Criminal justice student writes on a white board
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time, Part-time by distance learning
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
October 2020

Overview

If you're interested in criminal justice – government policy, the penal process or the response of criminal justice systems to offending – then this MSc Criminal Justice Master’s degree is for you.

On this course, you'll focus on disadvantaged communities and groups, and their treatment by and within the criminal justice system. You’ll debate key issues such as policing, sentencing and types of punishment.

You can study the course full or part-time, on campus or through distance learning.

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 Counter Fraud & Counter Corruption and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Crime Science and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigation
  • MSc Criminal Justice and Intelligence
  • MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Cybercrime and Criminal Justice
  • MSc International Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Security Management and Criminal Justice

  • MSc Counter Fraud & Counter Corruption and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Crime Science and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Criminal Justice and Intelligence
  • MSc Criminal Justice and Victimology
  • MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Cybercrime and Criminal Justice
  • MSc International Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice
  • MSc Security Management and Criminal Justice

Entry requirements​

MSc Criminal Justice Master's degree 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:

  • Learn from an experienced team of criminal justice specialists in our Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
  • 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 Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
  • Hear from guest speakers who are professionals in the criminal justice field
  • 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 newspaper

Careers and opportunities

What can you do with a Criminal Justice degree?

On this course you'll learn skills that apply to several career choices in areas such as:

  • Policing (as an officer or civilian staff)
  • Crime analysis
  • Probation
  • The courts and prison service
  • Local authorities
  • Cybersecurity
  • Military
  • Civil Service
  • Academia and research
  • Charities
  • Private industry

Work experience and career planning

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

When you complete this course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the heritage, teaching, or other related industries.

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 on this MSc Criminal Justice degree course

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You need to study modules worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 30 credits and 1 module worth 60 credits.

Due to changing circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to make changes to courses to ensure your safety and to ensure compliance with Government guidelines. We'll provide you with as much notice as possible of any such changes. Your course leader will inform you of these. Changes may include things such as modules being taught in teaching block 2 instead of teaching block 1 and teaching activities occurring in smaller group sizes.

Core modules

In this module, you'll examine and evaluate the England & Wales (E&W) criminal justice (CJ) process, before moving on to examine the process comparatively and globally.

First, we outline the stages of the CJ process and debate the classic arguments in criminal justice, including system or process, philosophies of punishment, models of CJ, penal policy analysis, politics of justice, etc.

These are tied to critical discourses about each of the stages in the CJ process:

  • Policing
  • Sentencing
  • Community penalties
  • Prisons

The module then turns to comparative issues and allows you to compare policing and sentencing/prosecutions with other countries.

This module enables you to demonstrate your learning through a small-scale research project culminating in either a substantial academic dissertation thesis or an applied work-based project report. In doing so, you'll demonstrate your grasp of research design, methods and ethics, as well as your personal organisation and planning in your research-based project.

You'll identify your dissertation topic, taking into account academic advice and guidance. The project must be within the field of study as dictated by your intended degree title (within the broad parameters of the expertise of the Institute's academic staff). It may be literature-based or involve conducting empirical research.

On this module, you'll study social science research methods. Students from a wide range of academic disciplinary backgrounds are catered for.

For this reason, the module sets out to encourage you to assess your own level of skill at the start of the course and seeks to add to your existing skills and develop any specific skills you need for your Master's research.

The module acknowledges the different epistemologies in criminology or criminal justice (and related disciplines) research by encouraging you to actively choose sessions from 3 main themes after you've undertaken a common core research theme.

On this module, you'll study social science research methods. Students from a wide range of academic disciplinary backgrounds are catered for.

For this reason, the module encourages you to assess your level of skill at the start of the and seeks to add to your existing research design and research ethics skills, and develop the specific understanding you need for your Master's research.

On this module, you'll study social science research methods. Students from a wide range of academic disciplinary backgrounds are catered for.

The module is divided into 2 inter-related sections:

  • Learning how to identify and critique existing research
  • Developing ideas for your dissertation/major project

During the module, you'll be allocated a supervisor who assesses and provides feedback on your assessment, which is directly linked to the dissertation/ major project in your final year.

Relevant specialist options

This module explores the concept of risk, dangerousness and vulnerability, applying them to both offenders and victims.

You'll critically examine how the development of these concepts, in a system focussed on crime control and prevention, has influenced the significance of public protection in policy.

Risk-orientated thinking has become central to the criminal justice system, specifically in attempts to manage crime prevention, offender behaviour, and victim protection. There's an emphasis on identifying those who pose a risk (dangerousness) and those who are at most risk (vulnerability). This has led to the development of a range of risk assessment tools designed to identify the 'risk factors' associated with offending behaviour, and to identify those victims 'at risk'.

This module also examines the subsequent development of policies and legislation introduced to manage risk, protect victims and improve public protection, and the impact of this on professional practices and culture.

