Skip to main content

Global Criminology (MSc)

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, the programme provides a multidisciplinary platform for you to engage with the complexity of contemporary criminological challenges.

You will be introduced to theoretical debates about 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. An internship option will give you 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. 

Highlights

  • Our School of Law is an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary research in law and is 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.
  • In the latest Research Excellence Framework we were ranked in the top 10 for research intensity in the UK and top three in London, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.
  • Teaching on the programme is provided by experts in respective subjects, including members of the renowned Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research, which has long contributed to policy-making, scholarship and public debate about crime and criminal justice. The School's Birkbeck Law Press 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. You 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.
  • 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.
  • Find out more about why you should study law at Birkbeck.

Course structure

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

Module groups

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

Exit awards

If you complete 90 credits, you will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate and, if you complete 120 credits, you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. The MSc degree is awarded on completion of the full 180 credits.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

    We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    Apply now to secure your place and allow enough time for the application and enrolment process. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    Course specific entry requirements

    A second-class 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.

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course 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.

    International Entry Requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement for international students is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university or an equivalent international qualification.

    Find details of entry requirements and equivalencies for over 120 countries worldwide.

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. Some courses may require higher scores, particularly in the following subject areas:

    • arts management
    • cultural studies
    • development studies
    • film and media
    • geography
    • history
    • law
    • organizational psychology
    • psychology.

    Please carefully check the Course-Specific Entry Requirements on your chosen programme for details of higher English language entry requirements.

    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.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £5670 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £11340 pa
    Part-time international students: £8670 pa
    Full-time international students: £17340 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

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

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Each module is assessed via a 4000-word essay; you also write an 8000-word research project.

  • Careers and employability

    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 more advice and information about law careers.

    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.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in September.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.