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Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

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

As our lives become increasingly digitised the scope and potential impact of cybercrime is becoming ever broader. In both the business and personal worlds, cyber criminals have the ability to cause considerable harm from remote locations, with numerous industry reports* estimating that the global cost of cybercrime has grown to rival that of the illegal drugs trade. From financial theft to child abuse, cybercrime can take many forms, and the need for skilled professionals capable of tackling these problems will only grow as smart, connected devices increasingly become the norm.

Why study MSc Cybercrime and Digital Investigation at Middlesex University?

This master's degree is designed to provide you with an understanding of the criminological, legal and research context of cybercrime. Furthermore, it aims to equip you with an understanding of computing skills and capabilities that will help to respond to online threats to personal information as well as to organisational environments.

This makes it the ideal postgraduate qualification for students and professionals seeking a specialist role in a community or support service environment, such as victim support services, the police force, child protection, offender services, as well as corporate environments where there is a need to prevent and respond to cybercrime and issues related to online safety.

Middlesex is home to some of the UK's foremost authorities on cybercrime and cyber safety. Among them is Dr Elena Martellozzo, who is currently co-leading a project on the use of online pornography funded by the NSPCC and the OCC and has recently worked with the Metropolitan Police to advance internet investigators' performance through the understanding of children and sex offenders' online activities.

Course highlights

  • You will be taught by leading experts working in the field of online safety and child protection
  • Learn how cyber criminals seek to take advantage of internet systems and ways of preventing these crimes from happening
  • Gain specialist skills and knowledge in a relevant and increasingly essential area of criminology, with many employment opportunities

*Norton Cybercrime Report, 2011; Europol Serious and Organized Threat Assessment, 2013; McAfee 'Net Losses' report, 2014

Find out more

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What will you study on the MSc Cybercrime and Digital Investigation?


Four core plus one optional module are completed over terms one and two, with a Dissertation period in term three.


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.

Each module is typically worth 20-30 credits except the Dissertation and Work Integrated Learning, which are worth 60 credits. Work Integrated Learning may be chosen to replace the Dissertation with prior agreement.

  • Core modules

    • Digital Forensics and Incident Management (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to give you a sound understanding of the relationship between digital forensics and digital technologies, as well as an in-depth knowledge of evidence management and the consequences of mismanagement. This practical module will give you all the skills you need to remove electronic digital media from your sources using industry tools and conduct forensic investigations (using commercial software) on case studies. You’ll learn about the planning of investigations, technology management strategies and how your actions could affect evidential continuity. You will finish this module equipped with the awareness that digital forensics is as much about documentation, processes and validity as it is about technical investigations.

    • Financial Crime Risks from Emerging Technologies (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module description is being updated.

    • Blockchain Anatomy and Analytics (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module description is being updated.

    • Open-source intelligence Techniques (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module description is being updated.

    • Cybercrime and Society (15 credits) - Compulsory

      With increasing amounts of social activity taking place on the Internet, cybercrime is becoming an essential area of study. By exploring the history, nature and patterns of cybercrime, this module will introduce students to the criminological study of crime on the internet, cybersecurity, and cyber policy. Through a combination of a series of sessions exploring different types as well as responses in preventing and tackling internet-related crimes, this module will consider the diversity of cybercrime as well as its prevention and detection.

      This module is designed to provide a critical analysis of selected issues in the study of cybercrime and its control with the main aim to introduce students to the concept of cybercrime by exploring how the study of cybercrime challenges existing criminological theories and criminal law and examining the impact of cybercrime on contemporary society.

    • Text Mining and Analysis (15 credits) - Compulsory

      Data from digital technologies allow us to gain unprecedented insights into human behaviour, social sentiments, and social inequalities. This course introduces students to the social dimensions of digital technologies, reviews empirical social science research on challenges associated with contemporary digital technologies and offers students new possibilities of how to study society using digital research tools.

      This module has the threefold aim to

      1) Introduce students to the foundations of contemporary text mining and text analysis methods for the social sciences.

