Criminology MSc - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 7

Final award and programme/pathway title

MSc Criminology

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
PGDip Criminology
PGCert Criminology

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time PLE61022 180 credits and 90 ECTS credits
Part-time PLE61023 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

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.

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 Students on the CCJSR MSc are encouraged to take up opportunities for experiential learning in workplace settings, providing extended opportunities for work experience and career development in professional research settings. Finding a placement is primarily a student led process, though the department will support students in finding 3-4 week research placements during Spring and Summer vacation periods. This approach has recently been supplemented to include strategies of support for students seeking a wider range of opportunities for professional development in the first-hand experience of research organisation - including such activities as part-time internships over longer periods, workplace visits, or shadowing research professionals. This introduces further flexibility in a student-led process of professional development in light of increasing external pressures on students¿ commitments and responsibilities. All, however, involve opportunities to consider issues in career development and professional skills. The support process involves the Department working closely with students on a one-to-one basis toward their goals and requirements, in association with the University's Careers Service, to offer pastoral advice and support.
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) N
Dual degree N

Other information

In semester 1 of this year long (FT) programme, students acquire core skills in Criminology and social science with modules focussed upon quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, together with key criminological frameworks. Semester 2 builds upon this knowledge with a more specific focus upon nature of criminal offending and its typical demographic and statistical patterns within UK and international jurisdictions. The structure of criminal justice and law enforcement responses to this 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 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 and ongoing changes here impact upon crime and the functioning of the criminal justice system is a central theme within the Msc Criminology. For example, 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 the modules SOCM008 and SOCMO067, The Criminal Justice System and Comparative Criminology students acquired an understand of how the UK justice system functions in global terms and how it compares with the systems in other jurisdictions. 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

Digital skills and the capacity to engage with digital learning tools are a fundamental outcome of the MSc Criminology. 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. 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
By the time they graduate, students will have become skilled in evaluating their digital capabilities and understanding how these can be used to further enhance their understanding of the digital impacts on crime and criminal justice.

iii. Employability

The MSc Criminology has been designed to suit 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 tyeh 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 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 expected 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

Issues around social order, justice and criminality are at the heart of sustainable societies and the MSC Criminology 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 green and environmental crime, urban disorder, educational dysfunction, mental health issues 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.