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The MSc Leadership in Criminal Justice and Policing course specialises in leadership and management within criminal justice environments including, probation, police, prisons, youth offending, and security.
This criminal justice course will equip practitioners, whether statutory or third sector, with the skills needed to advance their careers. Whether you have studied criminology or social sciences before or not, this MSc is suitable for anyone with a genuine interest in this area and those looking to become leaders in their field. Choose from a selection of modules which allow you to specialise in domestic or international issues, and in either policing or other criminal justice settings, or to mix these to suit your interests.
Explore a range of topical issues and threats which impact upon criminal justice and policing policy and practice, and engage with the latest criminological research and trends. Experiential learning is embedded throughout the course and realistic assessments will be complemented with a theoretical and empirical study of national and international criminological and penological theory, criminal justice policy and practice, and social justice.
Now more than ever, it's important to understand and address the variety of problems that crime and its control pose in contemporary society. This course will enable you to recognise these problems and to rise to the challenges that they raise for policy makers and practitioners.
The teaching team are all actively engaged in research in criminology, criminal justice, or leadership. Our research practice gives our students a social science orientation which is distinct from MBAs in leadership and management. Our students become part of a community of research-active academics and local practitioners in criminology and criminal justice, providing ample practical opportunities to draw upon.
This criminal justice degree will provide a domestic, international and transnational focus on the subject area, and so it is suitable for applicants in the UK and beyond.
You can study the MSc Leadership in Criminal Justice and Policing course either full-time or part-time. Classes are interactive and designed to be inclusive of students with different levels of academic knowledge and practical experience.
The full-time route is studied over one year from October to September. The course runs on a Monday evening with modules in two-hour blocks to accommodate students who are working and to reduce the number of days that you have to travel to university.
Additional online tasks and materials will be provided for students to complete independently. You are expected to read widely to supplement taught material and to help you get the most out of your studies.
The course will typically be taught as the following:
All classes in semester one are on a Monday. In semester one, these are held 5-7pm for the first core module and 7-9pm for the second core module, with a short break in between.
All classes in semester two are also on a Monday, and will run 5-7pm and 7-9pm. Optional modules may be subject to change and in the event of low numbers of students, some options may not be available.
Alongside writing your dissertation, there will be five mandatory taught dissertation sessions to prepare you for your dissertation research. These typically take place on an evening and are spaced throughout the year. You will be provided with an academic calendar with the exact dates of these when you enrol.
The part-time version of the MSc Leadership in Criminal Justice and Policing is studied over two years and follows the same day and time slots as full-time students. However, in your first year, you will study a core module in semester one and an optional module in semester two. In your second year, you will complete your second core module in semester one, an optional module in semester two, and your dissertation module over the year.
We encourage you to attend other voluntary training courses and opportunities that fall on other days where possible. These are circulated by email throughout the course.
You'll also have one-to-one support from an allocated Personal Academic Tutor who will meet with you regularly.
During both semesters where there are local half-term holidays, teaching doesn't take place during these weeks. Instead, we offer all students ‘enrichment weeks’ of optional and additional activities. These have ranged from guest lectures, training sessions, theatre trips, visits to museums, and more. We encourage all students to come along to enrichment weeks in both semesters.
The course assessment methods consist of a mixture of essays, reports, case studies, and presentations, to help you develop a wide range of knowledge and skills. Assessments have been uniquely designed to offer experience of real-life tasks that you may be expected to undertake within a criminal justice workplace. Academic staff will use constructive and detailed feedback to support your learning.
This module will give you an understanding of the academic theories of leadership, the leadership approaches of organisations within criminal justice and policing and the space to review and develop your own leadership approach. In this module you will move away from generic leadership theories toward a thorough examination of how to lead in criminal justice and policy in the modern era.
In this module, you will engage with concepts and theories of punishment to critically make sense of how and why we punish offenders in society. You will comprehend the different reasons why we punish offenders and critically analyse how the criminal justice agencies apply the punishments in practice to offenders.
