultural and intellectual narratives for thinking about terrorism and terrorists?
Does it make sense to talk of "the terrorist" as a category of person, and what are the problems inherent in efforts to "profile" those who engage in terrorism? What do terrorists and terrorist groups want? Is terrorism rational? What is suicide bombing and what explains it? How do terrorist rhetorically frame the use of violence against civilians? What is ISIS and is it Islamic? What is radicalization and how should it be conceptualized? Can terrorism ever be morally justified?
The purpose of this module is to provide a framework for thinking about these and other crucial questions about terrorism and political violence.View full module details
SO830 - Gender and Crime in a Globalised World
This module examines gender and crime in a globalised world. Several core themes inform the international exploration of crime, victimisation and justice, including 'race', class, age, sexuality, locality, economics, politics, power and discourse. The module offers students the opportunity to engage with a broad range of internationally classical and influential bodies of literature spanning feminist and critical criminology, masculinities theories, victimology, queer theory and globalisation. Men and women as victims and offenders will be examined through a gendered lens to assess how culture, discourse and identity function to enhance or diminish vulnerability to criminalisation, victimisation and injustice. Underpinning these analyses are notions of power, which prove central to considerations of the extent to which globalisation informs patterns of gendered offending, victimisation and access to justice.View full module details
SO881 - Cultural Criminology
This module is concerned with developing a sophisticated understanding of the contested meanings underpinning crime and its control and the manner in which such meanings are intertwined with various different cultural phenomena. The module explores the complex patterns and sites of contest, control and resistance that bisect everyday life. This is achieved through engaging in a detailed consideration of cutting edge theory and research in the fields of cultural and visual criminology. The module will place criminality, policing, crime prevention, music, photography, emotionality, extreme sports, advertising, protest, war, physicality and the film in new and exciting contexts. The module equips students with the necessary theoretical tools and modes of social inquiry to make sense of a late-modern world permeated by crime and its control.View full module details
SO883 - Contemporary Social Theory
Social theory is a nebulous field of inquiry with fuzzy boundaries. Some of the most significant contributions to it in terms of ideas and concepts have historically originated in the work of thinkers diversely identified with a wide range of disciplines - such as psychoanalysis, philosophy, anthropology, literary and aesthetic theory, historical and cultural studies, as well as with sociology. This module approaches contemporary social theory by exploring a set of themes through close readings and analyses of several texts by 20th and 21st century theorists whose work has been to varying degrees appropriated across the social sciences and the humanities, but yet whose contribution to ‘social theory’ per se is still open to question, in any case far from canonical.
In working through these selected primary texts within a seminar group, the aim is to critically investigate and evaluate what they offer to social theory, and to critically assess their usefulness for understanding various social and political phenomena characteristic of contemporary life and society in a globalised world. During the course of such detailed discussions, we will also, no doubt, reflect on the distinction between modern and postmodern social theory; the ‘linguistic turn’, the ‘cultural turn’, the ‘ethical turn’, the shift from narrative to image based culture, and other general parameters of social theorizing in recent times.View full module details
SO885 - Social Suffering
In summary, ‘social suffering’ calls for a new project of social science. It involves researchers in the attempt to understand how social and cultural conditions moderate the experience of suffering. It also brings a critical focus to the ways in which such experience serves to expose the moral character and structural force of society within people’s lives. Whilst attending to the particular ways in which individuals struggle to make ‘the problem of suffering’ productive for thought and action, it also works to understand how, through to the level of collective experience, this contributes to wider dynamics of social change. This course examines these cross-disciplinary issues and debates with the aim of assessing their sociological significance and political implications.View full module details
SO886 - Worlds of Work
This module examines the way work shapes society and in turn how society shapes work. Drawing on the fields of sociology, cultural sociology, social policy as well as other disciplines this module explores work in a variety of competing and complementing ways and in doing so offers students a chance to appreciate different themes, issues, methodologies and approaches. These include work identity and meaning; age, generation and class; visual methods and approaches; the cultures of work; work/life balance and the end of work.View full module details
SO940 - Prisons and Penal Policy
This module will examine the emergence and development of the modern prison in the light of the This module will examine the emergence and development of the modern prison in the light of the major social and economic changes that have taken place over the last two hundred years. It will examine the changing functions of the prison over that period and will look at the development of community based sanctions and alternatives to custody. It will then examine the reasons for the growth of imprisonment in the post war period and in particular its rapid increase on both sides of the Atlantic over the past two decades. It will examine the issues of gender and race in relation to prisons and penal policy and examine the key debates concerning the changing composition of the prison population. It will then go on to look at penal reform and in particular the impact of privatisation on the prison system.View full module details
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SO998 - Dissertation
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.View full module details
This programme aims to:
- prepare you for the academic challenges of postgraduate study in SSPSSR;
- offer a range of modules that provide a solid grounding for further study at Master’s level in the UK;
- develop academic and research skills in Social Science degrees taught through Social Sciences;
- increase your proficiency in English for general academic purposes and for study in SSPSSR to a standard which is equivalent to C1 on CEFR or 6.5 in IELTS;
- enable you, on completion, to study successfully alongside others who have completed a full UK Social Sciences degree;
