The interdisciplinary approach will enable you to develop advanced knowledge of key contemporary issues and debates surrounding criminal justice institutions, crime and punishment.
The programme focuses on contemporary and comparative criminological debates. You will consider the challenges and lessons that can be drawn from the emerging transnational and global perspectives that are gaining influence in criminology.
Designed for graduates of criminology, social sciences and other relevant disciplines, the MSc will equip you with the skills and knowledge required to enter a career in criminal justice provision. The course also aims to enhance the performance of professionals already working in criminal justice, addressing the need for agencies to upgrade the knowledge and skills of their practitioners.
By furthering your qualitative and quantitative research skills, the MSc provides a solid foundation for students wishing to undertake subsequent research at MPhil and PhD level. It will enable you to significantly enhance your career prospects, and to achieve a valuable and internationally respected qualification that will be attractive to a broad range of employers.
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You will be taught by friendly, experienced tutors from a variety of professional backgrounds in the criminal agencies. Students also receive guest lectures from a wide range of professionals who give a detailed insight into the practical aspects of criminal justice and into potential careers in the field.
During the first and second semester, you will study a number of core and optional units, and complete a research dissertation. Your dissertation will be planned, researched and written during the third semester and over the summer period.
Contemporary and Comparative Criminology: This unit is designed to ensure that you are conversant with contemporary criminological debate. You will be encouraged to connect an awareness of the ‘classic criminological canon’ with contemporary developments, including globalisation and its impact on the international study of criminology.
Contemporary and Comparative Criminal Justice: You will examine how crime, criminal justice policy and practices have developed across different parts of the world and how this and cross-jurisdictional approaches to crime affect criminal justice in England and Wales. You will explore major international shifts in the process of justice and the
delivery of punishment, broadening your understanding of how criminal justice manifests itself in cultures of control and law enforcement, and reflecting on whether nation-specific concepts of crime and criminal
Project Design and Professional Development: You will develop your knowledge of the theoretical and practical issues involved in developing and conducting research. You will consider a range of perspectives relevant to the various fields of study, so that you can develop an awareness of a broad range of methodologies.
Methods of Inquiry in the Human Sciences: This unit will cover a range of research skills and methods necessary to investigate specific areas within the human sciences. You will be exposed to a variety of quantitative and qualitative investigative techniques and the epistemological framework that underpins them. There is a central focus on research ethics and the application of research to policy and practice.
Master's Project/Dissertation: You will design, execute and present an individually demanding piece of work that deploys a systematic and in-depth understanding of the skills and debates relevant to your particular discipline of study. You will negotiate your project template via a proposal that will be discussed with the supervisor to ensure that your research is viable.
Two options to be studied during period two from the list below:
Contemporary Penology: This unit will provide students with a critical understanding of the consistencies, contradictions and conflicts inherent in current penal policy. You will examine key discourses and debates on diversity and division centred on poverty, social exclusion, race, gender and age.
Comparative Legal Systems: You will gain a comprehensive understanding of legal systems, with the emphasis on criminal law in the global environment. The unit covers the history and development of comparative law as well as recent issues that have created new challenges in the discipline. You will gain an insight into the diversity that exists around the world, together with an in-depth examination of some of the major legal systems.
Comparative International Policing: This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the international nature of policing. Specific consideration will be given to the globalised character of crime, causing the adoption of co-operation, investigation and prevention beyond localised jurisdiction.
Political Violence, Terrorism and Security: This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the history and contemporary nature of terrorism. Studying historical cases, you will consider the long-standing problem of defining terrorism. The unit will focus on the root causes of terrorist conflicts, urban terrorism in Western Europe, the birth of global terrorism, Al-Qaeda and the global war on terror.
Researching Historic and ‘True Crime’: This unit examines the cultural significance of criminal cases through a critical analysis of historic and ‘true crime’ representations. You will develop skills in researching criminal cases and their representation, using official and historical resources and popular narratives in a range of media. You will engage in independent research using text-based, online and on-site archival materials.
Drugs, Crime and Justice: You will study a range of issues relating to illegal drugs in the global and domestic context. The unit will focus on: the development of drug controls and drug policy within political, economic and social structures; the links between production, trafficking, organised crime and terrorism; the links between theoretical perspectives, policy and practice; and the nature and context of criminal justice interventions.
You will participate in group work, independent writing and research, group projects and discussions. You will be assessed via a number of 3,500-word assignments and individual and group presentations,
in addition to a 20,000-word dissertation.
Key career skills
Research methods, critical analysis and interpretation of information, communication, teamwork and leadership.
Internships with the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO)
Temporary paid employment, where available, within the criminal justice sector
Witness and victim services
Youth offending teams
Other voluntary positions within the criminal justice process.
A ten-day comparative visit to the USA is also planned. The students will go during the Christmas break and visit key criminal justice agencies
(for example, the FBI, New Jersey State Police, and so on), attend lectures and exchange views and ideas with the students of Ocean County College and Monmouth University (students are required to pay for their travel and subsistence).
Why Solent is special
Our undergraduate criminology programme is one of the top performing courses in the UK for student satisfaction. Students placed it fourth out of 38 criminology courses in the UK, according to the National Student Survey 2010.
The majority of our lecturers have an extensive professional background in the criminal agencies and a well-established reputation for their research and publications. You will also be taught by lecturers from a range of other related disciplines, such as psychology and law.
Solent has strong links with local, national and international criminal justice agencies, and a regular programme of lectures delivered by a diverse range of criminal justice professionals. Recent lecturers have included serving and former police detectives, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the National Offender Management Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, judges and magistrates.
Study trips to complement criminological theory may be offered to a variety of relevant locations
“Studying at Solent has enhanced my experience, particularly because of the expertise of the lecturers and the wide range of links with criminal justice agencies that Solent has. I chose to pursue a MSc because it entailed a programme which would allow me to build upon my skills and knowledge in a specialised area. I really enjoy the classes as they allow us to discuss and debate important issues and the lecturers are always willing to assist you with any issues you have.”
"I am studying my MA at Solent after completing my BA (Hons) in Criminology last year. I chose Solent because it is close to home, which allows me to commute, and the University is situated right in Southampton city centre which is ideal.
"I have built up many great relationships with my tutors over the past three years, and for this reason, I knew that Solent was where I wanted to further my studies.
"The MSc course is brilliant, and being taught in small groups means that your learning is personalised. The topics we cover fit perfectly with my chosen area of study, and the lectures are set out in such a way that everybody has a chance to have their say and engage in the discussions.
"I am currently working for the Hampshire Police Constabulary, and feel that my MSc will benefit me in the job market. I am enjoying the course much more than I imagined I would."