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Email: scs@ucl.ac.uk
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MSc Crime Science

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The MSc in Crime Science provides students with a thorough understanding of how science and scientifically based techniques can deliver immediate and sustainable reductions in crime. The programme focuses on how to better apply science to understand crime problems, develop strategies for preventing them, and increase the probability of detecting and arresting offenders.

Students develop the ability to apply scientific principles to crime control, think more strategically in developing and implementing crime control policies, appreciate the complexity of implementation issues, critically assess the likely impact of planned crime reduction initiatives and generate more innovative proposals for reducing particular crime problems.

The Department of Security and Crime Science is the first in the world devoted specifically to reducing crime through teaching, research, public policy analysis and by the dissemination of evidence-based information on crime reduction.  The Crime Science MSc is a multi-disciplinary subject, drawing on expertise in psychology, social science, statistics, mathematics, architecture, forensic sciences, design, geography and computing.  Our graduate students come from varied backgrounds; many are practitioners and are encouraged to contribute their experience in and out of the classroom.

Full time students
Full time students will complete the MSc in one calendar year.

Modular/Flexible students
Modular/Flexible students can take up to 5 years to complete the programme, although we would typically expect the course to be completed in three years.

Programme Structure
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits). 

Compulsory Modules

  • Foundations
    of Security and Crime Science
    - PUBLGC42:
    The purpose of this module is to set out the foundational concepts, theories and approaches that underpin the masters programmes offered in the Department of Security and Crime Science. In this way the module provides an overarching framework for the modules that follow. It outlines the distinctive nature of the crime science approach to understanding, preventing, detecting and investigating crime and security problems. It presents the key theories that explain the temporal and spatial patterning of crime and terrorism events, and introduces students to associated strategies for disrupting these patterns. The need for a multidisciplinary approach – especially the integration of the social and physical sciences - to address crime and security problems is emphasised, with the contributions of the forensic sciences and security technology highlighted.  Assessment: one exam.
  • Preventing Crimes - PUBLGC43: This module aims to give students a solid understanding of the crime prevention process. In order to gain this understanding it is important that students do not purely consider a crime type and suggest a list of responses. There also needs to be an understanding of the process of crime prevention- for example frameworks that can be used in planning prevention and issues that are likely to come up in the process of implementing prevention. Furthermore, it is useful to consider issues such as the quality of evidence that is available in making decisions regarding prevention. Hence there will be discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation designs and further evaluative techniques that are commonly used in evidence production. Finally it is useful to understand the process of synthesizing evidence on what works in reducing a particular type of crime so that it is possible to give practitioners a detailed account of what they might expect when using a particular preventative strategy. This course focuses exclusively on examples of crime reduction using situational crime prevention techniques. Assessment: oneposter presentation (20%) and one 3000 word essay project (80%).
  • Designing and Doing Research - PUBLGC31: This module addresses head-on the question of what it means be scientific about security and crime. In doing so, it tackles several contiguous queries: What is the logic of crime science? What are the key methods of crime science? What is involved in applied science and engineering in the context of crime and security? What are the warrants for the findings of crime science, compared to other ways of studying crime and security? How does a crime scientist go about designing and undertaking a scientific study? In answering these questions, the course objectives are 1) to help students understand the distinctiveness of a scientific approach to security, crime and crime control; 2) to enable them to discriminate good and bad scientific research questions; 3) to allow them to recognize and be able to formulate testable scientific hypotheses; 4) to ensure that they can critically assess scientific research designs; and 5) to equip them to devise a plausible design for a piece of research in crime and security science, leading ultimately to the formulation of their dissertation research project.
  • Quantitative Methods - PUBLGC32: The aim of this course is to provide students with an understanding of how to visualize and analyze quantitative data. Relevant examples are used to show how the principles and methods can be used to test hypotheses concerned with crime. The aims of the course are two-fold. First, to develop students into intelligent consumers of research by explaining why researchers conduct studies in the way they do and what methods are appropriate for different kinds of data. And, second, during supported workshops, to provide students with the opportunity to apply their learning by analyzing real or simulated data. The course will provide students with practical skills that will help them to complete their dissertations.
  • Security and Crime Science Dissertation - PUBLGC99: Report (dissertation) of 10,000 words – worth 33.3% of the programme (60 credits) to be submitted mid-September.

