This degree combines core modules in criminology and forensic psychology with optional modules on topics including drugs, trans-national crime and conflict, policing, terrorism and the major institutions of criminal justice. The programme is delivered within the Criminology and Sociology Department in the School of Law, with the forensic psychology component taught by colleagues with specialisms in criminological psychology.
The course is of special interest to those without a first degree in psychology but with a particular interest in psychological perspectives on crime and criminal justice. All staff delivering modules on the course are engaged in research that informs their teaching on the programme.
Students have the opportunity to study modules on criminology programmes with our European partner universities supported by Erasmus funding.
Students studying this master's degree at Middlesex will benefit from expert guest lectures. In past years observational visits to the criminal courts have assisted with developing knowledge of psycho-legal court room decision-making and a visit to an adult prison has built an understanding of imprisoned populations and the psycho-social intervention programmes operating within prisons. In 2020-21 such field visits will not be possible, but module teaching will incorporate specialist guest lectures delivered by experts working in these fields, together with the areas such as offender management, gangs, policing, prisoner care and welfare, and forensic psychology.
Students on the MSc are encouraged to participate in the Common Studies Programme in Critical Criminology, to be held either online or face-to-face. This is an opportunity to build links with postgraduate criminologists studying in universities across Europe including Athens, Barcelona, Ghent, Hamburg, Rotterdam, and also at John Jay College in New York.
You will be taught by experts from both Psychology and Criminology who have a wealth of specialist knowledge and research experience between them, including Dr Elena Martellozzo, who offers regular expert advice about online child safety to the Metropolitan Police.
Other research interests within the team include the criminal courts and justice administration; the treatment of mentally disordered offenders; drug policy and practice; violence towards sex workers; collective protest and social movements; organised crime and corruption; and penal abolitionism.
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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.
This module forms the core of the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology. It has two major aims. First, the module aims to get you to engage in a discussion of major theoretical trends and debates in contemporary criminology, with particular attention to the links between these perspectives and criminal justice research, practice and policy-making. Your studies will interrogate theoretical criminology in a dynamic way, in dialogue with the social and political contexts of its production and circulation in our increasingly interdependent world. The second aim of the module is to equip you with basic knowledge and skills in contemporary criminological research methods. In this section of your studies you’ll combine conceptual sessions on the main qualitative and quantitative methods deployed in criminological research with practical exercises tailored to familiarise you with computer-assisted data analysis software.
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.
A core module for the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme, this module will acquaint you with the principal qualitative and quantitative research methodologies deployed in criminological and psychological enquiry. This module will develop and advance your knowledge and critical appreciation of research enquiry, interpretation and practice. It will equip you with the core skills involved in developing, conducting, analysing and presenting criminological and psychological research findings.
This module aims to provide you with the opportunity to develop a detailed and advanced understanding of a particular aspect of criminology, criminal justice and forensic psychology. You will define your own topic area, write a proposal for your dissertation work, conduct a comprehensive review of existing knowledge on the subject, formulate a methodology for conducting your own enquiries and write an in-depth report of the findings of your research. Alternatively, you may choose to conduct a theoretically oriented piece of work involving the systematic analysis of an issue or area of policy/practice.
Crime and disorder reduction remains a dominant issue on local and national governments' agendas. This module enables you to understand and analyse developments in crime and disorder reduction in urban localities though partnership working. You’ll examine crime and 'disorder' in its sociospatial aspects, exploring 'urban' and 'neighbourhood' dimensions of crime in the contemporary context, local modes of regulation and national-level policies to deal with neighbourhood problems, their problems and merits. Alongside the theoretical background to crime reduction, you will critically review applied practitioner solutions to crime prevention and reduction in a partnership context. The module prepares you with an understanding of key issues of public protection in the partnership context, including the National Offender Management Service (NOMS); risk assessment with regards to victims of crime; compliance to national standards; a critical appraisal of 'What Works' with offenders, tackling offending behaviour and restorative justice. The learning outcomes will enable you to develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and policy concepts relevant to practice within the criminal justice system.
This module forms the core of the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology course. In this module you’ll use 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 and punishment. You will explore 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 offender management strategies; in turn having a bearing on who, and how people enter the criminal justice system. It incorporates the intersections of migration and criminal justice, how gender, race and class interact with the criminal justice system, sentencing and imprisonment trends, 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 to consider whether they provide ideas for alternative policies in this area. You’ll study this module alongside the core module ‘Psychological Interventions and Responses to Offending’ and visits to the criminal courts and one of HM Prisons embed learning across both modules.
This module aims to help you 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. You 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 get you to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy and institutions at both national and international levels.
This core module on the MA Environmental Law and Justice 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. It also adopts a critical approach to theoretical debates on animal rights, the legal personhood of animals, and the tension between the continued exploitation of natural resources and the prosecution of environmental crime. In this module you will also critically examine the link between environmental offending and mainstream crimes, including the link between violence towards animals and violence towards humans and the extent to which corporate environmental crime constitutes a ‘crime of the powerful’ or a corporate-state crime. The module will require you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in environmental justice and consider how examining environmental harms inevitably results in a wider definition of green ‘crime’ than simply considering those activities defined as such by the criminal law. The module will also help you to develop knowledge and skills appropriate to working in the environmental justice sector with NGOs, local authorities and other policy and enforcement bodies.
