Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Two Year Master's in Criminology - MA

2018

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.

2018

Overview

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.

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

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.  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.

Modules may include Credits

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.

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15

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.

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30

The aims of this module are:

1. To understand the historical development of feminist criminology and its contemporary relevance;

2. To explore the relationship between gender, offending and victimisation; and,

3. Examine the role of gender in criminal justice.

Topics covered in the module include: feminist methods and theory in criminology, prostitution, masculinities and crime, women in the criminal justice system, criminal justice responses to gendered violence, sexual offending and gender in the prison system.

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15

This module will be divided into three parts: the first will offer an analysis of current and potential methods of drug control; the second will explore cultural contexts of illicit drug use within modern society; the third will consider and evaluate practical issues facing drug policy makers of today. Each will be considered in a global context. Particular emphasis will be placed on theoretical arguments underpinning the major debates in this field and up-to-date research will be drawn upon throughout.

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15

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.

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15

The module provides students with an understanding of the contested cultural meanings underpinning crime. Too often criminology is satisfied taking definitions of criminality at face value, when really it means very different things to different people and in different contexts. The module examines how media representations propagate particular perceptions of crime, criminality and justice. It goes on to consider the manner in which those who 'offend' experience and interpret their own behaviour, which may be focused on the attainment of excitement or indeed on attaining their own conception of justice. The module explores these contradictions in a world where crime, control and the media saturate everyday life. In doing so it considers a diverse range of concepts; youth culture, hedonism, hate crime, risk taking, moral panics, the image, emotionality and consumerism. We examine the nature of a late-modern society where criminality inspires great fear and resentment, whilst at the same time it provides imagery which is harnessed to produce entertainment and sell a range of consumer goods. Students will become familiar with cutting edge research and theory in the fields of Cultural Criminology, Visual Criminology, and Media and Crime, placing issues such as music, photography, street gangs, extreme sports, newspapers and nights on the town in new and exciting contexts.

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15

The module seeks to provide an historical, legal and social understanding of the police, one of the key social and legal institutions of the modern state. The police are an integral part of the criminal justice system and as such, this module is a core element in a criminal justice programme.

The following topics will be covered:

• The History of Policing

• Modern organisation of the Police

• Transnational Policing

• Policing Strategies

• The Constitutional Role and Accountability of the Police

• Fighting crime

• Police Powers and Police Discretion

• Interrogation and Confessions

• Prosecution and Policing

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15

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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20

This module provides grounding in the theories, logics and methods that underpin criminological research. As such, students will learn about the principles involved in designing, carrying out and interpreting research. The module focuses on the relationship between empirical data (what is observed/measured in the ‘real world’) and the development of theory (academic thought). Students are encouraged to learn how to ask appropriate criminological questions and to design studies which draw on the most appropriate methods to answer them. These methods include both primary empirical work (quantitative and qualitative) and secondary work (e.g. dataset analysis, literature analysis). The module thus is also concerned with how data can be interpreted and analysed. Beyond equipping students with intellectual and practical skills in the field of criminological research, the module fosters a capacity to critically evaluate research in general.

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20

This module provides Masters students with a criminological, sociological and cultural understanding of drug use and trade. It will be divided into three parts: the first will explore the cultural contexts of illicit drug use within modern society; the second will offer a detailed analysis of current and potential methods of drug control; the third will consider and evaluate practical issues facing the drug policy makers of today. Throughout the module curriculum, effort will be made to consider methods, issues and policies in a global, as well as national, context. Particular emphasis will be placed on the theoretical arguments underpinning the major debates in this field and up-to-date research will be drawn upon throughout.

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20

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.

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20

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.

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20

Following the events of September 11 public concerns surrounding the related threats associated with terrorism have inevitably deepened. This course will provide a general introduction to the terrorism and pose a series of questions that rarely feature in mainstream criminological and sociological discourse. A central aspect of the course will be an examination of the actual risk posed by international terrorism and whether or not the threat is enhanced by the fears and anxieties generated by a risk-averse culture.

Lecture list:

1. Introduction: a brief overview of key historical perspectives (KH)

2. Approximating the problem of terrorism: contested definitions (FF)

3. ‘True Lies’: conspiracy and secrecy in an age of uncertainty (KH)

4. Fanaticism 1: fundamentalist cultures (KH)

5. Fanaticism 2: the ‘psychology’ of the terrorist (KH)

6. Reading Week

7. Polarized moralities: culture wars and extremism from Oklahoma City to the ‘Brixton Bomber’ (KH)

8. Uncertainty and risk: terrorism and the revolt against change in a globalized world (FF)

9. Living with the terrorist threat: public perceptions, ‘hyper terrorism’ and the media (FF)

10. Resilience and Vulnerability: How communities respond to terror (FF)

11. Review lecture: Framing fear post 9/11 (FF)

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20

1. Introduction: The Sociology of Risk

2. The Social Semantics of Risk in Historical Perspective

3. Ulrich Beck and the ‘Risk Society’

4. The ‘Cultural Theory’ of Risk

5. Governmentality and Risk

6. Reading / Essay Writing Week

7. The ‘Perception of Risk’ in Sociological Perspective

8. The ‘Management of Risk’ in Sociological Perspective

9. Risk in Mass Media

10. Risk, Subjectivity and ‘the endangered self’

11. Transnational Risks and Civil Society

12. World Risk Society: Retrospect and Prospect

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20

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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60

This module offers a critical study of policing from historical, legal, political and social perspectives. It focuses primarily on policing in the United Kingdom, with other appropriate jurisdictions (including the European Union) being used for comparative purposes.

Topics covered

• History of the structure, organisation and concept of the police

• Ethical and legal principles underlying policing as well as the implications for policing of the European Convention on Human Rights

• The different functions of policing

• Police culture

• Police powers and procedures

• Public order policing

• Police governance and accountability

• Cross-border police co-operation

• Private policing

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20

Programme aims

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.

Learning outcomes

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.

Intellectual skills

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.

Subject-specific skills

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.

Transferable skills

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.

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

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.  

Entry requirements

  • 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, 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

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).

Research areas

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.

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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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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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Emeritus Professor K. Stenson: Professor of Criminology

Criminological theory, risk and governance, youth crime.

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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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Dr Simon Shaw: Lecturer in Criminal Justice

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

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Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Criminology (2 years) - MA at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time TBC TBC
Criminology (with a Semester Abroad) - MA at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time

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 accommodation and living costs, plus 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: