One year full-time or two years part-time
Two to three evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time, October to April, with some options offered in May, June and July
Other entry years for this course2018
Security is a major contemporary preoccupation; criminal law and criminal justice are key responses. This postgraduate degree in criminal law and criminal justice offers an exciting, challenging and distinctive opportunity to undertake advanced study in these areas.
The central focus of the programme is the interface between criminal law and criminal justice. It offers a theoretically informed and multidisciplinary course of study. In addition to studying the now established critical and theoretical perspectives relevant to criminal law and criminal justice, the programme also has a humanities focus, which offers an opportunity to explore and engage with cutting-edge scholarship in criminal law and criminal justice studies.
The programme is delivered by staff from the School of Law, the Institute of Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck, and a range of visiting international scholars and practitioners.
Find out more about studying law and criminology at Birkbeck.
- Designed for students who are passionate about criminal law and criminal justice, who want to face new challenges, and who are interested in exploring and developing new critical perspectives on major contemporary national and international debates.
- Flexible learning, studying in the evening, makes it particularly attractive to legal and criminal justice professionals and practitioners.
- The School of Law is an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary legal research. It provides an exciting and innovative environment for a wide range of research with a strong theoretical and policy focus. The School is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought.
- Teaching on the programme is provided by experts in the field, including by members of the renowned Institute for Criminal Policy Research which has long contributed to policy-making, scholarship and public debate about crime and criminal justice. The Institute for Criminal Policy Research and, within it, the World Prison Brief, make the School of Law a dynamic and prestigious hub for criminological research and study.
- We use technology, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
- You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library.
- Applicants with a strong academic background may be eligible to apply for AHRC/ESRC awards (UK and EU-based applicants only). Candidates with an outstanding academic record who demonstrate high potential for strong performance on one of our Master's degrees can apply for School of Law Postgraduate Fee Awards.
- We are among the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top three in London in the Times Higher Education 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.
- Watch our video and discover what our students have to say about studying law at Birkbeck.
You take three core modules, one of which is a dissertation, and three option modules.
The dual stream award (either LLM or MA) allows you to choose a qualification that best suits your existing and future career. The final award will be determined prior to completion.
Part-time students take the two compulsory modules, Criminal Law, Theory and History, and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice, plus one option in the first year. In the second year, part-time students take two options and write their independent research project.
- Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
- Criminal Law Theory and History
- Research Project MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Indicative option modules
- Crime and Control
- Criminology of Mobility
- Cultures of Human Rights
- Equality and the Law
- Film and Human Rights
- Futures: The Globalization of Human Rights
- Gender, Sexuality and Criminal Justice
- Global Perspectives on Crime and Crime Control
- Hate Crime
- Healthcare and Human Rights
- Human Rights in Britain
- International Criminological Theory
- Land, Law and Dispossession
- Philosophy of Punishment
- Psychology of Law and Crime
- Race, Law and Literature
- Research Methods in Criminology
- Security, Risk and Governance
- Slavery, slaveries, enslavement : the Western experience
- Social Justice
- Youth Justice
Please note that the modules listed here are indicative; not all modules will be available every year.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Good second-class honours degree in law or a related discipline in the humanities or social sciences.
Degrees from overseas institutions must be equivalent to a UK second-class degree.
Other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional experience and training welcome.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)
If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.
Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.
Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.
In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.
Methods of teaching on this course
This programme includes both taught and research (a dissertation) components. Teaching and learning formats may vary: some modules follow a traditional programme of weekly meetings, others may take the form of intensive courses offered over one or two weekends.
Independent study and active participation are essential to all course provision. You should plan to spend at least five hours in private study for every hour spent in class.
Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).
Indicative class size
Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.
Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:
- academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
- written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
- numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).
Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.
Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.
Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.
Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.
Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.
Methods of assessment on this course
Final assessment for most compulsory and option modules is based on a 4000-word essay. You will also submit a dissertation of 6000-8000 words on a topic of your choice, to be agreed with the programme director.
As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.
Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.
Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.
Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates can pursue a career in the legal professions, police, probation, research, or journalism. Possible professions include community development officer, police or prison officer, social or youth worker, or adult guidance worker. This degree can also be useful in a variety of local government positions, or in becoming a researcher or journalist.
Find more advice and information about law careers.
Read Joanna Perry, Hate Crimes Officer at the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), explaining how a Birkbeck Master's degree in law helped her build a successful career in criminal justice.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
You should apply as early as possible.
Applications open in October.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Accommodation and living costs
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Financial support and postgraduate loans
Birkbeck offers advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay loans by interest-free direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students. Find out about the support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
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