Institute of Criminal Justice Studies

Master's Flexible Framework: Criminology

Study the meaning and causes of crime and offending behaviour

Why take this course?

This subject area allows you to develop your understanding and application of criminological theories to offending and the extent of crime. In addition, this subject area will provide you with the opportunity to develop knowledge on the causation, control and regulation of crime. Many of our students have undergraduate criminology degrees and want to continue their learning and research. 

What will I experience?

Students will be introduced to the origins, principles and concepts of key of theoretical approaches within criminology.  In addition, you will explore the contemporary manifestations of key theoretical perspectives and the changing nature of this discipline. The political and sociological influences on understanding crime will also be explored.

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.

This subject area will help equip you for a range of careers in criminal justice agencies, local and central government, think tanks, the voluntary sector and non-governmental organisations. 

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:

  • Key Criminological Approaches: Past and Present
  • additional 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:

  • Substance Misuse, Crime and the Criminal Justice System (campus only)
  • Dangerous Offenders and Vulnerable Victims (campus only)
  • Global Landscape of Cybersecurity (campus only)
  • International Fraud and Corruption
  • International and Transnational Offending (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

Over the years our graduates have found employment in areas including policing (both as officers and as civilian staff), crime analysis, local authorities, academia and research and charities to name just a few.

Exit titles

Campus (Full and Part Time) and Distance Learning:

  • MSc Criminology;
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice;
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology;
  • MSc Criminology and Intelligence;
  • MSc Crime Science and Criminology;
  • MSc Cybercrime and Criminology;
  • MSc Security Management and Criminology.

Distance Learning:

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


Make applications through the MSc Criminal Justice page:

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