Criminology MA

Postgraduate (12 months, 15 months full-time, part-time)


January, September

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time (September starts); 15 months full-time or 28 months part-time (January starts)


Examine real-life case studies to piece together the inner workings of serious crime, and the methods used to police it. You’ll gain the skills and knowledge needed for many careers in criminal justice, such as the Police, youth justice, the Home Office or border agencies.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description


This course will prepare you for many criminal justice-related careers, such as the immigration and border agencies, the Police, the Prison Service, the National Probation Service, youth justice, the Home Office, the court system, violence prevention or social policy and research.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • On this module, you will explore the structure and nature of organised illicit trade and discuss the concept of criminal networks, including criminal opportunity and routine activities, to analyse different case studies. These case studies will include financial crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, child abuse, toxic waste and smuggling. You will measure and evaluate the scale of illicit trade in order to analyse the regulatory issues involved and potential preventative mechanisms. You will need to contribute significantly to the weekly seminars by researching and discussing different cases. You will be required to critically analyse the research in a specific area of organised crime and present your ideas. You will also produce a written portfolio including a variety of assessment methods.
  • This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.

Optional modules (subject to availability)

  • Words such as terror, terrorism, terrorist and the 'war on terror' are now a part of our everyday language, but what do these terms really mean? In this module, you will identify and critically examine terror-related issues through criminological and criminal justice perspectives. You will evaluate the effect of changing crime level and the contribution towards moral panics in contrast to the impact of more serious crime waves in societies. You will also evaluate the notion of mobilising a nation through terror-information in relation to the recent adoption of regular risk assessment and analysis measures, as well as propaganda. In addition, you will investigate the shift from 'old' terrorism to 'new' terrorism, as well as the role of domestic criminal justice systems in preventing, investigating and responding to acts of terror. The theme of peacemaking and peacekeeping will run throughout the module - you will explore and critically evaluate successful initiatives throughout the world. You will be assessed through a presentation, summary case study and an essay.
  • This module will present you with theoretical frameworks through which you can analyse why and how violence, as a construct, proliferates globally and locally. You will apply broad theoretical explanations to particular 'violence scenarios', and test more focused, recent research in broader settings. Owing to the multi-faceted nature of violence, literature has often sought to address specific forms of violence discretely, and its study in the Social Sciences has become somewhat fragmented. You will test a range of different theoretical models and apply them to a particular case study of violence. You will also critically evaluate policies and practitioner-based programmes that seek to address violent behaviour, and examine specific scenarios of violence from a range of academic and practitioner-based perspectives. Your assessment will comprise a presentation, four weekly literature reviews and a case study analysis of a violence 'problem'.
  • On this module, you will critically analyse the origins, evolution and role of international institutions in the global order over the course of the 20th and 21st century, in order to understand why these institutions have developed, and why states choose, or do not choose, to use these institutions as a means to achieve their objectives. You will examine the still-evolving structures of global governance, and the role of these organisations and institutions in contemporary politics and diplomacy, looking at the work of specific organisations including the UN, the EU, the IMF and World Bank etc. You will pay particular attention to the challenges inherent in attempting to foster international co-operation and consensus between sovereign nation states, including the limitations of international law, as well as examining possible future developments. Your assessment will comprise an initial report of 1,000 words, a 10-minute presentation, a brief data analysis and a longer essay of 3,500 words.
  • The globalisation of contemporary societies means that criminal activity that was once a primarily national concern is increasingly becoming transnational in nature. As a result, policing bodies now have to manage risk and security on a much wider and larger scale. On this module, you will critically examine the nature of risk and security in contemporary society, beginning with an exploration of the concept of the risk society. You will evaluate contemporary forms of policing and security in societies that are built on the notion of risk, its avoidance and quantification. You will also consider risk from the perspective of corruption within organisations tasked with managing cross border crime. In the second part of the module, you will focus on responses to transnational crime, exploring the nature of intelligence-led policing and the role of police as data patrollers and information gatherers. You will examine specific examples of cross border agency responses, such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL, as well as charting the growth of the power of transnational policing through mutual assistance and multinational agreements such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Memoranda of Understanding. You will be assessed through a portfolio, a presentation and a reflective commentary.


Modules are subject to change and availability.

You’ll show your progress through a combination of essays, presentations, case studies and portfolio work.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

At the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, we believe in thinking critically about the past, present and future to challenge perceptions and better understand communities and people.

With expertise from gender issues to literary analysis to exploring how the past has shaped our modern world, all our staff members are active researchers. This is reflected in our teaching, allowing us to support our students with the latest theories and practices, as well as essential employability advice.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students starting 2022/23 (full-time, per year)


UK students starting 2022/23 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2022/23 (full-time, per year)


International students starting 2022/23 (part-time, per year)


UK students starting 2023/24 (full-time, per year)


UK students starting 2023/24 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2023/24 (full-time, per year)


International students starting 2023/24 (part-time, per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

How do I pay my fees?

UK students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us. Find out more about paying your fees.

International students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Funding for postgraduate students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships and bursaries, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. These include an Alumni Scholarship, worth 20% off fees for ARU graduates.

Teaching at ARU

We offer face-to-face campus teaching (with the exception of Distance Learning courses), supported by our established online learning systems, which provide additional support for individual study and engagement. The number of contact hours varies course by course, and you can contact us for further information.

In the event that there are restrictions that are put into place due to the pandemic by the government - we will endeavour to retain face to face teaching as much as possible but will respond accordingly to the restrictions placed on the University.

International students

As well as a number of scholarships, we offer an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting a course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Check the standard entry requirements for IELTS requirements for this course.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 686868

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 683680

Enquire online