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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5231M Contemporary Theories of Criminal Justice

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Sean Butcher

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

LAW5228M Contemporary Theories of Crime and Justice

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

In this module, you will develop a critical understanding of a series of contemporary theories that have been advanced to explain developments, trends and possibilities in criminal justice. You will deconstruct and examine the complex relationship(s) between relevant research and the policy decisions and practices that such theories inform. The module will require you to consider both the theoretical and practical significance of perspectives covered, accounting for implications for criminal justice processes and systems more broadly.


This module will introduce and acquaint students with several theoretical approaches to delivering criminal justice. After contextualising the wider criminal justice landscape through the exploration of academic perspectives, the module will engage in a critical appraisal of selected theories, analysing their contributions to academic debates and their implications for ‘real world’ policies and practices.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated an ability to:
1. Understand contemporary criminal justice theories, concepts and ideas, exploring debates that they inform;
2. Locate criminal justice theories, including their hypotheses and implications, within wider social, political and economic conditions;
3. Critically analyse criminal justice theories and their influences, drawing considered conclusions that are rooted in contemporary scholarship and research evidence from primary and secondary interdisciplinary sources;
4. Explore the relationships between criminal justice theories, policies and practices, accounting for implications that arise from these.

Skills learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
1. An ability to locate and synthesise the findings and arguments of a range of source materials
2. An ability to interpret a range of source materials analytically and/or critically
3. A capacity to apply knowledge creatively, in order to bring effect to ‘problem-solving’ measures in the contexts of criminal justice
4. Strong written skills appropriate for diverse audiences


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours0.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)15.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

A formal formative assessment opportunity will be provided, which is specifically pedagogically aligned to the summative assessment task. As part of this, each student will receive individual feedback designed to support the development of knowledge and skills that will be later assessed in the summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/05/2024


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