Criminological Research

MRes, Postgraduate Diploma


A suite of MRes courses has been developed concurrently by six subject areas:

  • Applied Social Science; Education
  • Film Media and Journalism
  • Management
  • Nursing, Midwifery and Health
  • Sports Studies

These courses have a shared core of four modules in generic research skills, plus specialist disciplinary modules and a range of options. They combine high quality with flexibility and choice for students. Employability is another important focus, with the opportunity for a research placement offered to all MRes students.

This course prepares students for undertaking social research and evaluation, leading to careers in research, research management and commissioning or using research. The MRes offers a combination of high quality, flexibility and choice. It is also focused on the employability of its graduates. Research work of the 100+ staff and postgraduate students at Stirling is supported by a state-of-the-art Information & Communication Technologies room, one of the best in the UK.

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students who have applied or who have been made an offer to study at the University of Stirling in 2016 (or 2017 deferred entry) are unaffected by the outcome of the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016.

Those who are considering applying to the University for 2017 entry are encouraged to do so in the usual way, and we will keep all applicants informed as relevant details emerge.

  • Degree type: MRes, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: FT: 1 year; PT: 30 months
  • Start date: September & January  
  • Course Director: Richard Simmons
  • Location: Stirling Campus

Programme Administrator

Faculty of Social Sciences
Colin Bell Building
University of Stirling
Scotland UK

View fees and finance

MRes or MSc?

Uniquely, we offer you the opportunity to graduate with an MRes or MSc

Students undertaking the Master of Science or Master of Research follow the exact same pathways. The choice of award is designed to give students freedom in determining what outcome will suit their future aspirations.

MSc Applied Social Research (Criminology)

The Master of Science  is the ideal preparation for social research and evaluation in criminal justice and criminology and will suit those who wish to pursue a career in academia and wish to use the MSc as a precursor to completing a PhD.

MRes Criminological Research

The Masters of Research is best suited for applicants who see their future career in research, research management and commissioning or using research.

Course objectives

The MRes/Postgraduate Diploma Criminological Research provides training in the methods and approaches used in criminological research. 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

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Entry requirements

Academic 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.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

For more information go to English language requirements

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. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs

2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

ASRP002 Research Design and Process (20 credits SCQF level 11)
The module takes students through the process of designing a research project. It enables them to think up an interesting research idea, to carry out a literature review, identify appropriate theoretical frameworks, refine the research question and then work out which methods to use. It introduces students to some of the more common research strategies and methods. It invites reflection on the ethics and politics of the research process and encourages students to think systematically about dissemination of findings, knowledge exchange and research impact. The assessment for the module reinforces what has been learned: it involves thinking up a research topic, refining it into some researchable questions and then writing a proposal for funding.
ASRP003 Introduction to Information Technology and Library Services (0 credits SCQF level 11)
A single practical session to introduce students to topics related to the use of Information Technology and Library Services as they affect participation in the Masters in Applied Social Research/Social Statistics and Social Research, and the conduct of social research generally.
ASRP004 Quantitative data analysis (20 credits SCQF level 11)
The module introduces quantitative data analysis, covering a selection of those statistical techniques which are most commonly employed in social science research. It also covers practical training in the application of quantitative methods to social science data. The emphasis will be on the analysis of data collected in social surveys, particularly the secondary analysis of large scale surveys.
ASRP005 Qualitative data analysis (20 credits SCQF level 11)

This module forms a core element of the above Masters’ programmes that widens our approach to social science research training. This module is designed to bring students from different disciplines together to enhance the range of learning possibilities and promote a greater diversity of input.

The module introduces students to qualitative data analysis. It aims to provide them with understanding and experience of conducting the analysis of qualitative data (including visual data), as well as a critical awareness of the role of computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS).

CRMP013 Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights (20 credits SCQF level 11)
The aim of the module is to introduce students to the study of criminal law, criminalisation, and human rights and the specific challenges involved in conducting research within socio-legal, criminological and human rights environments. It draws on criminology, sociology, jurisprudence and the philosophy of law.
CRMP010 Criminological Perspectives (20 credits SCQF level 11)
In this module, students explore criminological writings in depth, examining the relationship between concepts, theories and methods as part of the student‘s work in preparation for the dissertation.
CRMP020 Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies (20 credits SCQF level 11)
The module introduces students to the specific challenges involved in conducting research within the main criminal justice agencies. It will introduce key data sources used in criminological and socio-legal research (including the use of law library resources) and provide an understanding of the various ways in which criminological research relates to the development of policy

By completing all of the above modules, students will gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Criminological Research. Those who wish to gain the full Masters (MRes or MSc) must, in addition, complete the following:

  • Research Dissertation (60 credits SCQF level 11): Students must undertake an original social science research project and complete a research dissertation with academic supervision.

Examples of recent dissertation topics from our established MSc course 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 MRes/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  and the research dissertation. There are no examinations.

Students are responsible for proposing their own substantive research topic. The course Director and other academic staff will offer guidance on the feasibility of the project and methodologies used within it. A Supervisor is appointed for each dissertation and this member of staff will be able to lend support and their expert knowledge throughout the writing process.

Study method

Part-time; Full-time

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

Semester 1

Research Design and Process

Introduction to Information Technology and Library Services

Quantitative Data Analysis

Criminological Perspectives


Research Design and Process

Introduction to Information Technology and Library Services

Criminological Perspectives

Semester 2

Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights

Qualitative Data Analysis

Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies


Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights

Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies

Semester 3  

Quantitative Data Analysis


Semester 4  

Qualitative Data Analysis


Semester 5   Dissertation

Why Stirling?


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.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Our graduates are well equipped with the necessary competencies and knowledge to forge successful careers in the public, private and third sectors. With newly obtained skills in critical thinking, research methodologies, and analytical and communications skills, Stirling Criminology graduates are attractive to employers from a range of sectors.

Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers across the criminal justice system, joining organisations such as the Civil Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Police Scotland and other services throughout the UK.

Other graduates have steered their career towards academia, research management or gone on to do further study, such as the Applied Social Research (Doctorate) or PhD.

Industry connections

‌‌‌The course is supported by staff from both the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) and Law. SCCJR hosts regular, state-of-the-art events to which students are invited.

The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research is a collaboration of several Scottish universities. It aims to produce excellent research and to develop excellent researchers so as to better the development of policy, practice and public debate about crime and justice. Though based in Scotland and determined to analyse and address crime and justice in Scotland, our work is international both in its influences and in its influence. We work for, with and through fellow academics, policymakers, practitioners and others involved with justice all over the world, believing that Scottish criminology and Scottish criminal justice has much to learn from and much to teach others.

There are also strong links with the applied crime and criminal justice sector, including Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.

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