Study this programme anywhere in the world and receive a fully accredited University of London degree

Criminology and Criminal Justice

MSc, PGDip and PGCert

Available to study anywhere in the world

This postgraduate programme is designed for committed professionals who are involved or aspire to participate in important debates around criminal behaviour, penal policy, public safety and human rights.

In an age of global insecurity there is increasing demand for professionals, practitioners and researchers who can work across disciplinary boundaries and engage with complex problems in crime causation and management.

Scales of Justice on the Old Bailey London
Study with a top 25 University (UK) and a top 200 University ranked in the world.

By studying this degree, you will:

  • gain advanced critical thinking skills and the ability to identify and solve complex problems in a range of criminology and criminal justice and public policy environments.
  • develop an extensive, policy-oriented and vocationally relevant knowledge of criminology and criminal justice.
  • demonstrate a systematic understanding of the causes of crime and offending in the criminal justice context.
  • demonstrate a sound knowledge of the texts, theories and methods used to enhance understanding of the issues, processes and phenomena within the criminal justice system.

Programme details

Programme structure, modules and specification

MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice comprises six modules:

  • five compulsory modules (30 credits each)
  • one compulsory project module (30 credits)

PGDip Criminology and Criminal Justice comprises:

  • four modules (30 credits each)

PGCert Criminology and Criminal Justice comprises:

  • two modules (30 credits each)

All modules, excluding the project module, are available to study on a stand-alone basis, subject to module availability.

View the modules for MSc / PGDip / PGCert Criminology and Criminal Justice

Key dates

This programme has two intake dates per year: April and October.

2021-2022 session dates
Applications open 01 December 2021
Application deadline 07 March 2022
Registration deadline 21 March 2022
Programme starts 04 April 2022
2021-2022 session dates
Applications open 27 June 2022
Application deadline 12 September 2022
Registration deadline 26 September 2022
Programme starts 10 Octoberl 2022

How you study

The programme is offered online and allows you to flexibly fit your studies around your schedule.

You can choose to study individual modules on a pay-as-you-go basis and build up your qualification at your own pace.

The programme explores a range of qualitative and quantitative strategies used to evaluate and solve complex problems, and make informed evidence-based decisions on criminological and criminal justice issues.

Each module will be taught over one 20-week session followed by an assessment submission window.

Study materials

You study at a time and pace that suits you (subject to course-specific deadlines) using the study materials provided and developed by academics and with support available from academic staff at Royal Holloway. You will be able to access these through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) on a range of devices.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enables access to course materials, resources, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with other students around the world. Module leaders will introduce modules, answer queries and promote discussions during the study year.
  • The Online Library(Opens in new window) provides access to over 100 million academic electronic items comprising E-books, E-journals, conference proceedings, etc. In addition, you may request items not held in the library via the library's Inter-Library loans service with the British Library.
  • Senate House Library provides free reference access for all registered distance and flexible learning students.

Student Support

We are committed to delivering an exceptional student experience for all of our students, regardless of which of our programmes you are studying and whether you are studying independently or with a Recognised Teaching Centre.

You will have access to support through:

  • The Student Advice Centre – provides support for application and Student Portal queries.
  • TalkCampus – a peer support service that offers a safe and confidential way to talk about whatever is on your mind at any time of day or night.

Time commitment

Over a 20-week session, plus the assessment submission window, we estimate that you will need to study for approximately 15 hours effort per week for a 30 credit module during the academic session.

The flexible approach to learning allows students to complete the MSc in a minimum of two years (subject to module availability) to a maximum of five years. You can study at your own pace, adjusting the intensity of learning to suit your needs.


Module leaders will provide guidance on assessments and the project module (MSc). Examinations are undertaken online.

Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

We offer two entry routes into the programme, so if you do not meet the academic requirements you may still be eligible to apply through an alternative route.

Entry route 1 – Direct entry route

To qualify to register for direct entry to the MSc, PGDip or PGCert, you will need:

  • a bachelor’s degree which is considered at least comparable to a UK second class honours degree or
  • a postgraduate qualification from an institution acceptable to the University

Directly related professional work experience and/or directly related professional qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you have an appropriate professional experience qualification from a recognised professional body you will be considered on an individual basis.

Entry route 2 - Performance based admissions (PBA) route

If you do not meet the requirements for direct entry, you can apply for the MSc via the PBA route. To qualify for entrance via the PBA route, you will need:

  • a bachelor’s degree from an institution acceptable to the University or
  • an aegrotat (certificate) from an institution acceptable to the University.

Students on the PBA route may transfer to the MSc on successful completion of one module (30 credits).

Entrance to the individual modules (available April 2022)

To qualify to register for an individual module you will need a bachelor’s degree or aegrotat.

English language requirements

You must satisfy the English language requirements for the programme. If you do not meet the English language proficiency requirements but believe that you can demonstrate the requisite proficiency, the University may, at its discretion, consider your application.

You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:

  • IELTS: at least 6.5 overall with 6.0 in the written test.
  • Pearson Test (Academic): at least 59 overall, with 59+ in reading and writing and 54+ in speaking and listening.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (grade C or above).
  • TOEFL iBT: at least 92 overall, with 22+ in reading and writing and 20+ in speaking and listening.
  • Duolingo: must achieve an overall score of at least 120.

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly.

You will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection. You will also need a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

    More about computer requirements

    Recognition of Prior Learning

    If you have studied material as part of a previous qualification that is comparable in content and standard to our Crimminology and Criminal Justice modules, you might be exempted from the equivalent course of our degree. This process is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Exemption. You will not need to study or be assessed in the module(s) to complete your award.

