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Postgraduate Course

Criminology MSc

Explore and challenge crime and the social inequalities that lie behind it.

students studying

Inequality, oppression and patriarchy are all examples of how social factors directly impact the rates and forms of crime that exist in our society today. On this course you will explore issues, including the media, politics and the economy interact with and impact crime.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – York Business School

Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your honours degree is in an unrelated subject

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

At York St John University we have a passion for, and commitment to, social justice. Through research, we aim to have a positive impact on our community by challenging prejudice and inequality and promoting a fairer society. This is a theme that will run throughout this Criminology MSc course.

You will also learn essential skills, training and research methods that are highly desired by employers. You will learn how to analyse all forms of social information and have the opportunity to complete training courses in related software such as Nvivo and ArcGiS.

You will have a significant level of independence as you study, pursuing the areas of research that interest you the most and negotiating your own projects. You will be supported by our staff who have their own research specialisms. We will provide you with 1 to 1 support in designing your own project, whilst guiding you through your research and thesis writing. Topics you may choose to focus on include:

  • Social inequalities
  • Technology
  • Social justice
  • Migration
  • Gender
  • Cultural criminology
  • Principles of law
  • Investigating serious crimes
  • Communities and partnership working

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 3 compulsory modules
  • 2 optional modules
  • 1 independent project

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and the modules will be split across both years.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

In this module you will build on the research skills you will have gained from undergraduate study. Learn valuable skills in quantitative research to help you carry out your own research that you will use for your dissertation at the end of the course. We will teach you the research skills that are most in demand by employers.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on qualitative research methods such as:

  • Case studies
  • Interviews
  • Ethnography
  • Participant observation
  • Focus groups
  • Arts-based and sensory methods

There will be a particular focus on ethical conduct of research and will give you the knowledge and experience surrounding ethical approval of your research. You will also gain skills in collaborating with other researchers, stakeholders, organisations and the wider public.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Explore the theories that underpin criminology and how these are applied in the real world. You will look at how forms of structural inequality, power and hierarchies that exist socially interact with concepts of legal and cultural justice and the impact of political decision-making. Learn how representations of crime in media and cultural discourses impacts how the prevalence of crime and criminality is perceived and interpreted.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Discover how criminology can inform the practical responses we have to social inequality. You will analyse the relationships between community partnerships and social justice to demonstrate how local, national and international movements can frame and inform public policy. Develop a deeper understanding of the causes of social injustice. Through developing a mock conference paper and presenting it you will gain key employment skills.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will develop your understanding and knowledge of criminological research further. It will be particularly beneficial to you if you are considering doctoral level study. You will have the exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with our staff on their current research projects.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Explore current policing practices, procedures, legislation and challenges that are associated with policing and investigating serious crime. You will cover a variety of serious crime matters including:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Homicide
  • Rape
  • Child sexual abuse

You will work through the complexities of 'policing the police' and other crimes that constitute 'state crime'. This will involve analysis of police organisational cultures.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will learn the key principles underpinning the substantive criminal law. You will explore issues from a law perspective to compliment what you have learned from criminological, sociological and social justice theories else where on the course. By the end of the module you will be able to question and critique laws using logic and reason.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

Develop advanced skills by identifying, defining, researching and analysing an issue that you want to explore in further detail. You will have one to one supervision with a specialist supervisor as well as presenting research to your peers and undergraduate students.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

The modules on this course are built around the expertise and interests of our active researchers. This means that you will be taught by experts in the topics you are learning about. You will learn through a range of methods including:

  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Small group work
  • Discussions
  • Library-based research
  • Independent study

We want you to be at the centre of your learning. We will support you to develop your own voice as you join a body of research and to find the areas you are most interested in.

You will have the opportunity to engage in research including taking paid work in research projects or producing research for publication, alongside contributing to a postgraduate research conference.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


You will receive ongoing feedback throughout your course. You will be assessed through a range of approaches including:

  • Written and presentation elements
  • Debates
  • Podcasts
  • Report writing

These assessment methods are designed to help you develop a range of skills that will help you as you transition into the working world or go on to continue your academic studies at doctoral level.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your honours degree is in an unrelated subject

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements


Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 per year for part time study

These costs apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study
  • £5,650 for 2 years of part time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Criminology MSc take you?

This degree could lead you to a career directly related to Criminology, such as working in policing or probation. You might also look for work in areas such as policy and research. It will also prepare you for further academic study at doctoral level. You will learn the skills and knowledge that are in high demand from employers on this course. Gain technical skills such as how to use software for research including SPSS, ArcGIS, Stata, Qualtrics and NVivo. The skills you will learn will be useful in your professional career working to improve systems, organisations and society as a whole.

This will give you an advantage in careers such as:

  • Criminal justice agencies (police, prisons, probation, national security agencies)
  • Local and central government
  • Charities and the third sector


Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £6,500 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2022)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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