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Criminal Justice

The MA – Criminal Justice is a two-year part-time programme that explores the key issues in the management of the criminal justice system. It seeks to raise the level of analysis within the Irish criminal justice system and to equip participants with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective management in this area. On completing the first year of the programme, students receive the interim award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management.

The second year of the course is divided into two semesters. In the first of these, students study three key subjects in criminal justice. In the second, they write a dissertation on a specific criminal justice issue. Year two will normally only commence in autumn of each year. If you do not wish to take all three subjects in any particular semester, you may choose to study one or two on a phased basis.

The MA is delivered through distance education, so students can live and work anywhere in Ireland and can remain in full-time employment. Students attend some weekend seminars at the IPA in Dublin.

Entry requirements

Applicants for Postgraduate Diplomas, Postgraduate Certificates, MA, MEconSc and MSc programmes must have a primary degree or equivalent qualification.

This programme will be of particular interest to those working in the administration of justice and related fields, to members of An Garda Síochána and to Prison Officers.


Two academic years

Distance education supported by weekend seminars

Further enquiries

Postgraduate Office,
Whitaker School of Government and Management,
Institute of Public Administration,
57 - 61 Lansdowne Road,
Dublin 4,

Tel +353 (0) 1 240 3600
LoCall 1890 20 26 26
Fax +353 (0) 1 668 9135

Subjects taught

Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management
Interim Award
The first year of the MA programme is divided into two
semesters and each semester is devoted to the study of three
key subjects in public management. (See pages 10-11 for more
details on the subjects).

Year 1
Semester One
- Economics
- Managing Human Resources
- Finance

Semester Two
- Organisation and Strategy
- Research Methods
- Managing Service Delivery/Managing in Europe

Semester One
Crime and Society
Theories of criminal behaviour (control theory, labelling theory, rational choice theory), environmental criminology and situational crime prevention, influences on crime (gender, class, location, race), forms of crime, violent and drug-related crimes and changes in crime rates in Ireland.

The Management of Policing
Distinction between police and policing, historical development of policing in Ireland, current functions of An Garda Síochána, global changes in policing, growth of nongovernmental policing, role of the community in policing itself, the future of policing and how the provision of security might affect public policy.

Criminal Sanctions and the State
Rationale for criminal sanctions, sociological explanations for the development of modern punishment, expansion of criminal sanctions in Ireland from the 18th century, contemporary developments in the Irish penal system, sentencing, incarceration, alternatives to custody, the challenge of restorative justice and its implications for the criminal justice system, the sociology of prisons and contemporary theories of prison rehabilitation.

Semester Two
In the second semester of year two, students write a dissertation on a specific criminal justice management issue.


Accredited by UCD
Level 9 (Major Awards) on the National Framework for Qualifications


The IPA is a recognised college of University College Dublin (UCD). From 2011, any student entering an accredited IPA Programme will graduate with a UCD award. The IPA and UCD are part of the wider National University of Ireland (NUI) network. The MA (Criminal Justice) is at Level 9 (Major Award) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

This programme will be of particular interest to those working in the administration of justice and related fields, to members of An Garda Síochána and to Prison Officers.

Assessment method

Students are assessed by means of assignments, examinations and a dissertation

Application date

Please complete the application form at the end of the prospectus (or view link below) and return it to the IPA, together with:
- One copy of your degree or relevant qualification
- One passport-type photograph
- The semester fee
- A letter from your employer confirming that fees will be paid directly to the IPA

Places on the programmes are limited and demand for places is likely to exceed the number available. Consequently, you are strongly advised to apply as early as possible. Successful applicants will receive further details prior to the commencement of the programmes.

Course fee

The cost of the programme is €5,000 per annum (includes all matriculation and examination fees, all seminars, textbooks and course material), payable in two instalments.

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