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Sociology, Social Policy and Crime

Duration: 1 year
Attendance mode: Full-time
Award: MA
Suitable for international students
Start date: September
Faculty of Social Sciences
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This new full-time programme gives you the social policy insight and leadership skills required for senior roles in sectors such as:

  • Government
  • NGO / third sector
  • Criminal justice system

The programme provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of social sciences, equipping you with a deep understanding of social, criminological and cultural factors at work in contemporary societies in the UK and abroad. Modules address topics including:

  • crime and identity
  • asylum-seekers
  • human rights
  • social exclusion
  • social policy research methods

The MA in Sociology, Social Policy and Crime is taught by experienced staff with strong research records in sociology, social policy and vocational and professional subjects such as education and social work.

This course is also available as a Postgraduate Diploma.

Why Bradford?

The programme reflects the academic strengths of the Division of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Bradford.

The inclusion of an elective module enables you to choose any module from the University's postgraduate portfolio, allowing you to tailor the programme according to your personal intellectual interest and/or career aspirations.

Entry requirements

A first degree award of 2:2 or above in one of the following: Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology, History, Law, Psychology or Political Studies.

Other degrees in related or non-related subject areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English language requirements:

IELTS at 6.0 or the equivalent.

If you do not meet the IELTS requirement, you can take a University of Bradford pre-sessional English course. See the Language Centre for more details.


The modules for this course can be found in the latest programme specification.

Stage 1: Level 4

Semester 1

  • Contemporary Sociology and Crime. 20 credits
    Analyse the complex interactions of social theory, social structure, politics, public policy and ideology using a contemporary public case study.
  • Policing, Punishment and Change. 20 credits
    Learn to critique ideas about 'punishment', including understanding the historical, cultural and international context of punishment. You will also gain practical experience of criminal justice organisation.
  • Elective. 20 credits

Students will be eligible to exit with the award of Postgraduate Certificate if they have successfully completed 60 credits and have achieved the award learning outcomes.

Semester 2

  • Minorities and Refugees: A century caught between persecution and self-reliance. 20 credits.
  • Gendered Transitions. 20 credits
    Gain an understanding of gender roles and positions in relation to offending behaviour, feminism as a social movement, the development of feminist contributions to criminology, and the development of post-1945 policy initiatives encouraging gender equality.
  • Researching the Social World. 20 credits
    Develop and implement research strategies and methodologies relevant to sociology and criminology.

Students will be eligible to exit with the award of Postgraduate Diploma if they have successfully completed at least 120 credits and have achieved the award learning outcome.

Semester 3

  • Dissertation in Sociology, Social Policy and Crime. 20 credits
    Master the literature in a particular field of study relating to sociology, social policy and/or crime and develop research and written presentation skills at level 7.

Students will be eligible for the award of Degree of Master if they have successfully completed at least 180 credits and achieved the award learning outcomes.

Reading lists

All reading lists can be found here.

Learning activities and assessment

Face-to-face lectures and small-group seminar work are complimented by off-campus visits to relevant organisations.

Academic work is assessed via a variety of methods including essays, exams, presentations and a dissertation.

Career support and prospects

Career support

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

Career prospects

General transferable skills, designed to enhance employability, are embedded in the curriculum - particularly within the Research Methods and Dissertation modules. These modules also provide opportunities to discuss progression onto PhD level study, and how best to prepare for applying for PhD opportunities.

Upon graduation you will have developed expertise in topical and important areas of social policy.

Your grasp of these real world issues (alongside your communication and transferable skills, and the self-confidence these inspire) will open doors to a range of opportunities with employers such as local government, NGOs, local and national charities, the private sector and the criminal justice sector.

Study Support

You will be assigned a Personal Academic Tutor, who has regular and weekly drop-in slots available for you to discuss any issues related to programme content or study issues.

Appointments outside of these hours can also be arranged. You will also be assigned a personal tutor to supervise your dissertation.


Staff expertise in Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology ensures that programme content and delivery is research-led, contemporary and robustly informed.

We have an experienced, highly-qualified and strongly research-active teaching team. The programme will be taught by existing experienced staff with strong research records, who have published widely in sociology, social policy, criminal justice and vocational and professional subjects such as education and social work.

Formal lectures facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and understanding at the early stages of the course. As it progresses, the main emphasis is on self-directed research and evaluation of related literature; students will be supported in these by individual supervisors. These aspects further develop the research-informed nature of the curriculum.

Students are expected to critically evaluate quantitative and qualitative data and to design appropriate methodological approaches and propose new hypotheses. The dissertation module provides a major opportunity to demonstrate competence in the execution of desktop and/or empirical research and autonomy in data-handling and critical interpretation in a research context.

The ability to deal with complex issues and solve problems will be enhanced by effective reflective practice. Key skills are embedded in a number of modules but are consolidated and assessed in the Research Methods module. Students will also gain familiarity with a range of issues relating to bringing research concepts to a Masters-level project and these aspects will be assessed both formatively and summatively through case-studies and team-based learning.


Fees, Finance and Scholarships

Tuition fees


  • Home/EU: £6,680 (MA), £5,340 (PGDip)
  • International: £15,650 (MA), £14,950 (PGDip)

Tuition fees are subject to review for students starting their course in subsequent years. See our Fees and Financial Support website for more details.

How do I find out more?

Steps to Postgraduate Study

Find out more about studying at a postgraduate level on the official, independent website Steps to Postgraduate Study (link opens in new window).

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online.

This will help us process your application more quickly and allow you to submit your supporting documents electronically.

If you are unable to apply online, please email to request a paper application form.

We will also need the following supporting documents, along with any other information specified on the course page:

  • Degree certificates/transcripts
  • Research proposal (if required)
  • Two references (including one academic reference)
  • Evidence of English language level (if required)
  • A copy of your passport

Once you have applied you will have access to the University's Applicant Portal, where you can track the status of your application.

You should also start thinking about how you plan to fund your postgraduate study — you may need to apply for loans or grants at this stage.

International students

If you applying from outside the UK and require additional support you may apply through your country representative.

They can help you at every stage and communicate with the University on your behalf. They often provide additional services to ensure your smooth arrival to the UK such as visa application support and assistance with your travel arrangements.

Further information is available on our International Office website.

This is the current course information. Modules and course details may change, subject to the University's programme approval, monitoring and review procedures. The University reserves the right to alter or withdraw courses, services and facilities as described on our website without notice and to amend Ordinances, Regulations, fees and charges at any time. Students should enquire as to the up-to-date position when applying for their course of study.