MSc Criminological Research

Earn a Masters in Criminological Research from Scotland’s top-ranked university for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022). Gain expert training in the latest methods and approaches.

Criminological Research

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

Overview

This course provides you with expert training in the latest methods and approaches used in criminological research.  We're ranked 1st in Scotland and Top 10 in the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022).

We cover the principles of collecting, analysing and reporting on qualitative and quantitative data whilst also taking account of ethics, reliability and validity. You’ll critically examine the theoretical foundations that underpin criminology and socio-legal research, as well as exploring issues with comparative research and developing an understanding of the relationship between criminological research and policymaking.

The course is supported by staff from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Criminal Justice Research – a multi-university body with international influence and links to academics, policymakers and practitioners around the world. The course is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the research training guidelines for undertaking a PhD in the social sciences.

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The MSc Criminological Research provides expert training to ensure you can:

  • collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity
  • critically examine the theoretical foundations that underpin criminological and socio-legal research
  • examine issues concerning comparative criminological and socio-legal research
  • understand the relationship between criminological research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use

The course is designed to be suitable for both novice and experienced researchers. No matter what your level of expertise may be, we’ll equip you with the necessary knowledge and abilities to become successfully employed as a researcher or enrolled as a PhD student.

You’ll study in a multi-disciplinary environment where internationally renowned staff introduce you to cutting edge empirical and theoretical research.

Professional accreditation

The course is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the research training guidelines for undertaking a PhD in the social sciences. As such, prospective students are eligible for the 1+3 studentship, providing you with funding for a one year research training Masters linked to a three year PhD.

The course is supported by staff from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Criminal Justice Research – a multi-university body with international influence and links to academics, policymakers and practitioners around the world.

Flexible learning

Students can study full or part time and all modules feature live classes such as scheduled lecture and seminar sessions.  Flexible learning arrangements can usually be supported in most situation, subject to agreement.

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

Faculty facilities

Students taking this course are affiliated with the Faculty of Social Sciences. Scheduled classes use University teaching spaces such as lecture, seminar and lab venues when relevant.

Research overview

When you study Criminological Research at the University of Stirling, you’ll be introduced to pioneering empirical and theoretical research in a vibrant, multi-disciplinary environment.

Underscoring the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2014) – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, highlights included:

  • 78% of our overall research activity was assessed to be internationally excellent or world-leading
  • 100% of research environment factors assessed as internationally excellent or world leading
  • 100% of our research impact was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent
  • we were judged to have the 2nd highest research power in Scotland and 13th highest in the UK

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.

Other routes of entry

If you don’t currently meet the academic requirements for this course, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need for direct entry.

Explore INTO Stirling programmes to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available for this course and others at the University of Stirling.

English language requirements

Due to disruption in English Language testing caused by COVID-19, we are accepting alternative English Language tests (including online English Language Tests).

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

  • IELTS Indicator 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall with 60 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 105 overall with a minimum of 95 in each sub-skill
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass with a minimum of 152/200 overall and 33 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 20 December 2021

If you are from India, Bangladesh, Ghana or Nigeria please also check your country/region specific page for any additional, or changes to, English language requirements.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

Enhance your research skills and open up future opportunities in criminology with this versatile Masters degree.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2021). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

The MSc in Criminological Research comprises a programme of taught core modules and a dissertation. Alternatively, you can graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma by completing the taught modules but not the dissertation.

You’ll participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work. Teaching methods are tailored for each module to help you acquire new skills in critical thinking, research methodologies, communication and analytical thinking.

You can study the course full-time or part-time:

Full-time: one year, typically study three modules per semester

Part-time: two and a half years, typically study one or two modules per semester

Assessment

You’ll be assessed via a combination of modes including essays, book reviews, research proposals, presentations, critical review essays, open-book class tests, and the research dissertation. 

Classroom hours

During Autumn and Spring semesters, most modules run one morning or one afternoon of scheduled teaching sessions each week. Modules for the MSc Criminological Research have activities scheduled on either Mondays, Thursdays or Fridays each semester. In most circumstances, your timetable is unlikely to require attendance on more than two days per week in any week. 

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

  2021/22 2022/23
Students from the UK£6,600£7,100
Students from the Republic of Ireland£6,600£7,100
Overseas (non-EU) students£16,775£17,275
European Union students£16,775£17,275

Students from the UK

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from the Republic of Ireland

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

European Union students

EU Postgraduate Scholarship

Eligible EU students will automatically receive our EU Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides a 40% fee discount on full-time postgraduate degrees at the University of Stirling.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Overseas students (non-EU)

We offer a range of funding options for overseas students.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

Fully funded places are available on this course through the ESRC. See more details on the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science website.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £10,000 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

Other sources of funding

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

European Union and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

Our Masters is the perfect foundation for a career in research, research management and commissioning or using research. You’ll graduate with a choice of careers available to you across the criminal justice system. This includes joining the Civil Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Police Scotland and other services in the UK or overseas. 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.

  • Benefit from our links to the criminal justice sector and Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
  • Boost your employability by studying at Scotland’s top-rated university for criminology
  • Graduate with the skills to pursue a career in the criminal justice system or academia

Companies we work with

The course is supported by staff from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), which is a collaboration of several Scottish universities. It aims to produce excellent research and develop excellent researchers to enhance the development of policy, practice and public debate around crime and justice. The SCCJR carries international influence and works with fellow academics, policymakers, practitioners and others involved with justice all over the world. As well as benefitting from the expert input of the SCCJR, students studying this MSc Criminological Research course can also attend regular events hosted by the organisation.

The course and its students will also benefit from our strong links to the applied crime and criminal justice sector, including Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.

What our students said

Sara Luísa Meijer Loja
Sara Luísa Meijer Loja
Portugal
MSc Criminological Research
The University of Stirling is known for its excellence in research training and development. The staff at the university are set on teaching you all the tools you might need for your future, and at the same time, they work on keeping you healthy and sane throughout the learning process.
Read Sara Luísa's story

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

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