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Master's degree in Penal Law System

Objectives & career options

General objectives

The aim of this Master’s degree is to provide specialised and integrated training for graduates in law, criminology, psychology, sociology, political sciences and other social sciences related to crime through the different disciplines involved in the criminal justice system (substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, criminology and victimology). The course takes a comprehensive approach to the in-depth study of all aspects involved in the criminal justice system, explaining how they operate and studying them from a crossdisciplinary perspective (partially covered in some degree courses such as law and criminology). Since this is fundamentally an academic course which also incorporates a research focus, in addition to an exhaustive study of substantive criminal law, criminal procedure, criminology (basically crime theories) and victimology, the course also aims to train students in research methodology. Thus, the ultimate aim is to equip students with the knowledge and methodological skills which, in addition to enabling them to conduct their first piece of research within the context of the Master’s Degree, will introduce them to the preparation of a doctoral thesis. 

To summarise, the aim of the present Master’s Degree is for students to gain a deeper understanding of the disciplines involved in the criminal justice system and of the research methodology corresponding to each of these disciplines. It is a hybrid course, combining substantive criminal law with criminal procedure and criminology, in which the disciplines involved in criminal law are addressed in conjunction, an approach not fully developed at degree level in either law or criminology. Thus, the fundamental intention is to complement the quality training of graduates in degrees designed from a criminological perspective and those from degrees with a more legal profile, in order to equip them for entry into the labour market or for further research in any of the disciplines comprising the Master’s Degree.  By providing an in-depth study of legal and criminological knowledge for criminology and law graduates respectively, the present Master’s Degree programme addresses the deficiencies identified in both the current law degree programmes as regards empirical disciplines, and also in the criminology degree programmes as regards criminal justice disciplines.

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Structure 

 

Structure of the Master’s Degree: credits and subject groups

 

Type of subject

Credits

Compulsory (OB) Core Module

38

Optional (OP) Optional Module

12

Master’s Degree Final Project (OB)

10

TOTAL CREDITS

60

 

 

Distribution of subjects by module

 

FIRST SEMESTER 30 ECTS

SECOND SEMESTER 30 ECTS

MODULE I: CORE

MODULE II: OPTIONAL

CRIMINAL SENTENCING AND CRIMINAL POLICY

OB

7

NEW CRIMINAL BUSINESS LAW

OP

6

CRIMES AGAINST INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE LEGAL RIGHTS

OB

6

GENDER VIOLENCE: LEGAL PROVISIONS

OP

6

CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT SYSTEM

OP

6

CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCEDURES

OB

9

NEW CHALLENGES AND TRENDS IN CRIMINOLOGY AND CRIMINAL POLICY

OP

6

CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORIES

OB

10

MODULE III: MASTER’S FINAL PROJECT

VICTIMOLOGY

OB

6

RESEARCH

OB

10

 

General course programme

The Master’s Degree in the Criminal Justice System is divided into three modules: a core module (38 credits), an optional module (12 credits) and a module corresponding to the Master’s Final Project (research, 10 credits).

It is envisaged that the course will last one academic year. Accordingly, the core module (38 credits) will be taught in the first semester, whilst the 12 credits corresponding to the optional subjects from the optional module, and the 10 credits corresponding to the Master’s Final Project module, will be taught in the second semester.

The aim of the core module is to extend the knowledge gained from students’ previous degrees of the subjects which are fundamental to the criminal justice system.

The core  module includes the following subjects:

  • Criminal sentencing and criminal policy (7 credits): provides an analysis of questions related to criminal legal theory, processes of criminalisation and decriminalisation of punishable behaviour, questions related to sentencing and, lastly, an introduction to the study of the criminal punishment system.
  • Crimes against individual and collective legal rights (6 credits): addresses the study of types of crime of particular relevance to the present criminal context, including criminal negligence, organised crime, computer crime and, lastly, certain crimes against individuals.
  • Criminal justice procedures (9 credits): consitutes an exhaustive study of the criminal procedure structure, those involved, approved preventative measures, means of evidence and, lastly, the types of criminal procedures in existence.
  • Criminological theories (10 credits):  involves an analysis of crime theories developed within the field of criminology, although questions such as criminal phenomenology will also be addressed.
  • Victimology (6 credits): addresses the study of victimisation and recovery processes in relation to suffering a criminal action.

