Criminology - PgCert / PgDip / MA

Full Time, Part Time
September 2016
£7,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)
In order to get you to the correct application form, we need to ask you a couple of questions:

This course is for both recent graduates and practitioners who wish to develop their understanding of the debates surrounding crime and the criminal justice system. The course offers an exciting opportunity to study both theoretical criminology and the more applied aspects of criminal justice.

The course is very flexible and offers you the opportunity to either concentrate on the more theoretical aspects of criminology or centre your studies on the more practice-based area of delivering criminal justice.

The course team has substantial links with the regional criminal justice system and charities such as HMP Birmingham and women’s centre Anawim.

Eddie Laidler

Expert help and advice

Our graduates are shaping the world, achieving things they never imagined.

Eddie Laidler gives you his top tips on how to get ahead in Criminology and succeed in your chosen career.

Eddie's Top Tips

What's covered in the course?

The course is designed to enable you to explore the key debates from both criminological theory and criminal justice practice surrounding areas such as serial killers and family annihilation. You will also assess the contributions of research to understanding crime and criminal justice.

You will be asked to reflect upon your experience of crime and the criminal justice system, perhaps, as an existing practitioner or through volunteering. You will look at one of the most significant factors involved in crime in contemporary society – the internet.

The course will help you develop and understand the principles and practice of research and form judgements on the relative merits of, and relationships between, different research tools. You will also develop the capability to design, manage and disseminate a research project to a professional standard.

Why Choose Us?

  • Experienced team of academics including Professor David Wilson, Professor Michael Brookes OBE, Imran Awan and Dr Elizabeth Yardley, who are all experts in their chosen fields.
  • With flexible study options on offer, you can choose whether to focus on an academic route or a more practice based approach.
  • You will receive valuable advice and inspiration from a range of guest speakers, who in the past have included investigative journalist and visiting lecturer Donal MacIntyre and the Director of Therapeutic Communities at HMP Grendon.
  • The School of Social Sciences has relationships with a number of criminal justice agencies and non-government organisations, including the Community Safety Partnership and HMP Grendon.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

School of Social Sciences

Discover the School of Social Sciences

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

*Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2016

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Birmingham City University
  • Thames Valley Probation Trust

And in jobs such as:

  • Lecturer
  • Probation Service Officer (Trainee)

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

You would usually be expected to have a good undergraduate degree but admission will also be made on the basis of experience of a suitable quality and length.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £7,500
PT 2 years £675 per module

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
PgCert / PgDip / MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

While there are no additional costs associated with purchasing text books, there may be other costs to you. If you are joining the course which has a professional body accreditation you may be required to pay membership or examination costs. For details of these costs, please click on the link below.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Postgraduate Certificate / Diploma

Advanced Research Methods
15 credits

This module provides an understanding of the research process and to develop research techniques. It forms part of a procedure that prepares you for the completion of the research proposal and the extended project.

Criminological Thought
15 credits

Introducing you to a broad range of theories on crime and criminality at an advanced level, this module seeks to develop your appreciation of how different perspectives have contributed to our understandings of crime and criminality.

Criminal Psychology
15 credits

This module provides you with a detailed understanding of the psychological approaches to explaining the development of criminal behaviour and re-offending, the effects of offending on victims and, the role psychology may play in the treatment and management of offenders.

Research Proposal (Evening Sessions)
15 credits

You will be required to develop a detailed plan for the research you are going to undertake during the Masters stage. This will require that you come to a clear and focused decision on the subject that you are going to research.


Crime Online
15 credits

You will look at one of the most significant factors involved in crime in contemporary society – the internet. We encourage you to reflect upon the public controversy of the Internet as enabler of criminality and the social construction of norms and values surrounding the Internet.

Penal Theory and Practice
15 credits

This module provides insights into modern penal practice and complements criminological thought by examining some of the theoretical and philosophical debates that inform policy and official conduct in sentencing.

Restorative Justice
15 credits

You will explore what is meant by the term “restorative justice” and you will consider the implementation of this approach to criminal justice in England and Wales and beyond.

Reflective Practice or Criminological Issues
15 credits

Criminological Issues (Evening Sessions) – This module will broaden the knowledge of theory related to crime and criminology and criminal justice practice. You will seek to move out from the core areas of criminological thought and consider some of the developing themes in criminology and related disciplines.

Reflective Practice – This module will require you to gain some experience of practice within the criminal justice system. This practice may either be as paid work, possibly with an existing employer or, it may be through appropriate volunteering.

Crime Prevention
15 credits


Extended Project
60 credits

This module will require the demonstration of skills such as; the critical use of advanced research methods, an awareness of the ethical issues raised by empirical research and, a capacity to clearly communicate complex material in an extended piece of writing.

