Criminology MA | Middlesex University London
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Criminology MA

Learn about the course below
October 2018
September 2018 (EU/INT induction)
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£7,800 (UK/EU) *
£13,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Angus Nurse

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 attend 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 twice-yearly postgraduate student conferences in either Greece, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Hungary or the USA.

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.

  • Core modules

    • Global Criminology and Policing (20 credits) - Compulsory

      This module explores criminological issues from a global perspective including the changing nature of crime and crime control in a 'globalised' world. It focuses on crimes which transcend national borders, the comparative analysis of different countries' approaches to dealing with crime, and the 'globalisation' of justice and policing. It equips students to undertake their own international and or comparative research and analysis.

    • Human Rights and Contemporary Justice (20 credits) - Compulsory

      In this core module on the MA Criminology course you’ll critically evaluate contemporary perspectives on human rights and justice systems. You’ll learn to critically explore concepts, debates, literature (i.e. recent research and policy material) related to the operation of human rights within the British criminal justice system and internationally. It will foster engaged and critical thinking about human rights in terms of its impact on the operation of the criminal justice system and the wider application of human rights discourse to issues such as free speech and environmental protection and ecological justice. In this module you’ll consider the apparent conflict between contemporary perspectives on human rights and the administration of justice systems as well as wider issues relating to how both theoretical and practical conceptions of human rights impact on the extent to which respect for rights is embedded into justice policy. You’ll be required to adopt a critical approach to theoretical debates on human rights, justice, and the tension between state justice policies and the rights of individuals and marginalized groups.

      The module aims to allow postgraduate students to engage with a range of issues that they are likely to encounter in contemporary practice settings. The module requires you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in human rights and will appeal to anyone seeking an academic and technical exposure to human rights prior to undertaking doctoral work. The module also helps you to develop knowledge and skills appropriate to working in the NGO sector, local authorities and other policy and enforcement bodies within the public justice sector that are bound by the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and whose decisions and actions are ultimately amenable to challenge on human rights grounds.

    • Theory and Research in Criminology (20 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the major theoretical positions and debates in criminology to illustrate the links between criminological theory and research and between policy and practice. Studying the principal research methodologies deployed in criminological investigation equips students with the core skills needed to conduct their own criminological research.

    • Political Violence and Terrorism (20 credits) - Compulsory

      This core module on the MA Criminology will introduce you to key debates about political violence and contemporary terrorism. You’ll be required to consider a range of perspectives emerging from the study of the different forms of political violence, including terrorism and war. It also adopts a critical approach to theoretical and contextual debates on the use of the term terrorism as shorthand for a range of issues relating to political violence. Both institutional and anti-institutional violence will be discussed, along with critical analysis of the controversies surrounding the definitions of violence and terrorism in the different epochs. In the module you’ll examine in detail the contributions of the major schools of thought, along with the most recent sociological-criminological analysis of authorised and unauthorised political violence. The module requires you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in contemporary political violence and terrorism discourse drawing on a range of case studies.

  • Choose two of the following optional modules:

    • Critical Issues in Criminal Justice (20 credits) - Optional

      This module uses the criminal justice system and its different institutions to critically examine contemporary issues, debates and policy relating to crime control, the processing of defendants through the criminal courts, sentencing, rehabilitation and punishment. It explores shifts and changes in criminal justice responses to assess whether we are witnessing an era of tightening and punitive crime control policy. The module takes as a central underpinning that we live in a world of enhanced 'securitisation' along with emerging and sophisticated 'risk' identification and management strategies of offenders. It incorporates the themes of 'crimmigration' and the intersection between migration law and criminal law, how gender, race and class interact with the criminal justice system, drugs law enforcement and sentencing, trends in imprisonment and new considerations of restorative and integrative justice. The module takes a comparative perspective to assist an understanding of different approaches and responses to crime, offenders and criminal justice in other European and international jurisdictions, and whether they provide ideas for alternative policies in this area.

    • Cybercrime and Society (20 credits) - Optional

      The aim of this module is to provide a critical analysis of selected issues in the study of cybercrime and its control. By exploring the history, nature and patterns of cybercrime this module will introduce students to the sociological and criminological study of crime on the internet. Through a series of examples and case studies of internet-related crime, it will consider the diversity of cybercrime as well as its prevention and detection.

