Global Criminology (MSc)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2017


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


Two to three evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time, October to April, with some options offered in May, June and July

Other entry years for this course


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 Research Project - 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. 

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  • This programme offers a unique combination of cutting-edge theory, research methods training, an integral research project 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 World Prison Brief, 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.
  • Find out more about why you should study criminology at Birkbeck.
  • Watch our videos and hear what our students have to say about studying law at Birkbeck.
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Course structure

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

Part-time students take International Criminology Theory, and Research Methods in Criminology plus one option in the first year. In the second year, students take two options and write their independent research project.

Read more about modules

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

Visit the Department of Criminology