This module critically raises, discusses and questions relevant issues and topics in relation to cybersecurity. It also provides opportunities to develop a holistic understanding of cybersecurity threats so you can critically review different cybersecurity strategies.

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.

Environmental problems are a serious national and international concern, regularly dominating media headlines. As scientific research has shown, these issues – including climate change, pollution, habitat loss, species decline and the destruction of our natural resources – are extremely urgent.

As a broadening specialised area of criminology, this module explores issues surrounding environmental harm – species justice, animal rights, types of wildlife crime, theoretical explanations, policy, law, policing and investigation, and the role of forensics.

Delivered through interactive workshops facilitated by academics, guest speakers and practitioners, there's a strong emphasis on discussion, debate, case studies and practical exercises.

This module provides an insight into the arena of forensic psychology and its practical application. This enables you to consider how psychological theory translates into real-life criminal justice issues.

You'll be introduced to key areas where psychology has had an influence on evidence (e.g. as expert witnesses and within the investigation process), studying topics such as investigative interviewing and offender profiling. You'll then make a critical appraisal of these techniques, using case examples

This module provides you with the knowledge that practitioners need to lead professional, structured and well-managed investigations.

You'll examine models of investigation, the investigative process and the range of investigative strategies that together make up a significant portion of that process.

Beyond the process itself, you'll consider:

  • The framework that supports legitimate, objective, proportionate and ethical investigations
  • Effective operational security and anti-corruption processes
  • The proper identification, assessment and management of risk
  • The effective management of investigators and other staff involved in the investigative process

On this module, you'll consider the challenges, knowledge, dilemmas and business skills around organisational and resource management in the rapidly changing justice and security environment. You'll develop a critical appreciation of relevant management schools of thought (theory and practice).

You'll then develop an understanding of the application of relevant theories and techniques in a justice/security organisation environment. Example techniques include:

  • Management theory
  • Financial planning
  • HRM and people management
  • Resource management
  • Performance management

You'll consider the decision making, planning and problem solving process in the context of effective change management in the police and security environment.

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.

The module analyses contemporary developments in offender rehabilitation and desistance from crime. You'll address ethical issues and communicate a series of research findings from studies in the field of rehabilitation and desistance.

The module comprises 11 interactive workshops of research-informed teaching covering institutions of rehabilitation, persistence in and desistance from crime, creative rehabilitation, and using trauma-informed perspectives for leaving crime behind.

This module introduces you to the theory, research and policy linked to the rehabilitation of people who are dependent on illicit drugs/alcohol in the criminal justice system.

The module looks at various models of addiction and how they inform interventions and policy. You'll make reference to problems including criminal behaviour and the importance of addressing social context when working with addictive behaviour.

This module examines 3 key concepts related to victimisation and victimology: vulnerability, risk and resilience.

Drawing upon theoretical perspectives that have informed and influenced debates, you'll explore the factors that contribute to the vulnerability of individuals and groups, and factors that can increase the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

By analysing the factors that influence levels of vulnerability and risk, you'll examine wider social and political issues relating to diversity. These issues include social inequality and power differentials at macro and micro levels, and the role and responsibility of the state.

The concept of resilience relates to how well people can cope and recover from victimisation. You'll critically explore what factors influence people's resilience. You'll also examine policies and legislation related to improving victims' experiences of the criminal justice process. You'll then look at the types of support, the roles of multi-agency partnerships, and how these partnerships function within the wider political and criminal justice context.

Other modules available

This module gives you the opportunity to experience a variety of key forensic science methods.

Throughout the module. You'll discuss the value of scientific techniques as part of an investigation, and develop note taking, laboratory analyses, data interpretation and case file management skills. Through learning theoretical knowledge and gaining practical experience, you'll understand the complete forensic investigation process.

The module employs an assessment approach that supports the development of employability skills.

This module provides a practical application of the strategies, structures and actions used in counter fraud and corruption in UK public and private sectors. There's some inclusion of non-UK public sectors where appropriate.

The module begins by exploring the extent of the problem of fraud and corruption and the characteristics of these problems. The module also examines the theoretical perspectives on why individuals engage in fraud and corruption. You'll consider different strategies to tackle this problem, such as prevention, investigation and sanctions.

The module also includes case studies on specific types of fraud and corruption in sectors such as insurance, healthcare and mass marketing.

This module critically examines the field of crime science. It covers the tools and techniques used to support investigations and explores effective and efficient crime prevention and reduction measures. It also examines models of investigation, use of proactive and reactive methods, and applied use of tools and techniques to support the investigative process.

The module employs a critical approach that examines methodologies across a range of investigations. This is to further your knowledge and understanding of the investigative potential of the tools and techniques you cover.

This module investigates the challenges facing organisations in ensuring robust governance, business continuity and crisis management plans.

