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Criminology - MSc

Why study this course?

This course allows you to develop an advanced knowledge of crime and offenders, as well as to assess contemporary trends and concepts in criminal justice policy and community safety. In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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It will incorporate approaches to crime control within the community and penal institutions. You will also gain the methodological and analytic skills required to conduct research within the field of crime and criminal justice; this level of knowledge and skill can prepare you for doctoral study or research posts within the criminal justice arena, or can consolidate your professional experience.

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You are assessed via essays, projects, examinations and a dissertation between 12,000 and 15,000 words in length. The dissertation forms a key element of the MSc. It allows you to pursue in depth a topic of your choosing and is to be completed over the summer study period.

You will be required to have:

  • at least a lower second class honours degree in a relevant discipline such as criminology, or social and behavioural sciences (applications are also welcome from those who have experience in criminal justice or possess relevant professional qualifications)

In some circumstances applicants who do not meet the standard entry requirements may be permitted to enrol on the course at the discretion of the course leader.

Applications are welcomed from overseas students, and all applicants are considered on individual merit, without regard to gender, marital status, disability, race, ethnic origin, religion or social background.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    The module aims to identify and consider the key themes, debates policies, and agencies associated with contemporary criminal justice, with a particular focus on England and Wales

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday afternoon

    The module seeks to critically assess recent and current policies and practices associated with crime control and community safety. Whilst there is a particular focus on England and Wales, the module also considers the international context, and some of the approaches utilised in other countries (such as the USA, Canada, and Australia).

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    This module allows students to identify and critically assess patterns in specific forms of crime and offending behaviour, as well as to consider the prevalence, characteristics and typologies of specific types of offence. Models used to explain crime and offender patterns, as well as recidivism and desistance, will be considered. These will be related to the wider theoretical criminological field.

    To begin with, the module is structured around identifying and evaluating key patterns and characteristics of recorded crime and offending behaviour, with a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on the UK. The module also aims to present and assess explanatory models used to explicate crime trends, and changes in offending patterns.

    The module then focuses on specific types of offence category (including violent and sexual offences, financial, organised crime and environmental crime), and identifies specific trends. As a corollary, the escalation of offending behaviour and the concept of criminal 'career' is evaluated.

    The third and final element of the module centres on an analysis of 'serial offenders', and the ways in which offender and geographic profiling might (or might not) assist in understanding and detecting such offenders.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday morning

    The module seeks to provide a good grounding in the understanding and appreciation of criminological research methods. Students will be taken through the process of conducting social research from the formulation of a research question through to the completion of a [quantitative] research report. Students will learn about designing social research, data collection and analysis in a clear and accessible way. The module will enable students to determine which research methodology to apply as part of the research process. Students on this module will benefit from the experience of ‘guest’ lectures from academics with experience of conducting primary research within the field of criminology/criminal justice. Guest speakers will include, for example, University-based or Home Office researchers or those based in particular criminal justice agencies. These lectures/workshop sessions are designed to help students understand the practicalities and challenges of conducting research in the 'real world'. Students will receive tuition on quantitative data collection and analysis with a particular emphasis on the use of SPSS. During their engagement with the module, students will also be expected to make the appropriate level of reference to standard texts in research methods; this will assist in the evaluation of specific research studies, which forms a key component of the module. The module commences by providing an overview of the principal approaches in social research.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • summer studies
    • spring semester

    The dissertation allows the student to undertake an independent and
sustained piece of research into a substantive topic of his or her own choosing. The dissertation
must include appropriate empirical research in the field of criminology and criminal justice. It must also be grounded in related criminological theories and relate to previous criminological research.

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  • Students will be equipped with a strategic and theoretical undepinning to enhance their practice skills.

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  • The module aims to introduce students to emerging paradigms within safety and security at both local and global levels, and to explore some justifications for the increasing ‘securitisation’ of social life.

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  • This module considers what intelligence and analysis means, and its overall role, and its application to security related issues of Criminology and the domain of Public Protection. It deals with dealing with issues pertaining to law enforcement and government agencies and the private sector combating crime and the use of proactive intelligence.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    This module will introduce students to the basic principles and psychological theories underlying criminal behaviour. It is assessed by coursework and taught jointly by the Criminology and Psychology Schools.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies

    This module provides an opportunity to explore data analysis within the context of the principles of individual qualitative research approaches in greater depth, including IT software tools such as NVivo and their use to analyse raw data. The processes and principles and application of selected analytic schemes will be considered, such as grounded theory and forms of discourse analysis. Students will have an opportunity to apply specific approaches, and compare and contrast manual and IT based analytic procedures.

    Read full details.
  • No module details available
    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester

    Within communities and environments where 'user involvement' and public participation in a range of social and political processes has received increased attention in recent years, so too has the need for effective participation in social research and evaluation activities. Moving beyond ideas of people as research participants, this module examines ways of involving different communities and reasons for using participatory methods, its contexts and how these approaches increase understanding of people's lived experiences. It will further focus on how to decide the appropriateness of different approaches in varied contexts.

    2013-14 timeslots:

    SS7055 will run on 6 single days (9.30-4.30pm) in Autumn Semester - ie not throughout the semester.

    Autumn Semester slots:

    October 7 and 8 (Mon-Tue) 9:30-4:30
    November 8 and 9 (Fri-Sat) 9:30-4:30
    December 5 and 6 (Thur-Fri) 9:30-4:30

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester

    This module runs in block mode.

    In 2015-16 this module should run in Spring Semester - 11th, 12th, 25th, 26th February and 10th ,11th March.

    This module will focus on forms of sexual violence in child and adulthood. We will address: incidence, prevalence and reporting; theoretical and explanatory frameworks; impacts and meaning for victims/survivors; persistence and change with respect to legal frameworks, the justice system and support services; perpetrators and approaches to prevention.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday morning

    Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism. This module is in the overall context of Safety and Security, and is an advanced course in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies

    N.B. this module is taught in Block - over 6 days, 6 hrs per day.

    The module introduces the student to the fields of social enquiry where mapping can provide relevant answers
    to the key questions. Introduces and evaluates the primary data sources available for this.
    Introduces and explains the principles of computer mapping, GIS software and social data that
    can be spatially represented. The module teaches students to conduct their own GIS based study
    in this field and undertake critical review of GIS generated work.

    Read full details.

The course consists of four core modules, and a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.

Core modules:

  • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Crime Control and Community Safety
  • Criminological Research Methods
  • Crime and Offender Patterns

Students also select one 'designate' module per semester, and these include (subject to availability):

  • Community Development
  • Sexual Violence: causes, consequences, and interventions
  • Psychology and Criminal Behaviour
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Urban Patterns and Spatial Analysis

The aim of the course is to prepare you for employment or further study in the criminal justice sector.

The curriculum will equip you for a range of careers in the criminal justice system and related professions, all with excellent recruitment prospects. Key career paths include the Metropolitan Police Service, Probation Service, Foreign Office, Prison Service, youth offending and community safety departments, as well as academic or government research posts.


1 year, Mon and Wed (subject to change) 


(day): 2 years, 1 day a week, Mon or Wed (subject to change)

Start dates

September and January F/T, P/T

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

Please note, fees and course details may be subject to change.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information


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