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MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice | Part-time

Start date(s):
Study mode:
Course duration:
2 years

Tuition fees

Home part-time per credit
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About this course

LJMU's Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice MSc is a new stand-alone qualification designed to enhance your career prospects in criminal justice agencies, the probation service and the police

  • Study criminal psychology in depth and understand how it influences criminal justice practice and wider societal perspectives
  • Obtain an overview of criminal justice policy and process, and understand key contemporary issues in these areas
  • Choose from a number of optional modules giving a critical insight into key areas of offending such as Youth crime, as well as criminal justice practice, which may include drugs, policing, rehabilitation etc
  • Undertake a research dissertation to generate knowledge in this area and further your own skills as a professional

The MSc in Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice offers the opportunity for students, practitioners, and criminal justice professionals to critically engage with a broad range of issues that impact on the effectiveness and integrity of the workings of the criminal justice system.

Through exploring a series of theoretical and policy-orientated debates relevant to the delivery of contemporary crime control and management, and assessing their cultural, social and symbolic consequences, the course helps you to develop a comprehensive and critically aware understanding of the manufacture and delivery of criminal justice policy.

In addition, you will obtain an in-depth understanding of the psychology of a range of criminal behaviours, and how this knowledge can impact on law enforcement, management and treatment of criminals, as well as wider decision making within the justice system.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • access to programme-appropriate software
  • library and student IT support
  • free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

The Masters in Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice offers vocationally relevant knowledge and skills. It will be particularly relevant if you are currently working with or would like a career involving criminal justice agencies, the probation service, social science departments, the police or community-based correction/treatment agencies.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Core modules

Key Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
20 credits

This module advances knowledge of criminal justice in England and Wales, covering key topics such as policing, courts, probation, prisons, and more. It also explores how societal issues influence the criminal justice system. The course includes assessed presentations on these critical aspects of the field.

Criminal Psychology
40 credits

This module provides students with a comprehensive and critical guide to both the theory and practical applications that currently exist within practice using criminal behaviour models. It will use case examples, published journals, some that have been authored by the staffing team, to illustrate the application of these models and how they are applied by professionals

Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice Dissertation
60 credits

This module will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of a specific criminal behaviour and/or criminal justice issue. You will construct a sustained and coherent assignment at length, to show your critical ability to apply appropriate research methods.

Research Methods for Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice
20 credits

This module will help to prepare you for your compulsory dissertation on the MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice. This will enable you to develop an advanced and critical knowledge of the key ontological, epistemological and methodological issues that impact upon research into criminal behaviour and criminal justice.

Within this module, you will consider and demonstrate a critical appreciation of the particular research theories and methods of data collection and analysis, which researchers use to study criminal behaviour and criminal justice. In doing so, you will examine and demonstrate advanced and critical understanding of issues relating to the politics and ethics of crime and criminal justice research. This will help you to examine and demonstrate advanced and critical understanding of practical issues which can affect research into particular aspects of criminal behaviour and criminal justice.

Optional Modules

Sex, Crime and Society
20 credits

This module will critically evaluate the phenomenon of sexual offences from a variety of perspectives: historical and modern; social/cultural; ethical and moral; political. Within these contexts, the criminalisation of sexual behaviour will be evaluated and the law applied critically to specific factual situations. The module aims to:

  • develop a knowledge and understanding of the principles, policies and doctrines relating to the criminalisation and de-criminalisation of sexual, and sexually-related behaviour within society
  • provide a critical analysis of the rationale for, and scope of, a selective range of sexual offences in their socio-legal context

Drugs, Alcohol and Criminal Justice
20 credits

This module aims to develop your understanding of drug and alcohol use within contemporary society. It deconstructs the drug and alcohol status quo so you can acknowledge the complexities and contradictions that exist within this sphere. It aims to:

  • provide a broad critical understanding of the different paradigms and perspectives on substance (mis)use and relevant policy in relation to crime and criminal justice
  • set a critical socio-cultural scene for you to build up a comprehensive picture of drug and alcohol use within contemporary capitalist society
  • develop your understanding of drug policy and critically consider the rationale and motivations that mould policy developments within this sphere
  • develop your knowledge of how drug and alcohol users are responded to within a criminal justice context

Advanced Critical Criminology
20 credits

This module is designed to examine the social construction of crime. It aims to:

