Logo close icon
Section navigation
Main Baner Image

Criminology MA

Learn about the course below
October 2022
September 2022 (EU/INT induction)
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£14,800 (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

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

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

    • 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.

    • Contemporary 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 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.

    • 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 (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.

    • 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.

    • Urban Social Justice (20 credits) - Optional

      Cities have been a central preoccupation of sociologists and criminologists over the years. They have been sites of rapid changes, migrations and settlement, social tensions and emancipation. Cities, increasingly influenced by the forces of globalisation and financialisation, face a growing number of challenges in contemporary society. The module provides a critical understanding of these issues in relation to social justice from a sociological/criminological perspective. The concept of social justice will be examined from a theoretical point of view but also by exploring real-world issues of securitisation and violence, regeneration and gentrification, segregation and urban dispersals amongst some of the key themes.

      The module will adopt a global perspective to ground the analysis of these issues by considering a range of cities as well as London as a more immediate case study to which students can relate. Students will also be provided with the opportunity of going on a field-trip to Paris in collaboration with the University of La Sorbonne Paris 4.

    • Research Design and Ethics (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 design 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.

    • Quantitative Research (20 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to provide an account of a range of quantitative research methods and strategies for the Social Sciences, discussing their application, potential and limitations (including issues of data quality, data protection and ethics). This is done through both theoretical discussions and the presentation of a number of case studies from a range of research areas and settings (including academic research and public sector data reports). It also provides an overview of existing secondary data sources, with a particular focus on official statistics, showing how to assess, access and analyse publicly available data-sets and data-banks. This includes an introduction to the use of software packages (particularly excel) to analyse, summarise and present quantitative data. Finally, the module discusses survey design methodologies and provides basic skills to design a questionnaire, implement an online survey (using Qualtrics), collect responses and report on results through tables, charts and commentary.

    • Qualitative Research (20 credits) - Optional

      This core module on the MSc in Social Research aims at providing the necessary methodological foundations to carry out qualitative research. It provides an introduction to a range of epistemological approaches for undertaking qualitative research and highlights specific qualitative research methods focussing on a critical awareness of the possibilities and limitations associated with each approach. The module also offers insights into visual methods, e-research, pluralist methods and post-qualitative research and affords experience of each part of the qualitative research cycle, focussing on specific techniques required for carrying out qualitative research. These include for instance qualitative sampling, qualitative data collection tools such as semi-structured interviews, focus groups and on-line ethnography. The module also critically examines the links between qualitative data collection and qualitative data analysis highlighting ways to analyse qualitative data such as for instance critical discourse analysis, thematic analysis, narrative analysis, visual analysis. The module will also pay particular attention to demonstrating reflexivity in the research process and what it means to conduct embodied research.

    • Youth Offending, Disorder and Gangs (20 credits) - Optional

      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.

    • Integrated Work and Learning (20 credits) - Optional
      The module aims to enable students to apply theoretical knowledge and research to anticipate and respond to challenges in a selected workplace experience. The workplace experience may be undertaken as an internship negotiated by the student or in their current workplace or an existing voluntary role. It also aims to foster sustainable long term learning by requiring students to take responsibility for their own learning, design and negotiate learning goals and make informed judgements about their performance across the programme of study. The module asks students to engage as active subjects in the assessment
      process, thus enhancing the capacity for transformative learning. By selecting a topic of interest grounded in the workplace experience the student will demonstrate reflexivity, self-regulation and self-assessment in their journey towards personal and professional development.
    • Research and Practice Skills (20 credits) - Optional

      This module prepares students for the completion of either a dissertation or an assessed work placement or a work based learning project. A series of lectures and workshops and online exercises address research methodologies, skills and employability. Students will undertake a series of formative and summative assessments developing their critical and practical skills and leading towards either; i) the production of a research proposal or ii) a critical review of the work of the organization they are to be placed with or work with. The satisfactory completion of the module will then allow the student to proceed to writing a dissertation of 10-12,000 words or to embark on a work placement assessed by production of a project report / paper and exercises reflecting on this experience.

  • Choose one of the following modules:

    • Dissertation (60 credits) - Optional

      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) - Optional

      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.

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 in recent years by enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

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 developed new approaches to teaching and learning for the 2021/22 academic year.

We are currently reviewing 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.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2022 entry as our plans evolve. 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 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. EU/International
  3. Additional costs
  4. 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

Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology MA

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

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

Code: PGL5M9

Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

Start: October 2022, EU/INT induction: September 2022

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

Code: PGL371

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

Start: October 2022, EU/INT induction: September 2022

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

Code: PGL376

Back to top