Logo close icon
Section navigation
Main Baner Image

MA Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice

Learn about the course below
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£16,800 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Clair Looby

The MA Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice degree is designed for people working or seeking to work in the area of crime and criminal justice. It offers a detailed understanding of contemporary issues facing professionals and managers in the criminal justice system and of the changing roles and responsibilities of the agencies and practitioners which make up that system.

Why study MA Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice at Middlesex University?

Delivered by leading researchers and drawing on the expertise of those currently working in the field, this degree provides both traditional academic provision in the form of lectures, seminars and tutorials and the opportunity to undertake up to a third of the course via work-based learning (for those already working in appropriate contexts) or an internship with an agency such as a Youth Offending Team, a Drug and Alcohol Support Service or a Community Safety Partnership.

The core elements of the programme are delivered on one evening per week so as to allow for those in work to attend. The remainder of the programme is made up by either studying optional modules available during the daytime or (in the case of one module) via distance learning or by a combination of a long or short dissertation and/or the long or short work-based learning or internship modules.

This flexibility, both in the choice of content as well as in the mode of delivery/learning, allows students to tailor the course as much as possible to their own needs. This includes the option to study the programme over one year full-time or two years part-time.

Course highlights

  • Study in a highly reputable criminology department with a long history in training the very best criminologists
  • The option to complete up to a third of the course through work-based learning or an internship within a criminal justice agency
  • Delivery by academic staff who are involved in pioneering research in the field including work on the links between victimisation and offending, 'status dogs' and gangs, online child safety, recent developments in probationary services, mental health and offending, joint enterprise and political violence and terrorism.
  • Enjoy teaching that incorporates guest lectures delivered by experts working in the field of offender management, gang life and culture, urban policing, and prisoner care and welfare.

Find out more

Sign up now to receive more information about studying at Middlesex University London.

What will you study on the MA Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice?

The course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to investigate and analyse contemporary problems of crime, disorder and community safety and to evaluate current policies and practices designed to address them. The core modules focus on applying criminological theory and research to policy and practice, youth offending, disorder and gangs, interpersonal violence and hate crime, and community safety and public protection. The remainder of the programme is made up by studying optional modules which examine particular aspects of crime and criminal justice in depth or through a work-based learning or internship project.

Not all of the optional modules listed will be available in any one year. Module availability is dependent on staffing and the number of students wishing to take each module.

  • Modules

    • Contemporary Theory in Criminology   (15 Credits)- Compulsory

      The module aims at fostering in-depth understanding, critical awareness and engagement with major theoretical trends and debates in contemporary criminology, with particular attention to critical criminological debates that have global relevance. The theories covered in this module will provide a foundation for thinking about and applying criminological theories to other core and optional modules students study on their programmes.

    • Contemporary Issues in Youth Crime and Youth Justice (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to further and develop student’s knowledge and understanding of a range of contemporary issues in youth crime and youth justice, enabling them to critically analyse research, theory, policy, and practice in respect of these issues. The module will provide a broad contextual overview of youth justice matters that can be drawn upon and applied to modules studied in the following terms.

    • Criminal Justice, Courts, and Prisons (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module uses the criminal justice system and its key institutions to critically examine contemporary issues, debates and official policy relating to crime control, the criminal courts, sentencing and punishment. It explores shifts and changes in criminal justice and penal system responses.

      A central underpinning theme is a world of enhanced ‘securitisation’ alongside dominant discourses of ‘risk’ and public protection. This in turn has given rise to a ‘precautionary logic’ that permeates criminal justice organisations and infrastructure and has a significant bearing on who, and how people enter the criminal justice system. The module incorporates the intersection between migration and criminal justice, dynamics of power, gender, race and class, court trial justice, sentencing and imprisonment trends, and new considerations of restorative and integrative justice.

      The module looks at approaches to crime control, offender management and justice system reform across European and international jurisdictions to consider whether ideas and alternative policies developed elsewhere might be feasible in the UK context.

