Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Master's Flexible Framework: Criminal Psychology

criminal psychology
Offending, psychology and crime

Why take this course?

If you want to examine how the science of psychology can further our understanding of offending behaviour and how psychological knowledge is utilised in improving policing and victim services, this course will be of interest to you. In addition, this subject area allows you to study how agencies work with offenders in order to reduce re-offending.

This degree is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

What will I experience?

Within this subject area, you will develop an understanding of how psychology can further our understanding of offending behaviour. You will also study how psychological knowledge informs practice within a range of criminal justice agencies. In addition, you will explore psychology's contribution to working with offenders in order to reduce re-offending.

What opportunities might it lead to?

Given the broad range of issues considered and the skills acquired throughout your studies, you will graduate with a portfolio of knowledge and abilities that will support a diverse range of career development opportunities in this field. The specialist knowledge you will gain within this subject area will help you to gain careers working with offenders, working with victims and within law enforcement agencies.

With the help of a scheme from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I decided to take the plunge. The course tutors were extremely supportive and helped me understand the direction I should be going in.

- Jocelyn Johnson, MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology student 

Course fees


  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £6,000
  • International students – £13,200


  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £3,000 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £6,600 per year (subject to annual increase)

Distance Learning

UK, EU, International, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £2,250 per year

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:

  • Psychology and Offending Behaviour
  • Second Subject Core OR Free 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:

  • Investigation and Psychology
  • Substance Misuse, Crime and the Criminal Justice System (campus only)
  • Dangerous Offenders and Vulnerable Victims (campus only)
  • Policing Communities (distance learning only)
  • Missing persons (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

Most of our students are now in full-time employment in areas such as police, probation, law and youth programmes. Their career prospects now involve transfers to other units or advancing to more senior levels of management. 

Exit titles

Campus (Full and Part Time) and Distance Learning:

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

Distance Learning:

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


Make applications through the MSc Criminal Justice page:

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