You'll then be able to highlight the differences between these and generic risk management.

This module examines criminological theories and models of cybercrime to provide you with a systematic and conceptual understanding of the topic. The module then explores how current and emerging technologies are used to commit criminal acts, giving you an awareness of current issues.

At the forefront of cybercrime research and professional practice, the module also addresses motivations, current responses and investigations to equip you with the skills for a future in preventing, detecting and reacting to cybercrime.

This module provides you with tactical skills in forensic evidence processing and critical awareness of crime scene and forensic investigation methodologies. You'll learn evidence recording and recovery methods using up-to-date and accredited standards.

You'll consider different criminal investigation scenarios and the methods and techniques of evidence recording, capture, recovery and dissemination through the use of virtual reality and immersive learning.

Benefiting from contributions from police scientific services and forensic service, you'll gain the necessary skills in evidence recovery and processing, along with a working knowledge of evidence interpretation.

This module examines the ideas and concepts of international and transnational offending, and the methodological issues raised in such forms of offending. You'll examine an evolving range of 'traditional' transnational crimes.

One of the key objectives of this module is to critically examine the relevant scale, trends and extent of involvement of individuals, groups and states in offending. The module focuses on global trends, international responses to transnational offending and preventative strategies.

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

Discussion forums encourage you to exchange ideas and ask questions of your peers and the module convenor. This is to help you develop a critical approach to how we understand cross border offending and the legal and policy response.

This module examines concepts of justice and the differing systems of criminal justice from a comparative research perspective. You'll review:

  • Development and sources of international norms and standards in criminal justice
  • The role, function and legal standards and process at international courts and tribunals
  • The human rights system within the United Nations, and international and regional judicial cooperation

Fraud and corruption is an international problem. It can be found in any country, in the public and private sector and in any industry.

In this module, you'll consider different forms of fraud and corruption in reference to the scale, measurement, causes and consequences and the role of state and non-state actors. All are discussed in an international context.

This module examines 3 key criminological approaches: classicism, positivism and radical criminology, from the past and the present.

You'll be introduced to the origins, principles and concepts of these approaches. You then examine and explore recent innovations and developments regarding the 3 approaches.

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop the knowledge required to manage the collection, analysis and dissemination of criminal intelligence, and also to manage intelligence professionals.

You'll examine established intelligence models and fundamentals, such as the intelligence cycle. You'll also critically assess the fundamental principles of police intelligence work, providing you with an awareness of the intelligence that can be gained from both open and closed sources.

Ethical practice and compliance with human rights legislation, particularly the right to privacy and the right to a fair trial, runs as a thread throughout the module.

This module considers the psychology of offending behaviour in a range of offence types. It looks at causation, intervention, and rehabilitation.

You'll examine relevant legislation and key research including methodological issues in research.

This module has an emphasis on the link between mental health and offending behaviour.

This module introduces you to key contemporary issues in security management and the strategies used in the corporate world to enhance security.

The module begins by exploring some of the theoretical and research perspectives that underpin the study of security. You'll then explore the issues that explain why security fails.

You'll also explore some of the knowledge that helps security managers to enhance security systems, such as risk management and crime prevention. And you'll explore the legal and regulatory issues related to security management.

Throughout the module there are case studies on specific security problems, such as port security and the insider threat.

All criminal justice professionals now have the responsibility to work with victims of crime.

This module provides you with an in-depth understanding of what these responsibilities are and the legislation that underpins them. The module examines the development of victimology theories that have helped to inform our understanding of the processes of victimisation, the development of reforms, and the impact of these reforms on professional cultures and practices.

You'll analyse the contemporary and often controversial debates concerning the complex relationships between the state, offender and victim. You'll focus on the wider context of citizenship, and the development of victims' rights and their implementation.

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.

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

The best part is how passionate all the staff that I met are and their readiness to help with anything. Every day I am surrounded by people that love their fields of study and keep pushing forward, words cannot describe what an inspirational effect this had on me.

Toni Shopova, MSc Criminal Justice

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • workshops
  • individual and group projects
  • online materials

How you'll spend your time

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

  • Teaching block 1 – September to December (October to December for some courses in 2020/21 only)
  • Assessment period 1 – January (and early February for some courses in 2020/21 only)
  • Teaching block 2 – January to May (February to May for some courses in 2020/21 only)
  • Assessment period 2 – May to June

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • case study
  • literature review
  • research proposal
  • dissertation or major project

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)

UK, EU, International, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students

  • Full time: £9,000
  • Part time: £4,500 per year (90 credits) (subject to annual increase)
  • Part time distance learning: £3,650 per year (subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full time: £14,300
  • Part time: £7,150 per year (60 credits) (subject to annual increase)
  • Part time distance learning: £3,650 per year (subject to annual increase)

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

Start your application by following the link below:

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 with us, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply. 

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close