    • Research Strategies in Social Sciences (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is fourfold:

      a) equip students with the principles of research design and approaches to research methods that are underpinned by ethics and theory.

      b) to develop understanding and the skills to design and conduct a quantitative survey and qualitative interview research.

      c) to analyse research findings using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

      d) to critically understand and deconstruct conventional research methods, analytical strategies and secondary data from a decolonial standpoint.

      This module equips students with the knowledge and skills to undertake research for a dissertation or an organisation as well as to study advanced research methods and analysis techniques offered on the programme while appreciating criminological research methods are shaped by historical power relations.

    • Probation, Resettlement and Community Based Interventions (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module enables students to evaluate the various interventions used to reform or rehabilitate offenders. The module will critically assess the role of probation and other key agencies involved in rehabilitation and punishment.

      Students will also learn to critically analyse the various barriers to successful resettlement, desistance and rehabilitation.  The module will also critically evaluate the role risk and public protection plays in assessing offenders, as well as addressing how to tackle intersectionality in the criminal justice system.

  • Optional modules:

    • Race and Social Justice (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims at engaging students and deepening their knowledge around historical and contemporary issues of ‘race’ in relation to crime and criminal justice.

      The specific theoretical approaches to understanding, and deconstructing conventional knowledge around will include: (i) intersectionality, namely the intersection of race with gender and class from feminist criminology, (ii) decoloniality, namely the colonial and racialised histories of modes of punishment, social control, and criminal justice processes from Southern criminology, and (iii) critical race perspectives from the UK and US which focus on systemic racism within the criminal justice system, and the racialised social construction of crime.

    • Gender, Crime and Justice (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module engages with contemporary debates in gender and criminology, requiring students to critically explore and analyse the gendered dimensions of crime, deviance, and criminal justice. The aim of the module is for students to gain an understanding of critical gender issues in relation to offending, victimisation and criminal justice policy and practice.

    • Drugs and Crime (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop advanced skills in the application of theoretical concepts and frameworks in relation to drugs, drug use and drugs control and in critically analysing the relationship between drugs and crime. Students will critically evaluate initiatives within the criminal justice system to address the drugs ‘problem’.

      The module also aims to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

    • Heath, Crime and Punishment (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module enables students to evaluate the various intersections between health, crime, and punishment. Using a range of criminological, sociological, and psychological perspectives, the module will critically explore the key debates and controversies surrounding medical involvement with the criminal justice system and the broader regulation of people’s behaviour.

      A range of global policies and practices at the intersection of health and criminal justice, will be considered to examine how gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, age, and disability are all subject to a range of health-based (as well as criminal justice) interventions.

    • Policing and Investigative Psychology (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop students’ understanding of how psychology can assist law enforcement investigations. Students will examine the application of cognitive and social psychology to the practice of investigative interviewing, as well as how offenders’ decision-making can be analysed in order to help make investigations more effective and efficient in areas such as behavioural offender profiling, geographic profiling, and policing, for example.

      Students will examine and analyse interpersonal behaviour of both interviewers and suspects in investigative interviewing situations, for example, in suspect interviews.

    • Psychological Interventions and Approaches to Offending (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop students’ understanding of how psychology interacts with the criminal justice system. It will consider the psychological dimensions of offending and the judicial responses to it, focusing on specific groups of offenders (such as youth offenders, sex offenders, and mentally ill offenders), specialist courts, the aims and effectiveness of prison and forensic mental healthcare, and the development and evaluation of risk assessment instruments and behavioural interventions aimed at preventing recidivism.

    • Cybercultures and Crime (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop your understanding of how psychology interacts with the criminal justice system. You will consider the psychological and psycho-social dimensions of crime and offending, and the psycho-judicial reactions to it. The module will require you to look at key contributions psychology makes to criminal justice and its related institutions – from delinquency interventions, ‘therapeutic jurisprudence’ and specialist courts, how we understand offenders’ experiences of prison, and specialist offender assessment tools and behavioural treatment programmes both within the community and in prison settings.

      Through an analysis of the relationship between decisions made at different stages of the criminal justice system, such as by the police, the courts, the parole board, and the implications of those decisions at subsequent stages in the legal process, you’ll be encouraged to reflect upon the application of psychology to the practice of criminal justice.

