This MSc, designed by a panel of academic departments, industrial partners and law enforcement and security agencies, introduces students to the fundamental knowledge, core expertise and advanced, evidence-driven methodological tools and approaches required to understand, analyse, prevent, disrupt and detect organised crime and terrorism.
Students develop an understanding of how science, engineering and a variety of professional disciplines can contribute to tackling organised crime and terrorism. By the end of the programme, they will be able to apply appropriate scientific principles and methods to security problems, think strategically to develop and implement countermeasures, and appreciate the complexity involved in the design and implementation of organised crime and terrorism threat-reduction technologies.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
Students are required to complete five core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma comprising five core modules (75 credits) and three optional modules (45 credits), and which may lead to the MSc, is offered.
Students choose three of the following:
NB: places for optional modules are awarded on a first-come first-served basis.
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, projects and laboratory classes. Student performance is assessed through laboratory and project reports, unseen written examination, coursework, presentations, and the research project and dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism MSc
This unique linking of organised crime and terrorism, and the study of methodologies that can practically tackle both of these areas, means that this MSc holds appeal for employers across a broad range of industries.
Recent career destinations for this degree
This programme equips students with the knowledge to develop operational strategies to counter organised crime and terrorism. This unique linking of organised crime and terrorism, and the study of methodologies that can practically tackle both of these areas, means that this MSc holds appeal for employers across a broad range of industries.
Each year we ask our graduates to tell us about their experience of the programme and their career after leaving UCL and we include some real-life graduate profiles on our website.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The UCL Jill Dando Institute, of which UCL Security & Crime Science is the core component, is the first research institution in the world devoted specifically to reducing crime through teaching, research, public policy analysis and by the dissemination of evidence-based information on crime reduction.
This MSc programme is delivered by experienced practitioners and researchers working in counter-terrorism, intelligence, law enforcement, risk assessment and security technology. It boasts a unique multidisciplinary platform, being the only postgraduate programme of its kind in the world taught in a faculty of engineering sciences, integrating the cutting-edge of the social and engineering sciences in the security domain.
Our graduate students come from varied backgrounds; many are practitioners and are encouraged to contribute their experience in and out of the classroom.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
This programme provides dynamic and interdisciplinary analysis into fields of conflict studies and theories and concepts on violence, terrorism studies and international security. The MA in VTS helps students develop a critical and analytical approach to problems in history and the contemporary world in these three core areas. It challenges accepted wisdom and opens up the debate about the role of violence in relation to political power in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Successfully completing the MA can enhance students' opportunities for career advancement by developing their knowledge and skills, including the independent research skills required for the dissertation.
Six taught modules, plus a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words.
Students will take:
3 core modules/classes in the autumn term:
2 core modules/classes in the spring term
Plus one elective module/class from the following:
Over the summer term students complete a 15,000 word MA dissertation
Some recent MA VTS dissertation topics have included:
Assessment and Feedback
Assessment and Feedback are continuous throughout the course of study.
Students are provided a range of assessment approaches, both formal and informal as well as formative and summative, in order to enhance the student learning experience and improve student attainment. Each module typically consists of two or three main pieces of assessment and can include essays, policy reports, simulations, presentations, among other forms of assessment.
Feedback is provided throughout the VTS programme for continuous student reflection and growth. Teachers provide thorough and systematic feedback on assessed work. Feedback is also available from your personal tutor as well as via various support mechanisms and training courses in the university, such as via the Student Guidance Centre.
The MA in VTS provides you with the essential transferable skills and in-depth knowledge of theories and issues in the areas of violence, security and terrorism for career development at any stage, from students straight from an undergraduate degree with limited to no prior professional experience to those seeking continued professional development. The programme enables you to broaden your horizons providing you with a competitive edge in a global graduate market in a wide variety of areas such as the security sector, including intelligence agencies, government agencies and public office, the military, NGOs, academia, businesses and corporations, and the media among many other possibilities.
