The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy & CriminologyPart of Social SciencesPostgraduate study

MSc Criminology

The MSc Criminology will equip you with the substantive and methodological skills to understand contemporary crime and criminal justice policies and practices.

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Introducing your course

Crime, deviance and criminal justice are endlessly fascinating. By studying Criminology at the University of Southampton, you will be engaging in a discipline that is one of the oldest in the Social Sciences, and with the topic of crime, a central feature of human behaviour. This fascinating course will help you establish a successful academic or professional career with the police, the prison service, the NHS or security companies.
MSc Criminology is one of the most exciting postgraduate masters courses available. It will expose you to important international criminological research findings and help you develop the skills to analyse the complex social issues confronting a globalised world.


Core training in applied criminology, criminal justice studies; policing, penology and victimology is complemented by optional study in a range of disciplines allied to criminology at the University of Southampton.

Our ESRC validated methodological training ensures that you will produce a high quality research dissertation directly related to your career/professional interests.

You will be taught and supervised by internationally recognised criminologists whose research and policy analysis are sought by government departments, criminal justice agencies and the media.

This innovative applied criminology degree emphasises the connections between research and professional practice. It will prepare you for a wide range of professional careers as well as for PhD studies.

The programme aims to provide you with:

  • Thorough knowledge of the most important international criminological research findings
  • In-depth understanding of contemporary criminal justice policies and practices
  • The ability to analyse the key crime problems currently confronting 21st century societies
  • An in-depth understanding of innovative research methods and the ability to utilise them in different contexts
  • The skills required to undertake independent criminological research and analysis
  • The ability to design and complete a research dissertation in criminology, criminal justice or a related field
  • The capacity to develop and present ideas, arguments and research findings through different means of communication to different audiences

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

You should apply using the University's online application form. You can find more details on our Apply page.

Applications can be submitted at any time, although we would encourage you to apply before the end of May. If you are seeking financial support for your postgraduate studies, we recommend that you apply before the end of February so you have time to gather the necessary documentation for your funding body/sponsor.

MSc modules
If applying for one of our MSc programmes, please specify the option modules you intend to take, if known.

For all applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.

Programme Structure

The programme is studied over one year full-time, or 27 months part-time. The taught course component consists of 30 study weeks divided into two semesters during which time students study six modules (or to a minimum of 60 ECTS (120 CATS) points). Students who successfully complete the taught course component undertake a three month period of supervised research for a Master’s dissertation (six-month for part-time).

Key Facts

As part of the Division, you will be joining our multidisciplinary Social Sciences community, which offers research and teaching programmes not only in sociology, social policy and criminology but also in ageing, demography, economics, international relations, politics, social work and social statistics.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

The normal criterion for admission is an upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (social sciences, criminology, sociology etc) from a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

English Language Requirement

For applicants whose first language is not English, the IELTS requirement will be an overall score of 6.5 with no individual score below 6.0.

Please visit our international pages to find out about the University's regulations about English language requirements and support here

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The nature of the programme enables students to build their own degree according to their particular interests and preferences within the broad areas of criminology drawing on the diverse range of relevant modules taught across the Social Sciences and the University generally.

Year 1

The programme is studied over one year full-time, or 27 months part-time. The taught course component consists of 30 study weeks divided into two semesters during which time students study six modules (or to a minimum of 60 ECTS (120 CATS) points). Students who successfully complete the taught course component undertake a three month period of supervised research for a Master’s dissertation (six-month for part-time). The dissertation module, CRIM6006, is core.

The programme compromises six modules and a dissertation. There are two core substantive modules:

Criminal behaviour - Applied Perspectives will provide the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings that will provide students with a systematic understanding of critical, analytical, reflective and comparative criminological study.

Criminal Justice - Policy and Practice will explore contemporary policy debates and perspectives in criminal justice and crime control. Students will study criminal justice policy within the context of broader social changes and political and ideological processes, and consider the ways in which policy debates inform, and are informed by, broader perspectives on criminal justice and the politics of crime control and what that means for the design and delivery of public policy.

In addition to the compulsory modules, students must also take 40 credits of optional modules; a range of which are listed below. Please be aware that specific options may vary from year to year.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copyingIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

• Security Analyst
• Crime Analyst
• Police Service
• Prison and probation Service
• Crime prevention and community safety
• Courts service
• Youth Justice and youth work
• Research and Policy Development
• Pressure groups and NGOs

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Social Sciences is based on the main campus of the University in the M...Find out more

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