MSc Working with Adult and Young People who Offend

Ideal for practitioners, managers and policymakers, the MSc Working with Adult and Young People who Offend is the first of its kind in the UK with a specialist focus on the theory and practice of offender management. In the summer of 2021, privatised probation services were returned to public control, following a series of failings with the part-privatisation of the system that was introduced in 2014. With additional funding being pumped into the Probation Service in recent years, the Probation Service is working towards tackling the drivers of crime (such as drug use, mental ill-health, unemployment and issues with housing) in a bid to reduce reoffending rates. This specialist Criminology Masters will provide graduates with the knowledge and theory to further influence and lead the development of practice in post-custody supervision.

Throughout your studies, you’ll delve into the philosophy, theory, and practice of working with individuals who are sentenced to either serve a community order or a prison sentence and who are subject to post-custody supervision. Upon successful completion of the MSc Working with Adult and Young People who Offend you could pursue a career in the criminal justice system, such as the police, courts, prison, probation services and youth offending services.

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

You’ll be encouraged to explore the criminal justice system in detail covering theories of crime, rehabilitation, retribution, deterrence, desistance and restorative justice. You’ll gain an insight into how different civil services (including prison and probation) work with offenders whilst also gaining a better understanding of the work carried out in the third and private sectors.

Drug Interventions

This module critically evaluates the extent and nature of drug misuse, methods of administration, and the harms associated with drug misuse while critically analysing interventions designed to tackle drug misuse. 

Working with Adults who Offend

This module will consider ethical and effective practice with adults who are involved within the Criminal Justice System. As part of this process, students will critically analyse the theories that underpin offending behaviour, with specific focus on probation, prisons, and punishment.

Approaches to Forensic Mental Health

Foster a sophisticated critical appreciation of the impact of adverse childhood experiences and trauma on the development of mental health challenges. Develop skills in critically appraising interventions for forensic mental health – including how best to communicate this efficacy to practitioners.

Working with Children and Young People in the Criminal Justice System

This module will explore ethical and effective practices with children and young people who are involved within the Criminal Justice System. The module will require students to critically analyse the theories that underpin offending behaviour, with a specific focus on children and young people who are at risk of or have committed a crime.

Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Restorative approaches

This module aims to provide a theoretical understanding of resettlement, rehabilitation, and restorative justice and how this applies to contemporary practice and industry giving students a practical and critical understanding of the resettlement services provided to those that come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Research Project

To develop an understanding of the ways in which social science and criminal justice research is designed and conducted; developing students’ ability to critically evaluate research and affording students’ the opportunity to apply both their understanding of research approaches and their research skills, to their own research or study.

Applied Investigation and Public Protection

To develop managerial knowledge of models and approaches to managing risk within Public Protection and working with multi agencies to facilitate a best practice approach for investigating cases relating to the vulnerable in society.


Taught by a team of lecturers with long-standing expertise in the field, you will learn through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

Teaching is on a Wednesday between 10:00 and 4:00 and this is likely to remain the pattern in the future.

Each module is taught over a 5-week period, with the assessment/s for each module held within that 5-week period.

Full-time students attend every week during term-time and part-time students attend when their modules are being taught. 

The teaching team comprises of active researchers who specialise in offender management, youth justice and youth policy, restorative justice, drug use, crime prevention, homicide and violence, animal abuse, international informal justice and alternatives to prosecution and imprisonment.

Research-informed teaching

The Centre for Criminology has a long history of research on the probation service and custodial institutions, and related topics such as the rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders, effectiveness and accountability in policy and practice, inter-agency partnerships and relationships between the criminal justice system, the Third Sector and the UK and Welsh governments. It also conducts high-quality research into the use of drugs and alcohol, violence and homicide, and criminal investigation.


Assessment methods are varied and include essays, critiques, written examinations, multiple choice tests, and oral and poster presentations.

You’ll also be required to complete a research project of around 10,000 words on an individual piece of research on a topic you agree with your supervisor and which may be work-related.


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

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 2024 - July 2025 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £10250

  • Full-time International:  £16000 

  • Part-time UK:  £1140 per 20 credits

August 2025 - July 2026 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.


Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).

To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.


USW Postgraduate 20% Alumni Discount 2023/24

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales* graduates starting a taught/online*** MA,MSc, LLM,MBA or DBA course from September 2023 (this includes students starting a course in January/February 2024). T's and Cs apply. Click here for more details and eligibility criteria: USW Postgraduate Alumni Discount 2023/24

Upon successful completion of this Masters degree you could pursue a career in the criminal justice system, such as the police, courts, prison, probation services and youth offending services. 

Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree.

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.