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Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

Learn about the course below
September 2024
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£10,500 (UK) *
£17,600 (INT) *
Course leader
Mia Scally

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.

Why study MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology at Middlesex University?

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.

Course highlights

  • Learn from experts working in fields such as offender management, gangs and policing
  • A focus on the operation of criminal courts and prisons
  • Opportunities to exchange ideas with students from other countries via the Common Studies Programme in Critical Criminology.
  • The course assists you to gain a critical appreciation of criminal offending, socio-legal decision-making frameworks, and the range of psycho-social interventions and punishments directed at different offender groups with the aim of providing you with an appreciation and knowledge of the wide range of careers available on successful completion of the course.

Find out more

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What will you study on the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology?

The programme is constructed of five core modules covering, in turn, contemporary criminological theory, methods, issues and debates and psychological approaches towards the causes and management of offending behaviour.

Students then choose one optional module (selected from the list below) that enable a focus on areas of special interest, including institutions of criminal justice, community safety, drugs, youth and adult offending and comparative perspectives on each of these areas.

The modules cover all types of crime, including white collar crime, state crime, digital and on-line crimes, sexual and violent crimes, discrimination and hate crime, drugs, terrorism issues and policing, as well as looking in depth at the criminal justice system and its different institutions.

Students are able to work in computer labs on specialist information retrieval, and gain data analysis skills with the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the qualitative data analysis package NVivo.

In addition, all students complete a 15,000-word research Dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff on a topic they choose, drawing on both criminological and psychological perspectives.

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

    • 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.

    • Research Strategies in Social Sciences (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is to:

      (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 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 advance research methods and analysis techniques offered on the programme while appreciating criminological research methods are shaped by historical power relations.

    • Forensic Psychology (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module description is being updated.

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

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

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

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

    • Policing and Investigative Psychology (15 Credits) - Compulsory

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

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

    • Health, Crime & Punishment (15 Credits) - Compulsory

      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.

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

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

  • Dissertation & Placement

    • Dissertation (60 Credits) - Optional

      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.

    • Placement (60 Credits) - Optional

      This module description is being updated.

  • Optional modules

    • Work-Based Placement (15 Credits) - Optional

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

      This module aims to link academic study with the 'real world’ of work.

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

    • Political Violence & Terrorism (15 Credits) - Optional

      This module introduces students to key debates about political violence and contemporary terrorism. It follows two strands: one thematic, one historical.

      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.

    • Drugs & 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.

    • Race and Social Justice (15 Credits) - Optional

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

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

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

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

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.

How is the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology degree taught?

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.

Criminology conferences

Our Department of Criminology and Sociology is part of the Common Studies Session in Critical Criminology (CSSCC) which involves postgraduate Criminology Departments across different EU universities including Jay College of New York. The conferences are held twice a year across the Europe. You will be encouraged to 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.

Teaching and learning

We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education from our previous students and hands on experience - 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.

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.

Learning structure: typical hourly breakdown in 2022/23

Live in-person on campus learningContact hours per week, per level:

8 hours

Live online learningAverage hours per week, per level:N/A

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. International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How can the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology support your career?

The course aims to equip you with the necessary skills to excel in a wide range of careers, such as; employment in posts working directly with offenders both in prison and within community-based reducing re-offending projects; roles concerning prisoner rehabilitation plans and prisoner health and well-being; charitable organisation-based roles supporting those on release from prison; community-based drug and alcohol project roles; domestic violence perpetrator project roles; and careers working on offender rehabilitation and therapeutic projects applying cognitive-thinking techniques

Students are also equipped for positions engaging in research, data analysis, and programme evaluation offered by research organisations, the charitable and voluntary sector, in Ministry of Justice Departments such as the National Offender Monitoring Service (NOMS), policing organisations, and the government's high-level crime fighting agency the National Crime Agency (NCA). There are many opportunities in work with young people experiencing family dysfunction and disadvantage, young people 'at risk' of offending, and in services supporting young and vulnerable 'care leavers'.

Students who have studied MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology at Middlesex have gone on to work for the National Crime Agency, in prison drug service programmes, in offender pathway planning and monitoring with the probation service, in services aimed at victims of domestic violence, as mentors for young men coming out of prison, in housing and support services for released prisoners, in local government organisations, and in youth offending organisations.

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 Jenni Ward
Programme Leader

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.

  • Ummuhan Berker

    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.

  • Leah Goodrham

    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.

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