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Crime & Justice

This masters degree explores new perspectives and ways of thinking about crime, harm and justice. It is concerned with examining problematic areas of social life, transgression, 'crime', social harm and justice. You will consider the significance of power, social structure, and economic and social inequalities in understanding 'crime', and processes of criminalisation in local, transnational and global contexts. Studying this qualification will enhance your ability to think critically about problems of crime, social harm and the delivery of justice.

Key features of the course

•Develops your expertise in topics related to the investigation of crime, justice social harm

•Extends your skills and insights on the criminal justice system, victim protection and support, civil liberties, human rights, security and social justice

•Ideal preparation for work where analytical and careful decision making is required, and where initiative is valued.

Please note that this masters degree does not include a research methods component. This may present an impediment for entry to some PhD programmes. If you wish to go on to PhD level study, we recommend you check the regulations of a potential programme of interest.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

•Knowledge and understanding
•Cognitive skills
•Practical and professional skills
•Key skills

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules for the qualification you can be awarded an MA in Crime and Justice. You will be entitled you to use the letters MA (CJ) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK honours degree (2:2 at least) or equivalent to be accepted for the MA in Crime and Justice. Your first degree need not be in criminology, but you must have the skills expected of a social sciences graduate.

All students will begin with the postgraduate module, Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801). This module will help equip you with the requisite skills needed to undertake postgraduate-level study, but it does not offer remedial training for those who have an unsuitable bachelors degree or inadequate experience. You must be able to:

•write accurately, clearly and concisely
•read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
•classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
•argue logically and consistently
•select and interpret evidence to support a logical argument.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details. If you're not sure whether your English skills are good enough, there is some help and guidance at our Skills for OU Study website.

This qualification has a required study order, so there is only one pathway. This provides you with the opportunity to study with a cohort of peers throughout, while modules and assessment build on one another systematically.


2 years.

You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years by studying one module each year.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
This qualification offers knowledge that is relevant for a range of professions and careers concerned with the care of people caught up in the criminal justice system, victim protection and support, civil liberties, human rights, security, safety and social justice. The skills developed will be recognised by employers in all fields who value people who can communicate clearly; analyse complex information; and show initiative in formulating and critically considering and investigating questions of their own and devising innovative solutions.

You will develop skills to prepare you for work in a variety of organisations and sectors concerned with protection, safety, and harm prevention, as well as those where analytical, nuanced and careful decision making are required, and where independence and initiative are valued. This qualification will also provide you with the academic skills to further develop theoretical and empirical understandings of issues related to crime, social harm and justice.

Please note that this qualification is not suitable for students wishing to progress to PhD level study in criminology or allied disciplines.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught


To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules Credits
Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801) 60
Crime and global justice (DD804) 120

Please note that Crime and global justice (DD804) is worth 120 credits. Module fees for postgraduate modules are based on the number of credits you study. Therefore the fee for this 120-credit postgraduate module will be double that for a 60 credit module Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801).

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!