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Criminology MA

Learn about the course below
October 2023
September 2023 (EU/INT induction)
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£16,800 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Kasia Narkowicz

This degree is designed to provide you with an in-depth understanding of crime and criminal justice at national and international levels. It promotes a critical and comparative approach to crime and justice issues intended to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to deal with a range of traditional and non-traditional crime, justice and deviancy issues.

The course looks at contemporary problems such as terrorism and the priorities of global policing, human rights and justice, environmental justice and transnational crime. The international and transnational dimension of crime is an integral part of the programme.

Why study MA Criminology at Middlesex University?

Criminology at Middlesex has a particularly strong international reputation. The Department was pioneering in an influential strand of criminology called 'left realism', and established one of the very first courses of its kind in the UK, which is still considered to be one of the leading postgraduate criminology courses.

Our academic staff are involved in developing groundbreaking work, recently in areas such as sex offenders' use of the internet and online child safety (Dr Elena Martellozzo) and Environmental and Wildlife Crime (Dr Angus Nurse). Across the Department, our research incorporates crime, policing, community safety, green criminology, justice and victimisation, and broader fields of conflict, social movements, international conflicts, political violence and terrorism. This strength of research and academic innovation directly impacts our students and the teaching we provide.

A highlight of the course is an opportunity to participate (virtually or face-to-face) in the Common Study in Critical Criminology sessions with postgraduate criminologists studying in universities across Europe and New York.

Course highlights

  • Study in a highly reputable criminology department with a long history in training the very best criminologists and justice professionals
  • Learn from academic staff with excellent industry and non-governmental organisation links, who carry out innovative and pioneering research
  • An international focus, including a module in Global Criminology and Policing
  • The opportunity to participate in (virtual or face-to face) twice-yearly postgraduate student conferences hosted in Greece, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Hungary or the USA.

Find out more

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What will you study on the MA Criminology?

The course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to investigate and analyse problems of crime, conflict and control and transnational crime and justice. It combines four core modules offering a sophisticated understanding of contemporary criminological theory methods and issues, and debates in global criminology and policing, human rights and justice and terrorism. You may also select optional modules that enable you to focus on areas of special interest including institutions of criminal justice, community safety, drugs, environmental crime and green criminology and youth offending.

Master's students will take six 20-credit modules and complete a 15,000-word dissertation or a Work-Based Learning (Placement) project under the supervision of a staff member on a topic of your choice.

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.


We’ve made temporary changes to some course modules for students starting in 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. If you’re applying to start this course or progressing into year one, two or three this autumn, there’s info on these updates below.

  • Core 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.

    • Global Harms, Human Rights and Social Justice (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to engage students in exploring criminological issues from a global perspective through a human rights lens. Moving beyond narrow definitions of crime and retributive criminal justice and viewing human rights as more than a legal framework, the module will explore social justice issues from a social harm-based perspective. By understanding contemporary human rights as a powerful moral discourse rooted in advancing social justice, students will explore how human rights can be a useful tool for addressing social harms in criminology.

      The module will reflect on what putting issues such as power and rights at the centre of criminological practice might mean for social justice, focusing on how crime prevention and responses can better protect the rights of victims and offenders and avoid future harm.

    • Critical Issues in Criminology (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims at engaging students to explore contemporary critical issues in criminology with a particular focus on global perspectives with policy relevance. By studying criminology from a critical perspective with a global focus, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of intersecting issues in Criminology related to harm and crime and develop the ability to apply complex perspectives to real-world issues.

      The aim of the module is to be in conversation with the compulsory module Contemporary Theory in Criminology to allow students to develop the ability to apply the theories studied to real-world global issues in this module. It also provides a broad overview of the contemporary field of criminology which serves as a foundation for term two optional modules.

    • 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.

    • Advanced Research Strategies (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is fourfold:

      a) to equip students with a clear understanding of the philosophy and sources of bias in social research.

      b) to provide students with the ability to carry out quantitative data analysis through both descriptive and inferential statistics (chi-squared test, t-test and correlation coefficients).

      c) to equip students with strong qualitative analytical methods skillset to critically analyse qualitative data from a decolonial standpoint.

      d) to critically evaluate and convey the strengths and weaknesses of research projects and policy reports through short oral presentations.

      By the completion of this module, students will be able to understand the benefits of the different qualitative and quantitative research techniques and will be equipped in applying different quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches. They will further be able to identify and critically evaluate research projects and policy projects which will benefit them towards their dissertation and future employment.

  • Choose one of the following modules:

    • Work Based Experience (60 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims at engaging students to explore contemporary critical issues in criminology with a particular focus on global perspectives with policy relevance. By studying criminology from a critical perspective with a global focus, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of intersecting issues in Criminology related to harm and crime and develop the ability to apply complex perspectives to real-world issues.

