Figures in blue gloves undertake crime science
Mode of Study
Part-time by distance learning
Duration
2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2022

Overview

If you're looking for a practical, socially-conscious way to focus your scientific studies – or want to advance your existing career in the area – this MSc Crime Science Degree is the ideal choice for you.

You'll learn how to harness the latest scientific and technological techniques to help prevent, solve and study crime, drawing on developments in the fields of science and technology. You'll also get the skills you need to critically evaluate investigations using the tools and techniques you cover.

Studying by distance learning, you can fit your studies around work or other commitments, and tailor your degree to meet your career goals, choosing from other Core Subjects such as Criminal Psychology and Cybercrime.

When you graduate, you'll have the knowledge and skills you need for a successful career in investigation or intelligence work, in the public or private sectors. You'll also have an understanding of criminal justice issues and transferable skills which will support your career development.  

Tailoring your degree to your interests and ambitions

On this course, you can graduate with a degree title (see below) that reflects your interests and career goals by choosing specific modules

You'll choose which modules you want to do at the start of the course. We'll help you choose modules and degree title that matches your interests and career ambitions.

Degree title options

  • MSc Crime Science
  • MSc Crime Science and Criminal Psychology
  • MSc Crime Science and Economic Crime
  • MSc Crime Science and Intelligence
  • MSc Crime Science and International Criminal Justice
  • MSc Crime Science and Victimology

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Exceptionally, applicants with strong and relevant work experience will be considered.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Benefit from our local, national and international links with the criminal justice sector
  • Customise your degree to meet your career goals
  • Draw on the expertise and facilities in our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Learn through our supported distance learning programme, which gives you the flexibility to fit your studies in around other commitments
  • Have 24/7 access to the extensive facilities in our university library, including books, ejournals and newspapers
  • Complete a major project, based on your chosen area of research, with the support of qualified and enthusiastic staff who are experts in the field

Careers and opportunities

When you graduate from this course, you'll have the knowledge and skills to pursue a career in investigation or intelligence work, in the public or private sectors.

Career opportunities include:

  • Policing (as an officer or civilian staff)
  • Crime analysis
  • Probation
  • The courts and prison service
  • Local authorities
  • Academia and research
  • Charities
  • Private industry
  • Financial investigator
  • Compliance officer
  • Analyst

We'll provide you with as much support as possible in finding employment through close industrial contacts, careers events, recruitment fairs and individual advice.

Work experience and career planning

We'll help you to identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies.

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the field of crime science.

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

​What you'll study

You need to study modules worth 180 credits to achieve your Master's degree. You'll study:

  • Core modules (worth 120 credits) – this includes a dissertation/major project worth 60 credits
  • 2 x specialist modules (worth 30 credits each) or 1 x specialist module and 1 x additional module (worth 30 credits each)

You'll choose your specialist/optional modules at the start of the course.

The modules you choose will determine the title of your degree. We'll help you choose modules and degree title that matches your interests and career ambitions.

Recognising your prior learning

If you've done previous study, or have experience that relates strongly to this course, you might be able to convert that into credits toward this MSc through recognition of prior learning (RPL). If your experience qualifies as relevant, university-level learning, you'll be able to reduce the amount of study you need to do on this course. 

Core modules
Specialist options
Other available modules

Core modules

You'll take all core modules. If you choose to, you can take a second core module from another Criminal Justice pathway in your second year in order to graduate with two subjects in your degree title e.g. MSc Crime Science and Criminal Psychology.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically evaluate the use of science and technology to support investigations and crime reduction activities
  • Critically assess the utility of a variety of investigative tools that are available to support investigations and crime reduction activities
  • Articulate and critically comment upon the range of specialist services available to investigators
  • Devise appropriate strategies to make the most efficient, effective and economic use of scientific resources in support of investigations and crime reduction activities

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Be able to synthesise new and existing knowledge to generate ideas and develop creative solutions to the benefit of society, within a small-scale research project within their chosen field
  • Design, apply and critically evaluate research methodologies within the chosen subject area, demonstrating a commitment to ethical practice
  • Conduct a systematic, methodologically and ethically sound research process (literature based or empirical research)
  • Manage and reflect upon own learning and be able to communicate in a range of forms to audiences relevant to the academic and/or workplace community

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Recognise the challenges involved in undertaking ethical research and identify the research challenges that need to be accommodated within a proposal for a research project
  • Construct a postgraduate research proposal with an ability to set out clear research objectives, and appropriate research design whilst able to select appropriate research methods
  • Apply an appropriate research design, and deploy specific research method(s) to the research problem (or question) with a clear appreciation of how any ethical issues are addressed
  • Effectively locate existing academic literature in their chosen field of research using bibliographic databases, with an appreciation of the breadth of other data sources, repositories and archives

Explore this module

Relevant specialist options

If you take just the core modules listed above, you can take one of these specialist option modules and one of the other other available modules (in Year 2).

