Postgraduate courses in Criminology

If you have a natural interest in human behavior and examining the sociological side of crime, a postgraduate course in criminology might be what you’re looking for. 

There are many courses on offer which will allow you to add to your degree and open more doors for opportunity in progressing in your career in a number of sectors. 

If you’d like to know a bit more about criminology and what courses are offer across the UK, we have the basic information for you below.  


What is criminology?

Criminology is the study of crime from a social perspective and includes examining crimes, who commits them, why they commit them, their impact and how to prevent them. It is a branch of sociology which looks at human behavior.  Criminologists look closely at the social roots which lead to certain crimes being committed. All aspects of deviant behavior are examined. 


Postgraduate courses in criminology can combine a few subjects such as sociology, psychology, law and some history. It is important to note that the criteria covered can differ from course to course. 

A criminology course will help students to develop the necessary skills needed to carry out every day job in this profession or in related professions. These courses can study general criminology or you can also choose to take a course of criminology linked with a related subject. Below are examples of some courses that can be found across the UK.


A general degree in criminology covers key issues in the modern justice system. The core elements of most of these courses cover theory, methods of research and contemporary issues in criminal justice. It looks at the social side. It allows students to open their mind of perspectives on crime and justice. 

Criminology and Criminal Justice 

Courses combining criminology and criminal justice are also available. They are largely related topics but differ in their core functions. Criminal justice looks at the system itself while criminology studies the reason behind crimes and the behaviour involved. Covering both topics together can open more doors in the field as students look at two different sides of crime.

Criminology and Criminal Psychology

Courses that combine criminology with criminal psychology look closely at the role of forensic psychology in managing mentally disordered offenders as well as the sociological approach to committing a crime. The relationship between psychology and policing may also be covered. 

Entry requirements 

Entry requirements can differ from course to course. Some courses require you to have an honours degree in criminology or legal content. Other courses require you to have reached a high level in a criminal justice role. Applications are often considered individually. 


There are also courses on offer that require an honours degree but do not require an honours degree in criminology in particular.

All information can be found on university websites and course overviews. 

Job activities

Your work and activities in this profession can change from day to day but an example of work carried out is as follows. 

  • Analysing data 
  • Advising policy makers in the justice system and police system
  • Researching reasons people commit crimes
  • Looking more in depth at the roots of crimes
  • Working on crime reduction
  • Working on rehabilitation programmes
  • Presenting findings at conferences
  • Educating students at colleges or universities 
  • Making recommendations on effective punishments 
  • Speaking to offenders or ex-offenders in prisons and probation centres

Job options

There are a couple of paths that can be taken with a postgraduate degree in criminology. Such a degree can create opportunities across a range of fields such as education, social justice organisations, policing or prison roles. 

Some job titles you can use this degree in are:

  • Criminologist
  • Police officer
  • Forensic scientist
  • Community development officer
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Social worker
  • Probation officer


Some of the typical employers of criminologists are:

  • Local government
  • Central government 
  • The police
  • Security services
  • Court services
  • The NHS
  • Charity organisations
  • Private companies 

Salary expectation

Like many jobs in multiple sectors, your salary can increase with experience. The expected starting salary is around £23,500 while an experienced criminologist could earn up to £36,000. 

Skills and requirements 

  • Interest in human behaviour
  • An understanding of maths, computer science and statistics
  • Excellent research skills eg qualitative and qualitative
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Good observation skills
  • Critical thinker
  • Good problem solver
  • Team work 

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