Police stand ready to assist victims of crime
Mode of Study
Part-time by distance learning
2 years part-time distance learning
Start Date
September 2022


Victimology is about understanding and helping people at one of the lowest points in their life – when they've become the victim of a crime. If you're looking to take your studies or career in a rewarding, socially responsible direction, then this MSc Victimology degree course is the perfect choice for you.

On this course, you'll gain an insight into the challenges faced by victims of crime, study the theoretical perspectives that inform our understanding of victimisation, and the wider historical and political contexts that influence victim-centred policy and legislation.

And because the way society identifies and treats victims has changed so dramatically, you'll also study the way in which these changes have impacted professional cultures and practices, and learn how to identify individuals who are the most vulnerable or at greater risk of victimised.

This distance learning course offers a flexible approach, so you can tailor your studies to meet your preferences and career goals, choosing from other Core Subjects such as Crime Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology.

When you graduate, you'll be able to evaluate criminal justice processes as they relate to victims of crime, and you'll understand how important support services and collaborative partnerships are for achieving the best outcomes for victims. You'll be prepared for work in the police force, social services, or in victim support organisations.

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 the modules and degree title that matches your interests and career ambitions.

Degree title options

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

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:

  • Learn about victimisation and its effects on informal and formal responses to victims of crime
  • Understand the criminal justice process from a victim's perspective
  • Improve your knowledge of victim-centred reforms, policies and legislation, and how they affect professional cultures and practices
  • 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

Recent reforms have led to an increase in victim-centred policies and legislation, and there is a shortage of specialists in this area. You'll graduate from this MSc Victimology degree course with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career in this important, developing field, within criminal justice agencies and related support services.

Career opportunities include:

  • Managerial roles in the police force
  • Social Work
  • Criminal justice agencies
  • Victim support services
  • Security
  • Government departments
  • PhD research

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 victimology skills to work.

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 Victimology 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.

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
Relevant specialist options
Other modules available
You'll take all core modules. If you choose to, you can take another core module from another Criminal Justice pathway in order to graduate with two subjects in your degree title e.g. MSc Victimology and Criminal Psychology.

Core modules

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically explore the academic discipline of victimology and the influence of competing theoretical perspectives upon our understanding of the processes of victimisation and how this informs both formal and informal responses to victims of crime
  • Analyse contemporary and often controversial debates concerning the complex relationships between the state, the offender and the victim, particularly within the wider context of citizenship and the notion of victims' rights
  • Critically appreciate the development of victim-centred policies and demonstrate an up to date knowledge of the relevant policies and legislation
  • Critically examine the impact of victim-centred reforms upon criminal justice professional cultures and practices, and to identify the barriers which may impede the implementation of policies and legislation as intended

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

If you take only 
core module, you can take one or two specialist option modules. If you take two core modules, you can take one specialist option module.

Relevant specialist options

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Critically discuss and reflect on the potential contributions of psychological research and theory in the criminal justice arena.
  • Think independently, analytically and creatively on the application of psychology to the criminal justice system; from investigation to the courtroom.
  • Synthesize and engage new and existing knowledge of the role of psychology in criminal justice policy and procedure.

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.

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

If you take one core module and one specialist option module, you can take one of these other available modules.

Other modules available

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 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:

  • 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 complexities and processes of economic crime schemes
  • Diagnose complex economic crime schemes to discriminate the contributions of the various offence types
  • Critically evaluate the social and economic impact of economic cybercrime
  • Critically assess the effectiveness of crime reduction policies

Explore this module

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:

  • Describe and critically examine the different typologies and the extent of fraud and corruption on an international scale
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the methods used to measure losses to fraud and corruption internationally
  • Develop an appreciation of the context in which international fraud and corruption occurs and is tackled
  • Critically evaluate the comparative strategies, structures and actions taken to tackle international fraud and corruption

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Appraise established intelligence processes and practice
  • Critically assess the ways in which intelligence is used (and often is not used) to inform the investigative process
  • Critically evaluate the utility of existing intelligence models
  • Critically assess the range of analytical services that are available to intelligence professionals
  • Critically assess the limits on the legitimate exercise of police powers in the context of intelligence

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

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • To critically 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 critically evaluate structures and actions that aim to tackle money laundering.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate systematic knowledge, comprehensive understanding and critical awareness, and think independently, analytically and creatively about the subject area
  • Recognise and critically evaluate the importance of social justice issues
  • Recognise and critically evaluate the key issues in the subject area
  • Critically analyse emerging areas of importance in the subject area

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 powerpoint presentation for a hypothetical board

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


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 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.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • case study
  • blogs
  • presentations
  • research proposal
  • dissertation or major project

​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 per year (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 for this course using our online application form.

Note you're applying for MSc Criminal Justice – you'll graduate with a MSc Victimology 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.