2024/25 entry

MA Criminal Justice

Start date(s):
Study mode:
Course duration:
1 year

Tuition fees

Home full-time per year
International full-time per year
General enquiries:
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About this course

LJMU's Criminal Justice MA is a stand-alone qualification designed to enhance your career prospects in criminal justice agencies, the probation service and the police.

  • Learn from research-active staff and local criminal justice professionals
  • Engage with the theory, policy, and practice of the institutions and agencies of criminal justice
  • Choose from an extensive range of module options, including an MA International Criminal Justice pathway
  • Generous funding scholarships available for home and overseas students

This Masters in Criminal Justice offers the opportunity for students, practitioners, and criminal justice professionals to critically engage with a broad range of issues that impact on the effectiveness and integrity of the workings of the criminal justice system.

Through exploring a series of theoretical and policy-orientated debates relevant to the delivery of contemporary crime control and management, and assessing their cultural, social and symbolic consequences, the course helps you to develop a comprehensive and critically aware understanding of the manufacture and delivery of criminal justice policy.

During the programme you will evaluate discriminatory practice in the criminal justice process and the causes of miscarriages of justice. Your evaluations will be informed by a critical understanding of sources of data and research methodologies and, through option modules, you will develop an in-depth knowledge of particular issues relating to criminal justice in England, Wales and elsewhere.

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    Having graduated in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice, scholarship student Phoebe decided to take the next step and study for a Masters in Criminal Justice at LJMU.

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Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • access to programme-appropriate software
  • library and student IT support
  • free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

The Masters in Criminal Justice offers vocationally relevant knowledge and skills. It will be particularly relevant if you are currently working with or would like a career involving criminal justice agencies, the probation service, social science departments, the police or community-based correction/treatment agencies.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

This course is currently undergoing its scheduled programme review, which may impact the advertised modules. Programme review is a standard part of the University’s approach to quality assurance and enhancement, enabling us to ensure that our courses remain up to date and maintain their high standard and relevancy.

Once the review is completed, this course website page will be updated to reflect any approved changes to the advertised course. These approved changes will also be communicated to those who apply for the course to ensure they wish to proceed with their application.

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

Core modules

Researching Crime and Criminal Justice
30 credits

This module aims to give you a comprehensive and critical guide to both the theory and practice of research on crime and the criminal justice process. It aims to:

  • prepare you for the compulsory dissertation on the MA Criminal Justice course
  • enable you to develop an advanced and critical knowledge of the key ontological, epistemological and methodological issues that impact on research into crime and criminal justice
  • consider and demonstrate a critical appreciation of the particular research theories, and methods of data collection and analysis, which researchers use to study crime and criminal justice
  • examine and demonstrate advanced and critical understanding of issues relating to the politics and ethics of crime and criminal justice research

Key Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
30 credits

This module aims to provide you with the opportunity to critically analyse key issues in contemporary criminal justice at an advanced level. It helps you develop advanced knowledge and critical understanding of specific issues relating to the principles and practice of criminal justice in England and Wales.

Optional Modules

Sex, Crime and Society
20 credits

This module will critically evaluate the phenomenon of sexual offences from a variety of perspectives: historical and modern; social/cultural; ethical and moral; political. Within these contexts, the criminalisation of sexual behaviour will be evaluated and the law applied critically to specific factual situations. The module aims to:

  • develop a knowledge and understanding of the principles, policies and doctrines relating to the criminalisation and de-criminalisation of sexual, and sexually-related behaviour within society
  • provide a critical analysis of the rationale for, and scope of, a selective range of sexual offences in their socio-legal context

Research Dissertation
60 credits

The aim of this module is to explore the complex and dynamic relationship between policing services/agents and members of the diversity of publics these organisations serve. It seeks to help you to develop a critical appreciation of the historical and conceptual development of modern policing forms, evaluate contemporary policing structures/methods/networks, and explore future challenges for service provision. It:

  • encourages you to engage with the evolving and multi-faceted challenges facing the workings of one of the key institutions of criminal justice, whilst also exploring the emerging ethical, moral and practical concerns raised by the increasingly powerful played by the private and quasi-private forms of policing and security management.

