Skip to main content

International Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSc)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Develop your understanding of crime and criminal practice in an international context and consider how digital technologies are creating ‘new crimes’.


Global perspectives

Take an international approach to the study of crime and crime control.


Multi-faceted perspectives

Focus on the nature and impact of different types and responses to crime.


Theory and practice

Develop your theoretical understanding and practical use of criminological evidence and research.


Work placement

Put your study into practice and develop your workplace skills with a placement.

Globalisation and the digitalisation of society pose new challenges in the fight against crime. To respond to these challenges, our MSc International Criminology and Criminal Justice takes an international approach to the study of crime and crime control.

You will explore:

  • international and transnational crimes – for example, organised crime, drug trafficking, fraud and corruption, terrorism, hate crime;
  • more traditional crimes – for example, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, violence, sex work and property crimes;
  • crimes of the powerful – for example, environmental harms, health and safety negligence, war-related crimes, corruption, and money laundering;
  • crimes that are committed in the digital world – for example hacking, the spread of malware, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cyber frauds, and online hate speech.

You will question how we define ‘crime’, at a local, national and global level, as well as the international and national responses to these types of crimes. You will consider the key challenges facing criminal justice and law enforcement agencies in an increasingly globalised context.

In addition, you will receive social science research methods training tailored to criminological research, learning to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches when undertaking research on international crime-related issues.

This programme also offers a Professional Practice in Criminology and Criminal Justice module and provides access to placement opportunities to support your entry into an increasingly globalised job market.

Where you'll study

School of Social Sciences

Our degrees are delivered by internationally recognised experts with a track record of influencing policy and practice around the world.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 5179
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as criminology, sociology, international relations, law, psychology, social policy or other social science disciplines, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of recent and relevant professional experience. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

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

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. However, if you decide to undertake a placement, the host organisation may require you to provide a DBS certificate, depending on the nature of the work. In such cases, students will be liable to cover the costs associated with a DBS check.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The MSc in International Criminology and Criminal Justice is organised around a sequence of five core 20-credit specialist modules, one optional 20-credit module, and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a crime-related topic of your choice.

Taught modules

The five core modules include core skills and substantive topics in criminology. The optional module allows you to apply your practical skills via a placement and/or to tailor your degree to suit your own interests. Each taught module is worth 20 credits, which means it should take approximately 200 hours to complete including formal teaching, independent study and time spent on assessment tasks.


Finally, you will be asked to produce a 60-credit dissertation on a crime-related topic of your choice. This dissertation involves a small-scale independent piece of research. It 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 modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

The core modules in semester one will lay the foundation for understanding and researching crime in an international context while semester two focuses more on honing your ability to draw on the content and ‘crimes’ already covered.

The core modules will introduce you to a variety of international and national institutions that respond to different crimes and will expand your understanding of offenses, with a focus on considering how digital technologies are creating ‘new crimes’.

You will take one optional module from a list of existing modules delivered within the social sciences. This includes Professional Practice in Criminology and Criminal Justice, and the opportunity to undertake a work placement. Alternatively, you can select an optional module to tailor the programme to your own interests.

Following successful completion of the taught modules, you will be asked to produce a 60-credit dissertation on a crime-related topic of your choice.

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Teaching methods include a mixture of different approaches - lectures, seminars, independent study and self-directed learning that use online resources. The lecturer will be responsible for imparting key information, introducing key themes, and guiding the group discussions. Some sessions will prioritise collaborative discussions and give everyone the opportunity to participate, reflect and guide their own learning. This will be done through a mixture of in class group and individual tasks, as well as lecturer-led group discussions drawing on students independent learning and preparation. 

You will be expected to attend all of the sessions set out in the timetable. You will also be expected to undertake independent study in preparation for lectures, seminars, and assessments. A 20-credit module comprises 200 hours of study, including about 20 hours of contact time, and the MSc as a whole 1800 hours of study.

How will I be assessed?

Typical assessment formats include individual assignments, coursework, in-class or online presentations and tests. The most common form of assessment is the production of coursework. Deadlines are spread throughout the academic year.

An important part of assessment is feedback. Feedback exists in any process, activity or information that enhances learning by providing students with the opportunity to reflect on their current or recent level of attainment or their understanding of a topic. It can be provided individually or to groups and can take many forms. It is responsive to the developmental expectations of our programmes and disciplines.

The range of feedback includes written and/or verbal one-to-one feedback on assessed work; generic feedback on assessed work; informal feedback from teaching staff in person or online; peer feedback in person or online; and self-evaluation to submit with the assessment.

