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Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

MA/LLM

Key Information

Course Overview

Birkbeck’s Criminal Law and Criminal Justice MA/LLM offers a unique opportunity for advanced study of criminal law and criminal justice from an interdisciplinary perspective. Taught by academics experienced in criminology and law and researchers from the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR), this postgraduate degree course provides you with an insight into cutting-edge debates in criminal law and criminal justice grounded within legal, criminological, policy and humanities-oriented perspectives. This course is also distinct in how it offers you the chance, at the end of your studies, to decide whether you would like to receive an LLM or MA, so your chosen award is based on your own needs, career path and area of specialism.  

Students on this course are drawn from a range of backgrounds, including those with pre-existing knowledge or experience of criminal law and the criminal justice system, and those with a desire to pursue a specialism in this area. It caters both for those who would like to advance in their existing career and those who want to carve out a new career path. 

This MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice introduces you to theoretical debates and perspectives that underpin an understanding of the relationship between criminal law and criminal justice. You will be able to tailor the degree to your own interests with option modules and will be supported to pursue your own independent research on a relevant area of your choice.

Discover the career opportunities available by taking Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (MA/LLM).

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Highlights

  • You can look forward to a stimulating, flexible learning environment, learning alongside students with diverse backgrounds and professional experiences. 
  • You will be taught by staff who are part of a proud tradition of critical scholarship in criminology and criminal justice, who address issues of crime through power and inequality, and are led by principles of social and racial justice.  
  • We are home to the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research. Its director, Professor Jessica Jacobson, leads a team of outstanding researchers. Academics and researchers at ICPR bring a wealth of knowledge to this Master's course, leading compulsory and specialist modules and providing research project supervision. 
  • Students can attend specialist research seminars, such as the Criminology Seminar Series and the Race and Justice Seminar Series, which feature national and international scholars speaking to current issues and groundbreaking interdisciplinary research. 
  • We use electronic learning environments to enhance our 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. 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. 
  • 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

Course Structure

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in law, the humanities or social sciences; other honours degrees will be considered.

    Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    Apply now to secure your place. The earlier you apply, the sooner your application can be considered and you can enrol. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    English Language 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 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes 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.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and accredited prior learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university, 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.

  • Fees Fees

    Fees

    Criminal Law and Criminal Justice MA/LLM: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time, on campus, Starting in academic year 2023–24

    Academic year 2023–24, starting October 2023

    Part-time home students: £6435 per year
    Full-time home students: £12870 per year
    Part-time international students: £9945 per year
    Full-time international students: £19890 per year

    Criminal Law and Criminal Justice MA/LLM: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time, on campus, Starting in academic year 2022–23 or 2023–24

    Academic year 2022–23, starting January 2023

    Part-time home students: £5925 per year
    Full-time home students: £11850 per year
    Part-time international students: £9045 per year
    Full-time international students: £18090 per year

    Academic year 2023–24, starting January 2024

    Part-time home students: £6435 per year
    Full-time home students: £12870 per year
    Part-time international students: £9945 per year
    Full-time international students: £19890 per year

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International Scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Teaching and Assessment Teaching and Assessment

    Teaching

    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 access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    This course includes both taught and research (a research project) 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. 

    Teaching hours

    Our evening hours are normally between 6pm and 9pm (6-7.30pm and 7.30-9pm). Some programmes also offer teaching during the day and this will be clearly signposted to you where it is available.

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Scheduled teaching sessions may include lectures, seminars, workshops or laboratory work. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and field trips. On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project (if applicable).

    Alongside your contact hours, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. The amount of time you need to allocate to study both for taught sessions (this might include online sessions and/or in-person sessions) and personal study will depend on how much you are studying during the year and whether you are studying full time or part time.

    Birkbeck’s courses are made up of modules and allocated ‘credit’. One credit is equivalent to ten hours of learning time. Modules are usually in 15, 30 or 60 credit units. A 15-credit module will mean around 150 hours of learning, including taught sessions and independent study or group work. This is spread out over the whole period of that module and includes the time you spend on any assessments, including in examinations, preparing and writing assessments or engaged in practical work as well as any study support sessions to help you in your learning.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students is encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies.

    Timetables

    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 larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    Study skills and additional support

    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

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    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 research project of 8000 words on a topic of your choice, to be agreed with the module convenor.

  • Careers and employability Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Postgraduate studies in criminal law and criminal justice offer you a range of career opportunities, giving you a pathway to promotion within an existing career, helping you transition into a new career, or giving you the chance to pursue a specialist area of knowledge. 

    You will find criminal law and criminal justice graduates in the following kinds of roles:  

    • legal practitioners
    • positions within the third sector including non-government organisations (NGOs) and voluntary organisations
    • positions within criminal justice agencies, such as the police, prisons and youth justice system
    • local government or civil service roles  
    • education, research and academia.   

    As well as honing their research skills, Birkbeck’s MA/LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice graduates complete the degree with a set of valuable attributes, for example: 

    • the ability to critically evaluate and assess a range of sources
    • the ability to present persuasive arguments  
    • the ability to work effectively as part of a team
    • high-level oral and written communication skills in English.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service - Birkbeck Futures - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section at the top of this page.