If you take an additional core module from another Criminal Justice Master's course, you'll only take one of these specialist option modules.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically discuss the potential contributions of psychological research and theory in the criminal justice arena
  • Critically assess the application of psychology to the criminal justice system, from investigation to the courtroom
  • Critically appraise the role of psychology in criminal justice policy and procedure

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically appraise the investigative knowledge required by those leading investigations into major crime and serious crime
  • Critically assess the UK investigative and prosecution process used for serious and major crime
  • Critically explore some miscarriages of justice which are related to unethical major crime investigation
  • Critically assess the range of specialist services that are available to investigators leading investigations into homicide or other major crime
  • Critically examine and compare investigative practices in selected countries

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Develop critical and reflective knowledge and understanding of the subject area
  • Think independently, analytically, and creatively in synthesising new and existing knowledge
  • Develop a critical awareness and understanding of good practice and relevant organisational and management theory to the effective running of justice/security organisations
  • Critically appreciate factors that contribute to justice and security organisations to improve quality, resource and financial management

Explore this module

This module provides an insight into the subject area of missing persons. You'll consider the needs and challenges faced by people who go missing and their relatives. You'll gain an understanding of the practices used by those investigating and managing these cases.

You'll be introduced to key areas where research has had an influence on policy and practice, both in the UK and abroad. You'll then make a critical appraisal of these issues using case examples.

This module examines the contextual background to policing, including diversity and human rights, policing models, and community engagement.

You'll then critically examine some of the key vocational themes that are critical to the delivery of effective policing in the UK and abroad.

Other modules available

If you take just the core modules listed in Year 1 plus one specialist option module, you can take one of these other available modules.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Analyse and appraise the nature and scale of public and private sector fraud and corruption and to critically evaluate and compare the sources, methodology and limits to measurement
  • Systematically evaluate different public and private sector strategies to counter fraud and corruption and to identify and critically assess the theoretical basis
  • Critically examine and compare the success of arrangements to counter fraud and corruption in the public and private sectors
  • Critically evaluate action taken in the public and private sectors to counter fraud and corruption and to apply knowledge gained to a case study of countering fraud and/or corruption

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically and reflectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of differing systems of justice
  • Critically analyse, compare and contrast the workings of inquisitorial and adversarial systems of justice
  • Critically engage with contemporary global debates and the application of those to theoretical frameworks such as models of justice and philosophies of punishment
  • Critically evaluate the development of international criminal law, including international courts and tribunals, and the operation of the UN, regional and national structures of international justice in response to those crimes

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically evaluate the use of science and technology to support investigations and crime reduction activities
  • Critically assess the utility of a variety of investigative tools that are available to support investigations and crime reduction activities
  • Articulate and critically comment upon the range of specialist services available to investigators
  • Devise appropriate strategies to make the most efficient, effective and economic use of scientific resources in support of investigations and crime reduction activities

Explore this module

This module explores the main types of economic crime and their cyber-enabled variants.

It evaluates the scale and impact of economic crime, and its international dimensions. It examines the common features and differences of economic crime types, and introduces theoretical perspectives on policy, justice, enforcement and prevention.

The online learning materials and recommended reading provide essential knowledge and theoretical underpinning for all of your learning outcomes. Learning materials contain recommended readings to engage you in wider academic and national, regional and international official sources.

Study support is provided through peer networking and interaction during key discussions on relevant topic areas, moderated by the module coordinator. These activities support you in gaining the relevant knowledge, understanding, and cognitive skills required for the successful achievement of all module learning outcomes.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Conceptualise the definition and nature of forms of multinational and transnational offending
  • Critically assess the forms of multinational and transnational offending
  • Critically analyse global trends, governance challenges, international responses and preventative strategies
  • Critically appraise contemporary perceptions of transnational offending and 'border-less' crime in relation to the established academic literature
  • Critically evaluate governance challenges, international responses and preventative strategies

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • To describe and examine different typologies, process, and methods of money laundering
  • To develop a critical awareness of underlying regulatory and compliance frameworks
  • To instil in students an appreciation of the business context in which money laundering occurs and is tackled
  • To develop an integrated understanding of comparative strategies, structures and actions to tackle money laundering that will allow to engage in their critical evaluation

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically assess and analyse security risk management research from a wide variety of academic disciplines and apply to models of security management
  • Critically evaluate and appraise the security strategy and security risks of an organisation
  • Synthesise current theoretical models for the delivery of security and apply them to a practical example
  • Synthesise complex arguments into a presentation for a hypothetical board

Explore this module

 

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key concepts of vulnerability, risk and resilience
  • Identify the factors associated with risk, to understand and be aware of the tools used to assess risk and the mechanisms and partnerships developed to manage risk
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding and awareness of the complex individual and social factors which influence vulnerability and risk
  • Demonstrate an up to date knowledge and understanding of victim-centred policies and legislation and the impact upon professional cultures and practices
  • Critically analyse contemporary developments in the provision of support servcies to assist victims to cope and recover, identifying best practices and collaborative partnerships

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • Teaching block 1 – September to January
  • Assessment period 1 – late January to early February
  • Teaching block 2 – January to May
  • Assessment period 2 – May to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. If you study on campus, you may occasionally need to go to University events in the evenings and at weekends. Some course seminars may be held in the evening, both on campus and distance learning study modes.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Part time distance learning: £4,050 per year (subject to annual increase)

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Part time distance learning: £4,050 (subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Part time distance learning: £4,050 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out more how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover. 

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government postgraduate loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. 

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 module a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

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

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

If you're a distance learning student, you may need to cover the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for any optional campus-based events that you attend. Depending on the distance you need to travel to reach Portsmouth, these can vary from £50 to £500.

You may need to cover the travel costs of internships and placements. These will vary depending on the nature of the internship or placement in question, and can range from £50 - £1,000.

Apply

Apply for this course using our online application form.

Note you're applying for MSc Criminal Justice – you'll graduate with a MSc Crime Science degree title when you choose the relevant modules at the start of the course. 

September 2022 start

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.