How will I be supported?

A personal tutor will guide you for the duration of your studies and will be available to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance on your academic studies. The Student Hub, and the Taught Programmes Office, both located in the Glamorgan Building, can also provide advice on how to access university services.

All modules within the course 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 relating to assessment tasks including, for example, assessment criteria, links to past papers (when applicable), and guidelines for submitting assessments.

Additional module-specific support is provided by academic staff. Support for the dissertation is provided by a supervisor who will meet with you regularly.

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is feedback that does not contribute to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of formative feedback is to improve your understanding and learning before you complete your formally assessed work (that is, summative assessment). More specifically, formative feedback helps you to:

  • identify your strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work.
  • help staff to support you and address the problems identified with targeted strategies for improvement.

Formative feedback will be provided regularly. In addition, modules may include specific formative assessments designed to help you prepare for the subsequent summative assessment.

Summative Feedback

Summative feedback is feedback that contributes to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of summative assessment is to indicate how well you have succeeded in meeting the intended learning outcomes of a Module and will enable you to identify action required (feed forward) in order to improve in future assessments.

All feedback on coursework is provided electronically to ensure it is readily accessible and easy to read. Verbal feedback is provided for presentations, but written feedback will also be provided if/where the presentation makes a significant contribution to the module mark.

Feedback on class tests is usually provided as written feedback for the whole class but you are also able to discuss your individual test paper and the mark it was awarded with the module convenor.

All assessment tasks are accompanied by specific marking criteria which you are encouraged to read prior to commencing work on summative assessments. All marks and feedback are made with reference to the relevant marking criteria.

What are the learning outcomes of this course/programme?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate sources of information on crimes, criminal justice policies, and practice responses across the international spectrum.
  • Critically evaluate the application of relevant theories and concepts to international crime patterns and trends as well as variation in crime and punishment.
  • Critically assess the application of quantitative and qualitative research methods to the study of international crime and criminal justice responses.
  • Appraise a range of local and national responses to international crime within a broader global and historical context.  

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Compare existing research and scholarship on issues related to international crimes.
  • Critically appraise policies and practices in relation to national and international criminal justice
  • Effectively collect and evaluate various forms of complex data related to crime-related issues in an international context.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Elaborate on the different evidence-based approaches and research methods employed for a selection of crime-controlled strategies in a national and international context.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • Convey originality in the interpretation of relevant theories, concepts and research findings related to national and international criminal justice through multiple formats to a diverse audience.
  • Utilize and effectively apply a range of information technology for tasks, including conducting quantitative or qualitative research.
  • Formulate effective collaborative working relationships with peers and demonstrate skills in problem solving through the appraisal of issues related to international crimes. 
  • Develop effective strategies for time management and prioritisation of independent research, study and professional development. 

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £10,450 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £23,200 £2,500

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

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs to students.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

We encourage our students to think about life beyond University from day one, offering modules to give you a competitive advantage on graduating.

Graduates of this programme may work for several public/private agencies or NGOs addressing crime-related issues. In the public sector students may find employment in national and international policy and operational agencies in the fields of criminal justice and victim assistance. In the private sector opportunities exist for employment in roles such as Security and Cybersecurity Analyst, Loss Prevention/Fraud Analyst, Business Continuity Officer, Customer Due Diligence Analysts and Money Laundering Reporting Officer. Non-profit organisations at the national, European, and international levels may also offer job opportunities for the graduates of this programme. Finally, the programme also provides strong foundations for doctoral work, either through a traditional PhD or a professional doctorate.


The optional Professional Practice in Criminology and Criminal Justice module offers you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired and developed during the programme in a work environment. The taught component of this module also covers practical skills in interview technique, writing/editing CVs and cover letters, etc. You are expected to undertake your placement in the Spring/Summer semester. The School of Social Sciences will support you in finding a placement that matches your interest. Pre-organised placement opportunities which will also be available to students on a competitive base. Some of these placements and activities include: The College of Policing, Crime and Security Research Institute, HMP Cardiff, HMP & YOI Parc, The Probation Service, Welsh Government Analytical Services Directorate (Ministry of Justice).

Please note, although the School will support you in securing a placement and may provide access to a number of placement activities, it is normally expected that students will find their own placement. The University is committed to providing some placement options where possible. However, please note that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances (e.g., epidemiological situation, employer's availability of resources, etc.).

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


Learn more about our truly global university.

Discover more

Related searches: Criminology, Social sciences

HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.