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Crime, Safety and Justice (MSc)

This MSc aims to produce postgraduates able to take on policy challenges in the field of crime, safety and justice. Our problem-orientated learning approach emphasises how to apply subject-specific knowledge to the analysis of, and response to, instances of crime, safety and justice in the public, voluntary and commercial sectors.

The overall aim of this course is to produce graduates capable of ‘problem-solving’ in the fields of crime, safety and justice.

The structure of the scheme is based on the ‘SARA’ mnemonic (Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment) which is familiar in policing and crime prevention practice as well as in the academy and in applied as well as in basic criminological research.

We aim to develop your research skills by providing training in research methods and to maximise your career prospects by providing transferable skills.

Distinctive features

The course is informed by the priorities of the UK College of Policing, as well as dialogue with members of the School of Social Sciences external advisory group, including representatives from the police, local government and other regulatory agencies with an interest in issues of crime and community safety.

The course includes, when possible, guest lectures from analysts concerned with issues of community safety in outside agencies such as the police, local government, commercial security and other relevant organisations.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration1 year
Other ways to study this course

Admissions criteria

Applicants should have a minimum 2:1 degree in any humanities or social sciences subject. Applications are particularly welcomed from candidates with an undergraduate degree in Criminology, Law, Politics, Psychology or Sociology as well as from graduates in any arts, humanities or social science discipline. However, those with significant professional expertise and experience of working in policing, criminal justice or community safety may also be considered.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must obtain an IELTS score of 6.5, with no sub-score below 5.5 and a minimum score of 6.5 for written English.

Applications should be made via the Online Applications Service. Please make sure that you explain clearly in your personal statement why you are interested in applying to this MSc in Crime, Safety and Justice at Cardiff University, a course that draws heavily on the SARA approach.

In your statement, you should refer explicitly to the course and module content outlined in this profile and should explain clearly the particular aspects of this course that most interest you, and what topics or themes you are hoping to learn more about in taking it. If this information is not included, this may cause delays in processing your application, and we may contact you with a request for further information.

The deadline for applications to this course for international applicants is 1st August; for UK residents, the deadline for applications is 1st September. The different dates are due to the need to allow sufficient time for visa processing for international applicants.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

This is a one-year full-time programme.

A 20-credit module comprises 200 hours of study, including about 30 hours of contact time, and the MSc as a whole, 1800 hours of study.

The MSc in Crime, Safety and Justice is organised around a sequence of two 20-credit specialist modules in criminology, two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods, and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a criminological topic of your choice.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

We currently offer specialist crime, safety and justice 20-credit modules on a range of topics, although these may change from year to year.

Optional modules may be selected from postgraduate programmes in and outside of the School of Social Sciences, subject to availability.

In addition to specialist modules, you will also be required to take two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods.


Finally, you will be asked to produce a 60-credit, 12,000 word dissertation on a criminological topic of your choice. This dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research, and enables you to develop your interests in a substantive area related to the programme, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. You will be allocated a personal dissertation supervisor to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Modules employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study. All modules within the programme make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and information on assessment.

The programme benefits from being located in an inter-disciplinary environment so that in parts of the course, you will come into contact with staff and students from other subject areas and, in other parts of the course, with staff and students in the same substantive area.

You will be expected to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials as set out in the timetable for MSc students. These sometimes sit outside the regular pattern of university attendance and may include day, evening and weekend study and on occasion may fall outside the standard semester dates. You will also be expected to undertake independent study in preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments. 

How will I be supported?

You will be allocated a personal tutor and a nominated supervisor when undertaking your dissertation. Regular contact will be maintained across the duration of the course.

You will also have access to a programme convenor to offer additional subject-specific support.


You will have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as presentation of preparatory reading, group problem-based learning tasks, and group presentations. Feedback is therefore provided on an ongoing basis, as well as more formally for summative assessments.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports, reviews and presentations.

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successfully completing the MSc in Crime, Safety & Justice, you will have significantly enhanced your ability to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of how problems of crime, safety and justice can be investigated or ‘scanned’.
  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of how evidence about problems of crime, safety and justice can be analysed, interpreted, communicated and criticised.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of policing, punishment and prevention strategies for responding to problems of crime, safety and justice.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of social environments for problem-solving, including tensions between the scientific and political drivers of responses to problems of crime, safety and justice.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of evidence-based approaches to the formulation, implementation and evaluation of responses to crime, safety and justice.
  • Show an in-depth comprehension of what research strategies, designs and methods of investigation can be used to evidence problems of crime, safety and justice.
  • Undertake oral, written and ICT presentations that are evidence-based, theoretically informed and demonstrate competence in the use and evaluation of criminological and criminal justice concepts.
  • Participate actively in informed debate and group discussion concerning the range of criminological and criminal justice topics covered in the scheme.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

 No specific equipment required.

The general shift from subject-centred to problem-oriented learning reflects, in part, the interests of prospective employers in graduates with the skill set to apply subject specific knowledge about crime, safety and justice to the analysis of, and response to, particular instances of these problems in the public, commercial and voluntary sectors. 

In this regard, it is anticipated that the career prospects for graduates from this programme could include the following:

Job Roles: Crime analysts, security managers, crime prevention partnership co-ordinators, community safety managers, pressure group campaigners, commercial loss prevention officers.

Public Sector: Police, local authorities, environment agencies, food standard agencies, health and safety executive, public health organisations, offender management services.

Commercial Sector: Retail companies (e.g. clothing stores, electronic goods, supermarkets), financial services, commercial security organisations, new media companies including business analytics.

Voluntary Sector: Non-governmental organisations concerned with victim support, the care and resettlement of offenders, restorative justice approaches, offender-victim reparations, diversion from custody, social cohesion and integration.

You may conduct fieldwork as part of your dissertation study as directed by, and in discussion with, your supervisor.