module specification

SS7169 - Contemporary Issues in Criminology (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Contemporary Issues in Criminology
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
164 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay, 2,500 words
Coursework 50%   Essay, 2,500 words
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Friday Afternoon

Module summary

 The module seeks to enable students to:
identify and critically assess contemporary developments in criminology, and to
explore the theories used in current research, including neoclassicism; biosocial approaches, developmental and life-course criminology; and critical realism

The teaching will be largely student led in order to accommodate the varying previous experiences found in MSc groups. Students new to criminology will present on more foundational aspects of theories, those with undergraduate experience of criminology will be expected to present in depth on their chosen issue.


1. Introduction to criminological theory. (LO1)
2. Classicism to vs Positivism (LO2)
3. Critical theory to Critical realism (LO1)
4. Marxist, radical and deviance perspectives (LO1)
5. From Biological to biosocial approaches (LO1)
6. Psychological positivism to developmental and lifecourse approaches (LO4)
7. Durkheimian approaches (LO5)
8. Neo classicism (LO5)
9. Synthesised theories (LO1, LO2)
10. What works? Theory and criminal justice interventions (LO3, LO5)
11. Conclusions

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Each week, this module will be delivered through three hour workshops featuring lecturing, student presentations and seminar discussion.

Learning outcomes

 At the end of this module, students should be able to:
1. Critically evaluate developments and dominant paradigms in contemporary criminology
2. Explain the foundations of, and current developments in criminological theory
3. Use reflection and analysis to apply theory to their own area of expertise
4. Utilise relevant research findings in the analysis of variations in crime
5. Explain theoretical and conceptual frameworks as they apply to criminal justice and the criminal justice system

Assessment strategy

Assessment consists of two 2,500 word essays, which will be representative of the module syllabus. Both pieces of assessment are worth 50% of the total marks. The assessment is predicated upon thorough academic analysis, and appropriate student reading and research.


 Burke, R. H. (2005, 2009) Introduction to Criminological Theory, Cullompton:Willan
Carrabine E, Cox P, Lee M and South N (2002) ëCrime in Modern Britainí, Oxford University
Crawford A and Newburn T (2002) 'Recent Developments in Restorative Justice for Young People in England and Wales: Community Participation and Representation', in The British Journal of Criminology, 42:476-495
Croall, H. (1998) 'Crime and Society in Britain', Harlow: Longman.
Davies M, Croall H and Tyrer J (2005) 'Criminal Justice: An introduction to the Criminal justice System in England and Wales' (third edition), Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Jones, S (1998) Criminology. Oxford. Oxford University Press
Maguire M, Morgan R. and Reiner R (eds) (2013) ëThe Oxford Handbook of Criminology,Oxford University Press
Matthews R and Young J (eds) (2003) ëThe New Politics of Crime and Punishmentí, Devon:Willan Publishing
Morgan R and Newburn T (1997) 'The Future of Policing', Oxford: Clarendon Press
Newburn, T. (1995) 'Crime and Criminal Justice Policy', London: Longman
Newburn, T. (2007) Criminology, Cullompton:Willan
Newburn, T. (ed) (2009) Key Readings in Criminology, Cullompton:Willan
Tierney, J.(2006) Criminology: Theory and Context, Harlow:Longman
Valier, C. (2002) Theories of Crime and Punishment, Harlow:Longman
White, R & Haines, F. (1997) Crime and Criminology: an Introduction, Oxford:Oxford University Press
Williams, F. & McShane M. (2004) Criminological Theory, NJ:Pearson Education