We are proud that many of our graduates have gone to serve in the most senior ranks of a number of National Police Services, and Law Enforcement Agencies, Border and Immigration Control, National Armed Forces including the US Army, US Air Force, US Secret Service, British Army and Irish Defence Forces. Our graduates also work as senior government policy advisers in a variety of different countries, including the State Department in the USA, in international NGOs in diverse parts of the globe including major conflict zones, other graduates have gone into international security consultancy, and many have worked in the media, and others have gone on to successful careers working for international business in a variety of capacities. The MA also provides the research skills and knowledge to carry out a PhD to pursue, as a number of our graduates have done, an academic career.
Terrorism and security issues are at the top of the political agenda in many countries. This exciting and unique course gives you the opportunity to study these issues in depth, in a dynamic and stimulating academic environment.
During your time with us, you will examine a wide range of topics in depth, including terrorist groups and their strategies and counter-terrorism policies in the US, UK, Europe and the Middle East. You will also have the opportunity to examine the place of terrorism in relation to other threats to security, and the place of counter-terrorism strategies in relation to other state-led efforts to achieve and maintain security.
This course has both full-time and part-time routes. The part-time route can be studied via distance learning.
If studying by attendance you will be taught through one three-hour session per week for each module. These sessions consist of introductory lectures and seminar discussions.
Distance learning modules are run via BlackBoard, the virtual learning environment. Each week a podcast lecture will be provided, as will key readings, a further reading list and online discussion questions. You will listen to the podcast, engage with the key readings, and actively contribute to online discussions in response to questions set by your lecturers.
You will be assessed through two essays per module each weighted at 50% of the overall mark for the module. After the successful completion of 120 credits (four modules) you will proceed to the 14,000 word dissertation (60 credits) or, for students given permission to do so by the Programme Leader, the Terrorism and Security Practicum.
Graduates from this course follow a range of careers in the civil service, the armed forces, intelligence agencies, consultancies, international or non-governmental organisations, think tanks and research institutions and the media.
You will develop a wide range of skills on the course (writing skills, communication skills, presentation skills, and analytical skills) that are transferable to a variety of careers. This means that you can follow a range of careers in the civil service, the armed forces, international or non-governmental organisations, think tanks and research institutions, and the media.
Graduates from this course have progressed in careers within Greater Manchester Police, the Home Office, the Lancashire Police Counterterrorism Branch, the security services of other countries, IT companies in the United States as well as international organisations such as the Strategic Police Matters Unit at the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE).You may also pursue further study at doctoral level.
You have the opportunity to attend stimulating guest lectures, seminars and conferences, which bring researchers and practitioners together. These will make you better informed as to how the industry works and your current or future place within it.
The course’s broad introduction to cutting-edge research and current academic controversies offers an excellent foundation for further in-depth research into terrorism and security issues.
The University’s Politics and Contemporary History Research Centre builds on the active research programme provided by the Politics and Contemporary History seminar series.
Want to make a real difference to society? With the Master of Security and Crime Science, you will develop the skills required to become a leader in the security, intelligence and crime-prevention areas in the public and private sectors.
You will combine skills from different disciplines such as Statistics, Computer Science, Geographic Information Systems, Population Studies, Psychology and Management. You'll develop analytical and creative methods to tackle real-world crime, and improve security in an ever-changing society.
This degree will provide a pathway to a career in policy development, crime or accident detection and analysis in both the public and private sectors. The skills you gain from the degree will enable you to promote and enhance security and community safety.
The Master of Security and Crime Science is the first of its kind in New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region, lead by the New Zealand Institute for Security and Crime Science (NZISCS). The Institute is the primary research partner for the New Zealand Police, and a partner at the Evidence Based Policing Centre in Wellington. Papers and research topics will be delivered by world-leading researchers in psychology, statistics, artificial intelligence including machine learning, cyber security, political science, economics, management, law, education, Māori and indigenous development, and demographic research.
In collaboration with the New Zealand Police, students and researchers investigated drug abuse intervention, developed software to help police monitor offenders on bail, invented new methods to research burglary offences, researched sex abuse attitudes amongst school age children, and optimised traffic patrolling. The Masters degree requires students to investigate and tackle real security and crime problems in collaboration with public and private partners.