Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) MSc - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

MSc Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity)

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
PGDip Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity)
PGCert Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity)

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time PLE61026 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits
Part-time PLE61027 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)

Other internal and / or external reference points


Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Sociology

Programme Leader

ADAMS Maria (Sociology)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • Provide a grounding in the discipline of criminology.
  • Combine this with specialised understanding of the key issues in cybercriminality.
  • Develop an understanding of the cybersecurity measures available to combat cybercrime.
  • Offer training in the full range of qualitative and quantitative methods of social research.
  • To meet the needs of students graduating from a first degree who have an interest in cybercrime.
  • To support those who are currently employed and wish to apply knowledge of criminology and cybercrime within their present job.
  • To support those who wish to move into specialised research or practice in the fields of cybercrime and cybercriminality.
  • Provide an ideal foundation to undertake a part-time or full-time PhD.
  • To assist our PG cohort in attaining the relevant skills and capacities to meet the University¿s Curriculum Framework Themes (Global and Cultural Capabilities, Employability, Digital Capabilities, Resourcefulness and Resilience, and Sustainability), both during their experiences on the programme and following graduation

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Show critical awareness and understanding of the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of the discipline of criminology K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Developed and demonstrated knowledge about the core debates and issues in cybercrime and cybersecurity K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Understand the use and value of a wide range of different research approaches across the quantitative and qualitative spectra K PGCert, MSc
Recognise the significance of social/political contexts of cybercrime and the uses of research in enhancing understanding of its causes and preventative approaches K PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Understood how the concerns of criminology and the criminal justice system connect to and interact with wider social issues C PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Acquired and utilised practical knowledge of a range of different traditions and methods relevant to conducting criminological research, from survey research to field methods C PGCert, MSc
Systematically formulate researchable problems C MSc
Analyse qualitative and quantitative data drawn both from `real world' and `virtual World¿ environments, using basic and more advanced techniques, and draw warranted conclusions C MSc
Use the range of research techniques commonly employed in criminological and cybercrime research P MSc
Employ a quantitative and qualitative software package to manage and analyse crime and other social data P MSc
Work to deadlines and within work schedules T PGCert, PGDip, MSc
Communicate criminological ideas, principles and theories by oral, written and visual means T PGCert, PGDip, MSc

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This Master's Degree programme is studied full-time over one academic year, consisting of 180 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)
- Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)


This Master's Degree programme is studied part-time over two academic years, consisting of 180 credits at FHEQ level 7. All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits)
- Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
Professional Training Year (PTY) N
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) Y Yes
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

1: Year 1 (full-time) Full-Time FHEQ Level 7 (180 credits)

1: Year 1 (part-time) Part-Time FHEQ Level 7 (90 credits)
2: Year 2 (part-time) Part-Time FHEQ Level 7 (90 credits)

In semester 1 of this year long (FT) programme, students acquire core skills in Criminology, Cybercrime/Cybersecurity and social science with modules focussed upon quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, together with key criminological frameworks and an introduction to the management of information security. Semester 2 builds upon this knowledge with a more specific focus upon the nature of cybercrime and cybersecurity, together with offending patterns more widely. The legal, technical and social control responses to digital offending are analysed to provide students with a comprehensive framework for the extended research project they complete over the summer for their MSc dissertation. The PT programme mirrors this structure over a 2 year period.

The MSc Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) within the Department of Sociology seeks to provide graduates with a firm grounding in the five pillars of Global and Cultural Capabilities, Digital Capabilities, Employability, Resourcefulness and Resilience and Sustainability.

i. Global and cultural capabilities

Understanding how global and cultural issues impact upon crime and the functioning of the criminal justice system is a central theme within the Msc Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity).

For example, on the module SOCM051, students acquire an understanding of the ways in which digital crime, as a transjurisdictional offence poses challenges to the functionality of national criminal justice systems and the changes of enforcing domestic law at an international level or within foreign jurisdictions where cybercriminality is tolerated. Students are able to learn about the ways in which digital crime ¿hubs¿ have developed at the global level and the impact of local cultural influences upon this - from West African romance frauds to Eastern European malware factories,

On the module SOCM032, Criminological Theories, students are introduced to key ideas around cultural-societal constructions of crime such as labelling theory, Sutherlands differential theories of crime and cultural criminology itself. In SOCM026, Law, Society and Social Control students acquire an understanding of how legal systems function in global terms and what this means for the global order. In the dissertation module SOCM032, they have the opportunity to demonstrate in detail their understanding of the global challenges facing contemporary justice systems and the influence of diverse cultures, from Africa to Asia in offending types and patterns.

ii. Digital capabilities

Understanding how digital technologies can be used and misused is a core theme of the focus upon cybercrime and cybersecurity which this MSc provides for students.

