On this unique course, which is not available anywhere else, you'll gain a practical and academic understanding of intellectual property (IP) crime and illicit trade.

Delivered by the University of Portsmouth’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in cooperation with INTERPOL, this course provides unparalleled access to the latest research and expertise in the field of IP crime and illicit trade on a global level. 

This short course is accredited by INTERPOL in accordance with INTERPOL Standard Procedures. 

Learning online via distance learning whenever suits you, you'll explore IP rights, different types of crime and the range of offenders. You'll study theories which explain why people commit these crimes and learn about their damaging social and economic impacts. You'll also examine protection and enforcement strategies.

What you'll learn on this course prepares you for work or further study in this area. The credits you'll earn are academically recognised and can contribute towards full degree courses.

This course is an ideal next step to progression in careers in law enforcement, security, brand protection or counter-fraud.

Course details


  • Mode of study: Distance learning
  • Two modules:
    • Foundations of Intellectual Property Crime and Illicit Trade
    • Intellectual Property Crime, Illicit Trade and Study Skills
  • Credits: 40 Level 4
  • Duration: 12 study weeks*
  • Start and end dates:
    • September 2024 - January 2024*
    • January 2025 - May 2025*

The course runs twice every year starting in January and September

*The full duration of the course includes academic holiday breaks and assessment periods


  • £2,566

If you already hold the Certificate in Prevention of Bribery and Corruption, you can make a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) claim to exempt you from the first academic skills-based module. You'll then gain a 50% fee reduction for this course.

Why study Intellectual Property crime?

David Shepherd introduces the Certificate in Intellectual Property Crime and Illicit Trade (CIPCIT) short course, delivered in cooperation with INTERPOL.

David Shepherd: The Certificate in Intellectual Property Crime, CIPCIT for short, is a short course that we run at the University of Portsmouth.

It's part of a wider economic crime programme that we run here, and it focuses on intellectual property crime and the illicit trade in intellectual property goods, like counterfeit goods and piracy and what have you.

IP crime is a huge global trade; it's worth about $500 billion per year, so it’s massive. But it's not just a financial problem, there are other impacts that arise from this illicit trade, for example, counterfeit medicines, counterfeit cosmetic goods, counterfeit electrical goods. They injure and even kill people, people are dying every year as a result of this trade.

It's a part time distance learning course, run online so that people can access it from anywhere in the world in their own time. And that flexibility means that people can fit it in around their work and their family lives. Reading materials, videos, recorded lectures, and we do live online seminars. And there's remote access to all University facilities like the library etc., and our friendly tutors, so people can access our tutors online.

There's a topic module and then there’s also an academic skills module. So the topic module focuses on IP crime and illicit trade, but the academic module focuses on the skills

needed, for example, writing essays and referencing and what have you, that they need in order to pass the course. So they get lots of support. 

You'll be taught by lecturers who are passionate about their subject, lecturers who work with practitioners, law enforcement and industry. So it’s practical, it’s embedded in reality.

The course is designed to supplement INTERPOL’s Global Academy training programmes and the course is accredited by INTERPOL.

The 40 academic credits awarded on the course are recognised across the world. So for those who have not previously studied at higher education, it's a pathway into higher education. For example, to study a bachelor's degree or a master's degree.

This course is an ideal next step to progression in a career in law enforcement, security or brand protection, working in the public sector or the private sector.

The best thing about this course and all the online courses that I’m involved in, is that people from all parts of the world get to meet each other, help each other with their studies and share their experiences.

They get to learn from each other what it's like in those different parts of the world, what different jobs are like in different parts of world, what life is like in different parts of the world. So it becomes a community of practitioners, people who have similar interests, but practitioners from all over the world.

That's the best thing about this course.

What you'll experience

On this short course you'll:

  • Gain an understanding of IP rights and the international legal framework
  • Appreciate the extent and impact of IP crime and illicit trade
  • Explore IP crimes and offenders, methods of policing the crimes, and strategies for the protection and enforcement of IP rights
  • Develop the skills you need in academic reading, writing, referencing, presentation and analytical thinking
  • Be able to share your learning and experiences virtually with peers in an international environment to help you develop your professional practices


Your final marks will be based on two quizzes and two essays or reports (one quiz and one essay or report for each module).

What's included

Study online at a location that suits you, at a time that fits with your schedule and other commitments. You'll get interactive digital course material, streamed lectures and seminars, plus access to teaching, support staff and a personal tutor via email, phone and video calls

Included in your course fee:

  • 12 weeks of taught study
  • a named module coordinator to access support and guidance when you need it
  • live online tutorials once a week
  • two modules of written materials with guided and interactive activities
  • an online interactive reading list ensuring speedy delivery of reading material
  • access to a growing library of e-books and e-journals in IP crime and illicit trade, criminology and criminal justice
  • access to Moodle, our online learning platform
  • online support for distance learning
  • free dispatch of books and offprints of journal articles to UK distance learning students when they're not available online
  • a student card for the duration of the course

After successful completion of the course, you'll be entitled to a transcript of studies and a University Certificate. The credits gained from this course are a pathway to further university education and can contribute towards attaining a full degree.


Whether you're topping up existing knowledge, looking to accelerate your career by learning new skills, or want to work towards a university qualification at work, short courses are a great option.

This course is delivered through distance learning, with written learning materials, live online tutorials, an online interactive reading list, learning resources and web based communication, and peer learning available to you.

The University of Portsmouth uses the Moodle virtual learning environment, so you'll have access to a tutor and your fellow students wherever you are. While we encourage you to join the live tutorials as often as you can, we will record them so you can watch them at a time more convenient for you.

Topics you will cover include:

  • explaining IP, IP crime and illicit trade
  • the extent and impacts of the crimes
  • offenders and theoretical explanations for their criminality
  • policing, protection and enforcement
  • academic skills covering reading, writing, presenting, reflection, and analytical thinking

Entry requirements

Access to this course is open to all individuals subject to the approval of the course leader. The course is delivered in English, so applicants are expected to be proficient in English to IELTS band 6.0.


Book your place

Please email David Shepherd ( to enquire about applications.

Browse our other CPD and short courses:

 Browse all of our CPD and short courses in Criminal Justice.

Get in touch

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