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MA Criminology and Social Research

Combines the study of criminology with advanced training in social research methods

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

Examine the nature and causes of crime from a sociological perspective. 

In this course, you'll learn how to analyse a wide range of data to examine the motivations behind why people commit crime and how societies attempt to control them. You'll also gain a critical understanding and practical knowledge of a range of social research methods relevant to conducting criminological research. 

Develop your awareness of the central academic debates in criminology and criminal justice; develop understanding of how academic criminology relates to the ‘real world’ problems of crime, deviance and social control in society.

After finishing your studies, you'll have the skills and knowledge required to pursue a successful career in academic research, criminal justice and related fields.


Research excellence

The Department of Sociology is first in the UK for research quality (Times Higher Education's ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework)

Course content

In this course, you will analyse crime, deviance and social control and conduct research to examine their impact on society.

In the criminology modules, you'll gain a deeper understanding of why some people are motivated to offend and how this behaviour can shape our communities and our responses to crime.

In the social research methods modules, you will develop practical skills and techniques in qualitative and quantitative research.

Study abroad

This course is not associated with a specific Study Abroad programme, but York offers a number of options through international partnering programmes.

Study Abroad with York


You'll study three criminology modules and three social research modules:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


The course culminates in a dissertation in an area of your choice. Using the information and techniques learned on the course, you will plan and carry out an independent research project. You will then analyse the findings and produce a 15,000 word report written in the style of, and to the standard of, an article for journal submission. 

The dissertation will be supervised by a member of staff with experience in your research area.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Systematically approach, conceptualise and analyse theoretical and empirical issues relating to academic criminology and criminal justice systems in contemporary societies.
  • Critically evaluate and apply a wide range of complex and innovative methodological approaches to undertake criminological research.
  • Applying insight from in-depth knowledge of cutting edge developments in the study of crime and deviance to inform and support areas such as policy-making, service delivery, and further academic research.
  • Expose, assess and explain formal and informal forms of social control and how they shape and order local and global contemporary societies.
  • Design, execute and present a major piece of criminological research in the form of a dissertation. This will involve implementing and managing your own research through a rigorous ethics process and independent study.
  • Deploy a range of advanced transferable skills in research, communication, IT, digital technology, self-management and group working, which can be utilised to inform planning, decision-making and problem solving for public, private and third sector employers.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Department scholarship information

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

Modules are composed of lectures and seminars where you can discuss readings in a group. A member of the teaching staff will act as your supervisor throughout the degree, to help guide your studies and monitor progress.

  • You will spend time working on your own, reading assigned texts and researching supporting materials, as well as working with others in seminars to discuss and present your work.
  • You'll also attend seminars from visiting scholars on a wide variety of sociological topics.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Sociology on Campus West.

Most of your contact hours will be in Wentworth College, with some additional teaching on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Core modules will be assessed by a mixture of ‘open’ essays (where an assignment is prepared in your own time and handed in) and presentations.

  • Open assessments are released early in the term so you can select one or more essay titles to read around the topic and plan your chosen essay.
  • To cap your studies, you'll complete a 15,000-word dissertation on an original piece of your own research.

Careers and skills

In addition to preparing you for doctoral study, a criminology and sociology degree like our MA in Criminology and Social Research can lead to a wide variety of careers in the fields of crime and justice. The mix of practical and analytical skills you'll acquire will position you competitively for jobs in this popular field. 

Our Sociology alumni

Career opportunities

  • Teaching and academia
  • Criminology specialist at a criminal justice-related organisation
  • Central government
  • Local government
  • Commercial research
  • Policy-making

Transferable skills

  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Data analysis
  • Understanding of criminal law and policy
  • Design and completion of original research
  • Communication skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

Applicants must have at least a 2:1 degree in sociology, criminology in a cognate discipline or equivalent suitable experience or qualifications. If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact the course coordinator. 

English language

If your native language is not English, you should meet an English language proficiency level of 7.0 in the British Council's IELTS test with at least IELTS 6.0 in writing. We do accept other English Language Tests. Students who have successfully completed a recent undergraduate degree at a UK University are exempt from the English Language requirement.

We also strongly recommend that applicants attend the University's Intensive Summer Courses organised by the EFL Unit.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.


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Department of Sociology

Related courses

Social Research (MA)

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