School of Law, Criminology and Government

MSc Criminology

Study criminology at an advanced level and gain a relevant, in-depth and sophisticated understanding of contemporary criminological theory, as well as the necessary skills to strengthen your competence as a learner and practitioner. Benefit from a flexible approach to learning, studying the course where and when you want to. Explore and explain the causes of crime through theoretical approaches, in practice or via work-based learning, and open the door to a successful and fulfilling career.

You will engage with real world problems and issues. You will be inspired by renowned external speakers, student presenters and core lectures at our bespoke symposiums. You’ll also participate in contemporary and relevant applied criminological research through our strategic partnerships with regional, national or international criminal justice agencies and rights organisations. You will find career opportunities in a diverse range of settings.

Key features

  • Engage with real world problems and issues - the MSc Criminology adopts a problem-based approach to learning.
  • Be inspired by renowned external speakers, student presenters and core lectures at our bespoke symposiums.
  • Learn from internationally recognised, research-active staff who ensure the programme is at the cutting edge of developments in criminological theory and criminal justice policy and practice.
  • Benefit from a blended learning environment which provides supportive and flexible learning, suitable for traditional, distance and part-time learning.
  • Participate in contemporary and relevant applied criminological research through our strategic partnerships with regional (police, youth justice, probation), national (Howard League for Penal Reform, Children’s Rights Alliance, Prison Reform Trust) or international (Amnesty International, United Nations High Commission on Human Rights) criminal justice agencies and rights organisations.
  • Choose a career in the private, public or third sector – highly transferable skills mean you will find career opportunities in a diverse range of settings.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • During this year you will study core modules in criminological theory and research design, covering the advanced study of critical and theoretical perspectives within criminology and criminal justice and preparing you for writing a dissertation. You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of modules which reflect key areas of interest within criminology, including anti-social behaviour, comparative victimology, crime and the city, women crime and criminal justice, and innovations in global justice. Gain a relevant, advanced and sophisticated understanding of contemporary criminology, and the skills necessary to strengthen your competencies as both a learner and practitioner.
    Core modules
    • CRIM732 MSc Criminology Dissertation

      The dissertation module provides the opportunity for students to undertake a supervised, self-directed, research project of around 15,000 words on any criminologically pertinent topic of their choice, independent of the modules they have studied. It will make use of the IT, library, and other research and scholarly skills learned within the Criminological Research module and developed through subsequent modules.

    • CRIM739 Crime, Culture, and Global Society

      This module considers crime within the context of wider society and culture. In doing so the module examines the impact of late modern social change on crime and deviance, particularly focusing on: leisure, consumerism and harm; protest and social movement, and; urban environments.

    • CRIM740 Governance, Policing, Penality

      This module sets out the contemporary nature of governance in society that informs criminal justice processes and practices. The module specifically focuses on how policing and penality occur within a pluralising environment by considering how `white collar¿ and young people are treated as offenders.

    • CRIM741 Vulnerability, Criminalisation, Inequality

      This module examines how vulnerabilities manifest in late modern society via processes of criminalisation that are a consequence of structural inequalities. The module considers how different identity groups experience crime and justice and how crime issues arise that augment that vulnerability.

    • CRIM742 Criminology Theory

      "This module identifies core criminological theories and concepts from an advanced perspective. It allows students the opportunity to develop critical responses to existing criminological theoretical discourses. Students can flexibly and creatively apply theoretical ideas within unfamiliar contexts. "

    • CRIM743 Criminological Research

      This module consists of two distinct elements. In the first element, dilemmas and issues arising from different criminological research methodologies are explored and analysed. In the second element, the application of different methodological approaches to policy and practice issues is assessed and analysed.

    • CRIM744 Contemporary Issues in Criminology and Criminal Justice

      This module introduces students to key contemporary issues in criminology and criminal justice. In the first element, it overviews the intellectual origins of the discipline and the underlying politics that have surrounded crime and criminal justice throughout history. In the second element, it explores the key areas of criminological inquiry in the 21st century to provide a foundation for the rest of the programme.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Criminology Programme Specification Sep19 4813

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Please note we are unable to sponsor students requiring a Tier 4 Visa for the MSc Criminology programme. 


You should have a second-class honours degree or equivalent, or an equivalent professional qualification. Other qualifications accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field may also be considered. Non-standard applications will be considered on a case by case basis.


Please view the country specific pages for further information regarding the equivalency of your degree. International applicants will be required to provide evidence of their English language ability, for example by achieving an IELTS score of 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in each element) or equivalent. Pre-sessional English language courses are available if you do not meet these requirements.


Scholarships are available for postgraduate taught programmes.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £6,500 £7,800
International £14,400 £14,800
Part time (Home/EU) £360 £450
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

External examiner view

The programme is at the cutting edge of developments in the field, and I was particularly pleased to see modules such as crimes of the powerful, race, surveillance and gender, offering an enticing suite of options and pathways for students.

Rowland Atkinson, external examiner


Study either full time or part time, with a combination of distance learning and face-to-face contact. View podcasts, engage in online discussions and access a wide range of materials and resources.

Designed to suit your lifestyle, flexibility and community are at the heart of our teaching.

Find out more about our MSc Criminology programme

What is blended learning?

Blended learning is a method of educational delivery in which students learn through a combination of online digital media and traditional classroom-based methods. On the MSc Criminology programme at Plymouth University, the vast majority of your learning will take place within our own Digital Learning Environment (DLE). Your lecturers will provide online podcasts, vodcasts as a form of ‘digital lecturing’ and students will be required to engage in online discussion forums as a type of digital seminar. 

This online learning will be supplemented by symposium events. These are conference style events that take place three times a year, with each symposium event lasting two-three days. These involve traditional lectures and seminars, workshop sessions, and invited guest speakers who are experts in the field to present their cutting-edge research. Students will also have the opportunity to communicate with staff via email, or through face-to-face supervision meetings. This style of learning is deliberately flexible and student-led, suitable to those with work, parenting or carer commitments.

Research projects

Engage in contemporary, relevant and applied criminological research, through the completion of your dissertation. Pursue your own research idea or work on one of a number of existing research questions.

Collaborate on one of our strategic partnerships with regional, national and international criminal justice agencies and rights organisations.

Research at Plymouth University – Crime, Justice and Society

The Crime, Justice and Society research group facilitates inter-disciplinary research with crime and social harm at its centre. The group, instigated at a time of social, economic and political upheaval aims to identify, explore and explain key directions of change in the context of regional, national and global impact.

Find out more about research opportunities

Postgraduate loans

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £10,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

The loans will be available for both taught and research masters programmes across all disciplines and subject areas.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan.

*A loan of up to £10,906 was available from August 2019, please be aware the loan amount may change annually depending on when you start your course.

Postgraduate students

Postgraduate study in Plymouth Business School can help you realise your ambitions and develop your potential as a manager and leader of the future. Whether you come to us as a newly qualified graduate or after a successful track record in industry we provide high quality, professionally accredited postgraduate programmes, and PhD and professional doctorate supervision.

International community

Play your part in out thriving international community of 3,000 students from over 100 countries studying full and part time programmes at the University.

We'll help you at every step of your journey from applying to settling in, during and after your postgraduate studies.