Cybercrime (Distance Learning) MSc

Learn how to become part of the next generation of cybercrime experts on this online Master's, ready for a career in professional cybercrime investigation or academic research.

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Explore the human dimensions of cybercrime on this part-time, distance learning Master's course, delving into the causes of cybercrime, digital investigations and the methods and motivations of cybercriminals.

Studying online at your own pace, you'll gain the critical knowledge and analytical skills to meet the growing threat of cybercrime, allowing you to facilitate investigations and operate as a link between the police and technological forensic investigation teams.

You'll learn how investigative cybercrime practices work in the public and private sectors, in areas such as hacking, online drug markets, the dark web, and sexual exploitation and child protection online.  

You'll graduate with the skills needed to play your part in mitigating and tackling all kinds of cybercrime, from the local to the global. 


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the world of contemporary cybercrime and approaches for tackling it, covering topics including cyber offender and victim characteristics, debates around freedom of information and privacy, challenges of national cybersecurity, and the impact of global cybersecurity governance
  • Study with one of the first UK universities to offer a campus-based Master's degree in cybercrime and to bring a criminological strategy to the subject - expert academics from our School of Criminology and Criminal Justice have been researching and publishing in the field of cybercrime and online deviance for over 15 years
  • Learn alongside Master's students specialising in a wide range of criminology subjects, giving you a diverse learning experience with the opportunity to discuss and develop interdisciplinary ideas
  • Be taught by academics with previous experience as police officers, crime scene officers, probation officers and intelligence analysts
  • Get involved with our criminology research groups, such as the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity group, the Economic Crime group, and the Centre for Cybercrime and Economic Crime
  • Complete a major project based on your chosen area of research, with the support of qualified and enthusiastic experts in the field

Benefits of distance learning

  • Work from anywhere, at your own pace, in your own time – with interactive online learning materials hosted on our virtual learning environment, Moodle, and available 24/7 on any device – find out how distance learning works
  • Access to over 600,000 ebooks, 55,000 online journals, digital newspapers and a postal loan service from our University Library – see all library support for distance learners
  • Invitations to online forums where you can discuss your studies with other students and your lecturers
  • Access to all student support services via email, phone, online chat or video call


NCSC provisionally certified.

Degree certified by National Cyber Security Centre

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions


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.


Core modules

You'll explore how existing and emerging technologies are used to commit criminal offenses, developing your critical awareness of related problems and insights.

By analysing cybercrime research and professional practice, you'll also address motivations, responses and investigations - equipping you with skills for professional cybercrime prevention, detection and reaction.

You'll discuss regulation theories and analyse various organisations, groups and technological developments that could be impacting on how online behaviour and deviance happen today.

You'll gain a core understanding of how the internet functions as a space of interacting influences in shaping its social reality, examining case studies that focus on major underlying conflicts, such as privacy and encryptions or freedom of information and expression vs control of information flows.

You'll design and write up a research proposal for a project of your choice. You'll start by thinking about any research skills you might need to improve on and develop ways to strengthen your skillset, through core training, chosen focus areas and applied learning.

Then, you'll work on your own postgraduate research proposal planning out the specific research methods you'll use and taking ethical issues into account. You'll include clear objectives and document your literature and data sources.

Core modules

With academic guidance, you'll choose your own literature or empirical topic within a field of criminology that fits the parameters of your intended Master’s exit award.

You'll bring together everything you’ve learned to design and evaluate ethical methodologies, conduct systematic research, and communicate your ideas professionally in your dissertation or report.

You'll analyse globalisation, risk and security concepts in cyberspace, assessing diverse organisational and state threats alongside national challenge appraisals.

By weighing up the impact of global governance and developing interdisciplinary risk management perspectives, you'll build informed, questioning awareness of this pivotal area.

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, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's prepares you for

The risks and threats of cybercrime are only continuing to grow, yet there's a recognised shortfall in the cybersecurity skills needed to tackle cybercrime skills around the world ( What's more, there's also a lack of non-technical ‘soft skills’ relating to cybercrime – such as understanding and communicating risks and the ability to appreciate the wider context of threats.

So there's an increased demand for more people with the right skills to identify, investigate and counteract the problem of cybercrime, and not just from security and technological backgrounds. Cybercrime investigation agencies need to substantially increase their understanding of the criminological behaviour of online offenders in the UK and abroad, as well as how cybercrime intersects with serious crime in the 'real' world.

These are the skills and perspectives you'll gain on this distance learning Master's course in cybercrime, supported by specialist academics and active researchers in cybercrime and criminology. You’ll graduate with knowledge of practice and theory in cybercrime, as well as the research and analytical skills needed for private or public sector careers in the UK or abroad.

If you already work in the field of criminal justice, you'll be ready to pursue higher-level roles, or to break into a different area of the discipline. If you're preparing to start your career in criminal justice, you'll gain the knowledge and advanced research problem-solving skills you need to stand out to employers.

You could also go on to a graduate scheme such as PoliceNow or the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme.

Graduates of this course can go on to roles such as:

  • cybercrime investigator
  • online behavioural analyst
  • policing (as an officer or civilian staff)
  • crime, security and intelligence analysis
  • private security
  • data analyst

Graduates of this course can go on to work for organisations such as:

  • the Civil Service
  • national and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • international government agencies and departments
  • probation and prison service
  • the Courts
  • local administration / authorities
  • charities

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to spend in online lectures and seminars and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take 2 years (part-time study).

You can expect:

  • 6 hours of live online lectures and/or seminars for each module you study, recorded for those who cannot attend. All core material is available online at all times so you can create your own study schedule around work or other commitments.
  • 9 hours of independent study each week.


Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • online lectures
  • online seminars
  • online tutorials
  • online group discussions
  • online interactive workbooks

This Master's in Cybercrime is delivered by supported distance learning. You will receive high-quality course materials via Moodle, our online learning environment.

You'll learn through interactive workbooks, discussion boards and live online seminars and lectures. All live sessions are recorded so you can access them whenever suits you. 

You'll get to chat with fellow students, discuss and present your work and keep in touch with tutors. You'll get plenty of support throughout your studies, including help on writing and structuring essays, and how to undertake research.

You'll need access to a computer and a web connection. You may be able to access some of the resources through a tablet or smartphone, with limited functionality. You don't need to be especially computer literate, although typing skills are useful.


You'll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • briefing papers and reports 
  • blog posts 
  • narrated presentations
  • a major independent project or dissertation

You'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

Lisa Sugiura Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Lisa Sugiura

Associate Professor in Cybercrime and Gender

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Vasileios Karagiannopoulos Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Vasileios Karagiannopoulos

Associate Professor in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity

School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Supporting you

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video and phone from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty 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

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Part-time: £4,450 per year

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Part-time: £4,450 per year

  • Part-time: £4,450 per year

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

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

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

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Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

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Additional 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 could include:

  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which relate to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 start

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject (Social Science, Humanities, Law, Psychology, or Management subject).
  • Information Technology or science related subjects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants with equivalent professional experience in a relevant organisation will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not 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.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us. 

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. Current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth and international students also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also 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.

Ready to apply?

Start this course in September 2024

Apply now (Part-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2023, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

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.