1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Criminal Law and Criminology

Criminal law and criminology lie at the heart of questions and debates on how we as a society should respond to crime. On this course you’ll study an exciting range of topics, covering theory, policy and practice.

Our research expertise informs our teaching on the LLM. You’ll be taught by lecturers who specialise in critical work in areas including: 

  • criminal law theory
  • comparative criminal justice
  • international crimes
  • financial crimes
  • human rights and criminal justice
  • youth justice
  • policing and restorative justice.

Our course also draws on expertise from the Department of Sociology, which will enable you to develop an interdisciplinary perspective.

Why study a Criminal Law and Criminology LLM at Sussex? – John Child, Law lecturer

Key facts

  • Engage in advanced criminal law theory and, separately, criminological theory to examine how societies can better understand and effectively respond to crime.
  • Study in a lively and interdisciplinary intellectual environment, giving you the advantage of a wide-ranging knowledge set.
  • Learn from experts in their fields – our faculty publish journal articles, books and public reports shaping the fields of criminal law, criminal justice studies and criminology.

How will I study?

Our core modules give you the necessary theoretical, methodological and empirical foundations. They cover:

  • criminal law
  • criminal justice
  • criminology
  • research methods.

Our options – from both law and criminology – are taught by specialist academics based on their areas of expertise.

Teaching methods include lectures, workshops and seminars. Assessment modes include essays and briefing papers as well as a 10,000-word dissertation.

Full-time and part-time study

You can choose to study this course full time or part time. Find the modules for the full-time course below. 

For details about the part-time course structure, contact Dr Mark Walters at mark.walters@sussex.ac.uk

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Advanced Legal Research and Writing

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Advanced Legal Research and Writing has two purposes:

      • to ground students in the conventions of advanced academic writing in law (a specialised form of discourse with many non-obvious conventions and norms)
      • to ground students in the leading traditions or approaches in academic legal research.

      The module covers modern standards for the citation of legal authorities (such as OSCOLA), as well as the justification for them. Legal traditions covered include:

      • doctrinal exposition and analysis
      • critique of doctrine, institutional design and practice
      • researching the dynamics of law.
    • Criminology in Theory and Method

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

    • Issues in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module will provide you with an introduction to key contemporary issues in criminal law and criminal justice, with a view to enabling you to understand the main challenges facing the English and Welsh criminal justice system at the present time. Topics will include issues which highlight the contemporary problems facing both substantive criminal law and the justice system, including: youth justice and the age of criminal responsibility; overcriminalisation for example by new `inchoate type' offences in response to the threat to security; the relationship between personal autonomy and the criminal law; the difficulties in securing convictions for certain types of offences such as sexual violence and child abuse; the impact of gender upon both the substantive criminal law and criminal justice; prison overcrowding; and access to justice. You will discuss these topics from an interdisciplinary perspective, placing them within the context of human rights, social and political developments.

    • Dissertation (Criminal Law and Criminology)

      45 credits
      Spring & Summer Teaching, Year 1

      All LLM students design and carry out a project of research under individual supervision.

      You are encouraged to apply the theoretical and practical principles of research methodology, which were addressed by the module Advanced Research for LLM Students, in the production of your 10,000-word dissertation.


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Corruption and the Law

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      You will examine the ways legal systems seek to control the problem of corruption and bribery.

      The module initially focuses on the regulation of bribery in domestic law, examining the Bribery Act 2010.

      It then examines the domestic law of other national jurisdictions before turning to consider the position under international law. It focuses on anti-corruption agreements including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.

    • Hate Crime and Sexual Violence

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will focus on issues relating to hate crime and sexual violence and the criminal justice system. The module starts by exploring the various conceptualisations of hate crime and how and why its definition has differed between jurisdictions. Focus is then given to the growing legislative responses to hate-motivated offences both in the UK and US. You will examine the extent to which the singling out of certain prejudiced motivations for enhanced sentencing (such as, racism, homophobia, anti-religion and disablism) can be justified. You then move on to explore the main criminological theories that have been put forward to explain the aetiology of hate crime. Attention is also give to research that has evidenced the often heightened levels of harm that such offences cause to both victims and minority communities more broadly. 

