The University of Stirling is ranked first in Scotland for the study of criminology (The Guardian University Guide 2018), and our Applied Social Research (Criminology) Masters is ideal if you want to develop the skills and expertise you need to undertake robust research in the field of criminal justice.

We cover the principles of collecting, analysing and reporting on qualitative and quantitative data whilst also taking account of ethics, reliability and validity. You’ll critically examine the theoretical foundations that underpin criminology and socio-legal research, as well as exploring issues with comparative research and developing an understanding of the relationship between criminology research and policymaking.

The course is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council and is supported by staff from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Criminal Justice Research – a multi-university body with international influence and links to academics, policymakers and practitioners around the world.

Top reasons to study with us

#1 1st in Scotland for Criminology, top 5 in the UK – The Guardian University Guide 2018

#2 1st in Scotland for Criminology – Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018

#3 Recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council

Course objectives

This MSc course has been designed to ensure you graduate with the ability to:

  • collect, analyse and report qualitative and quantitative data, taking account of ethics, reliability and validity
  • critically examine the theoretical foundations that underpin criminological and socio-legal research
  • examine issues concerning comparative criminological and socio-legal research
  • understand the relationship between criminological research and policy, and the meanings of evaluation, its terminology, practice and use

The course is designed to be suitable for both novice and experienced researchers. No matter what your level of expertise may be, we’ll equip you with the necessary knowledge and abilities to become successfully employed as a researcher or enrolled as a PhD student.

You’ll study in a multi-disciplinary environment where internationally renowned staff introduce you to cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research.

MRes or MSc?

Uniquely, we offer you the opportunity to graduate with an MRes or MSc. Whether you’re studying for the MSc Applied Social Research (Criminology) or the MRes Criminological Research, you’ll follow the exact same pathways. The choice of award is designed to give you freedom in determining what outcome will suit your future aspirations.

MSc Applied Social Research (Criminology)

The Master of Science is the ideal preparation for social research and evaluation in criminal justice and criminology and will suit you if you want to pursue a career in academia and use the MSc as a precursor to completing a PhD.

MRes Criminological Research

The Masters of Research is best suited to you if you see your future career in research, research management and commissioning or using research. Take a look at the MRes Criminological Research course.

Professional accreditations

This course is recognised as research training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for those who are studying or going on to study for a PhD (+3), and is also recognised by the ESRC for Masters Course plus Research Studentship (1+3) purposes.

Course details

Enhance your research skills and open up future opportunities in Criminology with this versatile Masters degree. The MSc Applied Social Research (Criminology) comprises six compulsory taught core modules and a dissertation. Alternatively, you can graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma by completing the core modules but not the dissertation.

You can study the course full-time or part-time:

  • Full-time: one year, four/five modules per semester
  • Part-time: two and a half years, two modules per semester


You’ll participate in lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-based workshops and group work. Teaching methods are tailored for each module to help you acquire new skills in critical thinking, research methodologies, communication and analytical thinking.


You’ll be assessed via a combination of essays, book reviews, research proposals, presentations, critical review essays, a computer lab-based assessment for quantitative data analysis, and – for MSc students – the research dissertation. There are no examinations.

Course director

David Griffiths, Course Director

+44 (0)1786 467729


Fees - 2018/2019

  • Overseas £13,650
  • Home/EU £4,700
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Last updated November 14, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sept. 2019
Jan. 2020
12 - 30 months
4,700 GBP
Home/EU: £4,700 - Overseas: £13,650
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