- Course: Criminal Justice and Criminal Law LLM
- Nationality: British
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Rebecca from Surrey in the south of England. I completed a bachelor’s degree in law at Cardiff University from 2016-2019 and I’m current studying on the Criminal Law and Criminal Justice LLM at Leeds.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
From my undergraduate studies, I developed a real interest in criminal law. I think I realised in my second year that I wanted to continue developing my education in this field which introduced me to the idea of postgraduate studies. I’d looked around at other universities but the course at Leeds really stood out to me, so I was pretty much set on coming here straight away! I was also looking for a university which had good PhD prospects for me. The Centre for Criminal Justice at Leeds seemed a great choice for both future studies as well as the current Masters.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
I’ve had an interest in law for a long time. I think it simply stemmed from the fact that law dictates and governs literally everything in life, so the need for it to be correct and efficient is imperative. I knew my focus was towards the criminal side of things from taking an A-level in law. It was fascinating to learn how things are intended to work (or ‘by-the-book’ law) and how this compares to their actual delivery. I suppose this embodied itself in my interest in criminal justice system and how its agents (the police, courts, prisons etc) operate in the UK.
What do you think of your course so far – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most or are looking forward to the most?
I’ve loved the course. Considering the course is only one year, it packs so much in to such a short space of time which has given me a really comprehensive overview of the subject and I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve learnt. Working on my dissertation, which is in collaboration with a police force, has been thoroughly enjoyable (albeit busy!) and has given me a real insight into empirical research. I also really enjoyed the optional module ‘Rethinking Policing’ as it encouraged me to think outside the box to understand the ways in which policing in England and Wales is evolving.
What would you say about the learning facilities at the University of Leeds?
I’ve been impressed with the facilities. The teaching has been great because not only are the members of staff experts in their fields, but I’ve found that they know how to deliver that knowledge to students which I imagine is somewhat difficult for someone who knows so much! The lectures and seminars have been well-structured, and all resources have been easy to find online, whether they’ve been on the library website or Minerva, the student portal. The libraries have also been great, filled with all the books you could need as well as sufficient space to work in the buildings themselves.
How do you find the student support from the School?
I’ve been really pleased with the support I’ve had from the School. All students are allocated a personal tutor who is there for you throughout your time at the university. What’s great is that the support is not only in relation to academic matters but is also there for personal matters too. All members of staff have also been easily accessible, whether that be via email or in the School itself. I’ve definitely made use of staff ‘office hours’, during which they invite students to drop-in with any questions without an appointment.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?
I was member of the Crim Soc (The Leeds University Criminal Justice Society) which hosts regular events like nights out and dinners which gives everyone a chance to meet other students in the School. They also do lots of campaigns on different topics like mental health. The Post-Grad Society also did similar events which were good because it gave me a chance to meet other older students – I think it’s easy to feel outnumbered by undergraduates as a postgraduate!
What do you think about Leeds as a city?
The city is great. It really has everything you need, from restaurants to cinemas, gyms to nightclubs. It was initially quite daunting moving to a new city from Cardiff which I had come to know really well, but I soon settled into Leeds. Although it’s a big city, it doesn’t feel like that once you know your way round. It’s also pretty cheap which is a bonus!
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
I would say that if you’re wanting to develop your knowledge about criminal justice and criminal law, this course is a great way to do so. It is, of course, hard work but it’s a great qualification to have that will only enhance your career prospects, particularly from a prestigious institution like Leeds University.
What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course? What are you career aspirations?
Once I finish this course, I am starting the 1+3 ESRC studentship in September 2020. This involves another Master’s in social research before starting a PhD in September 2021. Although I had only expected to be up in Leeds for the one year of my LLM, I’m now signed up to 5 years! Fortunately I love it and I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather be living and studying.