  • improves your understanding of the role the police as an organisation, in shaping notions of belonging, citizenship and identity

Drugs, Alcohol and Criminal Justice
20 credits

This module aims to develop your understanding of drug and alcohol use within contemporary society. It deconstructs the drug and alcohol status quo so you can acknowledge the complexities and contradictions that exist within this sphere. It aims to:

  • provide a broad critical understanding of the different paradigms and perspectives on substance (mis)use and relevant policy in relation to crime and criminal justice
  • set a critical socio-cultural scene for you to build up a comprehensive picture of drug and alcohol use within contemporary capitalist society
  • develop your understanding of drug policy and critically consider the rationale and motivations that mould policy developments within this sphere
  • develop your knowledge of how drug and alcohol users are responded to within a criminal justice context

Advanced Critical Criminology
20 credits

This module is designed to examine the social construction of crime. It aims to:

  • provide a balance between theoretical perspectives and empirical, practical knowledge about the power imbalances in society
  • critically examine the relationship between these imbalances and crime (reported and unreported), as well as the criminal justice system's responses to them
  • equip you with the skills required to demonstrate a critical understanding of crimes involving the abuse of social and/or individual power

Delivering Rehabilitation
20 credits

This module critically evaluates, at an advanced level, the role and function of the prison and probation services in relation to the delivery of state punishment and rehabilitation. It aims to:

  • critically reflect on the values and principles that underpin the delivery of contemporary penal policy through the creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
  • scrutinise the extent to which contemporary penal policy and practice actually delivers a more systematic approach to the management of offenders

Youth Justice
20 credits

This module aims to give you a critical, theoretically-informed and socially-orientated grounding in the study of youth justice. It enables you to:

  • develop an analytical approach to understanding the treatment and experiences of young people within, and at the hands of, the criminal justice system
  • consider the historical basis of the youth justice system and how political influence has played a significant role in the current development of youth justice policy
  • critically compare youth justice policy and practice in England and Wales

International Dissertation
60 credits

This module allows students to showcase their knowledge of an international criminal justice issue, enabling them to create a well-structured and extensive assignment that demonstrates critical thinking and the use of suitable research methods.

The Sociology of Policing
20 credits

This module seeks to critically explore the complex and dynamic relationship between policing services/agents and members of the diverse public these organisations serve. It will help you develop a critical appreciation of the historical and conceptual development of modern policing forms, evaluate contemporary policing structures/methods/networks, and explore future challenges for service provision.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Typically, students attend teaching on two or three days per week. Days of attendance vary according to timetabling requirements.

Teaching methods

Teaching is delivered through a series of lectures, workshops and seminars by expert staff and local criminal justice professionals. The teaching team will ensure that you will critically engage with the theory, policy and practice of the institutions and agencies of criminal justice. The focus on research training will equip you with the key transferable skills required to undertake original, empirical research.

Applied learning

Through exploring a series of theoretical and policy-orientated debates relevant to the delivery of contemporary crime control and management, and assessing their cultural, social and symbolic consequences, the course helps you to develop a comprehensive and critically aware understanding of the manufacture and delivery of criminal justice policy.


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

Assessment methods on this course include essays, projects, portfolios, dissertation and presentations.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Since completing my PhD, my main research interests are situated in the design, delivery and commissioning of innovation and alternative practice within and beyond the criminal justice system.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The School is based in the Redmonds Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpool 's growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds is shared by two Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies - Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - and Liverpool Business School, making for a rich blend of student learning experiences. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, a mock courtroom, social spaces, and a café. It is only a short walk from LJMU 's Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies.

Entry requirements

You will need:

Qualification requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • a minimum 2:2 ideally in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Sociology, Law or related Social Science and Humanities subjects

Alternative qualifications considered

  • to demonstrate a comparable academic standard through past studies and/or where work experience


  • a genuine enthusiasm to study issues related to the organisation and delivery of criminal justice

International requirements


    • IELTS 6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)

  • Other international requirements

    • International students entering on a Student visa cannot study part-time

Further information

  • Extra Requirements
  • RPL

    • RPL is accepted on this programme

Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.