Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Master's Flexible Framework: Criminal Justice

criminal justice
Study the problem of crime and the criminal justice responses to dealing with this

Why take this course?

This subject allows you to develop understanding of justice responses to offending, enabling you to critically examine the role and function of the criminal justice and penal policy process, and the criminal justice policy-making context, in England and Wales.

The Criminal Justice subject area has been specifically designed for graduates of criminology or other related degrees who want to continue their learning and research in this area, who have criminal justice career aspirations, or for those already working in criminal justice related professions.

What will I experience?

You will develop an understanding of the application of criminal justice principles to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. You will also examine the treatment of disadvantaged communities and groups discriminated against, by and within, the criminal justice system. In addition, you will be able to shape your study to your interests through your choice of options and Dissertation / Major Project topic.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Given the broad range of issues considered and the skills acquired throughout the degree programme, you will be well equipped to embark upon a diverse range of career choices. These will include research and policy development, criminal justice agencies, youth justice, prison service, the private sector and victim support service.

Course structure


There are two available routes to study this subject area, which will be reflected in your degree title awarded:

Route A focuses on one subject area, studying a Subject Core unit and relevant Specialist Option. You will also have a free choice to study any other Option.

Route B combines two subject areas, studying two Subject Core units and a relevant Specialist Option.

This means you will study the following 30 credit units:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Second Subject Core OR any other Option
  • Specialist Option (see below)
  • Research Methods / Research Ethics

Plus your 15,000-word Dissertation / Major Project (60 credits)

If you wish to follow the Route B, then please see the relevant webpage for your second subject area for additional subject specific information.

Specialist Options, relating to this subject area:

  • Substance Misuse, Crime and the Criminal Justice System (campus only)
  • Dangerous Offenders and Vulnerable Victims (campus only)
  • Investigation and Psychology
  • The Global Landscape of Cybersecurity
  • Online Governance and Regulation (campus only)
  • Managing Justice and Security Organisations (distance learning only)
  • Managing Investigations (distance learning only)
  • Policing Communities (distance learning only)
  • Missing persons (distance learning only)
  • Victimology: Vulnerability, Risk and Resilience (distance learning only)

Teaching and Assessment

Campus teaching consists of a range of activities such as seminars, lectures and workshops, with multimedia support materials provided within a virtual learning environment (Moodle). For Distance Learning students, multimedia learning materials and study support is provided online via a virtual learning environment (Moodle).

Distance learning student support

Students are supported initially through Orientation and Induction, and then via academic staff for each Unit of Study. Pastoral support is provided by your Personal Tutor, and then your Supervisor once appointed. 

Campus-based student support

Students are supported initially through an induction week, and then via academic staff for each Unit of Study. Pastoral support is provided by your Personal Tutor, and then your Supervisor once appointed.

Students will have access to University support services including careers, financial advice, housing, counselling and can benefit from language development opportunities.

Further study support

Full spectrum library support services and academic skills development is provided, along with dedicated Learning Support Tutors.

How are you assessed?

These may comprise a range of assignments such as essays, case studies, blogs, presentations and a research proposal for your final project. You will then complete a 15,000-word Dissertation / Major Project. Academic feedback is provided on all assignments and full academic support is provided by subject experts. All assignment are submitted online.

Careers and Opportunities

Over the years our graduates have found employment in areas including policing (both as officers and as civilian staff), crime analysis, probation, the courts and prison service, local authorities, academia and research, third sector and private industry to name just a few.

Exit titles

Campus (Full and Part Time) and Distance Learning:

  • MSc Criminal Justice;
  • MSc Criminal Justice and Intelligence;
  • MSc Crime Science and Criminal Justice;
  • MSc Security Management and Criminal Justice;
  • MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice;
  • MSc Counter Fraud and Counter Corruption and Criminal Justice;
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Distance Learning:

  • MSc Criminal Justice and Policing, Policy & Leadership;
  • MSc International Justice and Criminal Justice.

Campus (Full and Part Time):

  • MSc Cybercrime and Criminal Justice


Make applications through the MSc Criminal Justice page:

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