The Module will introduce you to the key Qualitative and Quantitative approaches in research which will enable you to conduct, disseminate and synthesize a research project of your own choosing. The Dissertation topic whilst subject to approval, will relate to Leadership in the Criminal Justice System or Policing or be a specific organisational case study approach within the Criminal Justice System or Policing which applies and evaluates leadership and management approaches.
In this module, you will engage with the concept of vulnerability to critically evaluate policies and practices of the Criminal Justice System. You will gain an understanding of the ways in which societal inequalities such as race, gender, social class and ability are produced and how these contribute to an individual’s vulnerability to both criminality and victimhood and their experience of the criminal justice system.
On this module, you will critically consider the developments and contemporary advancements of criminological theory in context with the extensive societal transformation, such as globalisation, technological advancements and cultural turns which have taken place since the turn of the millennium.
Explore key issues and perspectives relating to prevailing forms of crime and criminal justice responses/processes in a global context. Interpret and evaluate how international and transnational forms of crime such as cybercrime, terrorism, and human rights violations are identified, researched, and responded to across Nation-State and International criminal justice contexts.
This module will allow managers within criminal justice and policing agencies to better understand international criminality and to utilise existing law enforcement structures to become more effective in responding to the threat.
In this module you will explore the contribution that third sector organisations and individuals with personal ‘lived experience’ of the criminal justice system, influence change through activism, education, research and mentoring. You will gain insight into the increasing use of those who have experienced imprisonment, probation, substance and alcohol addiction and mental health issues within both traditional (i.e. prisons and probation services) and third sector organisations.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Our typical offer is:
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If you already hold a postgraduate qualification, please see our Applying for additional postgraduate degrees Help and Advice article.
If you don't meet our standard entry requirements, you can take one of the foundation pathways at our partners ONCAMPUS Sunderland. Find out more information and whether your course is eligible on our ONCAMPUS page.
If your qualification is not listed above, please contact the Student Administration team at email@example.com for further advice.
We usually require applicants to hold at least a second class honours degree (usually a 2:1 or above) or equivalent.
Experience may be counted towards your application. We welcome applicants with degrees in areas such as social sciences, psychology, business, law, education, humanities, health, arts, technology and the sciences.
Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 in all four areas.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.
Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course.
Part-time fees are £417 per 10 credits. Part-time study is not available to international students who require a Student visa to study in the UK.
*European Union (EU), EEA (European Economic Area), and Swiss nationals who do not qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme are classed as international, however, for 23/24 admission you will receive a European student fee scholarship and will pay the home tuition fee rate for the duration of your studies. The discounted fee will be reflected in your offer letter. Learn more in our Help and Advice article.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
Graduates will typically use the MSc Leadership in Criminal Justice and Policing course as a stepping stone to a higher level of professional employment in roles specifically designed to meet the needs of criminal justice, their associated agencies and organisations.
Our criminal justice graduates enter the work force with a global critical awareness of their sector and the ability to lead transformative change for the future. Graduates will be prepared to lead within criminal justice in a national or international setting.
This criminal justice degree is also suitable to prepare graduates for further study at doctoral level.
Graduates of this criminal justice course will be able to forge careers in the:
The University of Sunderland’s Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) combines original academic research with practice-based collaborations and outreach activities, often working directly with practitioners, policymakers, and front-line delivery staff regionally, nationally, and internationally.
The mission of CASS reflects that of the University's aim as a civic university: to take an active interest in the social issues that affect the region and beyond by engaging in research and practice-based collaborations that aim to improve living conditions, address inequalities and social exclusion, and promote social justice.
Currently our research focuses around three strands: children, young people and families; communities, health and social exclusion; and crime, victims and social justice. CASS regularly hosts visiting speakers and holds events that you will be invited to. This can be an excellent way to learn from the real-life experience of experts in the field who already have a strong track record in sociological and social policy-related social research.
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