MSc Crime and Justice

The MSc Crime and Justice focuses on contested notions of ‘Crime’ and ‘Justice’. The overall aim of the MSc is to facilitate the development of a deeper knowledge and understanding of central issues and debates in the criminal justice arena and related areas. This postgraduate course will allow students to examine in-depth criminological issues and to question and critically evaluate debates around notions of crime and justice both in philosophical and practice related ways, and from a variety of different perspectives.

The MSc Crime and Justice places emphasis on policy and practice in the contemporary UK, however, where possible students , will be encouraged to draw on wider theoretical resources drawn from an international stage. Students will be encouraged to focus on research areas they are particularly interested in. Tuition draws upon the expertise of research staff in the University’s well established Centre for Criminology.

Please note: this course is subject to validation

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 1 Year September Treforest A
Part-time 2 Years September Treforest A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 1 Year September Treforest A
Part-time 2 Years September Treforest A

Stage One (Certificate)

Stage 1 (60 credits) is primarily aimed at developing core academic expertise at level 7 in the areas of criminology and criminal justice policy.

Crime and Criminal Justice Theory (core 40 credits)
The module provides fundamental underpinning knowledge of criminological theory and of the criminal justice system.

Critical Issues in Criminal Justice Policy (specified 20 credits)
This module makes further links to relevant contemporary policy areas. The teaching strategy focuses on core skills and knowledge and is linked to an assignment strategy which makes explicit links between theory, policy and practice.

Stage Two (Diploma)

Stage 2 (60 credits) is primarily aimed at enhancing skills and knowledge developed at stage one and allows for direct entry to the diploma stage for those students with relevant academic and practice backgrounds. Students at this level are expected to critically consolidate a range of theoretical material and demonstrate the ability to utilise specialist skills in a research environment.

Learners are encouraged to tailor the course to their needs. The teaching strategy is linked to an assignment strategy which makes explicit links between the students’ own employment background or area of interest and the theory and knowledge explored in the modules. The assessments explicitly assess the student’s ability to take responsibility for their own professional development.

Criminological Research Approaches and Methods (core 20 credits)
This module gives students support in the appropriate methods for their chosen topic of study.

There are also four optional 20-credit modules at this stage and students will select two:

  • Drug Interventions (optional 20 credits)
  • Violence and Homicide (optional 20 credits)
  • Guided Independent Study (optional 20 credits)
  • Restorative Approaches with Children and Young People (optional 20 credits)

Stage Three

Stage 3 (60 credits). The focus of the 60-credit MSc dissertation is upon the integration of theoretical knowledge and practice and how this integration can inform and help both personal and organisational development. Students are therefore encouraged to choose an area of research that will enable them to inquire and make links between the theoretical frameworks that inform and motivate policy and practice within their particular area of interest.

The cognitive independence required at this level of study enables students to explore how their wider inquiries, reading and theoretical understanding, has an impact on their conceptions of, and ideas about: ‘crime’, ‘justice’, ‘harm’, ‘criminalisation’, ‘victimisation’ and ‘punishment’, and how these ideas relate to current practice within the criminal justice system.


Teaching offers a number of different but complimentary teaching formats including: face to face teaching in seminars and lectures, independent and flexible supported study via Blackboard, block study and traditional weekly study according to the needs of the module.

Most of the MSc modules make good use of expert guest speakers. These are usually professionals whose expertise and experience can help students consider the links between theory and practice and bring particular areas of practice ‘to life’ for students. Recent guest lecturers have included speakers from the police, prison and probation services, youth justice, substance misuse agencies, and Welsh Government.


Assignments are assessed in a range of ways. The majority involve written essays and some form of examination, but individual presentations, reflective work, text analysis and other approaches are also used. The MSc award requires a dissertation of around 18,000 words on an individual piece of research, which may be work-related.

A minimum 2:2 Honours degree in a social science, or related discipline.

Applicants with established professional experience will be considered on an individual basis via the Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)/Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) mechanism (University regulations will apply).

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2019 - July 2020 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13400 

  • Part-time UK and EU:  £1000 per 20 credits

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.


You can apply for a postgraduate loan as a contribution towards your course and living costs.

Apply directly to the University if you are applying for a part-time, professional or postgraduate course, an Erasmus/Exchange programme, the Legal Practice (part-time) course, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution.    

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Admissions statement 

The MSc Crime and Justice will provide you with the knowledge and skills to pursue or progress a career in the criminal justice system, the key agencies being: the police, courts, prison, probation services and youth offending services. You could also choose a career in government organisations such as the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Welsh Government and local authorities.

Graduates also go on to careers within voluntary agencies such as offender rehabilitation, victim support, community safety, and drug treatment services. It is also an excellent basis for further research such as a criminology PhD or criminology research degree, or an academic teaching career.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.