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Are you fascinated by criminology? Hoping to increase your suitability for higher level positions within the criminal justice sector? Solent University’s postgraduate criminology and criminal justice programme will help you to develop an advanced understanding of the contemporary issues and debates surrounding criminal justice institutions, crime and criminal punishment.

Students on Solent University’s postgraduate criminology and criminal justice programme study the core curriculum alongside a choice of two specialist units. This chance to specialise is important, helping students to orient their knowledge towards specific roles in the criminal justice sector. 

This programme also encourages students to develop a range of transferable interpersonal and verbal communication skills through presentations, role-plays, debates, interviews and group work. These competencies are valued in a wide range of industries.

What does this course lead to?

With this internationally respected qualification, you’ll be well placed to pursue a variety of career opportunities. Past graduates have pursued careers in police management, international law enforcement, the National Offender Management Service, financial security and academia.

Who is this course for?

This master’s degree has been designed for criminology graduates or those who have an equivalent professional qualification.

The course is ideal for those who wish to pursue a career in criminal justice or who are currently working within this area.

How to apply

Applications for postgraduate courses can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. However, we strongly recommend you apply at your earliest convenience.

Please ensure you upload the following mandatory documents with your application.

  • Two academic references
  • Certified transcripts of qualifications, including English language proficiency if non-UK student
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of current visa (if applicable)
  • A personal statement
  • Employer sponsor form where appropriate

Core units

Contemporary and Comparative Criminology

This unit focuses on contemporary criminological debate. You will learn how to connect criminological theory with contemporary developments, such as globalisation, and examine the various issues in the international study of criminology.

Contemporary and Comparative Criminal Justice

You’ll examine how crime, criminal justice policy and practices have developed globally and how this, and cross-jurisdictional approaches to crime, affect criminal justice in England and Wales. You will also explore major international shifts in the justice process and the delivery of punishment.

Project Design and Professional Development

You’ll develop your knowledge of the theoretical and practical issues involved in research. You will look at various perspectives related to the fields of study and build your awareness of different methodologies.

Methods of Inquiry in the Human Sciences

This unit covers research skills and methods in the human sciences. You will learn about quantitative and qualitative investigative techniques and the broader epistemological framework. There is a central focus on research ethics and the application of research to policy and practice.

Master's Project/Dissertation

You will design, write and present a challenging 20,000-word project or dissertation in your chosen area. The theme will be agreed with your supervisor.


Contemporary Penology 

You will gain a critical understanding of the consistencies, contradictions and conflicts in current penal policy. The unit also examines key discourses and debates on diversity and division centred on poverty, social exclusion, race, gender and age.

Comparative Legal Systems

You will gain a comprehensive understanding of legal systems, focusing on criminal law in the global context. The unit covers the history and development of comparative law as well as emerging challenges. You will look at the issues of global diversity and examine in-depth some of the major legal systems.

Comparative International Policing

This unit explores the international nature of policing. You’ll look at the globalised character of crime, which has led to co-operation, investigation and prevention beyond localised jurisdiction.

Political Violence, Terrorism and Security

You’ll learn about the history and contemporary nature of terrorism. Using historical case studies, you will consider the long-standing problem of defining terrorism. You will look at the root causes of terrorist conflicts, urban terrorism in western Europe, the birth of global terrorism, Al-Qaeda and the global war on terror.

Researching Historic and ‘True Crime’

This unit examines the cultural significance of criminal cases through a critical analysis of historic and ‘true crime’ representations. You will learn how to research criminal cases and their representations, using official and historical resources and popular narratives.

Drugs, Crime and Justice

You’ll study issues relating to illegal drugs in the global and domestic context. This includes: the development of drug controls and drug policy; the links between production, trafficking, organised crime and terrorism; and the nature and context of criminal justice interventions.

Programme specification document

Your Future

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Prison service
  • Police
  • Probation
  • Courts
  • Drugs services
  • Security
  • Public and private sector security and investigation
  • Local government community safety

The MSc provides a solid foundation for subsequent research at MPhil and PhD level.

We welcome regular guest lecturers who provide a detailed insight into working in the criminal justice sector and prospective career opportunities.

Recent speakers have included:

  • serving and former police detectives in the Metropolitan and Hampshire Police
  • serving chief officers from Hampshire and Dorset Police
  • judges and magistrates
  • staff from the National Crime Agency, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the National Offender Management Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.


Past students have completed a wide range of interesting and informative placements with:

  • the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office
  • the criminal justice sector (paid work)
  • witness and victim services
  • probation services
  • youth offending teams
  • voluntary positions in the criminal justice field.

Visit the Criminology and Criminal Justice MSc page on the Solent University website for more details!





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