The master's degree programme in Criminology and Criminal Justice has been taught for 24 years by the Department of Political Science and Public Law of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. It was joined by Pompeu Fabra University and the University of Girona, in order to provide specialized training in the field of criminology and enforcement of sentences from the prespective of the different disciplines involved.
The interuniversity master's programme in Criminology and Penal Theory is designed to lend students advanced, specialized training oriented towards the exercise of research and academic work.
This is a research-oriented master's programme, organized into knowledge modules and terms. The Criminology and Methodology modules, as well as the optional modules, include subjects taught in both the first and second terms. The Penology module includes subjects taught in all three terms. The master's degree final project, which begins to be supervised in the first term, is completed and assessed at the end of the third term.
The programme offers several possible focuses with regard to the optional module (immigration, gender, the criminal justice system, victimology, cybercrime, etc.), thereby allowing students to tailor their training to their specific interests.
The programme's subjects are taught by expert lecturers engaged in research in the field. Classes are participative and, when necessary (e.g., when looking at quantitative methods), are held in computer rooms. Advance preparation and students' active participation are vital to the proper development of each class.
The programme may also be completed in two years. In this case, students must take the compulsory subjects the first year and complete the optional subjects and master's degree final project the second year. Students who choose to complete the programme in two years will be eligible to participate in mobility agreements with other European universities.
Students who hold an undergraduate degree in Criminology may take subjects on advanced methods and attend specialized research seminars.
Module 1. Penology
Theories justifying punishment. The prison system. Alternatives to prison sentences. The juvenile justice system. Restorative justice. Public opinion.
Module 2. Criminology
Criminological theory. Training programmes. Social reintegration programmes.
Module 3. Methodology
Quantitative and qualitative penological research methods. Introduction to scientific research. Research project design.
The programme offers several possible focuses with regard to the optional module (immigration, gender, the criminal justice system, victimology, cybercrime, etc.), thereby allowing students to tailor their training to their specific interests).
Master's degree final project
To complete the programme, students must undertake a compulsory master's degree final project, worth 15 credits, under the supervision of an academic tutor. Students work on the project over the course of the year, and it is assessed at the end by an academic board consisting of at least two members.
Knowledge, skills and competences acquired
* Advanced knowledge of criminology and the enforcement of criminal sanctions.
* Ability to apply the knowledge acquired to formulate research hypotheses and theories on crime and the criminal justice system.
* Ability to study and propose solutions to penological issues taking the social consequences thereof into account.
* Ability to communicate the hypotheses, methodology, results and practical implications of research clearly and concisely to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
* Ability to design and carry out coherent research projects in the fields of criminology and penology.
* Ability to make proper use of qualitative and quantitative techniques for collecting and analysing data for research projects.
* Ability to write research reports and scientific papers suitable for publication in specialized journals.
The master's programme is intended for university graduates in the various fields of the social and legal sciences (law, criminology, sociology, social work, social education) and in the health sciences (psychology). Specifically, it is aimed at people interested in pursuing careers in the field of criminal justice, broadly understood.
Candidates should thus have a keen interest in explanations of crime and the operation and improvement of the criminal justice system, as well as an awareness of the underlying social issues. They must likewise be able to go beyond their original discipline and explore in depth the issues of crime and how the criminal justice system responds to it from a criminological perspective.