Applied Social Research (Criminology)

Study Criminology and graduate with a university degree

MSc, Postgraduate Diploma

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Applied Social Research (Criminology)
  • Type Part-time, Full-time
  • Start date Full-time: September Part-time: September/January

Richard Simmons School of Applied Social Science
Colin Bell Building
University of Stirling
Scotland UK
+44 (0) 1786 466314

The course prepares students for undertaking social research and evaluation in criminal justice and criminology, leading to careers in research, research management, and commissioning or using research.‌


The course is recognised as research training by the ESRC for those who are studying or going on to study for a PhD (+3), and is also recognised by the ESRC for Master’s Course plus Research Studentship (1+3) purposes.

Course objectives

This MSc has been designed to run concurrently with the MSc Applied Social Research, a long-standing course in Applied Social Science that is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the standards of their Research Training Guidelines. The objectives are to:

  • Provide you with the skills and knowledge base required to collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity
  • Enable you to examine critically the theoretical foundations that underpin criminological and socio-legal research
  • Enable you to examine issues concerning comparative criminological and socio-legal research
  • Develop your understanding of the relationship between criminological research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences and meet the required progression grades, you will be guaranteed entry onto year one of this Master's degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study

Full-time: one year, five modules per semester
Part-time: two and a half years, two/three modules per semester

Daytime teaching

Course start date

Full-time: September

Part-time: September/January

Structure and content

The MSc/Diploma in Applied Social Research (Criminology) comprises eight compulsory taught core modules, a group project and (for the MSc) a dissertation.

The modules are: The Nature of Social Enquiry; Research Design and Process; Introduction to Information Technology and Library Services; Quantitative Data Analysis; Qualitative Data Analysis; Comparative Social Research; Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies; Criminological Perspectives.

In addition to the modules, you will complete both of the following:

  • Group Project: An opportunity to obtain first-hand experience of research techniques, data collection strategies and group work with the guidance of staff.
  • Research Dissertation: MSc students must undertake an original criminological or socio-legal research study and complete a research dissertation with academic supervision.

Examples of recent dissertation topics include:

  • Explaining Crime through Narrative
  • Nurses Perceptions of Workplace Violence and Aggression within an A&E Department
  • Policing a Democracy
  • The Effect of Anti-Terror Legislation on Liberty

Delivery and assessment

Teaching methods are designed for each module to facilitate your acquisition of skills and progressive development. You are expected to participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work.

Full-time and part-time MSc/Diploma students experience a range of different forms of assessment across the compulsory taught modules. These include essays, critical review essays, book reviews, research proposals, a computer lab-based assessment for quantitative data analysis, group project reports and the research dissertation. There are no examinations.

Course Director

Richard Simmons


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

More information

RAE rating

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 95 percent of research in Applied Social Science at Stirling was 'Internationally Excellent' with the top 10 percent of that judged to be 'World-leading'.

Career opportunities

90.5% of Stirling students are in employment or further study six months after graduation.





2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500
2015/16 Overseas £11,900
2015/16 Home/EU £4,500

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


ESRC quota awards are available on a competitive basis for students who wish to pursue the MSc plus a PhD on a 1+3 basis. Please contact Applied Social Science for details.