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Birkbeck, University of London: Criminology

Institution Birkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department School of Social Sciences
Telephone 0203 907 0700
Study type Taught


Our MSc Criminology offers you unique insights into crime, punishment and justice in today’s world. It explores both cutting-edge criminological theory and current real-world phenomena related to crime and punishment. This criminology degree provides you with a multidisciplinary platform to:

  • engage with the complexity of contemporary criminology

  • understand and critically assess the complexity of political, economic, social and cultural forces that affect crime and its control.

The MSc Criminology is ideal if you have a keen interest in crime and criminal behaviour and wish to better understand the key issues facing criminal justice today. Not only will you gain advanced knowledge and understanding of contemporary criminological theory, you will also have the opportunity to specialise by pursuing one of four pathways. You will also learn cutting-edge research methods to enable you to complete a substantial, original research project.

Depending on your choice of pathway specialism, you will be awarded one of the following:

  • MSc Criminology (Criminology and Criminal Justice)

  • MSc Criminology (Gender, Sexuality and Criminal Justice)

  • MSc Criminology (Race, Crime and Justice)

  • MSc Criminology (Global Criminology)

This course is part of our new Birkbeck Flexible Master’s UK, which gives you the choice of how you want to study - on campus, online or via flexible learning, which combines both. Please note, courses starting in January are not part of the Flexible Master's UK and will take place on campus.


  • Your specialist pathway will reflect your interests and help you develop focused knowledge in a key area. You can look forward to a stimulating evening learning environment, learning alongside students with diverse backgrounds and professional experiences.

  • You will be taught by staff who are part of a proud tradition of critical scholarship in criminology and criminal justice, who address issues of crime through power and inequality, and are led by principles of social and racial justice. 

  • We are home to the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research. Academics and researchers at ICPR bring a wealth of knowledge to this course, leading modules and providing research project supervision.

  • Students can attend specialist research seminars, such as the Criminology Seminar Series and the Race and Justice Seminar Series, which feature national and international scholars speaking to current issues and groundbreaking interdisciplinary research.

  • We use electronic learning environments to enhance our teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and disciplines such as economics, politics and sociology. It provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library. 

  • Candidates with an outstanding academic record who demonstrate high potential for strong performance on one of our Master's degrees can apply for a Postgraduate Fee Award.

Careers and employability

Postgraduate studies in criminology offer you a range of career opportunities, giving you a pathway to promotion within an existing career, helping you transition into a new career, or giving you the chance to pursue a specialist area of knowledge.

Graduates can pursue career paths in:

  • justice, law enforcement or corrections

  • community safety

  • policy analysis and policy-making

  • non-governmental organisations

  • international research institutions

  • think-tanks

  • government departments and ministries

  • the media

  • the criminal justice system.


Birkbeck, part of the University of London, offers nearly 300 taught and research postgraduate programmes across arts and humanities, business and economics, law, science and social science. As an evening teaching specialist, Birkbeck offers its taught postgraduate courses between 6-9pm, with some courses available through distance learning. As with undergraduate courses, postgraduates can study full-time or part-time.

Home to 44 research and specialist institutes, Birkbeck is the sixth largest provider of taught postgrad courses for UK and EU students - some 44% of its 11,000-plus students are on postgrad programmes. Around 90% of its academics are active in research, and …

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