About this course
Develop the skills to understand contemporary crime and criminal justice policy on this MSc Criminology degree. Explore concepts in crime, deviance and criminal behaviour to analyse the social issues facing our world.
This course will help you pursue a successful academic career, or roles with the police, the prison service, the NHS or security companies.
You’ll train in applied criminology, criminal justice, policing, penology and victimology on this master’s degree. Optional modules in related disciplines will help you specialise in your field of interest. You could focus on topics like:
- prisons and punishment
- modern policing
- cyber crime
- advanced policy analysis
Our Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) validated training ensures you'll produce a high quality research dissertation directly related to your interests.
You'll be taught and supervised by internationally recognised criminologists whose research and policy analyses are used by government departments, criminal justice agencies and the media.
This criminology master’s highlights the connections between research and professional practice to prepare you for a wide range of professional careers as well as for PhD studies.
You’ll cover international criminological research findings, modern criminal justice policy and practice, and the latest modern research methods. Learn to:
- analyse key crime trends
- carry out independent criminological research and analysis
- design and complete a research dissertation
- develop and present ideas, arguments and findings to different audiences
- use the latest research methods
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
- a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 or more years
Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.
Jenny Fleming is a Professor of Criminology and co-director of the Institute of Criminal Justice Research. Jenny’s work has explored the changing role of the police and the politics of law and order. She's worked with police agencies around the globe and is editor in chief of Policing and Society. Visit Professor Fleming's profile page for more on her research.
This course is based at Highfield.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the Course Description Document
The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.
Changes due to COVID-19
Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2022 to 2023. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.
Find out more on our COVID advice page.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree in social sciences, criminology or sociology.
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need all of the following scores as a minimum:
IELTS score requirements
- overall score
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
The taught part of this course is made up of 30 study weeks divided into 2 semesters. During this time you'll study 6 modules.
Once you’ve successfully completed the taught element of the course you’ll undertake a 3 month period of supervised research for your master’s dissertation.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2022-23
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
Criminal Behaviour - Applied Perspectives
This module presents a critical, interdisciplinary analysis of criminal behaviour, requiring students to think beyond official or mainstream understandings of "the problem of crime". The module considers the behavioural, situational, and cultural aspects ...
Criminal Justice: Policy and Practice
This module identifies the central features of the administrative, political and policy-making context of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. It explores contemporary policy debates and perspectives in criminal justice and crime control. Stu...
Philosophy of Social Science Research
This module will look at the dominant traditions in the philosophy of social science and how these have shaped substantive research within the study of the social sciences.
Qualitative Methods 1
The syllabus for this 10 CATS module will cover an introduction to qualitative methods and a range of qualitative data collection methods. We will consider the defining characteristics of qualitative research and its epistemological underpinnings. The ...
Quantitative Methods 1
The emphasis will be on the practical application of statistical methods and the interpretation of results using the statistical computer software SPSS. The module will draw on a range of international and UK data sources. One of the pre-requisites ...
Research Design and Practice
Research Design and Practice involves training and preliminary work for researching in social science. This module deals with the practical challenges of designing and conducting research such as defining research questions, identifying appropriate metho...
You must also choose from the following modules:
This module provides students with an overview of the historical origins and development of policing, with particular reference to the concept of 'new policing', the nature of contemporary police forces, and their organizational structures and working cul...
Cyber Crime, Insecurity and the Dark Web
This module is designed to introduce you to the human dimension of cybercrime and cyber security. It is not coming from a technical perspective, but instead a critical criminological approach is applied to the topic. This means that we will be questioning...
International Social Policy
This module will review and discuss the state of the art in research on social welfare and human well-being and the one, and on social policies addressing these issues on the other hand. In the first part students will explore how previously dominant econ...
Key Topics in Social Science: Measurement and Data
This module introduces key sources of social science data (both UK and non-UK), and the measurement of key concepts using these data, within a range of substantive areas. In doing so it focuses on the analysis of a number of fundamental social issues – i...
Qualitative Methods 2
Qualitative Methods II builds upon the material learnt in Qualitative Methods I and addresses a range of specialist qualitative techniques, their underpinning theoretical framework and their practical application.
Understanding Social Change
The module will address technological and demographic changes and related risks, the actors and structures that contribute and respond to social change and how it is theorised in contemporary sociology. Processes as well as impact of social change at the ...
Learning and assessment
You’ll be able to demonstrate a variety of master’s level skills when you complete this course including:
- using critical awareness to analyse competing theories
- showing the relationship between concepts, theories and research
- building and articulating your own robust arguments
- assessing how current challenges within the field can be applied to research
- judging research techniques to see if they can be applied to the conduct of social research
As well as lectures and tutorials your learning may include:
- individual reading
- seminar discussions
We’ll assess you through:
- coursework, laboratory reports and essays
- a dissertation
- group essays
- individual and group projects
- written exams
We’ll assign you a personal tutor, and you’ll have access to a senior tutor.
When you graduate from this master’s degree in Criminology you’ll be well prepared for further study, and a range of careers:
- security and crime analysis
- police and prison and probation service
- crime prevention and community safety
- courts service
- youth justice and youth work
- research and policy development
- pressure groups and non-governmental organisations
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
- our dedicated start-up incubator, Futureworlds
- a wide variety of enterprise events run throughout the year
- our partnership in the world’s number 1 business incubator, SETsquared
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £9,250.
- EU and international students pay £22,136.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Southampton Economic, Social and Political Sciences Postgraduate International Scholarship
A scholarship of £3,000 is available to international students studying for a postgraduate master’s in Economic, Social and Political Sciences.
Find out more about the Southampton Economic, Social and Political Sciences International Scholarship, including eligibility and conditions.
Southampton Sociology and Criminology Postgraduate International Scholarship
Two scholarships of £5,000 each are available to international students studying for a postgraduate master’s in Sociology and Criminology.
Find out more about the Southampton Sociology and Criminology International Scholarship, including eligibility, deadlines and how to apply.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional funding options may be available to help you pay for your master’s study. Both from the University and other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
Places are limited and we allocate them on a continuous basis from 21 September 2022, until all places are filled. We advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.
We expect to close applications for this course on Friday 7 July 2023 (11:59pm UK time).
This course may stay open after this date if places are still available.
Application assessment fee
We’ll ask you to pay a £50 application assessment fee if you’re applying for a postgraduate taught course.
This is an extra one-off charge which is separate to your tuition fees and is payable per application. It covers the work and time it takes us to assess your application. You’ll be prompted to pay when you submit your application which won’t progress until you've paid.
If you're a current or former University of Southampton student, or if you’re applying for certain scholarships, you will not need to pay the fee. PGCE applications through GOV.UK and Master of Research (MRes) degree applications are also exempt. Find out if you’re exempt on our terms and conditions page.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We will aim to send you a decision 6-8 weeks after you have submitted your application.
If we offer you a place, you will need to accept the offer within 30 working days. If you do not meet this deadline, we will offer your place to another applicant.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to give you specific feedback on your application if you are unsuccessful.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
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