Criminology has a long and distinguished tradition at Kent with its research base in the Crime, Culture and Control Cluster.
The MA was founded by the world-famous criminologist, the late Professor Jock Young. You are lectured, supervised and tutored by a team of scholars and researchers internationally renowned for their world-class teaching and publications.
Criminology is an important part of the activities of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), which is one of the four top institutions of its kind in the UK. In 2012, we were awarded the first National Award for Excellence in Teaching Criminology by the British Criminology Society in recognition of our innovative approach.
The atmosphere of the School is informal and friendly and there is a lively and diverse postgraduate community. Regular staff/graduate seminars introduce you to the work of academic staff and research students as well as academic visitors, and provide opportunities both for sociability and for intellectual stimulation. The large number of academic staff and our favourable staff/student ratios mean that academic staff are readily accessible.
A key feature of the MA Criminology is its involvement in a Common Study Programme. The Common Study Programme is a biannual student-centred conference at which students are invited to present papers, meet students and staff from other countries and exchange ideas.
The School has international links with colleagues and institutions and our current Visiting Professor of Criminology, Jeff Ferrell is an example of this extended network. Professor Ferrell is based at the Texas Christian University, USA where he is Professor of Sociology. He is a leading proponent of cultural criminology and has conducted research on urban culture, graffiti and media.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- sociological and cultural theories of crime
- the historical development of the study of crime and the institutions of criminal justice
- the ways in which images and notions of crime are constructed
- the main sources of data about crime, socio-demographics and the economy
- the impact of political, public and media debates on criminal justice policy
- the relevance of social science for understanding crime and the workings of the criminal justice system
- the relationship between sociological theories of crime and punishment and empirical studies of the same
- patterns and types of offending
- patterns of social diversity and inequality, their origins and consequences.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- advanced research skills including the ability to identify a research question and to answer it by gathering and analysing appropriate data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources
- understand the nature and appropriate use, including the ethical implications, of diverse social research strategies.
- distinguish between technical, normative, moral and political questions
- an ability to communicate sophisticated and complex theoretical ideas to a critical audience.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- the ability to identify and use theories and concepts in criminology to analyse issues of crime and criminal justice within both national and international contexts
- the ability to seek out and use statistical data relevant to issues of crime and criminal justice
- the ability to undertake, either on your own, or in collaboration with others, advanced investigations of criminological and criminal justice questions
- a high level of ability in exploring the inter-relationships between theory, method, policy and practice as applied to crime and criminal justice
- qualitative methods of data analysis: archival and documentary research, interpretation of texts, the use of electronic search materials appropriate for criminological analysis.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: the ability to communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including where appropriate the use of IT), organise information clearly and coherently, use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical information
- numeracy: the ability to make sense of statistical material, integrate numerical and non-numerical information, understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
- information technology: the ability to produce written documents, undertake online research, communicate using email, process information using databases
- work with others: the ability to define and review the work of others, work co-operatively on group tasks, understand how groups function, collaborate with others, contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals and have sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference
- improve your own learning: the ability to explore your strengths and weaknesses, time management, review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship), develop autonomy in your learning, work independently, demonstrating initiative and self-organisation
- important research management skills include the setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research with clear starting dates (through a dissertation), presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research and developing appropriate means of investigating the use of time
- problem-solving: the ability to identify and define complex problems, explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them
- Personal career development: you are encouraged to proactively manage your own career progression and we will support you in developing your skills in researching and retrieving information on opportunities for internships and employment and continuing personal and career development.
This programme aims to:
- provide a post-graduate programme in criminology of the highest standard with teaching that is informed by internationally recognised research and scholarship
- give you a comprehensive overview and understanding of contemporary debates in criminology and criminal justice including those around diversity and inequality
- involve you in a critical analysis of crime and punishment in relation to developments in social theory, sociology and social policy
- provide an understanding of the social processes that influence the relationship between individuals, groups and institutions
- focus on the relevance of social science for the analysis and assessment of crime and criminal justice policy
- provide you with an advanced understanding of the ways in which quantitative and qualitative research methodologies may be used to study crime and criminal justice
- give you a critical awareness of the political and populist influences on criminal justice policy
- enable you to understand the emergence of social problems (including crime) and the responses of welfare and criminal justice institutions, including analysis of the theoretical, political and economic underpinnings of these responses
- build on the University’s close European ties by providing the potential for students to participate in the European Common Study programme in Criminology.