Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law

The opportunity to study Criminal Justice and Criminal Law at an advanced level is a particular strength of the LLM at the University of Leeds.

This programme will enable you to develop a sophisticated knowledge of current issues in criminal justice, criminology and criminal law in the UK, Europe and across the globe. It combines cutting-edge compulsory modules with a wide range of optional modules allowing you to tailor your degree to your own particular interests.

Throughout the course we’ll encourage you to:

  • examine critical issues in criminal law
  • explore the complex and dynamic nature of the criminal justice process
  • understand the mechanics of the research process
  • consider the rights of individuals within criminal justice processes.

This programme is offered within the dynamic Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS), an internationally-recognised research centre that provides an active and multi-disciplinary environment, whose members are committed to high-quality teaching in criminal justice, criminology and criminal law. The CCJS also excels in the production of research that is empirically rich, conceptually sophisticated and policy relevant. Research is interdisciplinary and often international in its reach. The University of Leeds recognises CCJS as one of its key 'peaks of research excellence'.

CCJS academics have conducted research for a range of external funding bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Nuffield Foundation, the Home Office, the Youth Justice Board, the Leverhulme Trust, the European Commission, the National Probation Service and others. Since 2001, CCJS members have been awarded research grants totalling over £10 million. Such projects sustain the established profile of the Centre as a pre-eminent research unit and ensure that our teaching is at the cutting edge of contemporary academic and policy debates.

The CCJS has an Advisory Board with more than twenty members who hold senior positions within local criminal justice and partner organisations, including the police, the judiciary, the probation service, prisons and the courts. Our strong links with the local criminal justice community bring valuable benefits for our students.

Compulsory modules studied throughout the year will introduce you to fundamental principles, theories, concepts and approaches in the fields of criminal law and criminal justice. You’ll also explore and examine the intricate and complex relationships and dynamics between criminological theory, research and practice, and the impact of criminal justice processes on individuals and social groups, often in the wider context of social and political change.

These modules will also enable you to hone your critical and analytical abilities and your legal research and writing skills, which you’ll be able to demonstrate in your dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

If you study with us, you’ll also benefit from our academic skills programme. This 10-week programme runs alongside your taught academic programme, and is specifically designed to meet the needs of home and international students in the School of Law. It allows you to refine and develop the academic and transferable skills to excel during your taught postgraduate programmes, as well as prepare for professional roles after graduation.

Our optional modules will give you the opportunity to gain specialist knowledge in topics that interest you. An indicative list of optional modules is provided below.

If you are a part-time student, you’ll take four compulsory modules in your first year. You’ll then take the compulsory dissertation module and your chosen one or two optional modules in your second year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Criminal Justice Processes 30 credits
  • Contemporary Criminological Theory and Approaches 30 credits
  • Dissertation Criminal Law/Criminal Justice 60 credits
  • Central Issues in Criminal Law 15 credits
  • Postgraduate Legal Research Skills 15 credits

Optional modules

  • Policing 1: The Nature of Contemporary Policing 15 credits
  • Policing 2: Accountability of Policing 15 credits
  • Security and Justice 30 credits
  • European Human Rights 15 credits
  • Cyberlaw: Regulation of Cyberspace 15 credits
  • Globalisation and Crime 15 credits
  • International Human Rights 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits
  • Advanced Racism and Ethnicity Studies 30 credits

Learning and teaching

Our compulsory and optional modules are taught through a range of weekly seminars, lectures and workshops.

You’ll need to prepare for your seminars and lectures, undertaking any exercises that might be prescribed in advance. Independent study is integral to this programme – not just to prepare for classes but to develop research abilities and other critical skills.

The LLM Degrees Director will be your personal supervisor and will support you throughout the programme.


You’ll be assessed using a variety of methods but for most modules you’ll be required to write an essay of up to 4,500 words at the end of each module. You’ll also be expected to write a final dissertation.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in law, criminal justice, criminology or a related discipline.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Law admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Law and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Law and Society (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadlines

UK/EU students: 31 July

International students: 30 June

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you’ll need

  • A copy of your degree certificate or equivalent, as well as a copy of the transcript of your grades (or partial transcript if you’re still studying) certified by the awarding institution
  • Two academic references
  • Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English isn’t your first language.


The School of Law doesn’t typically interview applicants. However, in certain circumstances programme leaders may require some form of written assignment from you to show that you have the necessary skills for Masters study. Additionally, you may also be invited for an interview as part of the selection procedure. If invited to interview, you’ll receive an email invitation from the School to attend an interview or be interviewed by Skype on a specific date.

Admissions policy

School of Law Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: £7,000 (total)

International: £16,000 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

The School of Law is offering a number of Liberty Scholarships to UK/EU and international students of high academic quality starting a postgraduate taught programme in 2017. These scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic performance in your undergraduate degree. A Liberty Scholarship will not be awarded in addition to any other scholarship except a University of Leeds Alumni Bursary.

Find out more on the Schools scholarships page.

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

This programme is particularly suited to those who wish to pursue a career in public service, the private sector, the voluntary sector, or any other arena where success is built upon higher-level skills and advanced knowledge of criminal justice, criminology and criminal law issues.

Recent graduates have gone on to do a PhD and work in academia and in research outside academia both in the UK and overseas. Other alumni hold senior positions in criminal justice organisations including police and probation services, the prison service, and youth justice services, as well as in the private and voluntary sector, both in the UK and abroad. Some graduates have been awarded promotions following successful completion of the programme.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

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