How you learn

The course is taught in weekly seminars, tutorials and workshops, which encourage substantial student participation. Our virtual learning environment is also used to deliver some content and facilitate communication remotely.

The Master's stage of the course is delivered and assessed through an extended project supervised through evening workgroups and through one-to-one supervision.

Course Structure

The course has three formal stages:

  • The Certificate and Diploma stages consists of six taught modules, a proposal module that is delivered through workgroups and a practice based module involving reflection upon work or volunteering experience.
  • Those proceeding to the Master's stage will be required to complete an extended project to be determined individually.
  • It is possible to complete your studies at any of the Certificate, Diploma or Master's stages.

Full-time students will complete all stages in one year from September to September. Part-time students would normally complete the diploma and masters stages in two years.

Some modules may be taken as stand-alone short courses and if you start accumulating individual modules, you may apply for accreditation towards the award of the Certificate, Diploma or Masters.

Student stories

Daniel McCulloch

The main reason why I came to study at Birmingham City University is that I won a bursary offered by the Howard League for Penal Reform which covered my fees for the MA Criminology course. What also attracted me to this course was the range of expertise of the tutors, the location and the fact that the course had such close links with the Howard League.

Liam Brolan

Liam Brolan

I’d recommend to anybody to throw themselves into their studies. I definitely think that at the University, especially at postgraduate level, the opportunities that are available to you are second to none.

Further Study

Qualified candidates may apply to enrol on research degree programmes leading to the award of Doctor of Philosophy. Several of our graduates have now advanced to doctoral study either at this University or elsewhere and two are now lecturers within the School of Social Sciences. 

*Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2016

Student stories Tony McCabe

Lecturing in Further Education

I chose to study at Birmingham City University because of the Centre for Applied Criminology is highly respected and coming from Staffordshire it is local to me.

Trips and Visits

We have strong links with both HMP Birmingham and HMP Grendon. We aim to organise at least one visit per term to either site with the option to take part in various debates with prisoners and learn more about the facilities from staff.

Alongside this we regularly have guest lecturers from the police and various regional charities.

Enhancing employability

The Master's teaching team, combined with the expertise of The Centre for Applied Criminology give you excellent access to experienced practitioners and Criminal Justice System organisations.

The reflective practice module is centred on work or volunteering experience to further develop your professional skillset.

The access provided to professionals, the presence of practitioners among fellow students, and the capacity to reflect upon relevant volunteering or work experience within the structure of the course, means that the course provides excellent opportunities for building contacts and networking as well as developing opportunities for employment.

Previous students have included prison governors and senior prison officers; police personnel, including officers and civilian analysts; probation personnel; magistrates; media commentators and a television producer; and employees of charities and bodies including NACRO, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and the New Bridge.


The programme does not offer a formal placement. However, the programme incorporates a module which is based upon work or volunteering experience.

The course team can assist students in finding volunteering experience and has substantial experience of doing so at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Research Proposal and Extend Project module permits students to undertake research and writing relating to their current work or voluntary experience.

The School of Social Sciences has relationships with a number of criminal justice agencies and non-government organisations, including the local Community Safety Partnership, HMP Grendon and the Howard League. Previous students have visited the high security HMP Grendon.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.

For those studying on the BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation pathway, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.

Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.

Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
  • Shared facilities with the wider campus including the recently opened Parkside Building and Millennium Point

David Wilson

Professor David Wilson

Professor of Criminology

David Wilson is a former prison governor and expert on serial killers through his work with various British police forces, academic publications, books, and media appearances. Most recently he appeared on the Channel 5 documentary, Serial Killers.

Imran Awan profile picture

Dr Imran Awan

Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology

Imran's areas of expertise are based around the impact of Islamophobia and the effects of counter-terrorism. As well as being a regular face in the media, Imran is a government advisor for the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred.

Dr Elizabeth Yardley

Dr Elizabeth Yardley

Associate Professor of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology

Dr Elizabeth Yardley is the Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology, a specialist centre engaged in a range of research in and around the criminal justice system. She has experience as a consultant, project managing a wide range of commissioned research for national and local clients including the British Red Cross, Birmingham City Council, Wolverhampton City Council and Sandwell MBC.

Matthew Cremin

Programme Director MA Criminology / 3rd Year Undergraduate Tutor

Matthew Cremin has worked for Birmingham City University for 20 years. After initially teaching politics, Matthew now concentrates on teaching a range of criminal justice and criminology modules in areas surrounding addiction, forensic science and criminological theory. 

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295