Teaching on this module is partially classroom-based. The classroom-based teaching block is in the first month of the first semester and takes place at the Jaume I University in Castellón throughout the month of October. The reason for choosing this campus for the classroom-based teaching block is twofold. Firstly, its central geographical location will facilitate the attendance of students resident in the surrounding areas of the cosignatory universities to the agreement. Secondly, the Joan Lluís Vives Institute University Network is also headquartered in Castellón, which will aid administrative support during the classroom-based stage. The classroom-based teaching block will conclude with an examination of the acquired knowledge. Once this stage has been completed, teaching will continue via the University of Leída Sakai virtual campus, and will consist of the study of tailor-made material and the provision of the information necessary to complete the step-by-step exercises for each of the subjects, which students will be required to present within the proposed timeframe.  These exercises will be corrected, and the average grade for the activities will form part of the continuous evaluation. Both a classroom-based examination and the e-learning activities will determine the final grade, which students must validate in the corresponding examination for each subject.

The aim of this module is for students to develop a deeper understanding of the rudiments of the criminal justice system, an awareness of the diversity of ways in which anti-social behaviour can be addressed, and a familiarity with the tools which will enable them to acquire such knowledge, namely, correct use of language and ICT.  Students are also expected to develop their abilities as regards addressing the resolution of a specific problem, as well as acquiring the capacity to work as part of a team in the design of some of the activities set.

Once the compulsory module has been successfully completed, students may take both the optional module and the Master’s Final Project module, in the second semester of the academic year.

The optional module aims to equip students with the tools necessary for the study of specific and crossdisciplinary subjects related to the various disciplines covered in the core module, and pertinent  to complemention of their training.  This module includes core subjects related to general aspects of the present criminal justice system and two subjects examining particular areas of criminal behaviour which are considered especially complex and specific: business crime and gender violence.  Students must choose two of the optional subjects from the following four:

  • New criminal business law (6 credits): this subject will address both general questions related to criminal business law and the study of the types of crimes related to business activity.
  • Gender violence: legal provisions (6 credits): this subject provides an in-depth analysis of the types of crime associated with gender violence, and the legal mechanisms for protecting victims of this kind of crime.  A criminological approach to this problem is also addressed.
  • Criminal punishement system (6 credits): provides an in-depth study of existing criminal punishments and the problems related to their implementation.
  • New challenges and trends in criminology and criminal policy (6 credits): addresses current issues regarding the guiding principles behind trends in criminal policy processes and criminology.

Teaching on this module is semi classroom-based, and subject to continuous evaluation.  In practice this implies a classroom-based teaching block of two eight-hour days for each of the optional subjects – based once again at the Jaume I University -  followed by various activites, similar to those of the core subjects,  organised by the University of Leida Sakai virtual campus, comprising study of materials, directed reading and exercises which will be used to assess the final grade awarded for the corresponding subject.

Students are expected to acquire extensive skills related to the contents of the first module, both in terms of all the crossdisciplinary contents involved and those presented in each of the disciplines comprising the criminal justice system.

Lastly, the third module (10 credits), consists of the Master’s final project, comprising supervised research. A tutor will be assigned to each student and  supervision will include an initial tutorial and various supervisory tutorials to monitor progress. The aim of the third module is for students to: consolidate and apply the knowledge acquired in the core module as well as the optional subjects taken concurrently with the third module; and to acquire skills in legal and criminological research methods.  In addition, students will be required to demonstrate a command of foreign languages through their recourse to literature in English, French, German or Italian.  Successful completion of this module includes an oral defence of the Master’s Final Project before an examining board comprising three professors involved in teaching the Master’s Degree .  This oral defence will take place between June and September of the academic year in which the student is enrolled.

As regards the skills students are expected to acquire during the completion of this module, in addition to consolidating those already introduced in the previous modules, students are required to demonstrate their command of a foreign language and to acquire proficiency in the use of legal and criminological research methods.

 

 

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Distinctive Features

 

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Resources and Facilities

 

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Further Education

After completing an official Master's degree, students can take a PhD degree or third-cycle university studies, related to the Master's degree they have completed or to related areas. A list with all PhD degrees offered by the University of Alicante at:

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Career Opportunities

Focus

Research.

Master’s degree specialisation profile

Academic and research.

Professional Profile

The course addresses professional practice related to the criminal justice system, providing a quality, specialist training in the criminal justice system which combines legal, criminological and victimological perspectives.

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Scholarships and Funding

 

Information on existing scholarships and grants to study university degrees is available here:

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University Life

Further information on our campus and the activities and resources available, organised by or related to the UA:

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