Postgraduate MSc

The Criminal Justice Process

School of Health and Society





One year

Two and a half year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

This unique course views the criminal justice process as a set of decision points involving numerous agencies working singly or jointly.

It provides you with comprehensive, up-to-date, information while exploring in detail some key contemporary transformations in the field (digitalisation, partnership working, internationalisation, privatisation and accountability).

It is aimed at criminal justice practitioners, or those intending to work in this field. Our strong and growing links with local and regional criminal justice agencies support a critical and reflective approach to the workings of criminal justice.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

You will:
  • Develop a systematic understanding of the criminal justice process
  • Gain a critical awareness of key transformations in the contemporary criminal justice process
  • Acquire the analytical skills required to formulate original and innovative analyses of the contemporary criminal justice process
  • Develop critical reflection on the nature, linkages and accountability of key roles in the criminal justice process

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You are working or want to work in the criminal justice system


You want to gain a deeper insight into how the criminal justice system works


You are hard working and dedicated to developing your knowledge

Course details

All about the course

The course has both full-time and part-time routes, comprising three 12-week semesters or five 12-week semesters, which you can take within one year, or 30 months, respectively.

In semester one, you will learn about the contemporary criminal justice process, both in England and Wales and internationally.

In semester two, you will complete the comprehensive study of the criminal justice process. 

In semester three, you will complete 60 credits of independent study via a dissertation or placement. 

Semester one

Processing Criminal Justice

You will examine the principal characteristics of the contemporary criminal justice process, looking at models of criminal justice and the profound transformations currently underway. You will critically assess trends such as privatisation, risk management and partnership working.

Prison Case Studies

This module explores the key history, philosophy, function and challenges of imprisonment via core national and international case studies including issues of disorder, racism and gender discrimination.

Semester two

Digital Criminal Justice

You will critically review current and prospective developments in the digitalisation of criminal justice (e.g., video depositions, paperless courtrooms, shared databases, and electronic offender management).

There are three optional modules in semester two. You can choose from one of the following: 

Investigating Homicide - MSc CJP

You will explore and critically assess the multiple issues relating to the most serious of crimes, including investigation, evidence gathering, forensic work, attending to the victim, hearings and trials, and interacting with the public and the media. 

Research Methods - MSc CJP

This is a team-taught module delivered across all postgraduate taught programmes and the doctoral training provision to equip students with essential quantitative and qualitative research skills.

Substance Use and Crime - MSc CJP

This module explores the framing, prosecution and policy responses to illicit substances within criminal justice.

Semester three


The dissertation route will allow you to choose a topic of interest in relation to the criminal justice process, you will formulate a research question and answer it by a critical literature review, possibly supplemented with primary or secondary data.

Criminal Justice Placement/ Project

If you choose this route, you will undertake 100 hours of work in a criminal justice agency and prepare an independent and original piece of research and critical reflection on the criminal on a selected aspect of the criminal justice process. 

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


All modules except the Dissertation and Criminal Justice Placement/Project are delivered via blended learning, combining some three-hour evening sessions on campus with distance learning activities (e.g. online reading, discussion board, webinars). Classes frequently use case studies as the focus for discussion. Lecturers provide key overviews of each topic. Students use classroom or online group discussions and questions-and-answers to explore each week’s topic. Where appropriate, experienced practitioners will join the session as visiting instructors.

All modules are supported by the virtual learning environment (Blackboard), which allows students to access learning materials remotely, participate in discussion boards and webinars, and access lists of recommended readings. The vast majority of the latter are available through the Library in electronic form and can be retrieved remotely.

Students opting to write a dissertation are supported by a designated supervisor. Students opting to undertake the Criminal Justice Placement/Project are supported by an on-site supervisor in the corresponding agency and by an academic supervisor on campus.


You will be assessed through written assignments (66%) and dissertation (33%) or project (25%) and oral presentation (8%)

The School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Teacher Profiles

Muzammil Quaraishi 

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Muzammil undertook his PhD at the Centre for Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Wales, Bangor. His research focused upon the qualitative experiences of Muslim populations as both perpetrators and victims of crime in Britain and Pakistan.

Prior to joining the University in 2002, Muzammil was Research Fellow at the Centre Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER) at the University of Warwick working on the ‘Muslims in Prison Project’ which was the first major study to evaluate the qualitative experiences of Muslim prisoners in the UK and France. Muzammil has developed specialist knowledge about Muslim populations and crime including working with ex-offenders, advising prison research on countering racism and advising policymakers on challenging Islamophobia in criminal justice contexts.


Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Criminal justice practitioners who obtain this qualification will typically use it as a credential for promotion within their organisation.

Recent graduates can use this qualification to support their applications for employment in the criminal justice system.

This course will suit you if you are planning to seek promotion within the criminal justice agency in which you currently work, or are seeking to change employment within the sector.

Recent graduates can use this qualification to support their applications to the wide variety of organizations involved in the criminal justice process: police, private security companies, the victim and court services, probation, the prison service, youth offending services, treatment and intervention programmes.

A taste of what you could become

A Criminal Justice Agency Worker

A Private Security Worker

A non-uniformed Police Officer

A Victim and Court Services Worker

Career Links

We are proud of the growing links we have established with our Criminal Justice Partners – experienced practitioners from all segments of the criminal justice system who support our teaching at all levels. These practitioners provide invaluable guidance on new procedures and policies in criminal justice, contribute to our classes as guest instructors, and host site visits for students. They ensure that our teaching is up-to-date, closely linked to developments in the sector, and critically informed by their professional perspectives and experiences.


What you need to know


This course is for you if you are working in the criminal justice system and are interested in the way in which your specific role fits into the broader criminal justice process. It will particularly benefit practitioners who need a better understanding of the work undertaken by other criminal justice agencies, and who want an opportunity to reflect critically on contemporary developments in the field, such as privatisation, digitalisation and internationalisation.

Criminal justice practitioners who do not hold an undergraduate degree may be eligible for admission through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Those who wish to apply for admission via this route will be asked to submit a letter of application and attend an interview.

If you are a recent graduate in criminology, law, or a related discipline and thinking of a career in criminal justice, this course will provide you with a comprehensive overview of contemporary practice and give you the knowledge and insights necessary to perform well in your future employment.

English language requirements 

International applicants will be required to show proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

Applicants to this course must have a 2:2 honours degree in an appropriate subject.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14,670per year
Part-time 2020/21 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Additional costs

You should consider additional costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students 2020/21

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship. For information, go to International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2020