As well as providing substantive information about criminal law and its enforcement, LLM Criminal Justice enables you to engage with the methodological foundations of research and scholarship, and to appreciate their implications for penal policymaking and practice.
The emphasis is on understanding issues, problems, institutions, processes and cultures of penal law and policy, against a backdrop of ever-increasing globalisation in criminality and law enforcement across national boundaries.
Criminal justice teaching and scholarship in the school is founded on the reputation and achievements of Sir John Smith, one of the greatest academic lawyers of the 20th century. Generations of lawyers across the common law world were first introduced to the subject by Smith and Hogan's Criminal Law.
You will be taught by academics with a high level of expertise in criminal justice who have made a significant impact in the area. We also have a long-running criminal justice discussion group, which meets every semester and gives you the opportunity to attend talks by academics and practitioners on exciting and often controversial topics.
You will also have an opportunity to engage with members of the Criminal Justice Research Centre, which encourages collaborations between researchers and practitioners on the ground. The centre's annual Sir John Smith Lecture on Criminal Law and Justice is an opportunity for you to hear at first hand from a keynote speaker who has pursued a career in criminal justice.
Academic English preparation and support
If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.
Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent. A specialist law course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.
- Top 100 worldwide in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019
- 81% of our research considered world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Excellence Framework
- 96% of law postgraduates in work or further study within six months of graduation
- Dedicated resources including legal skills advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions, computer room, and a full range of legal study and research materials online and in the Hallward Library
- Links to leading firms in London and the regions, private industry and consultancies, and governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations across the UK and wider world
You will complete a minimum of 90 credits of specialist optional modules. The remaining 30 credits can be chosen from the full selection of optional modules available on the LLM programme. You will also undertake a 60-credit dissertation.
Guidance and support on choosing a criminal justice dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.
We teach in small-group seminars where possible, allowing for an integrated, interactive learning experience. You are required to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.
Written work on a legal topic of the your choice resulting from individual research and normally based upon material falling within the area covered by the degree for which you are registered.
Qualifying module options
Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
This module explores a number of contemporary issues which have given rise to controversy within criminal justice processes with reference to different comparative models. A comparative method is employed to examine how these issues are treated across a range of different criminal justice systems.
Evidence and Proof
This module takes a theoretically sophisticated but practically orientated look at evidence and proof in legal settings. It is primarily about the nature of factual inference, rather than the law of evidence.
It considers how evidence might establish proof in terms of story-telling and trial narratives, formalised representations of inferential relationships (such as Wigmore Charts and Bayes nets) or calculations of probability. The practical salience of these inquiries, for example, in formulating and interpreting forensic science evidence, will be stressed.
Imprisonment and Human Rights
This module covers:
- human rights in prison
- place of imprisonment in the penal system
- conditions of imprisonment
- medical treatment of prisoners
- the prison regime and rights
- civil rights of prisoners
- security, order and discipline
- external control and supervision
- release of prisoners
- the future of imprisonment
International Criminal Evidence
This module explores the strengths and weaknesses of different models of proof in both domesticand international criminal justice systems and the extent to which an international consensus is emerging around the principles of evidence and proof.
International Criminal Law
An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.
The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability and defences will also be covered.
Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Criminal Justice
A broadly-based introduction to the philosophical foundations of human rights and criminal justice, emphasising the moral and political underpinnings of legal rules, doctrines and principles.
The module first tackles perennial conceptual and methodological issues relating to the nature of "philosophical" inquiry and the challenges of scepticism. Thereafter, the model reconsiders key issues and questions in contemporary debates surrounding human rights and criminal justice through the contrasting lenses of two rival philosophical perspectives, utilitarianism and liberal deontology.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
You will be assessed by examination or essay, or a combination of both. Assessments take place at the end of each term.
Practice assignments, guidance on exam techniques, time management workshops, and one-to-one legal skills advice sessions are offered throughout the academic year to prepare you for these assessments.
Our graduates move into a wide range of careers. Many go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with specialist knowledge and enhanced prospects. Others successfully seek employment with international organisations as well as international and local NGOs. Recent graduate destinations include BAE Systems, Clifford Chance, London Stock Exchange and Simmons & Simmons.
Some graduates further their academic career by progressing onto our PhD programme. These students often choose to stay at the University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of academics becoming members of staff after completing their LLM/masters and PhD with us.
With an advanced law degree from the University of Nottingham, you will be well-placed to pursue your career ambitions and realise your goals.
Average starting salary and career progression
96% of postgraduates from the School of Law secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £19,800 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £42,000.*
The University of Nottingham’s law graduates are the 6th most highly paid in the UK above King’s College London and University College London.**
* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.
** Chambers Student law firms preferred universities study 2019.
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.
You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles. Note that our libraries have an excellent range of free electronic books and journals that you can download.
Scholarships and bursaries
Each year we review our scholarship schemes and publish the information available on the school website.
See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.