What does studying criminal justice involve? How many hours will I have to study each week? When and where will I be studying? What facilities are there to help me study?
These are just some of the common questions amongst applicants to the criminal justice degree programmes. On this page, therefore, we have tried to supply as much study-related information as possible.
The university academic year is split into two, twelve-week teaching semesters. In each semester students shall study an average of 4-5 academic modules. In an average week, therefore, the total number of contact hours between staff and students will be approx. 12 hours. For the majority of our programmes, this teaching is undertaken over three days, allowing students to keep two days clear for either further study, voluntary work, or paid employment.
Outside of contact hours, however, students are also expected to study - indeed, the majority of studying at university is independent with students expected to read and research around their subject areas (although the academic staff are always available for advice, support and useful hints and tips!).
The teaching for the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice, BA (Hons) Criminal Justice & Law & LLB Law & Criminal Justice is undertaken by staff from the School of Law in the John Foster Building on the Mount Pleasant Campus.
The teaching for the BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology & Criminal Justice is spilt between staff from the School of Law and the School of Psychology. The School of Psychology is located In the Tom Reilly Building, which is approximately a 15 minute walk from the School of Law. This does not usually cause any difficulties and there is shuttle bus service in case the weather isn't too good!
Both the Mount Pleasant campus and teh Tom Reilly Building have their own state of the art Learning Resource Centres which are discussed further in the 'What learning resources are available?' section below.
The various Criminal Justice degree programmes aim to provide a fusion of theoretical discussion and vocational orientated learning. This will hopefully increase students' ability to critically think about issues of crime, criminality, criminology and criminal justice, whilst also increasing and improving their 'employability'.
For a breakdown of the modules that are studied on all our programmes and for a synopsis of each of these, click here.
The majority of your 'contact hours' will be in the form of lectures, tutorials and seminars.
Lectures involve different size groups (ranging from 40-200) listening to an academic discuss a certain issue or theme, and usually last for between 1-2 hours. The Criminal Justice academic team are committed to using the latest technology, in the form of PowerPoint presentations as well as the BlackBoard virtual learning environment to support their spoken words. Internet links, audio bytes and film clips are all also utilised to highlight and bring to life specific points.
Every member of academic staff within the various disciplines on the criminal justice programmes are actively engaged in teaching. LJMU is not an institution that has experts in their fields who do not interact with students. This means that as well as being research and publication active, all our staff engage with students to pass on their various skills and expertise.
Along with academic members of staff, there will also be both lectures and more interactive workshop sessions run by criminal justice practitioners and other experts in specific fields. This means that professionals from the Probation Service, Youth Offending Teams and Police will all contribute to a students learning experience. Students are also required for specific modules to actively engage in a criminal justice setting and to observe and write about their thoughts and experiences.
Accompanying lectures are tutorials and seminars. These tend to be more 'student-led' sessions, whereby students are set a task and are asked to discuss and present their opinions in class. These tend to be much smaller groups with around 15-20 students actively participating. We encourage lively discussions in these sessions and are enthusiastic about different people putting forward their differing viewpoints.
As well as these 'contact hours', students are required to undertake their own personal study, outside of the classroom in order to read around their chosen subjects, prepare for tutorial and seminar work and to produce their work for assessments.
The Criminal Justice programes are committed and innovative in their attempts to assess students in different ways. There will be the 'normal' methods of essays and exams, but these are supplemented with individual and group presentations, research portfolios and anitated bibliographies, as well as pioneering approaches like on-line assessments.
Students are always supported through their assessment periods with essay writing guidance and exam revision sessions offered on both programme specific and general university levels.
The resources for students at LJMU are considerable in both scope and size. Students on cny of criminal justice programmes have access to all three Learning Resource Centre's (LRCs) at the university, however, the Aldham Robarts and Avril Robarts LRCs tend to be the ones most regularly used by our students. The Aldham Robarts is based on the Mount Pleasant Street campus and stocks all criminal justice and legal texts, whilst the Avril Robarts, situated by the Henry Cotton campus, stocks the psychological based literature.
Both of these LRC's offer a wide variety of academic books, but also stock hard copies of relevant journals and other study aids, such as DVD's. A substantial number of our subscribed journals are also available electronically.There are networked PCs available in all the LRCs as well as a number of ITC suites in the various campus buildings, such as the one based in the John Foster Building.
LJMU offers all its ITC facilities on-line so that all students can access their email, hard drives, library catalogue and electronic resources (such as journals or electronic databases) from the comfort of their own homes via any internet linked PC. This in practice allows 24-hour access to all LJMU's on-line resources.
LJMU also run a learning support site titled BlackBoard. Each module we run on the criminal justice programmes has corresponding BlackBoard pages where tutors place lecture notes, past exam papers, essay guidance and so, in order to further support all students learning.
The national retention rate for all British universities tends to hover around the 83% mark. The Criminal Justice team, are determined, however, for our programmes to aim for a much higher figure than this. All new students are allocated a personal tutor who will meet them in the first week of their studies, with several other formal and informal meetings running throughout the academic year. We believe that is important that students feel valued and know and it makes you feel part and parcel of the university experience. This is a department who know their students by name and this creates a personal learning experience for both staff and students alike.
Your personal tutor will always be at hand to discuss any issues, whether these be of an academic or personal nature. We also have cohort tutors who focus on specific levels of students and who offer advice and specialisms on each of the levels you will be studying at.
There are approximately 50 places available on the BA (Hons) Criminal Justice programme and 65 on both the LLB (Hons) Law & Criminal Justice and BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology & Criminal Justice degrees. This means each year we have an intake of around 180 new students.We aim to keep numbers to a manageable level so that the personal nature of our degree programmes continue.
For accommodation advice, please visit LJMU's Accommodation web site, which offers all the relevant information that you should need. If you require any further advice, try and attend an Open Day.