Skip to main content
Speak to a tutor

About the course

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.

Enrichment activities and learning opportunities are available alongside the core curriculum, giving students the chance to learn from guest speakers, visit criminal justice organisations and network at industry events. These additional activities help to provide detailed insights into the criminal justice system and the careers it offers. Past speakers have come from the police, courts, prisons, probation services, youth justice services and cyber security firms. 

The course team themselves have had extensive experience of the criminal justice system and its related disciplines, providing students with unique personal insights. The ties they have with the professional world have helped past students secure volunteer placements, temporary paid work, work shadowing weeks and internships.

You can apply direct to Solent University for this course.
Apply direct
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
You can study this course part-time.
Part time option

The course is delivered by an experienced course team with established links to criminal justice agencies, private businesses and charities. The teaching team are active researchers and have contributed internationally renowned research projects.

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.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £8,220
International full-time fees: £13,905
UK, EU and Channel Island part-time fees, year one: £2,740
UK, EU and Channel Island part-time fees, year two: £5,480
International part-time fees: Students from outside the EU are usually unable to obtain a visa for part-time study. Please visit our  visas and immigration page for more information.

Students in receipt of a postgraduate loan from the Student Loan Company are typically able to pay their tuition fees via instalments.

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2020/21 optional costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous optional costs were:

Optional costs:

The course offers optional trips to all students to the USA and Strasbourg.

  • USA trip is around £1,400-£1,500
  • Strasbourg trip is around £500 

There will also be occasional trips to courts, police training etc. where students must pay for own transport and subsistence. 

Study trips occur throughout the year, and although optional, prove very popular. Previous UK trips have included: Hampshire Police Training, Houses of Parliament, Sustainable Criminal Justice Solutions, Middle Temple, Southampton Crown Court, Old Bailey, The Ripper Tour, Team building YMCA activities, and various legal firms.

International trips include our annual USA and Brussels Trips. Further trips are being considered to Amsterdam and the Hague. These trips are typically three days in duration except the USA trip that has been 6-7 days. Costs are based on current air fares and hotel prices.

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in an area related to criminology

  • and/or an equivalent professional qualification.
  • Other qualifications/experience will be considered if you can also demonstrate graduate-equivalent knowledge, abilities and skills.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you are capable of undertaking research.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.5 overall with minimum of 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in reading, listening and speaking
  • TOEFL IBT 92 with minimum of 22 in writing and a minimum of 19 in reading, listening and speaking
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a Pre-Sessional English Language Course for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.


Solent alumni save up to 50% on their tuition fees

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

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



Starts on 26 September 2020 Starts on 25 September 2020
Apply Apply

Alumni discount

Solent alumni could be eligible for up to a 50% reduction of tuition fees if returning to study a postgraduate course. The discount applied will be dependent on your undergraduate degree classification as follows:

Solent Alumni with a:

  • First (1.1) will be offered a 50% discount to study at PG level
  • 2.1 or 2.2 will be offered a 20% discount to study at PG level

The discount applied will be based on the most recently completed course.

If you are currently a student at Solent University and are continuing on without a break in your studies, your discount will be automatically applied on your return.

If are not following directly on from a course at Solent University, but have studied with us in previous years, you will need to register for the alumni discount.

Click here to register or to find out more

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

During the first and second terms, you will study core and option units. You will plan, research and write your dissertation during the third term and over the summer.

Core modules

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.

Two options (during the second term) from:

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.

Please note: Not all optional units are guaranteed to run each year.


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Meet the course team

Simon Fox academic profile Simon Fox Head of Subject View profile
Dr Richard John academic profile Richard John Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


We provide a stimulating learning environment and access to state-of-the-art resources to help you make the most of your time with us. Flexible spaces, Wi-Fi facilities and learning zones all contribute to our lively and contemporary study environment at Solent.

Students study contemporary and comparative criminology, criminal justice and essential human science research skills. Students can also tailor the degree to their own unique career ambitions, selecting from optional units in penology, international policing, historic crime, drugs and terror security.

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.

  • One of the striking elements for me, was how the lecturers prompted and encouraged me to critically analyse historical elements of my police career. I can remember policing through the public disorders of the 1980’s. What I gained through the MSc was understanding the ‘why’. I started to question why I did what I did as a police officer back then, but now with a broader and deeper context.

    Adrian Kingswell, Alumni, Chief Inspector (Former), Head of Learning & Development - Hampshire Constabulary

  • The MSc course is brilliant and being taught in small groups means that the learning can be tailored to your interests. Everybody has a chance to have their say and engage in the discussions. I am currently working for the Hampshire Police Constabulary, and I feel that the MSc will benefit me in the job market

    Jamie Curry, graduate

  • The curriculum was structured and developed around contemporary themes in policing such as transnational police cooperation and the fight against terrorism. The research methods and comparative international policing modules in particular, offered an array of theoretical insights within the applicability and practical issues surrounding these themes.

    Natalia Sabadas, Alumni - Researcher at Sustainable Criminal Justice Solutions CIC Limited

  • I found the theory on society and human biological impact on criminal behaviour fascinating and I wish I had been aware of some of this earlier in my career. The tutors were all very helpful and willing to engage in wider debates. Overall, an excellent course which I can recommend to aspiring and established practitioners in the criminal justice area.

    Paul Stickler, Freelance Lecturer and Researcher in Criminology and ex Police Officer

  • Studying at Solent has been great, particularly given the expertise of the lecturers and the wide-ranging links with criminal justice agencies. The MSc has enabled me to build upon my skills and knowledge in a specialised area. I really enjoy the classes as they allow us to debate important issues and the lecturers are always willing to help out with any queries you have.

    Ruth Curtis, student

Industry links

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.

Solent University Open Days

Experience Solent for yourself. Meet our staff, students and explore our amazing facilities.

View our events