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The Criminal Justice Process


School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Sociology and Criminology

Start Date(s): September


MSc (one year full-time; 30 months part-time)
PgCert (four months full-time; eight months part-time)
PgDip (eight months full-time; two years part-time)

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Part-time - £1,260 per 30 credit module

UK - £7,560

In Brief:

  • Gain a critical and comprehensive overview of the contemporary criminal justice process
  • Excellent opportunities to interact with criminal justice practitioners, both on and off campus
  • Boost your career within Criminal Justice through enhancing your knowledge in this area and developing your reflective skills
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity

Course Summary

This unique course views the criminal justice process as a set of decision points involving numerous agencies working singly or jointly.

It provides you with comprehensive, up-to-date, information while exploring in detail some key contemporary transformations in the field (digitalisation, partnership working, internationalisation, privatisation and accountability).

It is aimed at criminal justice practitioners, or those intending to work in this field. Our strong and growing links with local and regional criminal justice agencies support a critical and reflective approach to the workings of criminal justice.

Course Details

MSc The Criminal Justice Process will lead you to:

  1. Develop a systematic understanding of the criminal justice process.
  2. Gain a critical awareness of key transformations in the contemporary criminal justice process.
  3. Acquire the analytical skills required to formulate original and innovative analyses of the contemporary criminal justice process.
  4. Develop critical reflection on the nature, linkages and accountabilities of key roles in the criminal justice process.

The course has both full-time and part-time routes, comprising three 12-week semesters or five 12-week semesters, which you can take within one year, or 30 months, respectively.    


You will learn about the contemporary criminal justice process, both in England and Wales and internationally.    

You will examine the principal characteristics of the contemporary criminal justice process, looking at models of criminal justice and the profound transformations currently underway. You will critically assess trends such as privatisation, risk management and partnership working.            
You will study traditional bi- and multi-lateral arrangements in policing, judicial transfer, custody arrangements and prisoner repatriation. You will explore the newly developing global mechanisms of criminal justice, and examine their relationship with national and regional criminal justice systems.            


This semester completes the comprehensive study of the criminal justice process.    

You will critically review current and prospective developments in the digitalisation of criminal justice (e.g., video depositions, paperless courtrooms, shared databases, and electronic offender management).            

There are two optional modules in Semester 2. Choose one from:    

You will explore and critically assess the multiple issues relating to the most serious of crimes, including investigation, evidence gathering, forensic work, attending to the victim, hearings and trials, and interacting with the public and the media.            
This is a team-taught module delivered across all postgraduate taught programmes and the doctoral training provision to equip students with essential quantitative and qualitative research skills.      


You will complete 60 credits of independent study, via a dissertation or placement.    

Choosing a topic of interest in relation to the criminal justice process, you will formulate a research question and answer it by a critical literature review, possibly supplemented with primary or secondary data.            


You will undertake 100 hours of work in a criminal justice agency and prepare an independent and original piece of research and critical reflection on the criminal on a selected aspect of the criminal justice process.

Entry Requirements

Applicants to this course must have a good (i.e., at least second class) honours degree in an appropriate subject.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

Suitable For

Practitioners working in the criminal justice system, and associated agencies, wishing to further their knowledge and understanding of the contemporary criminal justice process. Also graduates with degrees in criminology, law or associated disciplines who are planning to work in the criminal justice system.

Applicant profile

This course is for you if you are working in the criminal justice system and are interested in the way in which your specific role fits in to the broader criminal justice process. It will particularly benefit practitioners who need a better understanding of the work undertaken by other criminal justice agencies, and who want an opportunity to reflect critically on contemporary developments in the field, such as privatisation, digitalisation and internationalisation.  

Criminal justice practitioners who do not hold an undergraduate degree may be eligible for admission through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Those who wish to apply for admission via this route will be asked to submit a letter of application and attend an interview.  

If you are a recent graduate in criminology, law, or a related discipline and thinking of a career in criminal justice, this course will provide you with a comprehensive overview of contemporary practice and give you the knowledge and insights necessary to perform well in your future employment.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,260 per 30 credit module

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section.


All modules except the Dissertation and Criminal Justice Placement/Project are delivered via blended learning, combining some three-hour evening sessions on campus with distance learning activities (e.g. online reading, discussion board, webinars). Classes frequently use case studies as the focus for discussion. Lecturers provide key overviews of each topic. Students use classroom or online group discussions and questions-and-answers to explore each week’s topic. Where appropriate, experienced practitioners will join the session as visiting instructors.

All modules are supported by the virtual learning environment (Blackboard), which allows students to access learning materials remotely, participate in discussion boards and webinars, and access lists of recommended readings. The vast majority of the latter are available through the Library in electronic form and can be retrieved remotely.

Students opting to write a dissertation are supported by a designated supervisor. Students opting to undertake the Criminal Justice Placement/Project are supported by an on-site supervisor in the corresponding agency and by an academic supervisor on campus.


You will be assessed through written assignments (66%) and dissertation (33%) or project (25%) and oral presentation (8%)

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Muzammil Quraishi

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Muzammil undertook his PhD at the Centre for Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Wales, Bangor. His research focused upon the qualitative experiences of Muslim populations as both perpetrators and victims of crime in Britain and Pakistan.  

Prior to joining the University in 2002, Muzammil was Research Fellow at the Centre Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER) at the University of Warwick working on the ‘Muslims in Prison Project’ which was the first major study to evaluate the qualitative experiences of Muslim prisoners in the UK and France. Muzammil has developed specialist knowledge about Muslim populations and crime including working with ex-offenders, advising prison research on countering racism and advising policy makers on challenging Islamophobia in criminal justice contexts.



Criminal justice practitioners who obtain this qualification will typically use it as a credential for promotion within their organisation.  

Recent graduates can use this qualification to support their applications for employment in the criminal justice system.

Career Prospects

This course will suit you if you are planning to seek promotion within the criminal justice agency in which you currently work, or are seeking to change employment within the sector.  

Recent graduates can use this qualification to support their applications to the wide variety of organizations involved in the criminal justice process: police, private security companies, victim and court services, probation, the prison service, youth offending services, treatment and intervention programmes.

Links with Industry

We are proud of the growing links we have established with our Criminal Justice Partners – experienced practitioners from all segments of the criminal justice system who support our teaching at all levels. These practitioners provide invaluable guidance on new procedures and policies in criminal justice, contribute to our classes as guest instructors, and host site visits for students. They ensure that our teaching is up-to-date, closely linked to developments in the sector, and critically informed by their professional perspectives and experiences.

Further Study

Further study beyond the MSc would involve a research degree (either an MPhil or PhD). The Directorate of Social Sciences has numerous research-active staff, several of whom specialise in topics relating to criminology and security. (See for detailed information.) We welcome applications for research degrees and can support a wide variety of projects relating to the criminal justice process.

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