School of Society and Culture

MSc Criminology

Build critical in-depth knowledge of 21st century criminological issues in a global and domestic context. Our MSc Criminology programme utilises a research led teaching approach where modules are designed and delivered by active and publishing academic researchers which ensures a range of dynamic themes and criminological perspectives. You will engage with real world issues in bespoke workshops offering diverse teaching approaches such as lectures, debates, student discussions and group tasks.

Careers with this subject

Graduates may find this qualification useful in developing their existing career or helping them embark on a new career. Relevant careers can include law enforcement or criminal justice practice, research positions and policy development, roles within third sector and victim support agencies, or positions in local or national government, further study and careers in education. Our MSc Criminology programme also has a strong track record of graduates going on to doctoral research at a number of institutions. 

Key features

  • Engage with real world problems and issues - the MSc Criminology adopts a problem-based approach to learning.
  • 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.
  • Experience criminology’s interdisciplinary approach which draws upon sociology, psychology, history, politics, international relations, geography, law and many other subjects.
  • 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. In the two bespoke modules 'Global Inequality, Vulnerability and Justice' and 'Crime, Culture and Control' you will have the opportunity to study a wide range of criminological issues, each of which is taught by an active researcher in that field. 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

    • MSc Criminology Dissertation (CRIM732)

      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.

    • Criminology Theory (CRIM745)

      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.

    • Criminological Research (CRIM746)

      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.

    • Global Inequality, Vulnerability and Justice (CRIM747)

      This module engages the student with global issues that relate to crime, deviance and harm. By utilizing an advanced perspective which examines a range of case studies, students will develop critical responses in relation to global power structures and the causation of inequality and vulnerability.

    • Crime, Culture and Control (CRIM748)

      This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to critically analyse a range of criminal and deviant behaviours and the responses to them against the backdrop of neoliberal polity. Students will examine why certain behaviours are enacted within society and what influences the responses to them.

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_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

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. English language requirements. Pre-sessional English language courses are available if you do not meet these requirements.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Personal statement
Applicants are required to submit a personal statement within the application form that addresses the following questions: Why are you suitable to study at this level? Why do you want to study criminology at Plymouth? What is your specific area of interest? What do you hope to achieve?

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,500 £10,000
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £530 £560
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. More information about fees and funding.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

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

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 Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information 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 weeksof 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 in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
MSc Criminology external examiner view

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


Designed to suit your lifestyle, flexibility and community are at the heart of our teaching.
Study either full time or part time, with a combination of distance learning and face-to-face contact including:
  • Introductory workshops
  • Symposia
  • Podcasts
  • Online discussion
  • Self-directed study
  • Range of assessment methods
students in a lecture
MSc Criminology research projects

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.

Crime Suite

Learn by doing in scenarios that are based on real life investigations
The University of Plymouth has launched a new, state-of-the-art crime, interview and simulated policing suite, providing students with an immersive learning experience.
These incredible facilities, coupled with staff expertise, are a unique combination and we are the only University in the South West peninsula offering such a student experience.
Crime suite / murder house, forensic criminology and policing facility.Interview room, CCTV monitoring and two way glass. Edited for Hero.

Crime, Justice and Society Research Group

The Crime, Justice and Society research group facilitates inter-disciplinary research with crime and social harm at its centre. The group aims to identify, explore and explain key directions of change in the context of regional, national and global impact. The group is organised around three core themes which illustrate the breadth of research within the group.
  • Crime, culture and society
  • Governance, penality and policing
  • Vulnerability and inequality
Community police
Finance illustration

Meet your lecturers