- enable you to develop their independent study and research skills in the context of postgraduate study associated with SSPSSR.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the development of criminology as a distinct area of study and inquiry; its interdisciplinary nature; alternative theoretical approaches within criminology; contemporary debates about the content and scope of criminology;
- how crime, deviance and victimisation are socially and legally constructed; relationships between crime, deviance and offending, victimisation, and social divisions such as age, gender, social class, race and ethnicity;
- the social and historical development of public policing; the organisation and powers of the police in different locations; functions, methods and strategies of policing; the practice and implications of particular policing strategies;
- the development, role, organisation and governance of efforts to reduce and prevent crime and harm, and to ensure personal and public safety and security in different locations;
- the social and historical development of the main institutions involved in crime control in different locations; the philosophy and politics of criminal justice and modes of punishment; the use of discretion in relation to justice processes including issues of discrimination and diversity;
- representations of victimisation, crime and deviance, and of the main agents and institutions which respond to crime and deviance, as found in the mass media, in official reports and in public opinion;
- how to develop a reflective approach and a critical awareness of the values of local cultures and local politics, and of the student's own values, biography, and social identity, and how to bring these skills to bear in an informed response to crime and victimisation;
- the process and debates surrounding how researchers learn more about the social world;
- the techniques and approaches that social researchers draw upon to organise, structure and interpret research evidence;
- how to judge the quality of research concerning strengths and weaknesses of the range of frameworks and methodologies.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- critical reflection;
- discussing and undertaking written and interpretative analysis of key material;
- presenting, evaluating and interpreting a variety of data using defined techniques in a logical and systematic fashion;
- appreciating the complexity and diversity of the ways in which crime is constituted, represented and dealt with;
- assessing the merits of competing theories relevant to crime, victimisation and responses to crime and deviance;
- assessing the merits and diversity of objectives of competing responses to crime and deviance, including the protection of human rights;
- gathering, retrieving and synthesising data and information;
- making ethical judgments about published research;
- making reasoned arguments;
- interpreting quantitative and qualitative evidence and texts.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- identifying criminological problems, formulating questions and investigating them;
- using criminological theory and concepts to understand crime, victimisation and responses to crime and deviance;
- using criminological theory to elucidate representations of crime, victimisation, and responses to these, as presented in the mass media and official reports;
- explaining complex social problems in terms of criminological theory;
- analysing, assessing and communicating empirical information about crime, victimisation, responses to crime and deviance, and representations of crime;
- identifying human rights issues in responses to crime and deviance;
- recognising a range of ethical problems associated with research and how to take action in accordance with the guideline;
- applying concepts, theories and methods used in the study of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology;
- analysing data including indexing and retrieval of qualitative data, and understanding basic statistics.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- team and independent working: collaborating effectively as part of a team and in group activity for a common goal; the ability to work with others; independent working and study skills;
- communication skills: presenting material in written and oral form; making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation; understanding the dynamics of communication;
- critical thinking: critically evaluating and reflecting on your own and others' opinions; analysing and critically examining material as well as identifying and describing problems;
- research: understanding and evaluating research material, including qualitative and quantitative data; processing information (reading) and using libraries
- IT/ICT: using both effectively and appropriately for communication and as a means of learning;
- planning and time management: planning effectively, meeting deadlines and managing your own learning.
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.
Our postgraduate students are given 24-hour access to dedicated office space within the Department 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. Details of recently published books can be found within our staff research interests.
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.
- Undergraduate study at an overseas university or institution in a relevant social sciences field;
- or, an undergraduate degree from a UK institution where the particular area of intended SSPSSR study has represented a component but not the principal focus of study;
- or, a relevant foundation degree, ordinary (Bachelors) degree, Diploma of Higher Education or other higher diploma.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
Average 6.0 in IELTS test, minimum 6.0 in Reading and Writing (students will need to meet the SSPSSR linguistic entry requirement by gaining an equivalent grade in module LZ605 - Advanced English for Postgraduate Academic Study in Social Sciences and Humanities).
Crime, Culture and Control
The School has a long-established tradition of conducting criminological research. 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.View Profile
Dr Caroline Chatwin: Senior Lecturer in Criminology
European drug policy; young people and victimisation; drug use and subcultural studies.View Profile
Dr Simon Cottee: Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Sociology of crime and deviance; sociology of intellectuals; terrorism and apostasy; coercion; political violence.View Profile
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.View Profile
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).View Profile
Professor Larry Ray: Professor of Sociology
Sociological theory; globalisation; race and ethnicity; violence.View Profile
Emeritus Professor K. Stenson: Professor of Criminology
Criminological theory, risk and governance, youth crime.View Profile
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.View Profile
Dr Simon Shaw: Lecturer in Criminal Justice
Youth crime; youth justice; politics of crime; criminal justice policy-making.View Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Criminology (2 years) - MA at Canterbury:|
|Criminology (with a Semester Abroad) - MA at Canterbury:|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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