Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses>Criminology and Social Research (MA)

MA Criminology and Social Research

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

2018/19 entry


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

Virtual Open Days

Chat with staff and students to find out more about postgraduate study at York.

Register now

Take a sociological look at the nature and causes of crime.

With this degree, 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.  


Ranked 1st in the UK

for Criminology by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017

Research excellence

Sociology at York is ranked 1st in the UK for research quality (REF 2014)

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


This degree includes three criminology modules and three social research modules:

Advances in Criminological Theory
As patterns of crime and deviance change, criminological theory is constantly adapting to keep pace with it. Examining emerging trends in criminological theory, you will learn to understand and evaluate new ideas and develop the skills to identify and communicate similarities and contrasts between the theories of crime and social control.

Critical Perspectives on the Criminal Justice System
You'll study crime prevention, policing methods, the legal system and the system of punishment in the UK. Extending beyond a purely criminological approach, you will gain an insight into the criminal justice system as viewed from different sociological perspectives relating to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and class.

Law and Social Control 
Explore how formal and informal forms of social control shape the social order of contemporary societies.
By examining a wide range of social controls — from formal, legally mandated mechanisms within criminal justice systems, to informal mechanisms embedded in everyday life — you'll consider the various ways individuals and groups influence the behaviours of others.

Qualitative Methods
Qualitative Methods will give you an understanding of the key methods of qualitative data collection and analysis, with research techniques such as:

  • Observation
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Visual data in social science research
  • Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis
  • Narrative, interaction and discourse analysis.

Quantitative Methods and Data Analysis
This module provides you with the skills and techniques to analyse key sets of data, using methods such as:

  • Descriptive statistics
  • Tables and chi-squared test
  • Analysis of variance
  • Multiple and logistic regression analyses.

Advanced Methods in Social Research
You will build on the qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods studied in the previous modules, improving your skills and techniques and learning to master more advanced research-based software packages.

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.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,580£16,780
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

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 accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

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.

Course location

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 Grade

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.


Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Sociology

Related courses

Social Research (MA)

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.