The special topic is designed to allow students to choose
an area within the broad field of Crime and Criminal Justice for in-depth
personal study. It is intended to complement the half option in Criminology
although it is not essential to have taken the Criminology half option.
The selection of topics also allows for the introduction of an important
sociological dimension to the function, range, operation and enforcement
of Criminal Law. In addition to enabling students to pursue their own
interest within the field of crime or criminal justice, the special topic
aims to develop research skills, critical and analytical skills, and writing
and presentational skills.
The sort of areas that students may choose their topics
from might include the following: specific types of crime eg. violence,
murder, white collar crime; social dimensions of crime eg. race and crime,
gender and crime, mentally disordered offenders, domestic violence; aspects
of crime control and the criminal justice process eg. relating to particular
offences or defences; and aspects of, or perspectives, on punishment eg.
the punishment of women, imprisonment etc...
The above list of topics is only a guide by way of example.
Not all of them will always be possible, whilst additional topics may
be possible. The choice of topic must be negotiated with and approved
by a supervising member of staff and students will only be allowed to
choose a topic for which a member of staff is available and willing to
supervise. In addition, whilst it might be expected that students might
draw upon their knowledge of Criminal Law, Evidence and Proof or Criminology
to inform their special topic there must be no significant overlap with
Teaching and Examination
The special topic is available to third year students
and is undertaken in the second term. Examination is by a supervised 8,000
word essay. Personal study and supervision is supported by a series of
two hour research seminars, half of which will be devoted to the teaching
of research skills and half to student presentations of their research.
There is no set text for the special topic although
a useful starting point for a number of topics might be:
Maguire, M., Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (1997)
The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (OUP)