      2) Familiarize students with empirical social science research studies associated with contemporary digital technologies.

      3) Develop students’ practical skills on applied text mining and text analysis techniques.

      It will cover principles of research design and research ethics as they apply to text-based social science research and will review the major methodologies within social science text mining, including topic models and opinion mining. Skills developed on this module prepare students to undertake text mining research for their dissertation or digital research for organisations.

    • Research Strategies in Social Sciences (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The aim of this module is fourfold 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.

  • Optional modules

    • Advanced Research Strategies (15 credits) - Optional

      The aim of this module is fourfold:

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

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

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

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

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

    • Drugs and Crime (15 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to develop advanced skills in the application of theoretical concepts and frameworks in relation to drugs, drug use and drugs control and in critically analysing the relationship between drugs and crime.  Students will critically evaluate initiatives within the criminal justice system to address the drugs ‘problem’.  The module also aims to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

    • Political Violence and Terrorism (15 credits) - Optional

      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.

    • Cybercultures and Crime (15 credits) - Optional

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

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

  • Choose one of the following modules

    • Dissertation (60 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to synthesise learning from the criminology programmes of study, providing an opportunity for students to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. It fosters academic curiosity; an inquiry-based approach and the employment and application of research skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising.

      Students will define their own topic area, conduct a comprehensive review of existing knowledge on the subject, formulate a methodology for conducting their own enquiries and write an in-depth report of the findings of their research. Alternatively, students may choose to conduct a theoretically oriented piece of work involving the systematic analysis of an issue or area of policy/practice.

    • Work Based Experience (60 credits) - Compulsory

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

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

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 have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We aim to model a wide range of teaching strategies and approaches on the course which you can adapt to your own setting.

How is the MSc Cybercrime and Digital Investigation taught?

Teaching and assessment on the different modules incorporates a range of styles and methods and on occasion, guest lectures are delivered by experts working in the fields of cyber terrorism, online abuse, bullying and cyber investigation. There is a strong focus on the development of the digital investigation skills necessary to understand and respond to emerging forms of cybercrime.

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 Europe.

You will be encouraged to participate and deliver your own paper at the conference and have an opportunity to present your ideas in an international academic student environment. A certificate of attendance is awarded to those who participate in the CSSCC.


Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed by a variety of assessment methods including essays, reports, oral presentations (online or face to face), producing .csv datasets, reviews, a research proposal and a research project or placement in a cybercrime-related area. A range of coursework submissions allows you to demonstrate your understanding of theory and practice, as well as your ability to sustain a coherent argument.

Teaching and learning from 2022

We are regularly reviewing and updating our programmes to ensure you have the best learning experience. We are taking what we have learnt during the pandemic and enhancing our teaching methods with new and innovative ways of learning.

We are currently reviewing our approach to teaching and learning for 2023 entry and beyond. We've learned a lot about how to give you a quality education - we aim to combine the best of our pre-pandemic 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 2023 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:

N/A, please contact programme leader
to know more about the online learning hours
for the year you are applying for.

This information is likely to change slightly for 2024/25 entry as our plans evolve. You'll receive full information on your teaching before you start your course.

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.
  • 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 Cybercrime and Digital Investigation support your career?

This master's degree aims to develop social science graduates who have the skills needed to respond to cybercrime and e-security challenges, from issues relating to transnational crime, intellectual property, sexual offences, vulnerable victims, privacy legislation and law.

Potential career paths include policy development, corporate security, e-investigation, social media safety, anti-money laundering (investigatory and other roles in the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Ombudsman etc.), safeguarding, designing and implementing data security and information strategies, business continuity and others.

Several major auditing firms also have graduate entry programmes that specifically identify criminology as a base qualification for applicants.

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.

Want to know what some of our students think taking the MSc Cybercrime and Digital Investigation has done for their career? Check out Antonia's and Juan's videos below on their experience studying with Middlesex and what they learned during their degree.

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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