  • provide a balance between theoretical perspectives and empirical, practical knowledge about the power imbalances in society
  • critically examine the relationship between these imbalances and crime (reported and unreported), as well as the criminal justice system's responses to them
  • equip you with the skills required to demonstrate a critical understanding of crimes involving the abuse of social and/or individual power

Delivering Rehabilitation
20 credits

This module critically evaluates, at an advanced level, the role and function of the prison and probation services in relation to the delivery of state punishment and rehabilitation. It aims to:

  • critically reflect on the values and principles that underpin the delivery of contemporary penal policy through the creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
  • scrutinise the extent to which contemporary penal policy and practice actually delivers a more systematic approach to the management of offenders

Youth Justice
20 credits

This module aims to give you a critical, theoretically-informed and socially-orientated grounding in the study of youth justice. It enables you to:

  • develop an analytical approach to understanding the treatment and experiences of young people within, and at the hands of, the criminal justice system
  • consider the historical basis of the youth justice system and how political influence has played a significant role in the current development of youth justice policy
  • critically compare youth justice policy and practice in England and Wales

The Sociology of Policing
20 credits

This module seeks to critically explore the complex and dynamic relationship between policing services/agents and members of the diverse public these organisations serve. It will help you develop a critical appreciation of the historical and conceptual development of modern policing forms, evaluate contemporary policing structures/methods/networks, and explore future challenges for service provision.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Typically, students attend teaching on two or three days per week. Days of attendance vary according to timetabling requirements.

Teaching methods

The MSc Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice programme is made up of a number of core modules, which are part of the course framework. You also have a choice of optional modules that can be selected that are of interest to you and enhance your learning in key areas.

Core modules include:

  • Criminal Psychology
  • Key Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Research methods in Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Psychology and Criminal Justice Dissertation.

Applied learning

The option modules you study will help you develop an in depth knowledge of how contemporary criminal psychology helps us understand criminal behaviour and how it affects criminal justice practice.

You will also develop research skills in order to design, execute and analyse your own research project in a relevant area of your choice. Your final core module will focus on key contemporary issues in the criminal justice system.

Additional optional modules available in Semester 2 include areas of: drugs, alcohol and criminal justice, delivering rehabilitation, sex, crime and society and policing.


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

Assessment methods may include essays, reports, quizzes, portfolios and presentations as well as a final dissertation.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

This MSc aims to continue the excellent experiences of our equivalent undergraduate course (BSc in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice) by providing students with a course that considers influences and profiles of criminal offending and victimisation, as well as how this is applied and experienced through the criminal justice system. Through our expert Criminal Justice Team with their experience of working with Behavioural Investigative Advisors on serious offences, probation, magistrate and prison work, along with expert guest speakers from around the world, we bring a modern, interactive learning experience to help develop your expertise and career prospects.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The School of Justice Studies is based in the Redmonds Building and John Foster Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpool's growing Knowledge Quarter. Redmonds is shared by two Schools within the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies Liverpool Screen School and the School of Law - and Liverpool Business School, making for a rich blend of student learning experiences. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, a mock courtroom, social spaces, and a cafe. It is only a short walk from LJMU's Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies.

Entry requirements

You will need:

Qualification requirements

Alternative qualifications considered

All candidates must be able to demonstrate an ability to benefit from and contribute to the programme. Given the general nature of assessment, candidates will normally match the entry criteria below: - a degree from a recognised University or equivalent awarding institution at upper second class honours level or above; or - a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to the above; or - an award which the University has agreed to accept as equivalent to a degree. Where a candidate does not fulfil the standard entry qualification the Programme Leader reserves the right to interview the person to determine their suitability for the Programme. This process would be used where the applicant has no relevant degree or professional qualification, but does have relevant professional experience relevant to the programme, or where the undergraduate degree award criteria above have not been met. The Programme Leader would conduct an interview with another member of the programme team. Interviews would be based around the applicant's suitability for the programme, which is also measured by the completion of a written piece of work by the applicant, which is discussed at the interview.

International requirements

  • Other international requirements

    The programme is taught entirely in the English language, and, due to the participatory nature of its delivery, and the need to complete reading, assignments and written work (along with participants contributing to group discussions), overseas students will normally need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component

Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.