Student Profiles

Department of Sociology

Dean Johnson

“The course has given me good grounding and a great work ethic to conduct a professional front line role in the workplace.”
About My Degree

I decided to return to education as I wanted a new challenge and university was something I’d been thinking of for some time. Criminology sounded interesting and I thought it matched my personality and desire to help people in some way by equipping me with relevant knowledge to work within social support fields. I took an access course, which led to a degree in criminology and criminal justice. Doing an MA Criminology course at MMU was the natural next step in my career. I completed the course while continuing work experience in a volunteering role with victim support.

The MA course content was stimulating and interesting. It was a challenge producing work to a higher level, especially when set alongside other commitments, but I enjoyed the course and it helped my development. I did benefit from having already completed the degree, which gave me background knowledge of the content. The course has given me good grounding and a great work ethic to conduct a professional front line role in the workplace. It gave me awareness of the reasons behind the emergence of social issues such as drug use, poverty, prison incarceration, labelling, violence, policing and vulnerable people. It has encouraged me to be humanistic, non-judgmental, respectful and approachable, in my personal life and at work. It has also given me an insight into key workplace terminology and frameworks such as the importance of confidentiality, equality and diversity, and safeguarding vulnerable people.

Having the Master’s qualification has also given me self-confidence in the workplace when working with other criminal justice professionals and agencies, as it can be seen as a credible academic and work-related qualification. It has also helped me with the practical aspects of my work in regards to time management, sending emails, report writing, filling in paper work, team meeting participation and multi-agency collaboration.

Since completing my MA, I have gained employment as a residential support worker working in a children’s home, supporting young people from the ages 8-18. I’ve continued working with victim support, supporting victims of crime, and I am currently working with young people as a mentor of young offenders. Based on these experiences, I now have a full time position as a drug and alcohol recovery support worker working in a prison.

What is your top tip for other students looking to study this course at Manchester Metropolitan University?

Start gaining work experience as early as possible.

This could be paid work or volunteering. Even if it is not the exact role that you want to pursue as a future career, many fields link together, all employers look for work experience and you’re still gaining transferrable skills. Whether it’s joining the police or becoming a support worker, a criminology degree prepares you to work with people, so experience of working with the public can support your search for employment.

Other tips are:

  • Start assignments early. Last minute work might have been possible at undergraduate level, but for a master’s degree, tutors are looking for in-depth work and analysis, with lots of referencing. Even a trip to the library to get a book or just thinking about the assignment is preparation; it’s amazing how fast the deadlines come round.
  • Talk to tutors to understand assignments. And, if I needed more guidance, I’d make an appointment. That’s what tutors are there for… They were very happy to help and of course, doing this was great for picking up tips around the production of my work.
  • E-journals are very useful for up-to-date information and I always aimed to refer to books in assignments. I tried not to use websites for referencing as they are not necessarily credible sources and could negatively affect the standard of my work. Tutors prefer students not to use websites, as gathering credible sources by trawling through books and journals is all part of the assignment process.
  • Get to grips and understand Harvard reverencing, as producing correct referencing can help towards some high marks.
Please complete this sentence: ‘I’m inspired by…’

My work inspires me and the people I meet inspire me. Seeing someone progress and achieve through unfortunate circumstances is the most inspiring thing of all. Providing the support to empower people is so rewarding and that comes not just from my values and beliefs as a person, but also from the discipline of criminology.

While I was studying, I was inspired by the opportunity to be at university in the first place. I wanted to be there and the course content and its meaning inspired me. Criminology is a wonderful discipline to study. Its ability to bring to life the atrocities and injustices of the world, whilst in the process instilling core values to protect, be respectful, empower and support people is special. It’s all in my day-to-day working practice.

What do you love about Manchester Met?

I enjoyed working with the tutors; they were down to earth people and very approachable. I also enjoyed working with my classmates. We were all in the same situation and we would talk and help each other through the course.

The campus location, in the centre of Manchester, is great for enjoying the overall student experience. There is always something going on, from nights out to activities and sport, if you want to fill any spare time.


Our Students