Logo close icon
Section navigation
Main Baner Image

Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology MA

Learn about the course below
October 2023
September 2023 (EU/INT induction)
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£9,600 (UK) *
£14,800 (EU/INT) *
Course leader
Clair Looby

This course is no longer accepting applications for 2022 entry.

The MA Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology degree is designed for people working or seeking to work in the area of crime and criminal justice. It offers a detailed understanding of contemporary issues facing professionals and managers in the criminal justice system and of the changing roles and responsibilities of the agencies and practitioners which make up that system.

Why study MA Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology at Middlesex University?

Delivered by leading researchers and drawing on the expertise of those currently working in the field, this degree provides both traditional academic provision in the form of lectures, seminars and tutorials and the opportunity to undertake up to a third of the course via work-based learning (for those already working in appropriate contexts) or an internship with an agency such as a Youth Offending Team, a Drug and Alcohol Support Service or a Community Safety Partnership.

The core elements of the programme are delivered on one evening per week so as to allow for those in work to attend. The remainder of the programme is made up by either studying optional modules available during the daytime or (in the case of one module) via distance learning or by a combination of a long or short dissertation and/or the long or short work-based learning or internship modules.

This flexibility, both in the choice of content as well as in the mode of delivery/learning, allows students to tailor the course as much as possible to their own needs. This includes the option to study the programme over one year full-time or two years part-time.

Course highlights

  • Study in a highly reputable criminology department with a long history in training the very best criminologists
  • The option to complete up to a third of the course through work-based learning or an internship within a criminal justice agency
  • Delivery by academic staff who are involved in pioneering research in the field including work on the links between victimisation and offending, 'status dogs' and gangs, online child safety, recent developments in probationary services, mental health and offending, joint enterprise and political violence and terrorism.
  • Enjoy teaching that incorporates guest lectures delivered by experts working in the field of offender management, gang life and culture, urban policing, and prisoner care and welfare.

Find out more

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

What will you study on the MA Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology?

The course is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to investigate and analyse contemporary problems of crime, disorder and community safety and to evaluate current policies and practices designed to address them. The core modules focus on applying criminological theory and research to policy and practice, youth offending, disorder and gangs, interpersonal violence and hate crime, and community safety and public protection. The remainder of the programme is made up by studying optional modules which examine particular aspects of crime and criminal justice in depth or through a work-based learning or internship project.

Students must complete 180 credits. In addition to the 20-credit core modules and a Dissertation, students make up the remaining 40 credits of study by choosing either one or two of the optional 20-credit modules and/or one of the work-based learning options.

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.

  • Modules

    • Applying Criminological Research in Policy and Practice (20 Credits)- Compulsory

      In this module you will focus upon the applied nature of research and policy-making in the criminal justice system and the application of research in policy implementation. Your studies will acquaint you with major theoretical positions and debates in applied criminology in a real-world practice setting. This module will demonstrate and illustrate the links between criminological theory and research, and you will explore the relationship between criminological theory and research and criminal justice policy and practice. Your studies will also acquaint you with the principal ways in which research is deployed in a variety of settings, such as child protection, youth justice and community safety. This part of the course aims to equip you with the practical skills and knowledge required to work effectively in a criminal justice policy setting.

    • Interpersonal Violence and Hate Crime (20 Credits)- Compulsory

      In this module you will explore 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 twentieth and early twenty first century has seen a growing focus on these issues and in this module you 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, you’ll examine different forms of interpersonal violence and hate crime. This will include analysis of the contested knowledge base from which estimates and accounts of their nature and extent can be drawn. Finally, you 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) - Compulsory

      In this module you will explore the theoretical background to crime and disorder reduction and provides practitioner based examples and solutions to alleviating it. You’ll 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.

    • Youth Offending, Disorder and Gangs (20 Credits)- Compulsory

      In this module you’ll critically examine contemporary social problems that are often said to threaten the fabric of society, are subject to intense media exposure and scrutiny, involve the deployment of significant resources via schools, the police, the courts, charities, independent commissions etc. and which have also attracted considerable attention from criminologists in recent years. These problems 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. The module takes a realist, applied but critical approach in analysing these issues, drawing on official as well as more critical accounts and research studies for understanding them, and investigating existing and alternative strategies for addressing them.

