Criminological Research

Study Criminological Research and graduate with a university degree

Postgraduate Diploma, MRes

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Criminological Research
  • Type Part-time, Full-time
  • Start date Full-time: September Part-time: September/January See

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

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.

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

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.

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

See semester dates

Structure and content

The MRes/Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Social Research comprises seven compulsory taught modules, one further taught module option and (for the MRes) a dissertation.

The compulsory modules are: The Nature of Social Enquiry; Research Design and Process; Quantitative Data Analysis; Qualitative Data Analysis; Criminological Perspectives; Criminalisation, Social Control and Human Rights; Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-legal Studies.

You must also take one further module from a list including the following:

  • Research Placement
  • Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research
  • Discourse Analysis

or other modules by arrangement with the Course Director.

In addition to the above modules, MRes students will complete the following:

  • Research Dissertation: MRes students must undertake an original social science research study 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, 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 the 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 graduates 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.


Information on possible sources of funding