      The aim of the module is to be in conversation with the compulsory module Contemporary Theory in Criminology to allow students to develop the ability to apply the theories studied to real-world global issues in this module. It also provides a broad overview of the contemporary field of criminology which serves as a foundation for term two optional modules.

    • Dissertation (60 Credits) - Compulsory

      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.

  • 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:

      a) Intersectionality, namely the intersection of race with gender and class from feminist criminology.

      b) Decoloniality, namely the colonial and racialised histories of modes of punishment, social control, and criminal justice processes from Southern criminology.

      c) 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.

      Students will draw on a range of academic literature, quantitative and qualitative research, narrative accounts, media resources and their own lived experiences to bring an informed and importantly (i) critical and (ii) reflexive approach to evaluating phenomena around race, crime and criminal justice.

      This module will equip students with the ability to recognise and negotiate sensitive ethical issues, hone their ability to speak to audiences as well as develop skills to enter roles requiring engagement on issues of equity, diversity, and social justice.

    • 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.

    • Political Violence and Terrorism (15 Credits) - Optional

      The first considers a range of perspectives emerging from the study of the different forms of political violence, including themes such as: systemic and institutional violence, crowds and group violence, conspiracy, armed struggle and civil war, contemporary terrorism and martyrdom, war, conflict and sexual violence, religion and terror.

      The second strand offers critical analyses of the controversies surrounding the definitions of political violence and terrorism in the different epochs.  It examines in detail the contributions of the major schools of criminological thought, along with the most recent sociological-criminological analysis of authorised and unauthorised political violence. The module requires students to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in contemporary political violence and terrorism discourse drawing on a range of case studies.

    • Health, 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.

    • Cybercultures and Crime (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop students’ understanding of diverse online cultures and how these enable different types of crime (online and offline); how cybercultures and cybercrime are regulated, policed, and prevented; types of cybercrime and how behaviours are learned; how the online world can enable group identification and deviant behaviour.

      This module will help students understand the changing world of cybercrime and what can be done to curb incidents of harm online. This includes equipping students with the knowledge to intervene effectively in online radicalisation movements, building anti-cybercrime and deviant cyberculture-based policy and solutions, and understanding how broader social movements use the online world to further their aims.

More information about this course

See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:

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've learnt during recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning. Please regularly check this section of the course page for updates.

How will the MA Criminology be taught?

Teaching on the degree 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. Staff members' research investigations involve: the policing of online child sexual exploitation, dangerous dog ownership and legislation, the criminal courts and justice administration, drug policy and practice, violence towards sex workers, rape and sexual violence, women's bereavement from homicide, collective protest and social movements, social change and social conflict, organised crime and corruption and penal abolitionism.

You will be encouraged to actively participate in your learning and prepare to engage in questioning and debate within teaching sessions and in online discussion forums led by programme staff. Regular events and presentations (online or face to face where possible) are organised within the department to assist a dynamic culture of knowledge exchange and the generation of ideas and debate among our postgraduate students.

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, but the format and schedule may vary in 2020-21 due to the current context. You will be encouraged to participate and deliver your own paper at the conference (either virtually or in person) and so have the 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 (online and face to face) seminars throughout the year and hosts an annual conference (virtual or face-to-face) in April. The conference brings together visiting 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.


Modules are assessed via a range of coursework including essays, a research proposal, seminar presentations, book reviews and a dissertation.

Teaching and learning from 2022

We have reviewed our approach to teaching and learning for 2022 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our in-person 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.

You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2021/22

Live in-person on campus learning

Contact hours per week, per level:

8 hours

Live online learning

Average hours per week, per level:


Outside of these hours, you’ll be expected to do independent study where you read, listen and reflect on other learning activities. This can include preparation for future classes. In a year, you’ll typically be expected to commit 1200 hours to your course across all styles of learning. If you are taking a placement, you might have some additional hours.

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.
  • Live online learning – This will include lectures, tutorials and supervision sessions led by your tutor and timetabled by us. It also includes student-led group work that takes place online

  • 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 or 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. EU fees
  3. EU/International
  4. Additional costs
  5. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MA Criminology support your career?

This degree will enhance career prospects within general crime and criminal justice, including policing, community safety, youth and adult offender management, crime analysis, applied and academic criminological research and work with drug-users.

The course is also specifically designed to develop students' ability to work within national and international NGOs and in the quasi-judicial and scrutiny arena. Its focus is on both policy and practice in these areas and examines non-traditional policing and justice agencies.

Former students have gone on to work, within the UK and internationally, in ombudsman's schemes, policing, law, prison, probation and offender management, victim support services, alcohol and drug agencies, mental health services and others and/or have been able to progress within organisations such as these with whom they are already employed.

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.

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

Applied Criminology, Youth and Criminal Justice MA

Start: October 2023, September 2023 (EU/INT induction)

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

Code: PGM372

Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

Start: October 2023, EU/INT induction: September 2023

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

Code: PGL371

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

Start: October 2023, EU/INT induction: September 2023

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

Code: PGL376

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