    • Dissertation in Criminology (60 Credits)- Compulsory

      The dissertation is an original piece of work based on a topic negotiated between you and your supervisor. It provides you with the opportunity to explore in some depth a topic in which you have developed an interest in as well to apply the skills, knowledge and methods learned in preceding modules. In recent years, students have conducted research on stop and search policy, the role of gangs in the London riots, preventing domestic violence, risk assessment in youth justice and drugs in prisons, to name just a few.

      Students who choose a 40 rather than a 60-credit dissertation must also do at least 20 (but up to 60) credits of work-based learning. This is undertaken either in your own workplace (if appropriate) or else through an internship, and requires you to submit a written report documenting and critically reflect upon your work and that of the host organisation, drawing on the academic learning you have gained through studying on the course.

  • Either one or two of the following optional modules:

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

      This module is core on the MSc. Criminology with Forensic Psychology and 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 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 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 complete visits to the criminal courts and one of HM Prisons to embed your learning across both modules.

    • Cybercrime and Society (20 Credits)- Optional

      With increasing amounts of social activity taking place on the Internet cybercrime is becoming an important area of study. By exploring the history, nature and patterns of cybercrime this module will introduce you to the sociological and criminological study of crime on the Internet. Through a series of examples and case studies of Internet related crime you will consider the diversity of cybercrime as well as its prevention and detection. What is cybercrime? What criminological theories can we use to explain cybercrime? What harm does cybercrime cause? How do people become victims of cybercrime? How is cybercrime policed? How can cybercrime prevented? These are some of the questions that will be tackled in class. This module is designed to provide a critical analysis of selected issues in the study of cybercrime and its control. This aim translates into the following objectives:

      • To provide you with a critical introduction to the concept of cybercrime;
      • To examine the impact of cybercrime on contemporary society;
      • To help you develop an understanding of the relationship between developments in information technology and social harm;
      • To understand how the study of cybercrime challenges existing criminological theories and criminal law;
      • To develop your critical and written communication skills in relation to cybercrime issues;
      • To develop independent research and learning
    • Drugs and Crime (20 Credits)- Optional

      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 foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

    • Global Criminology and Policing (20 Credits)- Optional

      This core module on the MA Criminology course aims to engage you in exploring criminological issues from a global perspective, particularly in respect of contemporary debates on the policing of transnational problems and the development of global policing. The module considers policing in a wide rather than narrow context identifying that the changing nature of crime and crime control in a 'globalised' world and the emergence of crimes which transcend national borders requires a globalised approach to crime and justice. The module provides you with a comparative analysis of different countries' approaches to and systems for dealing with crime and the 'globalisation' of criminal justice and explores global policing systems. The module seeks to equip you to undertake your own international and or comparative research and analysis informed by the overarching and illustrative themes and questions raised in lectures and seminars.

    • Human Rights and Justice (20 Credits)- Optional

      In this core module on the MA Criminology you will critically evaluate contemporary perspectives on human rights and justice systems. You will 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. You will start to 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 will also 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 you to engage with a range of issues that you are likely to encounter in contemporary practice settings. The module will require you to critically examine theoretical concepts and practical considerations in human rights and will appeal if you are seeking an academic and technical exposure to human rights prior to undertaking doctoral work. The module also helps develop your 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.

    • Political Violence and Terrorism (20 Credits)- Optional

      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.

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

      This module is core to the MSc. Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme and aims to develop your understanding of how psychology interacts with the criminal justice system. You will consider the psychological and psycho-social dimensions of crime and offending, and the psycho-judicial reactions to it. The module will require you to look at key contributions psychology makes to criminal justice and its related institutions – from delinquency interventions, ‘therapeutic jurisprudence’ and specialist courts, how we understand offenders’ experiences of prison, and specialist offender assessment tools and behavioural treatment programmes both within the community and in prison settings. Through an analysis of the relationship between decisions made at different stages of the criminal justice system, such as by the police, the courts, the parole board, and the implications of those decisions at subsequent stages in the legal process, you’ll be encouraged to reflect upon the application of psychology to the practice of criminal justice.