      The second part of the module focuses on sexual violence. You examine the reforms made to the law and practice with regards to sexual assault and will consider remaining issues, highlighting attrition and problems of attitude. Some academics have argued that sexual violence should also be classified as hate crime. As such you will explore the arguments for and against the inclusion of sexual violence under the label of hate crime, noting both the impacts that inclusion/exclusion under the label may have on the state's responses to such crimes. You will also examine the use of alternative criminal justice measures for hate crime and sexual violence. Particular focus is given to the use of restorative justice and you will assess the potential benefits and pitfalls of using such an approach.

    • International and Transnational Offending

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In order to assess the effectiveness of legal responses to offending that cross national boundaries, it is essential that you gain an insight into the phenomenon itself, rather than merely into the legal responses which we have examined in International and Transnational Offending. This module explores the nature and extent of both state and sub-state or individual offending. It includes such examples as the use of torture, war crimes, economic criminality, including illegal arms and drug dealing, corporate crime, computer and share frauds and organised crime and international crimes of violence.

    • International Crimes

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will focus on the four core crimes in international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. In each case we will highlight their development, application in international and domestic courts and matters of controversy in relation thereto, before examining other so-called quasi-international crimes including torture, hijacking, and terrorism.

    • Propaganda and the Law

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Restorative Justice: Domestic and International Approaches

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will provide scope for you to explore contemporary restorative justice developments in the United Kingdom and internationally. The module starts by examining restorative justice theory and explores how its principles have been put into practice within the UK and in other countries. You will then examine the relationship between restorative justice and the state as well as the importance of the concept of "community" in assessing whether restorative practices can repair harm. You will also look at whether restorative justice can be used in "difficult" cases including domestic violence, hate crime, and even homicide. Finally, the module explores the use of restorative justice in countries where mass human rights violations have been committed - including genocide. Examples such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and the Gacaca courts in Rwanda are just some of the examples of how restorative principles might be used to help repair the harms of the most serious of all crimes.

    • Youth Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will examine how the law does and should respond to criminal and anti-social behaviour by children and young people. Given that much discussion of such behaviour tends to be extremely emotive and characterised by a rose-tinted view of the behaviour of previous generations of children, the module begins by reflecting upon the nature and extent of youth crime. Against the backdrop of contested constructions of childhood and children's rights it then explores the shifts in policy that have occurred in relation to offending by children. It examines how perceiving them as `children in trouble' to be helped or `young thugs' to be punished profoundly affects societal and legal responses. The increasingly tough approach taken by governments in recent years is scrutinised in the light of international instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and sustained criticism from international bodies.
      The module goes on to examine the youth justice process, including pre-trial diversion and the sentencing of young offenders, including the increasing use of custody. 

      The module then examines a range of issues of current concern, including the age of criminal responsibility, the introduction of civil punitive orders such as ASBOs, the extent to which the state should make parents take responsibility for the actions of their children, the relationship between the media and youth crime and dangerous young offenders.

Find out about LLM degrees at the University of Sussex

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in law, criminology or a related subject

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship (2017)

Two full UK/EU fee waivers for students who hold an offer of a place on the MA in European Governance and Policy.

Application deadline:

31 July 2017

Find out more about the Lady Monica Cockfield Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

Criminology is all about questioning the world through studying crime, deviance, social control and punishment, which makes it a great subject to teach and learn.”Dr Lizzie Seal
Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology


Graduate destinations

97% of students from Sussex Law School were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • associate lawyer, White and Case LLP
  • forensic assistant, International Criminal Court
  • parliamentary assistant, European Union.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Post Graduate Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

You’ll gain practical abilities as well as critical and problem-solving skills valued in contemporary job markets.

You will be able to apply your analytical skills to a range of careers in legal practice and criminal justice administration as well as careers in the private and voluntary sectors.

The LLM can also provide a strong foundation for further academic study or a career in research.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us