Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

[mock] LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law

In this Section:

If you want 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

... then consider LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law.

"Our students benefit from a vibrant learning environment. The LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law is delivered by leading academics from the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies in one of the best law schools in the UK."

Dr Sam Lewis, programme director.

LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law will enable you to develop a detailed, specialist knowledge of concepts and issues at the forefront of contemporary understandings of crime, criminal justice, criminology and criminal law.

Our programme will give you a sophisticated understanding of national and international criminal justice and criminological issues. You will develop a critical understanding of central issues in criminal law.

In addition, we offer a wide range of optional modules in law, criminal justice, criminology and beyond. You will be able to tailor the programme to suit your particular interests.

We also designed our programme to foster key transferrable skills: a strong writing style, excellent oral presentation skills, an ability to evaluate information from diverse sources, and the capacity to think critically and analytically.

LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law appeals to people from all disciplinary backgrounds with an interest in contemporary criminal justice, criminological issues and criminal law.

The opportunity to study criminal justice and criminology at an advanced level alongside criminal law is a particular strength of the LLM at Leeds.

Programme structure

A selection of compulsory and optional modules make up the LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law programme.

As a full time student, you take five compulsory modules across your first and second semester, and choose another one or two optional modules to complete your programme.

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

Programme modules

Compulsory modules

Criminal Justice Processes explores the complex and dynamic nature of the criminal justice process and the relationships that can exist between its components. You will investigate the different impact of the criminal justice process on specific social groups and examine the rights, and experiences, of individuals within criminal justice processes.

Contemporary Criminological Theory and Approaches analyses contemporary theories, concepts and approaches to understanding crime, crime control, and the criminal justice system. You will examine the intricate relationships between theory, criminological research and criminal justice practice, and consider contemporary crime control and the criminal justice system in the wider context of social and political change.

Postgraduate Legal Research Skills will equip you with the fundamental research skills required for legal research. You will learn the different techniques and methods of doing legal research, as well explore the steps involved in conducting research, such as identifying research questions, finding sources, compiling a literature review, critically analysing existing materials, and evaluating legal research.

Central Issues in Criminal Law analyses some of the most important issues in criminal law and the extent to which they can be resolved in practice. You will study such issues as the decision to employ criminal law, the concept of criminal conduct, capacity, fault, moral neutrality, complicity, and the concept of a defence.

Dissertation allows you to tailor your own programme of training and research in consultation with a member of staff drawn from the school's MA/PhD supervisory panel. Recent MA dissertations have covered subjects such as police management, trials of the dead, crimes and church property, prostitutes and pimps, triads, and driving and drugs.

Optional modules

  • Advanced Racism and Ethnicity Studies
  • Cyberlaw: Regulation of Cyberspace
  • Cyberspace Law: Contemporary Issues
  • EU Discrimination Law
  • European Human Rights
  • European Social Law
  • Globalisation and Crime
  • Globalisation and International Social Change
  • Global Justice
  • International Human Rights
  • International Human Rights and Disabled People
  • Security and Justice
  • Policing 1: The Nature of Contemporary Policing
  • Policing 2: Accountability of Policing

These are the current modules we offer. We continually review and improve our programmes, so module availability may change.

More information

Learning and teaching

The LLM commences with an induction programme where we welcome you to the Law School.

We deliver our core and optional modules though a range of weekly seminars, lectures and workshops. Seminars last two hours, and lectures will be either an hour or two hours long.

You will need to prepare for your seminars and lectures, and undertake any exercises that might be prescribed in advance. Such exercises might involve reading a selection of material, preparing notes and responses to discussion questions, preparing for in-class discussions or conducting independent research.  

The LLM Degrees Director supports all our students throughout the programme and also acts as their personal supervisor. You are welcome to bring queries to any member of the teaching team, and all staff set aside academic support hours for this purpose. The academic and pastoral support provided is central to the programme.


We employ a range of methods to assess your progress, but the principle assessment method is through assessed essays.

Entry requirements

How to apply



For some of our students, the LLM will be a stepping stone to a successful criminal justice career. For others, it may confirm their intention to pursue a legal career.

Previous graduates from postgraduate taught Masters programmes delivered by the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies have gone on to pursue successful careers in the criminal justice arena, in academia, and in research outside academia, in the UK and overseas. Others have found the programme beneficial when seeking promotion in their existing roles. 

Here, at the School of Law, our LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law offers you ...

  • The opportunity to study at a leading research centre

LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law is offered within the dynamic Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, an internationally-recognised research unit that provides an active and multi-disciplinary environment with high-quality teaching and research in criminal justice, criminology, criminal law.

The School has also been ranked 4th equal in the UK for the impact of its research (REF 2014).

  • A supportive and dynamic learning environment

The School of Law provides a supportive learning environment, a compact teaching framework within smaller group settings and an opportunity to undertake a larger research project with appropriate mentoring and support. You will also benefit from all the facilities that a leading research-led university offers, together with opportunities for extra-curricular activities that enhance transferable skills.

  • A supplementary academic and professional skills programme

If you study with us, you will also benefit from our academic skills programme. This ten-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.

This programme provides an opportunity to refine and develop the academic and transferable skills required for you to excel during your taught postgraduate programmes, as well as prepare for professional roles after graduation. Previous programmes have included workshops on analytical skills, presentation skills, career planning, and dissertation writing.   

  • Teaching by experts with international reputations

Teaching staff on the core modules are members of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, and have established national and international reputations in the broad field of criminal justice policy research, especially in the areas of policing, crime prevention, victims, youth justice, and the supervision of offenders.

  • Knowledge informed by practitioners

The Centre for Criminal Justice Studies has an Advisory Board with more than twenty members drawn from regional key senior positions within criminal justice research users and sponsors, including the police, judiciary, probation service, prisons and the courts.

  • A programme with links to the local criminal justice community

Our strong links with the local criminal justice community bring valuable benefits for our students.

"I carried out a piece of research in a prison setting for my dissertation. My employers liked that I had experience of conducting research within a prison setting and that I had extensive research experience."

Philippa Hearty MA (2012 graduate, now a research administrator at HMP Leeds).

Our research environment

LLM Criminal Justice and Criminal Law is a postgraduate programme of study that enables you to learn from experts in the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the School of Law.

Centre for Criminal Justice Studies

The Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (CCJS) is an internationally-recognised research unit that provides an active and multi-disciplinary environment with high quality teaching and research in criminal justice, criminology, criminal law and beyond.

Research excellence

The centre 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'.

External impact

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 in excess of £2.7 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.

Further information

For further information about the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, see Centre for Criminal Justice Studies.

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