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.
The module introduces you to techniques of coding and qualitative data analysis and is specifically tailored for the use of the NVivo10 software, with the aim of developing practical skills and a critical appreciation of the benefits and disadvantages of computer software for storing, organising and analysing qualitative data. NVivo is one of the most powerful and widely used research packages for the analysis of qualitative data and you will be able to analyse a range of qualitative data such as interviews, focus group transcripts, diaries, journal articles, policy reports as well as multimedia.
This module aims to introduce you to statistics in the social sciences, presenting and discussing a variety of methods that can be applied to a broad range of research areas. You’ll approach this through critical discussion of statistical theory as well as through the application of statistical analysis techniques to small and large scale secondary data-sets. You will learn these techniques through several in-lab exercises using the software package 'SPSS' (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) - and in this way the module aims to provide you with skills in using SPSS in an analytical, non-mechanical way. The module starts from the basics of descriptive statistics aiming to build your knowledge and skills in more advanced methods, including analysis of statistical relationships, statistical tests, multivariate analysis and modelling. Finally, you will look at issues of data visualisation, reporting and interpretation of findings, through a series of case studies of relevance and interest within the social sciences.
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.
Teaching on the master's is delivered by academics who are actively researching in a range of criminological and psychological subject areas and who bring these specialisms to their lecture delivery and classroom discussion. Students are encouraged to participate in their learning and prepare to engage in debate within teaching sessions and online discussions 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.
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. You will be encouraged to participate and deliver your own paper as an 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 (online or face to face where possible) throughout the year and hosts an annual conference in April (either virtual or face-to-face). 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.*
Modules are assessed by a range of coursework design including essays, book reviews, student seminar presentations, a research proposal and a dissertation.
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:
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
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.
As a specialist in criminology and criminal justice, Dr Ward is the Programme Leader for MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology and her teaching focuses on sentencing and punishment in the criminal courts, the lay magistracy, and modernising transformations in the lower criminal courts. She has previously received funding grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Home Office, and works with postgraduate students completing their dissertations and doctoral research.
MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology
The ‘learning together’ module studying the Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice within a prison setting has been a rewarding experience for me. I am thankful for Middlesex University and especially to Jenni, my lecturer, for giving us this unique opportunity to study in HMP Wandsworth prison along with ‘inside' students who are incredibly keen on studying and learning.
I have found this module particularly useful in the sense that I was able to learn from inside learners in the same way they learned from me. During the group sessions, I was able to listen and understand specific issues from different perspectives which enlightened my knowledge and made me think outside the box.
Another thing that drew me to take part in this module was the fact that I wanted to understand the criminal justice system through the lens of inside learners, thus, enabling me to see the prison through a different perspective. This module has been particularly useful in that sense because as Criminology students, we are so used to learning about prisons from academic journalists who have not spoken to, let alone been under the same roof as these inside learners. I wanted to learn from someone who has gone through the pains of imprisonment, and this module has provided me with this experience. This module has given us the opportunity to converse and learn from residents of Wandsworth and allowed us to use our academic knowledge to discuss Contemporary Issues within Criminal Justice.
The Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice module is an extra-curricular module which does not receive any credits.
MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology
I graduated from Middlesex University in 2010 where I undertook an MSc in Criminology with Forensic Psychology. Since graduating I have worked in prisons housing men, women and children and undertaken a variety of roles, from delivering substance misuse treatment programmes, to roles focused on managing the performance of custodial environments. I have recently moved into a role that is focused upon public protection and risk management. This role gives me the opportunity to engage more with issues linked to victims and the impact of crimes on them as individuals.
Whilst studying for my Master’s, I undertook a voluntary placement at HMP Pentonville working with families and children of offenders in custody. In this role I gained a huge insight into custody, the impact of imprisonment on families and children as well as the hugely important security rules that come with working in custody. It was useful to gain some practical experience alongside studying Criminology and being able to apply some of the theoretical knowledge I gained via my studies to my placement. Through this role I built a number of relationships with professionals at the prison which became very useful when I came to apply for a permanent full-time position at the prison, which I successfully secured.
I found the lecturers at Middlesex fully supportive and incredibly knowledgeable. I have fond memories of being taught by lecturers in the field that not only had a lot of knowledge but were clearly very passionate about the subject.
Without a doubt my Master’s has been incredibly beneficial to my career. It provided a basis of knowledge that I have been able to apply to all my professional roles and certainly supported me to decide upon the career I wanted to pursue.
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.
Start: October 2022, September 2022 (EU/INT induction)
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start: October 2023, September 2023 (EU/INT induction)
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start: October 2022, EU/INT induction: September 2022
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time