  • You must choose one of the following two modules:

    • Dissertation (60 Credits)

      This module aims to synthesise learning from the criminology programmes of study, providing an opportunity for students to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. It fosters academic curiosity; an inquiry-based approach, and the employment and application of research skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising. Students will define their own topic area, conduct a comprehensive review of existing knowledge on the subject, formulate a methodology for conducting their own enquiries and write an in-depth report of the findings of their research.

      Alternatively, students may choose to conduct a theoretically oriented piece of work involving the systematic analysis of an issue or area of policy/practice.

    • Work Based Learning (60 Credits)

      This module is the culmination of a student’s Masters study and provides the opportunity to synthesise professional and academic learning. It supports students to undertake a substantial work-based project that is designed to develop their own professional practice and address reflectively their role in practice or a service issue that the student has already identified in their workplace or professional field.

      This module aims to link academic study with the 'real world’ of work.  It facilitates a process of reflective practice and applied learning and is designed to advance personal and professional development. The module supports students’ autonomy and independence by incorporating a flexible curriculum which allows for the negotiation of a work-based learning experience supportive of individual and organisational objectives.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.

How is the MA Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice degree taught?

Teaching on the course is delivered by expert academics who are research active in a range of criminological subject areas and bring these specialisms to their lecture delivery and classroom discussion. This programme in particular includes a number of guest speakers who are practitioners in the field of criminal justice. As a student on the course you will be encouraged to actively participate in your own learning and to engage in questioning and debate within teaching sessions as well as to share and reflect upon your experiences, where appropriate, of working in the field.

In addition to the core teaching sessions, regular events and presentations are organised within the department to create a dynamic culture of knowledge exchange and the generation of ideas and debate among our postgraduate student cohort.

Criminology conferences

Our Department of Criminology and Sociology is part of the Common Studies Session in Critical Criminology (CSSCC) which involves postgraduate Criminology Departments across different EU universities including Jay College of New York. The conferences are held twice a year across the Europe. You will be encouraged to attend and deliver your own paper at the conference and have the excellent opportunity to present your ideas in an international academic student environment. A certificate of attendance is awarded to the those who participate in the CSSCC.

The Centre for Social and Criminological Research holds seminars throughout the year and hosts an annual conference in April. The conference brings together outside speakers, academic staff and current students to listen and discuss contemporary issues of crime and conflict in the world around us. Previous conference themes have been gangs, human rights and citizenship, punishment, policing and protest, feminist debates on sex work and pornography, and European migration and crisis.

Teaching and learning from 2022

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2023 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic teaching and learning with access to online learning and digital resources which put you more in charge of when and how you study. We will keep you updated on this throughout the application process.

Your timetable will be built around on campus sessions using our professional facilities, with online sessions for some activities where we know being virtual will add value. We’ll use technology to enhance all of your learning and give you access to online resources to use in your own time.

The table below gives you an idea of what learning looks like across a typical week. Some weeks are different due to how we schedule classes and arrange on campus sessions.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2023 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2022/23

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

8 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:


Tutor set learning activities

Average hours per week, per level:


This information is likely to change slightly for 2024/25 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Definitions of terms

  • Live in-person on campus learning – This will focus on active and experiential sessions that are both:
    • Led by your tutors including seminars, lab sessions and demonstrations We'll schedule all of this for you
    • Student-led by you and other students, like small group work and presentations.
  • Tutor set learning activities – This covers activities which will be set for you by your tutor, but which you will undertake in your own time. Examples of this include watching online materials, participating in an online discussion forum, completing a virtual laboratory or reading specific texts. You may be doing this by yourself of with your course mates depending on your course and assignments. Outside of these hours, you’ll also be expected to do further independent study where you’ll be expected to learn, prepare, revise and reflect in your own time.


You have a strong support network available to you to make sure you develop all the necessary academic skills you need to do well on your course.

Our support services will be delivered online and on campus and you have access to a range of different resources so you can get the help you need, whether you’re studying at home or have the opportunity to come to campus.