    • Drugs and Crime (20 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop advanced skills in the application of criminological theories and concepts in relation to drugs, drug use, and drugs control and in critically analysing the relationship between drugs and crime. Students will critically evaluate the laws, policies and institutions of drugs control within their social, political and economic contexts and compare and contrast the role of the criminal justice system in responding to drugs in various countries. The module also aims to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

    • Interpersonal Violence and Hate Crime (20 credits) - Optional

      This module explores issues under the inter-related headings Interpersonal Violence and Hate Crime, ranging from domestic violence to far right extremism in both real-world and virtual settings. The late 20th and early 21st century has seen a growing focus on these issues and the module will examine why this is the case, highlighting transformations in the economy, technology, social structure and social relations, the emergence of identity politics and the development of new academic discourses and theoretical perspectives.

      Within this overarching context, different forms of interpersonal violence and hate crime will be examined. This will include analysis of the contested knowledge base from which estimates and accounts of their nature and extent can be drawn. Finally, the module will also critically evaluate policy and practice relevant to these issues, questioning the extent to which existing responses are adequate and effective.

    • Community Safety and Public Protection or Youth Offending, Disorder and Gangs (20 credits) - Optional

      In the Community Safety and Public Protection module you will explore the theoretical background to crime and disorder reduction and study practitioner based examples and solutions to alleviating it. You will study crime and disorder from a socio-spatial perspective, scrutinise contemporary partnership arrangements and assess the problems and merits of implementing local and national governmental policies.

      The Youth Offending, Disorder and Gangs module examines contemporary social problems often said to threaten the fabric of society, that are subject to intense media exposure, and that involve significant resources via schools, the police, the courts, charities, independent commissions etc. These include street crime, night-time disorder, riots and riotous behaviour, the sexual exploitation of young women, cyber-bullying, the use and misuse of drugs and alcohol, most of which are commonly associated with youth in general and youth gangs in particular.

    • Environmental Crime and Green Criminology (20 credits) - Optional

      This module critically evaluates perspectives on green criminology, and crimes against the environment (including animals). It considers contemporary perspectives on green offending, the regulation of environmental problems, and global perspectives on green crimes, green criminality and the effectiveness of justice systems in resolving environmental problems.

    • Psychological Interventions and Responses to Offending (20 credits) - Optional

      This module is core to the MSc. Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme and 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.

    • Research Strategies in Criminology and Psychology (20 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to critically consider the methodological and philosophical context of social research, relationships between different paradigms, methodologies, theories and research designs. Students will develop research skills and become familiar with ethical and governance frameworks within which social science research takes place in contemporary Britain. An appreciation of the key issues, problems and controversies involved in designing and implementing a research project in different work and research environments is central to the module.

    • Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice (20 credits) - Optional

      The module will be delivered at HMP Wandsworth and provides a unique experience that involves reflection on the learning journey and the meaning of learning with, and from others. Using the criminal justice system to examine contemporary issues and debates relating to crime control, the criminal courts and sentencing, and theories of punishment and imprisonment the module focuses on the criminal justice system as a series of interlinked institutions in which ideas of rehabilitation, system reform, and social justice are embedded.

  • Choose one of the following compulsory modules:

    • Dissertation (60 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to enable you to undertake a substantial academic research project focussed on a key issue within your programme. It requires you to apply methodology, research design and method to the practical processes of undertaking a chosen research topic and presenting the findings. The dissertation requires you to draw upon the prerequisite module Research and Practice Skills but encourages you to demonstrate independence and self-discipline in researching a topic of interest and relevance to you and manage an extended project from conception to completion.

    • Work-Based Learning (Placement/Internship) Project (60 credits) - Compulsory

      The project will be agreed between the student and their academic supervisor, allowing them to apply some of the learning they have gained through the programme to a workplace setting.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

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 are organised within the department to assist a dynamic culture of knowledge exchange and the generation of ideas and debate among our postgraduate students. 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, and the April 2014 conference was on feminist debates around violence, sex work and pornography.


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

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

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.

Dr Angus Nurse
Programme Leader

Dr Nurse is a former RSPB Investigations Coordinator and specialises in the field of wildlife and environmental crime. His research focuses on the effectiveness of laws protecting animals and wildlife. He has conducted research on behalf of groups such as the League Against Cruel Sports into dog fighting in the UK.

Other courses

Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology MA

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

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

Code: PGL5M9

Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

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

Code: PGL371

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

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

Code: PGL376

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