• Status: Fully Approved
  • Start date: October 2017
  • Duration:

    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

  • Attendance:

    2-3 evenings a week full-time or 1-2 evenings a week part-time, October to April

  • Location:

    Central London

Programme overview

This innovative course offers a unique insight into the global dimensions of crime and punishment in today's world.

Exploring both cutting-edge criminological theory and current real-world phenomena related to crime and punishment, the programme provides a multidisciplinary platform for you to engage with the complexity of contemporary criminological challenges.

You will be introduced to the theoretical debates that underpin understanding of the relationship between global, national and local questions of crime and punishment. You will also learn about the range of research methods that are used to explore such questions.

In addition to the three modules that form the compulsory core of the programme - International Criminological Theory, Research Methods in Criminology and the Global Criminology Dissertation - you will choose a further three option modules from a wide range offered within the School of Law, including an internships option that will give you the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the reality and importance of the idea of 'the global' for organisations engaged in criminal justice and related work.

By insisting on a genuinely international perspective that looks at, but also beyond, the experiences of affluent societies that have characteristically dominated criminological scholarship to date, the programme encourages you to think broadly and innovatively about this dynamic, burgeoning field of study.

The course will appeal to those seeking to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the key theoretical and practical issues that have shaped and currently play a major role in influencing matters of crime and punishment from a global perspective. 

How to apply

You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

Application deadlines and interviews

Early applications are advised.

Online application

Global Criminology (MSc) (Part-time)

Global Criminology (MSc) (Full-time)

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

  • This programme offers a unique combination of cutting-edge theory, research methods training, an integral dissertation component, and an optional internship module.
  • Teaching on the programme is provided by experts in respective subjects, including by members of the renowned Institute for Criminal Policy Research, which has long contributed to policy-making, scholarship and public debate about crime and criminal justice.
  • Birkbeck's School of Law is also home to the Birkbeck Criminology Seminar Series, which provides a platform for leading and cutting-edge research and features guest speakers from around the world.
  • The Institute for Criminal Policy Research and, within it, the International Centre for Prison Studies, make the School of Law a dynamic and prestigious hub for criminological research and study, as well as an exciting arena for global criminological scholarship and teaching more particularly.
  • The School of Law is home to an exceptionally international range of empirical and theoretical scholarship conducted by its members, which is reflected in the teaching offered.
  • The School is also an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary research in law, which provides a highly stimulating environment for research and teaching. It is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought.
  • IT resources, such as electronic learning environments, are used at Birkbeck to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. It provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
  • Students 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.
  • Birkbeck’s commitment to flexible learning and provision of evening teaching makes it an appealing choice for professionals and practitioners and is ideal if you want to combine studying with working during the day.
  • Applicants with a strong academic background may be eligible to apply for AHRC/ESRC awards (UK and EU-based applicants only).
  • Candidates with an outstanding academic record who demonstrate high potential for strong performance on one of our Master's degrees can apply for School of Law Postgraduate Fee Awards.
  • We are among the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top three in London in the Times Higher Education 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.

Course structure

You take three compulsory modules, one of which is a dissertation, and choose three option modules.

On the part-time programme, you take International Criminological Theory and three option modules in your first year, while in your second year, you take Research Methods in Criminology, two option modules and write your dissertation.

Compulsory modules

Indicative option modules

Please note: the list of option modules is indicative and not all options will be available every year.

Entry requirements

2:2 honours degree in law or a related discipline in the humanities or social sciences.

Other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional experience and training are welcome.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.


Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa

Payment and Fees Discounts

Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

Funding and Financial Support

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.

Careers and employability

Graduates can pursue a career in law enforcement, education, the media and criminal justice. Possible professions include law enforcement, criminal justice policy development, or local government officer. This degree can also be useful in a variety of positions within law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, and think tanks.

Find out more about these professions.

Find more advice and information about law careers.

Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching is primarily through seminars, with supplementary materials, publications and discussions available within our online teaching environment.


Each module is assessed via a 4000-word essay, while the dissertation requires the submission of an 8000-word paper.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

Read about Birkbeck research that tackles the big issues and ‘real world’ questions facing law makers.

Further study opportunities

If you are interested in further research, we offer an MPhil/PhD in Law.