In COMM037 Information Security Management and COMM050 Information Security for Business and Government students acquire technical skills in the way digital tools can be used to protect sensitive data and are trained in best practice when seeking to guard digital networks against external threats

In SOCM051 Cybercrime and Cybersecurity, students develop a more nuanced understanding of the way that technical issues in digital security are modulated through the challenges posed by the ¿human factor¿. They learn how key attacks vectors such as ransomware attacks are often enabled by the manipulation of trust and by techniques of online deception such as phishing. Their capabilities to use digital tools safely and for the benefit of society more widely are significantly enhanced as a result.

In addition, they are thoroughly versed in the emerging role of digital technologies in the process of justice. For example, in the module SOCM068, Policing and the Police they explore the way that contemporary policing has become dependent upon technologies like digital forensics, or new policing tools for predicting likely offending hotspots. IN SOCM008 they are introduced to new practices like Virtual courtrooms and the digitisation of legal papers.

More widely students are assisted in using a wide range of digital tools for furthering their knowledge, such as online library catalogue or for enhancing their capacity in digital communication via platforms like MS Teams. And aside from the familiarity they gain with online learning systems like Surrey Learn, students acquire practical skills in handling cutting edge analytic tools used in social research like NVivo and R Studio. They learn how to engage with large datasets and to apply digital tools to these to find significant patterns and correlations.

By the time they graduate, students will have become highly skilled in evaluating their digital capabilities and understanding how these can be used to further enhance their understanding of digital crime and digital justice.

iii. Employability

The MSc Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) has a strong practitioner focus which provides students with a range of applied skills that will assist them in finding success in the workplace. By providing a rounded training in the management and interpretation of digital security graduates are well placed to benefit from the demand for digital capabilities by employers

The MSc also meets the needs of those seeking careers in the criminal justice system or related fields. Extensive training in the applied aspects of justice systems is at the core of the programme and these provide a portfolio of skills which enable graduates to quickly adapt to the workplace.
Students benefit from the practitioner-oriented content of modules and have the opportunity to learn from the professional expertise of staff and guest lecturers within the field. They also benefit from access to nationwide programmes like ¿Learning Together¿, which enables student to gain experience in working in prisons which the Department of Sociology has helped pioneer across the UK.
The Tuesday & Friday structure of course delivery allows those already in the professional world to retain their positions whilst furthering skills which can advance them in the workplace. It also allows time for full time students to acquire work experience whilst still completing their MSc qualification. In addition, the placement component of the MSc, though student-led can further enhance skills and experience in a chosen field. More widely, key skills emphasized in the MSC dissertation such as the ability to link theory with practice; to analyse and appraise data all contribute to promoting their appeal to employers.

iv. Resourcefulness and resilience

The postgraduate orientation of the MSC encourages student independence and proactivity in their learning. Whilst they are always supported by staff they are also expect to demonstrate resilience, self regulation and agility in accessing learning materials and delivering assessments by relevant deadlines.
Self reflection and critical awareness are central to the module on the programme and seminar activities allow students to gain skills in leadership, and problem-solving.

The yearlong MSC year dissertation promotes resourcefulness and problem solving in conducting research and acquiring data and students are also required to engage with ethical considerations in formulating proposals and working with research students. Many of their research topics may require collaboration with professionals in the field and being sensitive to how to overcome challenges which may arise as a result.

v. Sustainability

The global advance of digital technology raises numerous issues around sustainability and students on the MSc Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) benefit from a range of issues covered on the programme which address this. For example, on COMM037 & COMM050 they learn how to manage information economically and efficiently in order to reduce the challenges to workplace sustainability arising from data breaches or IP Theft.
On SOCM051 they learn how the dissemination of misinformation across digital networks is posing challenges to political institutions and social stabilities and investigate ways in which digital providers can better respond to these threats

Issues around social order, justice and criminology are also at the heart of sustainable societies and the programme is well tailored to assist students in developing skills and capacities in these areas. Understanding how social division and structural inequality often foster criminality ¿ and thereby damage sustainable societies are central to the criminological theories studied on SOCM032, whilst SOCM019 is designed to make sense of offending patterns and their roots in poverty, prejudice and a failure to address.
Issues around gender bias and racial inequality are similarly core to understanding how criminal justice systems, law and social control function and are addressed in modules such as SOCM008 & SOCM026.

The Dissertation or independent project allows students to consider wider issues around sustainability and the threats posed to by illicit or illegal behaviours in greater depth. For example, in relation to digital crime, green and environmental crime, urban disorder, and problems with societal failure to adequately manage the health and well-being of its citizens. In turn, the ethical sensitivities they are encouraged to develop during the research process ensure they are able to act upon challenges to sustainability as well as to understand their causes and origins.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.