    • Research 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.

  • And/or one of the following work-based learning options:

    • Work-based Experience (40 or 60 credits)

      This module aims to permit you to maximise academic value from your everyday employment by allowing you to make explicit links between your university and workplace activities, particularly relating theory to practice. The module enables you to enhance the value of both your university and career work by focussing on relevant areas of knowledge and developing these through a reflective review of learning in your normal everyday work setting. You’ll incorporate specific aims and rationale into a negotiated learning agreement. You’re expected to organise your own learning to reflect the nature of your work-based situation, its constraints, and the goals you’re trying to achieve and your personal work and learning style. This will involve reading, negotiating, research and relevant practical activities.

    • Placement (40 or 60 credits)

      Placement learning aims to link academic learning to a placement organisation providing an opportunity to apply, consolidate and develop skills and knowledge from University to the placement and future employment. This practical experience module provides the means for students to link academic work with the 'real world' situation in order to conceptualise the meaning of theory in the wider world context. This module facilitates the embedding of transferable and graduate skills necessary for future career paths and employment. It is envisaged the student will reflect upon areas of knowledge relevant to the placement learning experience and develop personal knowledge through a review of their learning. The placement learning experience provides students with the opportunity to enhance their skills of self expression, communication, self reliance and co-operation. Students will also engage in risk assessment.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. 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 is the MA Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology degree taught?

Teaching on the course 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. This programme in particular includes a number of guest speakers who are practitioners in the field of criminal justice. As a student on the course you will be encouraged to actively participate in your own learning and to engage in questioning and debate within teaching sessions as well as to share and reflect upon your experiences, where appropriate, of working in the field.

In addition to the core teaching sessions, regular events and presentations are organised within the department to create a dynamic culture of knowledge exchange and the generation of ideas and debate among our postgraduate student cohort.

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 attend and deliver your own paper at the conference and have the excellent 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 throughout the year and hosts an annual conference in April. The conference brings together outside speakers, academic staff and current students to listen and discuss contemporary issues of crime and conflict in the world around us. Previous conference themes have been gangs, human rights and citizenship, punishment, policing and protest, feminist debates on sex work and pornography, and European migration and crisis.

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:


Tutor set learning activities

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 Youth Justice, Community Safety and Applied Criminology support your career?

The programme enjoys a particularly good employability record owing to the fact that it provides internship opportunities which provide valuable practical experience in the field that can be vital when applying for roles. Since it was established in the late 1990s, its many graduates have gained work and/or gone onto management positions in areas related to youth justice, probation, policing, community safety, mental health, prisons, and drug and alcohol services.

Those already in industry view their master's-level studies as a means to facilitating career progression within their organisations. A number of students have continued their studies in criminology and psychology at PhD level. Staff in the department will work alongside the employability office to facilitate your future career decisions.

Dr Angus Nurse
Senior Lecturer in Criminology Director of Programmes for Criminology and Sociology

Dr Nurse is a course leader for the new MA Environmental Law and Justice course and is a specialist in the field of wildlife and environmental crime. He has conducted research on behalf of groups such as the Leagues Against Cruel Sports into dog fighting in the UK.

Dr Jennifer Ward
Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Ward is the MSc Criminology with Forensic Psychology programme leader and supervises dissertations and doctoral research.  She is a specialist in criminology and criminal justice and her teaching focuses on sentencing and punishment in the criminal courts, the lay magistracy, and modernising transformations in the lower criminal courts.

Dr Elena Martellozzo
Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Martellozzo is the programme leader for MSc Cybercrime and Digital Investigation and is the author of Policing Online Child Sexual Abuse which was based on research she conducted while embedded in the Metropolitan Police’s Paedophile and High Tech Crime Unit.

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

Criminology MA

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

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

Code: PGL40X

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation MSc

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

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

Code: PGL376

Criminology with Forensic Psychology MSc

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

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

Code: PGL371

Back to top