Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Punishment and In/justice SOCIO5019

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description



10 x two hour sessions in semester 1

Requirements of Entry

In order to take this module you need to have met the requirements for entry into our MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Criminology and Criminal Justice Programme. This means achieving a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject.

Excluded Courses







1 x 4,500 - 5,000 word essay (100%)

Course Aims

To outline key concepts and perspectives in the philosophy and sociology of punishment

To assess relationships between punishment, justice and injustice, in particular examining the role of punishment in reflecting, constituting and/or addressing social inequalities 

To explore global and international developments in penal systems and practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this programme students will be able to:

To critically assess justifications of punishment and arguments for penal abolition/alternatives

To explain the evolution of contemporary penal systems and practices

To identify topical issues (in particular related to punishment and inequality) and evaluate them, including through the use of comparative analysis

To contribute effectively to public debate and punishment

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Completion of 1 x 4,500 - 5,000 word essay