    To be considered for RPL you should make a formal request within your application when applying online. Alternatively, this can be done through an online enquiry, once you have submitted your application.
    Depending on which route you register for you can potentially apply for recognition of prior learning for up to 60 credits (two modules).
    We will not recognise or accredit prior learning for a module later than 14 days after the module start date. You will be deemed to have started a module once you have been given access to the learning materials on the VLE.


    All qualifications will need to be assessed by specialist academics on a case by case basis, before we can approve RPL. This is called discretionary RPL and involves a non-refundable application fee.

    You will need to be eligible to study the programme and will need to provide the following for your RPL application to be considered: a completed RPL request form, the supporting documentary evidence (a transcript and syllabus of your previous studies) and the fee payable.

    Note: All discretionary recognition of prior learning requests must be submitted by the dates specified for the April or October intake in the year that you apply. Once submitted, we must receive all required supporting evidence by the deadline stated.

    April 2022 intake
    Submit RPL request by 14 September 2022
    Submit RPL supporting evidence by 16 September 2022

    Please note: if you submit your application but are too late to be considered for RPL then we will still process your application to study the programme.

    If you receive an offer, you can still register. You will be asked to contact us at a later date to be considered for RPL in the study session. So don't register on the modules you wish to be considered for RPL in the current study session.

    Further information on rules regarding RPL is covered in the Recognition of Prior Learning section of the appropriate Programme Regulations and Section 3 of the General Regulations.


    The programme fees below refer to the October 2021 and April 2022 sessions only and are effective from 28 June 2021. These may increase by up to 5% per year.

    The fees depend on whether you live in a developing (Band A) or developed (Band B) nation - see Countries and Regions list [PDF]

    Important: the table below does not include fees payable to a third party, such as tuition costs payable to a Recognised Teaching Centre or fees charged by your local examination centre, or local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or sales tax.

    MSc full programme fee* 2021-2022
    Band A 9000
    Band B 12000
    MSc indicative totals** 2021-2022
    Band A 9486
    Band B 12612
    Pay per module (MSc, PGDip, PGCert, Individual modules) 2021-2022
    Band A 30 credit module 1500
    Band B 30 credit module 2000
    Other fees 2021-2022
    Assessment resit fee 375
    Recognition of Prior Learning (per module) (non-refundable) 113

    Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool

    Additional Costs

    You will also need to budget for:

    • Textbooks (could extend to around £300 per year)
    • Exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams
    • Tuition costs if you study at a Recognised Teaching Centre.

    How to pay your fees.

    Please note: all student fees shown are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or any other sales tax payable by the student in their country of residence. Where the University is required to add VAT, GST or any other sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment process. For students resident in the UK, our fees are exempt from VAT.

    Further information on Sales Tax.

    Your payment provider may apply additional transaction fees. (If in doubt, please check with them before making a payment.)

    Further information about fee payment options can be found in the “How to pay your fees” link above.

    Some fees are non-refundable. Please see the refund and compensation policy for further details.

    *The full MSc programme fee is payable when you first register on the programme and includes access to study materials and your first entry into the assessments. It does not include resit fees, the module fee when repeating a module, applications for recognition of prior learning and fees payable to a University of London Recognised Teaching Centres, if applicable. By paying in full at the beginning of your programme, you avoid any annual fee increases to module fees. With pay per module, you pay for each module as you register for it.

    **The indicative totals given represent the amount you would expect to pay if you commence study in October 2021 and then complete the MSc degree in the minimum period of time (as per when modules become available), without resits, and paying per module with a year-on-year increase of 5%. These totals do not reflect the cost of any additional tuition support you may choose to take, resit fees or the fee when repeating a module, or applications for recognition of prior learning.

    Career opportunities

    You will develop skills that are applicable across a range of roles in public sector organisations including, but not limited to, central government, the police, the courts, prison and probation services, charities that work with offenders or victims of crime and social welfare services.

    In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

    Academic leadership

    The programme has been developed with Royal Holloway, University of London, a UK top 25 University (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021). As one of the UK’s leading research intensive universities Royal Holloway is home to some of the world’s foremost authorities in law, arts, business, economics and the sciences.
    Programme Director

    Programme Director

    Dr Leah Moyle is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at Royal Holloway. Leah has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels across a range of subject areas including criminological theory, criminal justice, sociology, drugs, and youth justice. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

    Leah’s research interests focus principally on illicit drug supply, and she has published widely in this area. Her recent work spans the policing of street-level drug markets, the sentencing and punishment of low-level drug dealers, and the use of social media in recreational drug markets.

    Previously, Leah worked as a Research Fellow at the world leading Griffith Criminology Institute in Australia. Leah’s work is internationally recognised and her findings have informed policy reports by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the UK Government, and the Advisory Council for Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and Europol.

    Funding your study

    Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

    More on funding your study


    More information on scholarships and bursaries.

    Can I get sponsorship?

    If you're employed, your employer may be willing to cover part/all of the programme fee if you can make a compelling case as to how this programme will boost your contribution to the workplace.

    Our courses are ideal for employers because they get to retain you as an employee and benefit from your learning from the moment you begin.

    How can I get sponsored by my employer?

    Royal Holloway, University of London is one of the UK’s leading research universities

    Group of four discussing a criminal case study

    Equip yourself with the specialist knowledge and skills you need to make a difference in the demanding field of criminology and criminal justice.

    Apply to Criminology and Criminal Justice