Postgraduate study
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Criminal Law and Criminal Justice LLM

Awards: LLM

Funding opportunities

A cutting-edge and intellectually demanding programme, the LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice will equip you with an advanced knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and theories underpinning criminal law and criminal justice and how they operate in practice. The programme covers the following core areas:

  • Current issues in criminal law and criminal justice
  • Fundamental principles of substantive and procedural criminal law
  • Criminalization
  • International, transnational and European criminal law
  • Sexual offending
  • Global crime and insecurity
  • The penal process
  • Different approaches to understanding and critiquing criminal laws and criminal justice, including:

    • doctrinal
    • comparative
    • theoretical and
    • socio-legal methods

The programme is suitable for students who have studied law or a related subject at undergraduate level and wish to develop a specialist understanding of criminal law and criminal justice. It will prepare you for further work in this area, whether professional or academic.

This programme can be studied full-time over one year, or part-time over two years subject to visa restrictions. The degree and expectations for both modes of study are equally rigorous.

The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details for the 2023-24 academic year are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

Edinburgh Law School offers a wide portfolio of courses in criminal law and criminal justice. On taught courses, your studies will be led by members of the Law School academic community. You will be expected to prepare in advance by reading the required materials and reflecting on the issues to be discussed. Courses are examined primarily by means of an assessed essay or other written work.

For the dissertation, you will be allocated a supervisor from whom you can expect guidance and support, but its primary purpose is to develop your skills in independent research design and analysis.

With the exception of compulsory courses, space on specific courses may be limited due to high demand.

Having completed the programme, students will emerge with an advanced knowledge and understanding of contemporary debates in criminal law and criminal justice, the ability to analyse and critique existing practice and recent developments, and skills in legal writing and research.

This programme offers rigorous preparation for students considering further work in the fields of criminal law and criminal justice, for example, in academic research, legal practice, government departments, criminal justice agencies, voluntary organisations in the crime and justice field, or in international organisations such as the UNODC.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in law.

We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study.

In evaluating your application for postgraduate study, greater emphasis may be placed upon results of prior learning in subjects relevant to the intended degree programme.

Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

Supporting your application

Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.

Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.

Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.

Students from China

This degree is Band A.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 7.0 in writing and 6.5 in all other components. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 25 in writing and 23 in all other components.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 185 in writing and 176 in all other components.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 70 in writing and 62 in all other components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Dr Gabrielle Watson
  • Edinburgh Law School Postgraduate Office
  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 9YL

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 09 November 2023 11 December 2023
2 04 January 2024 15 February 2024
3 01 March 2024 15 April 2024
4 26 April 2024 20 June 2024
5 21 June 2024 17 July 2024

Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 18 August 2024.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Dr Gabrielle Watson
  • Edinburgh Law School Postgraduate Office
  • Old College
  • South Bridge
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 9YL