MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Preparing for your studies at Edinburgh Law School

Preparatory Readings

There is no single book which you should read before you begin your MSc at Edinburgh, and you do not have to do any preparation at all. However, the following are a suggestion of titles which you may find interesting if you want to start exploring some key issues before you arrive.

  • Liebing A, Maruna S, and McAra, L. (2016) (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (6thedition). Oxford: OUP

This is an excellent, up-to-date review of research in British criminology, the author of each chapter proving a detailed, state-of-the-art map of their respective topics. This is really a collection of essays and it is the only ‘text book’ it is worth buying.

  • Becker, HS (2020, or earlier editions): Writing for Social Scientists: How to start and finish your thesis, book or article.

This is a brilliant book by one of our most important sociologists/ criminologists, about why academics find it so difficult to write, and what to do about it. Every student and academic should read this.

  • Bosworth, M and Hoyle, C (2011): What is Criminology? (Oxford, OUP)

A collection of essays by interesting leading thinkers about what this subject is, and how it should be done.


The following are a small selection of famous books which have shaped the field of criminology, and you are likely to encounter during the course. These are merely a start of a list  – if you have any particular interests please email me and I will recommend some readings for you.

  • Cohen, S (2011, and earlier editions): ‘Folk Devils and Moral Panics: the creation of the Mods and Rockers’. This book introduced the term ‘moral panic’ and is very important.
  • Cohen, S (1985): ‘Visions of Social Control’. A critical book about the hidden ‘industry’ of criminal justice work, and the book that made me want to be a criminologist
  • Becker, HS (1963): ‘Outsiders: studies in the sociology of deviance’. A wonderfully written book about drug taking and subcultures in the 1960s
  • Garland, D (1990): Punishment and Modern Society: a study in social theory. A brilliant analysis of core ideas about punishment
  • Matza, D (1964, or other editions): Delinquency and Drift. A brilliant book about young people and offending, which introduced many important ideas that we still think about.

Get in touch if you want any further suggestions, or readings on particular areas or topics and I will send you some ideas!

Dr Anna Souhami

Programme Director, MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Planning your programme

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 are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View full programme and course information the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice

View full programme and course information for the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice (ESRC track)

These courses are for the 2022/23 academic year. Depending on demand, space on specific courses may be limited.

What is happening in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Edinburgh Law School

Criminology and Criminal Justice members of staff and PhD students at Edinburgh Law School are active members of various criminological research centres. You may be interested to explore the following:

To find out more about the Postgraduate Community at Edinburgh Law School visit our community pages.

Go to the Law School Community pages