Manchester Metropolitan University


Applied Criminology

2018 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Teaching staff have national and international reputations within the discipline and are actively engaged in research, publication, academic enterprise as well as being involved in government consultation, policy development and evaluation. This feeds into teaching and, as a result, you can expect to be exposed to the very latest developments and emerging knowledge in this field.
  • The degree caters for students whose aims and interests are purely academic alongside those who want to develop a more practice-related focus.

Within the Department of Sociology we have a number of research centres:

  • PERU: Policy Evaluation and Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University is a multi-disciplinary team of evaluators, economists, sociologists and criminologists. We specialise in evaluating policies, programmes and projects and advising national and local policy-makers on the development of evidence-informed policy. Currently, most work is in the areas of criminal justice, crime reduction, advice services, substance misuse and young people’s services. We work for government departments including the Home Office and local delivery organisations including police forces, probation services, local authorities and the voluntary sector.
  • QSTEP: The department is one of only 15 Q-Step Centres of Excellence in Undergraduate Quantitative Methods, and the only Post-92 University to have this status. This is recognition of the department’s commitment to pedagogic innovation and excellence in research methods teaching.

Recent projects:

  • MYPLACE project (€7.9m): lead partner of a 17-member international consortium in EU on youth engagement in society.
  • MYWeB project (€1.5m EU-funded, 2014-16): lead partner of a 13-member European consortium completing a feasibility study for a longitudinal study into the well-being of children and young people.

About the course

Criminology employs a multi disciplinary approach, informed by a range of different disciplines which include: applied medico-legal science, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, law, political science, history, geography. As a result of these competing viewpoints your research of Criminology will be a very challenging and rewarding area of postgraduate study.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Core units:

  • Methods
  • Dissertation

Optional units:

  • Theory
  • Justice
  • Policy
  • Practice
  • Impact
  • Placement

Core Units

The dissertation unit will utilise and develop research skills and demonstrate original application of knowledge through critical academic exploration of a chosen topic with guidance and supervision. The unit encourages the development of autonomous learning, requiring a commitment to study, initiative, confidence, perseverance, self motivation and organisation in deploying knowledge, concepts and skills acquired throughout the degree. The topics of study will range from library research, historical/archival research through to action research and evaluative projects involving qualitative and/or quantitative methods. Students will work closely with supervisors in the development of research skills and meeting the demands of a sustained project including organisation, writing up and editing.


This unit provides advanced research methods training and as such covers the key dimensions of qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as the appropriate elements of the philosophy of social science. The unit includes a core focus on the practical challenges of delivering research.

Core methodological issues include the following:

  • Ontology, epistemology and sociology
  • Formulating research questions
  • Research design
  • Interpretive techniques
  • Confirmatory techniques
  • Primary and secondary data analysis
  • Multiple research strategies
  • Ethical considerations
  • Conceptual and empirical problems
Likely Optional Units

Utilsing a case study approach, this unit explores the role of research in influencing policy and practice as well as building academic knowledge. It introduces students to a range of contemporary criminological debates incorporating theoretical, empirical, methodological and substantive concerns within criminology while exploring the process and impact of researching in such areas. Potential examples include: youth gangs and joint enterprise, responding to the impact of new psychoactive substances and drug markets in custodial and community settings, psychosocial criminology and organised crime.


Justice is a debated term within criminology. Students will critique the concept of justice and what it might mean for different parts of the criminal justice system, as well as for offenders, victims and the public. Students will reflect on how social, legal, moral and economic debates shape our understanding of justice and how it should be delivered. This includes trust and legitimacy in the criminal justice system. The role of particular areas of the criminal justice system such as probation will be highlighted.


Students undertake a project-based placement with an organisation operating in an area relevant to criminology. Students evaluate the work of the organisation taking theory/research into account and critically reflect on their own experience. Placements organised by programme team (though students can organise their own, subject to approval by unit leader) and overseen by a link member of staff. Unit earns academic credits only.


This unit will provide an understanding of how criminal justice policy is formulated, implemented and evaluated. This includes an understanding of the social, economic and political processes that are involved in shaping policy. The role of evidence-based policy in public policy-making is considered, including the use of evidence reviews and evaluation in the policy-making
process. In addition, the unit will reflect on how policy is supported and challenged by stakeholders, such as political parties, pressure groups and the media.


The criminal justice system encompasses both statutory and non-statutory organisations. Current and former practitioners working in the criminal justice sector, including the state, charities and private organisations, will be involved in the delivery of this unit. Example areas for inclusion are the police, the courts, prisons, probation and youth justice. The unit will explore key
principles, values and issues relevant to work within this sector and involve discussion about it can operate most effectively.


Criminological theory explains crime, deviance and victimisation. This unit will incorporate an integrated approach to understanding why people breach the law and adhere to the law. It will combine key contemporary criminological theory that draws from a range of disciplines, such as psychology, economics, sociology and cultural studies.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

You will be assessed through coursework which includes essays, reports, case studies, presentations and a final dissertation.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

You will normally have an undergraduate UK honours degree (or international equivalent) in criminology or a related field, or a postgraduate diploma, or a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an honours degree. It is recognised that non-standard applicants may be well-equipped to successfully complete Masters level study and applications will be assessed flexibly, while maintaining the necessary academic standards.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for full- and part-time taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

Career options after the course

This course aims to equip you with the skills to progress to higher research programmes, and/or to expand and enhance your career opportunities and professional practice within criminal justice and related agencies and organisations. While the degree is discipline-specific, successful completion provides evidence of high standards in a range of transferable skills that may be relevant in non-related career settings, for example, information retrieval, summarising complex material, producing high quality reports, initiating and developing projects.

Read a graduate profile

Dean Johnson, MA Criminology

Confirmation of Regulator

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.