Optional Modules

  • Qualitative Research Methods - PUBLGC58: The module introduces students to a variety of qualitative research techniques used in the social sciences.  It provides an understanding of how qualitative and quantitative methods can be used to complement each other to enrich a research project.  The sessions cover theoretical considerations required in qualitative research and each week introduces the student to a different qualitative method or approach that can be used in crime science research.  Collectively, the sessions will enable students to construct qualitative research instruments appropriate to real-world research questions, analyse data in a scientific manner, and interpret findings appropriately. Assessment: one 1500 word essay (30%) and one exam (70%).
  • Crime Mapping and Spatial Analysis - PUBLGC26: This module will equip students with the theoretical and practical knowledge of geographical analytical tools applicable to the discipline of crime science. Using the SARA framework, this module will provide students with the opportunity to analyse real and simulated data to explore each part of the problem-solving process. Drawing on three computer packages (ArcGIS, Geoda and CrimeStatIII), this module will be invaluable to anyone intending to use spatial analysis in their dissertation or future applied work of this kind.  Assessment: two2000 word essays (30% and 70%).
  • Perspectives on
    Organised Crime - PUBLGC44 (T1):
    The aim of this module is to provide students with an overview and understanding of the phenomenon of organised crime, by providing them with an outline of its history, various manifestations, broader issues of definition, practice and theory. The different ways in which organised crime manifests itself in different countries will be discussed. A number of special topics will also be examined, human trafficking, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and the historical cases of the crime-terror nexus thus providing students with an up-to-date picture of the organised crime landscape and the pervasive influence of organised crime worldwide. Assessment: one 3000 word essay.
  • Investigation and Detection - PUBLGC45:  This module provides students with an understanding of the processes and actors operating throughout the course of a criminal investigation from the crime scene itself, to the collection and analysis of evidence, its interpretation and eventual presentation in a courtroom. The various stages of the investigation and detection processes will be examined which will include an introduction to crime scene management methods; the influence of various criminological theories about offender behavior and how they relate to criminal investigations; knowledge concerning the production of intelligence and evidence by forensic science; an understanding of the influence of the law and the courts. Students will interact with a number of different professionals and disciplines that contribute to the detection and investigation process.  Assessment: one 3000 word essay.
  • Intelligence Gathering and Analysis - PUBLGC46: Provides an account of how intelligence gathering and analysis is organised in the UK. We will examine the intelligence life-cycle in some detail from the identification of an intelligence requirement through to the actions consequent on an intelligence report. Students will also become familiar with graphical and computer-based techniques for organising, analysing and presenting complex heterogeneous data. Assessment: assignment and exam.

Entry eligibility normally requires an lower second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant disciplines include science subjects, for example engineering or computer science; or social science subjects, for example, psychology, criminology or geography. Alternatively candidates may qualify for entry if they can offer five or more years of relevant professional experience (for example in the police service, or as a crime prevention worker).

Proficiency in the use of spoken and written English is required. Students whose first language is not English will need to meet the College's English language requirement.

Further information may be obtained from:

UCL Department of Security and Crime Science
University College London
35 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9EZ
Tel: 020 3108 3206
Fax: 020 3108 3088
Email:scs@ucl.ac.uk


All applications are made online at the following link: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-study

MSc Crime Science
Full time (2015-2016)
Home/EU £10,765
Overseas £17,250

(*Please note there is an Application Processing Fee for all Postgraduate Taught programmes of £50 for online applications and £75 for paper applications.)

For those taking the programme over two or more years, you will be charged according to the number of credits you take that year, therefore the annual cost will vary according to your study load. However, the overall fee will be approximately the same as the full time fee, with a slight increase to allow for annual inflation:

A 15 credit component (equivalent to one taught module) corresponds to approximately £871 for Home/EU students and £1396 for overseas students. The dissertation is 60 credits.

Fees are paid on an annual basis.

For 2015-2016 entry the Department of Security & Crime Science will offer up to 14 bursary scholarships of between £2,500 and £10,000 (most awards are £2,500) to outstanding applicants who have been offered places on one of our MSc programmes.

If you would like to be considered for one of these scholarships when you apply, please complete the Funding section of your online application with the following details:

  • In the Other column please write the following: "Department of Security & Crime Science Bursary Scholarship"


The deadline for consideration is 30th April 2015.
You must ensure that your online application is complete by this date. This includes making sure that your referees have submitted their references by this date, as UCL Admissions do not consider an application to be complete until this has happened. The Department of Security & Crime Science will not be able to make any exceptions.

All applications will be considered after the deadline and we aim to inform applicants of our decision by mid-June 2015. You will hear from us directly via email - this communication is entirely separate from any communications you receive from UCL Admissions and your offer letter for a place on the programme will not state whether or not you have been awarded a bursary.

Please be aware that competition for these bursary scholarships is fierce and we recommend that all applicants investigate other sources of funding. The UCL website has a section on graduate funding and scholarships, however we as a department are unable to help unsuccessful applicants to find alternative funding.


Other scholarships:

Postgrad Solutions bursaries worth £500

Other UCL scholarships

Many graduates now work in the field of crime prevention and detection for public sector employers such as the Home Office, Police and Ministry of Defence, or private sector companies with a crime prevention and community safety focus. Other graduates go on to further doctoral research. First destinations of recent graduates include: Metropolitan Police Service: Serious Sexual Offences Intelligence Analyst, Hampshire County Council: Community Safety Support Assistant, Metropolitan Police Service: Head of implementation, Hertfordshire County Council: Senior Analyst, RSA Group: Fraud Specialist, National Police Improvement Agency: Assistant Crime Analyst and Wandsworth Prison: Catholic Priest.

Click here to see the career paths previous students have taken.

Page last modified on 16 aug 13 15:44