You have access to one to one and group sessions for personal learning and academic support from our library and IT teams, and our network of learning experts. Our teams will also be here to offer financial advice, and personal wellbeing, mental health and disability support.

  1. Standard entry requirements
  2. International (inc. EU)
  3. How to apply
  1. UK
  2. International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MA Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice support your career?

The programme enjoys a particularly good employability record owing to the fact that it provides internship opportunities which provide valuable practical experience in the field that can be vital when applying for roles. Since it was established in the late 1990s, its many graduates have gained work and/or gone onto management positions in areas related to youth justice, probation, policing, community safety, mental health, prisons, and drug and alcohol services.

Those already in industry view their master's-level studies as a means to facilitating career progression within their organisations. A number of students have continued their studies in criminology and psychology at PhD level. Staff in the department will work alongside the employability office to facilitate your future career decisions.

Dr Jennifer Ward
Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Ward is the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme leader and supervises dissertations and doctoral research.  She is a specialist in criminology and criminal justice and her teaching focuses on sentencing and punishment in the criminal courts, the lay magistracy, and modernising transformations in the lower criminal courts.

Dr Elena Martellozzo
Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Martellozzo is the programme leader for MSc Cybercrime and Digital Investigation and is the author of Policing Online Child Sexual Abuse which was based on research she conducted while embedded in the Metropolitan Police’s Paedophile and High Tech Crime Unit.

Kasia Narkowicz
Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Kasia joined Middlesex University as Lecturer in 2020. Prior to that, she was Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Gloucestershire and has previously held research posts at the University of York, University of Cambridge and Södertörn University in Sweden. She works on Islamophobia, Central and Eastern Europe and the intersections of race, gender and religion.

Rima Saini
Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Rima Saini is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Criminology and Sociology. She is Co-Chair of Ethics for the School of Law, Co-Lead of the Migration, Politics and Society Research Cluster, Social Policy Research Centre Co-Lead and Co-Chair of the Middlesex University Anti-Racism Network. She is a also a Trustee of the British Sociological Association.

Clair Looby
Senior Lecturer

Clair Looby is the programme leader for the MA Applied Criminology: Youth and Criminal Justice. Her background in criminal justice includes delivering professional qualifications in probation work. A significant part of her career has involved working with professional cohorts of students and facilitating the development of practice. Her areas of teaching include the criminal justice system, youth crime and youth justice, community safety and public protection, applied criminology and placements.

Karen Duke
Professor in Criminology

Karen Duke is the Programme Leader for MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies (Distance Learning). Prior to joining Middlesex, she worked as a researcher in the Home Office Research and Planning Unit and was involved in two major studies on refugee settlement in Britain. Her main areas of teaching are in the areas of drugs and criminal justice.

Susanne Knabe-Nicol
Lecturer in Criminology (policing and investigations)

Susanne Knabe-Nicol has a BSc in Psychology from the University of East London, an MSc in Interactive Multimedia from the University of Westminster, and an MSc and PhD in Investigative Psychology from the University of Liverpool. She worked in UK policing for over a decade in roles including regional intelligence analyst, major crime researcher and improvement and evaluations coordinator.

Mia Scally
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Criminology-Forensic Psychology

Mia Scally is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Criminology and Sociology. She previously worked as a research assistant for the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies, and for Forensic Psychological Services, both at Middlesex University. Her main research and teaching interests are offender rehabilitation, child contact, intimate partner violence, online child sexual abuse, mental health and other forensic psychological topics.

We’ll carefully manage any future changes to courses, or the support and other services available to you, if these are necessary because of things like changes to government health and safety advice, or any changes to the law.

Any decisions will be taken in line with both external advice and the University’s Regulations which include information on this.

Our priority will always be to maintain academic standards and quality so that your learning outcomes are not affected by any adjustments that we may have to make.

At all times we’ll aim to keep you well informed of how we may need to respond to changing circumstances, and about support that we’ll provide to you.

Other courses

Criminology MA

Start: September 2024

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGL40X

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

Start: September 2024

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: 011L376

Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

Start: September 2024

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGL371

Back to top