Earn a Masters in Criminological Research from Scotland’s top-ranked university for Criminology (The Guardian University Guide 2020). Gain expert training in the latest methods and approaches.

This course provides you with expert training in the latest methods and approaches used in criminological research. We're ranked 1st in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for Criminology (The Guardian University Guide 2020).

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 as research training by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 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

  • #11st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for Criminology (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)
  • #2Recognised as research training by the Economic and Social Research Council
  • #31st in Scotland for Criminology and top 10 in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2020)

Course objectives

The MSc Criminological Research provides expert training to ensure you can:

  • 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.

Professional accreditations

The MSc pathways' research training meets the criteria for accreditation from the ESRC, signifying our excellence in researcher training and development. As such, prospective students are eligible for the 1+3 studentship, providing you with funding for a one year research training Masters linked to a three year PhD.

Flexible learning

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.


When you study Criminological Research at the University of Stirling, you’ll be introduced to leading-edge empirical and theoretical research in a vibrant, multi-disciplinary environment.

Underscoring the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2014) – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, highlights included:

  • 78% of our overall research activity was assessed to be internationally excellent or world-leading
  • 100% of research environment factors assessed as internationally excellent or world leading
  • 100% of our research impact was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent
  • we were judged to have the 2nd highest research power in Scotland and 13th highest in the UK

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C or above
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B or above
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

After you graduate

You’ll graduate with a choice of careers available to you across the criminal justice system. This includes joining the Civil Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Police Scotland and other services in the UK or overseas. Other graduates have steered their career towards academia, research management or gone on to do further study, such as the Applied Social Research (Doctorate) or PhD.

  • Benefit from our links to the criminal justice sector and Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
  • Boost your employability by studying at Scotland’s top-rated university for criminology
  • Graduate with the skills to pursue a career in the criminal justice system or academia

Companies we work with

The course is supported by staff from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), which is a collaboration of several Scottish universities. It aims to produce excellent research and develop excellent researchers to enhance the development of policy, practice and public debate around crime and justice. The SCCJR carries international influence and works with fellow academics, policymakers, practitioners and others involved with justice all over the world. As well as benefitting from the expert input of the SCCJR, students studying this MRes Criminological Research course can also attend regular events hosted by the organisation.

The course and its students will also benefit from our strong links to the applied crime and criminal justice sector, including Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service.

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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Last updated September 1, 2019
This course is Campus based
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Sep 2020
12 - 30 
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5,500 GBP
Home/EU: £5,500 - Overseas: £14,300
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