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At University of Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Criminology, Criminal Justice and Human Rights (LLM)
The LLM in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Human Rights will be delivered by staff from the Crime, Punishment and Rights Research Cluster at the School of Law and the Irish Centre for Human Rights.
The programme recognises the inescapable reality that criminal justice issues cannot be understood without also understanding underpinning human rights law norms and obligations.
The programme has been designed to inspire students coming from either directly from study or from practice to engage in life-long-learning, to uphold high ethical and professional standards and to appreciate the need to advocate for and adopt an evidence-informed and rights-based approach to criminal justice issues.
The programme’s curriculum emphasises inter-disciplinary intersections and research methods training, to facilitate future or enhanced career possibilities in national, regional and international criminal justice agencies, NGOs, inter-governmental organisations and courts.
This programme will foster intellectual curiosity and academic attainment through the provision of high quality, research-led teaching that bridges the disciplines of criminology and criminal justice, and law and human rights. In particular, it will provide students with:
- comprehensive and critical understanding of issues at the forefront of criminal justice focused law, policy and practice by adopting criminological and human rights approaches to study and research.
- confidence to express complex ideas (orally and in writing) and to undertake independent study using multi-disciplinary sources and scholarship.
- tailored training in relevant methodological approaches and dissemination methods.
- A diverse range of cross-disciplinary and research-led modules that focus on topics at the intersection of law, criminology, criminal justice and rights, delivered by leading experts.
- Visits to criminal justice institutions including Limerick Prison, provide students with insights into the reality of criminal justice and penal policy operationalisation.
- Crime, Punishment and Rights Seminar Series will allow students to hear first-hand from guest lectures involved in creating and applying criminal justice law and policy. The seminar series is organised by the Crime, Punishment and Rights Research Cluster at the School of Law which has strong links with (inter)governmental bodies, (international) courts and civil society.
- Crime, Punishment and Rights Film Series at Pálás cinema will showcase movies highlighting issues studied during the programme and provide students with a unique social setting to further explore important topics.
- International Human Rights Law Clinic which provides students with unique practical training on mobilising human rights standards to secure reform, engaging with human rights bodies, at UN and regional levels. Places on this module are limited and are offered on a selective basis.
- Specialist Methodological Skills Training is embedded throughout the course and students can enhance their transferrable skills by taking training in graphic design and podcast production.
- A Minor Thesis is completed by students on a topic of their choice under close supervision by leading experts.
- Career Support is provided through professional workshops concentrating on students CV and interview skills. Careers in Law Week also provides an opportunity to meet potential employers.
- Assessment is primarily through research papers, presentations and minor thesis rather than exams.
Applications and Selections
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System. Entry to the course is based on academic achievement as set out above and a personal statement. On occasions, interviews may also be carried out to determine the applicant’s suitability for the course. Places will be allocated on a conditional basis pending receipt of all required and verified supporting documentation.
Who Teaches this Course
Requirements and Assessment
Taught modules will be assessed by either an exam or a written essay (depending on the preference of the module convenor). Students will be given options to receive feedback on formative assessments and presentations in a number of modules. Students will be assessed on their ability to conduct independent research on a specific self-selected topic during their Minor Thesis assessment.
The criteria for admission to this programme is as follows:
- An approved Second Class Honours Degree, Grade 1 (2.1, Level 8) in law or in another relevant discipline including political science, social sciences and humanities.
- In exceptional circumstances, an applicant holding a degree in another discipline or a degree of less than an approved Second Class Honours Degree, Grade 1 (H2.1) standard may be considered where they have relevant professional experience in law.
- International students should refer to the country-specific information section of the International Office website.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
In exceptional circumstances, an applicant holding a degree in another discipline or a degree of less than an approved Second-Class Honours Degree, Grade 1 (H2.1) standard may be considered where they have relevant professional experience in law or in another relevant subject area such as criminology.
1 year (full-time); 2 years (part-time)
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
Offers are made on a rolling basis.
Mode of study
Full-time: 1ML32; Part-time: 1ML33, 2LML33
The programme will offer a diverse range of modules structured around compulsory, core, and optional modules to ensure students will specialise in the stated field. The 90-credit programme will involve a module combination of Compulsory  + Core  + Optional  + Minor Thesis . Taught modules are 10 ECTS.
LLM in Criminology, Criminal Justice and Human Rights
Compulsory Module for All Students [10 ECTS]
LWXXXX Criminology, Criminal Justice and Human Rights (New module)
Core Modules (Select 30 ECTS from Specialist Modules)
LWXXXX Policing, Security and Rights (New module)
LW439 Advocacy, Activism and Public Interest Law (New module)
LW508 Minors, Minority Groups & the Criminal Justice System
LW493 The Criminal Jury
LW575 Crime and Disorder
LW485 Sentencing and Penal Law Policy
LW5117 International Human Rights Law
LW5122 International Criminal Law
LW5214 Imprisonment and Rights
LW538 Transitional Justice
LW 525 Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights
Optional (select 20 ECTS from any Law School Modules, for example)
LW483 Advanced Legal Research & Method
LW530 Procedure Before International Criminal Courts
LW5110 Human Rights Law Clinic
LW471 International Humanitarian Law
LW5121 Transnational Lawyering
LW5124 Climate Justice
LW5116 Gender and Human Rights
Compulsory (30 ECTS)
Compulsory Module: Criminal Justice, Criminology and Rights Module
The objective of this module is to establish the cross-disciplinary focus of the post-graduate specialisation and create a strong intellectual and social identity for the LLM cohort from the first week of the programme. This module will ground the programme by focusing on topics located at the intersection of criminology/criminal justice and human rights, provide socio-legal and criminological skills training and minor dissertation preparation advice.
Students must select a minimum of 30 credits from the listed core modules of specialist and cross-disciplinary courses offered by the School of Law and the ICHR.
Optional Module credits
Students may complete their remaining credit requirement (20 ECTS) from the list of core modules, or they can opt to take any of the modules offered by the School or the ICHR, or a mixture of both.
The final element of the programme is a 30-credit minor thesis. Students will be prepared for this element of assessment in the compulsory module.
Throughout the programme, students will hear first-hand from those involved in creating, applying criminal justice law and policy from guest lecturers, and take part in visits to important sites of practice, such as Limerick Prison.
Students will also benefit from the programme of events hosted by the Crime, Punishment and Rights Research Cluster, its film series with Pálás Cinema and its strong links with (inter)governmental bodies, (international) courts and civil society.
Why Choose This Course?
Employers and placement partners actively look for graduates specialising in criminology, criminal justice and human rights. This LLM programme aims to equip graduates with the essential skills and knowledge necessary for successful careers within these fields. Furthermore, students who have completed specialised modules and engaged in independent research in these specific areas, will be highly appealing to employers due to their substantial expertise.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Transferable Skills Employers Value
On successful completion of this programme, students will be able to:
- undertake independent research and access a range of legal and criminological sources effectively
- analyse complex texts and evaluate different types of arguments
- construct and present complex criminological and rights-informed ideas in writing
- solve problems based on premises drawn from a variety sources
- communicate arguments in writing, reference sources appropriately and complete projects within set time-frames