Criminology and Criminal Psychology

Offending, psychology and crime

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

If you want to examine how the science of psychology can further our understanding of offending behaviour and how psychological knowledge is utilised in improving policing and victim services, as well as those working with offenders in order to reduce re-offending, this course will be of interest to you.

This degree is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The course can be studied through campus-based or distance learning.

Distance Learning Brochure

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Examine how psychology can further our understanding of offending behaviour
  • Study how psychological knowledge informs practice within a range of criminal justice agencies
  • Explore psychology's contribution to working with offenders in order to reduce re-offending

What opportunities might it lead to?

Given the broad range of issues considered and the skills acquired throughout the degree programme, you will graduate with a portfolio of knowledge and abilities that will support a diverse range of career development opportunities in this field. Most of our students are in full-time employment in areas such as police, probation, law and youth programmes, etc. Their career prospects involve transfers to other units or advancing to more senior levels of management.

How do I apply?

Complete the University's online application form (not a UCAS form)

Jocelyn Johnson, MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology student

With the help of a scheme from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I decided to take the plunge. The course tutors were extremely supportive and helped me understand the direction I should be going in.

Jocelyn Johnson, MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology student

Key Facts

1 year full time (campus-based), 2 years part time (distance learning)
2017 entry requirements
A second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Exceptionally, applicants with a strong profile of relevant professional qualifications and experience and/or training within a security, police, military or security management department able to demonstrate academic ability to achieve postgraduate level, will be considered. Applicants must have studied at least an introduction to psychology at Higher Education level. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5. Campus-based applicants require a minimum score of 6.0 in all individual components. Distance learning applicants require a minimum score of 6.0 in Reading and Writing components.

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry:

Full time: £4,700
Part time: £2,100 p/a * 

International students
2017/18 entry:

Full time: £12,600
Part time: £2,100 p/a * 

*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

Full-time course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
Part-time course is eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 3933
Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
Programme specification
Programme specification (PT, DL)


MSc Criminology and Criminal Psychology

Academic staff and former students from the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies talk about their experience of studying for a Master's degree.

Browse all courses in Law and Criminology

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

You will study the following units:

  • Criminology Past and Present (30 credits)
  • Psychology and Offending Behaviour (30 credits)
  • Investigation and Psychology (30 credits)
  • Research Methods and Research Management (30 credits)
  • 15,000-word Dissertation (60 credits)

Please note that the course structure may vary from year to year; course content and learning opportunities will not be diminished by this.

Teaching and Assessment

Part time (distance learning)

All ICJS distance learning students are supported in the initial stages by the extended Induction Programme (online and face-to-face). Immediately following induction, an engagement officer proactively ensures any issues are resolved rapidly, and thereafter personal support is provided by your course leader for the duration of your studies.

Full time (campus-based)

All ICJS campus-based students will be assigned a personal tutor, responsible for pastoral support and guidance, and have access to university support services including careers, financial advice, housing and counselling etc.

Academic support

Academic support will be delivered by the relevant academic unit coordinators and the course leader via the internet, telephone and email. You will have access to the formal and informal support areas of the online course discussions areas (Graduate Common Room), student peer support and library support services in specific discussion rooms.

How are you assessed?

Assessment is based upon a range of written assignments including essays, case study, a literature review and research proposal focused on your chosen project, and finally a 15,000-word dissertation. For each assignment full academic support is provided by an academic subject expert and you will be provided with academic supervisor once you have identified your dissertation subject area.

Dr Karen Shalev-Greene

Tutor's view

Dr Karen Shalev-Greene
Criminology and Criminal Psychology

If you wish to expand and develop your knowledge on reasons why people offend, differences between offenders and the psychology behind police interviewing of witnesses and victims, this is the course for you! Our students also have the opportunity to explore in more depth a subject area of particular interest to them in their dissertation project.

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Monitor Facilities & Features


The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies was founded in 1992 and has since grown to comprise 50 academic staff and more than 1,800 students. Now an internationally-renowned focal point for the study of crime and criminal justice processes, it draws together expertise in criminological analysis, applied psychology, police governance and management, victimology, penology, risk and security.

Professional Links

Our extensive experience and close professional relationships with the police service and criminal justice agencies ensure that our courses reflect the changing needs of the profession. You may benefit from these links by hearing guest speakers, listening to leading-edge research and being helped to find professional work placements.

Distance Learning

Our distinctive approach to supported distance learning, robust procedures for the accreditation of prior learning and modular award framework not only help facilitate access to higher education but also offer flexible and transferable platforms for life-long learning.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

There may be travel costs for internships/placements. These will vary depending on the nature of internship/placement and can range from £50 - £1000.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Most of our students are in full time employment in areas such as police, probation, law and youth programmes etc. Their career prospects involve transfers to other units or advancing to more senior levels of management.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.

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Apply now

Online application form

Apply direct using our online form

Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.

Visiting opportunities for distance learners


If you want to know more about undergraduate distance learning courses in ICJS, you will be welcome at our Virtual Open Days, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the academic and administrative staff:

  • 18 May, 10am-12pm
  • 27 June, 1pm-3pm
  • 24 July, 7pm-9pm
  • 31 August, 7pm-9pm

Visiting opportunities

Postgraduate Information Days are held twice a year and give you the opportunity to visit the University and meet with subject tutors. Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2017 entry have now finished.

International Students

Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.

Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.