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MSc Criminological Research

Earn a Masters in Criminological Research from Scotland’s top-ranked university for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023). Gain expert training in the latest methods and approaches.

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2024
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 30 months
  • Mode of study full time
  • Delivery on campus

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 5 in the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023).

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 situations, 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.

Underpinning the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellence Framework 2021 – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, we ranked 3rd in Scotland and top 25 in the UK – with 100% of our research environment and 88% of our research deemed world leading or internationally excellent.

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.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

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 Academic or UKVI 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 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.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these 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 2023). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

The MSc Criminological Research comprises 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 studying three modules per semester.

Part-time: two and a half years, typically studying 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. Timetabling is coordinated whenever possible, and in most circumstances, classes will not be run on more than two different days per week throughout a semester (although other optional activities may sometimes be available on other weekdays).

There are not normally any scheduled classes that run in the Summer semester, though you will usually arrange to meet your dissertation supervisor on a few occasions within that period.  

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

2023/242024/25
Students from the UK and Republic of Ireland£7,600£8,000
International (including EU) students£17,775£18,700

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our  Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship

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.

Eligible students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

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

Funding 

Eligible international students could receive a scholarship worth between £4,000-£7,000. See our range of generous scholarships for international postgraduate students.

University of Stirling alumni will automatically be awarded a fee waiver for the first year of Masters studies through our Stirling Alumni Scholarship.

Applicants from the UK or Republic of Ireland who hold a first-class honours degree or equivalent will automatically be awarded a £2,000 scholarship through our Postgraduate Merit Scholarship.

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.

Fully funded places

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 £11,500 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £12,167 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,770 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.

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.

International (including EU) 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 across the globe. 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

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