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Criminology & Criminal Justice

MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)
A unique programme, based in Ireland's only Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, for non- lawyers who wish to work in the field of criminology and criminal justice.

-To understand and think critically about the intersections between law, politics and social policy that come to the fore in the study of Criminology and Criminal Justice;

-To apply knowledge and understanding of Criminology and Criminal Justice to real and hypothetical factual situations;

-To conduct independent research and write coherent, well-structured papers.

Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Course Description
The Institute of Criminology offers a wide range of modules for the Masters programmes. Modules of especial interest to those undertaking this programme include:

Advanced Criminological Theory explores key theories of crime both classic and recent, including biological, psychological and sociological explanations of criminal behaviour and their potential application in the Irish context.

Digital Investigations & the Law deals with the legal framework governing the activities of persons involved in Information Technology security and forensics. Topics covered will include:
* Legal issues associated with securing networks (including penetration testing, legal obligations to store data / keep data secure);
* Legal issues raised in the conduct of investigations (including the legality of network monitoring and employee surveillance, duties to report certain findings to the police, interaction with police investigations); and
* The role of digital evidence in litigation (including the use of discovery, Anton Piller orders and other court procedures, reliability and admissibility of digital evidence, implications of illegally and unconstitutionally obtained evidence).
This course will primarily reflect Irish and European law but where relevant comparison will be made with practice in other jurisdictions.

Punishment, Prisons and Public Policy The response to crime since the mid-1990s has been characterised in many developed countries by an emphasis on prison expansion. This module explores some of the dilemmas that confront prison systems everywhere (e.g. violence, drug misuse, effective risk assessment and recidivism). The extent to which these problems have characteristics that reflect peculiarly local conditions is a recurrent theme. What, if anything, is distinctive about the 'society of captives' in Irish prisons?

Please note that the Part Time programme has the same timetable as the full time programme but is held over 2 years rather than 1 year.

There will be dissertation seminars in weeks 1-4 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11-1pm (Jan-May term)

Vision and Values Statement
The programme is for non-lawyers who wish to start or progress within a career in the criminal justice system. It provides career-relevant knowledge, insight and skills to those working or aspiring to work in sectors such as policing, youth justice, prisons, probation and related voluntary organisations, as well as a good platform for doctoral studies and a possible academic career.

The programme nurtures learners who strive to understand and think critically about the intersections between sociology, psychology, law, politics and social policy within the field of criminology and criminal justice, to apply this knowledge and understanding to real-life situations, and to conduct independent research and scholarly publication.

We strive for a learning environment that encourages students to work individually or as part of a team, so they can develop their own and others' leadership, teamwork and communication skills, as well as skills of quantitative and qualitative analysis of the social phenomena associated with crime.

To these ends, the programme makes intensive use of teaching, learning and assessment approaches such as small group teaching, in-class presentations (individual and group) and academic writing. A 30 credit dissertation on a topic devised by the student is an integral part of the programme.

Programme outcomes:
-demonstrate a detailed awareness of current controversies in criminology and criminal justice and knowledge of areas where the discipline is currently enjoying theoretical elaboration.
-appreciate the strengths and limitations of key research methodologies.
-use knowledge of debates within the discipline and different methodological approaches to interpret empirical research findings and to critique research designs.
-integrate source material from a variety of disciplinary areas to reach reasoned decisions about the relative status of competing claims to knowledge.
-unpack complex theoretical arguments and to render intelligible to a non-specialist audience, key disciplinary insights.
-have the intellectual toolkit required to research and write a major dissertation.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from graduates holding an excellent degree in sociology, politics, psychology, history or another subject relevant to criminology (at least 2.1). In exceptional circumstances, substantial professional experience within the field of criminal justice may be regarded by the selection panel as compensating for a lack of an undergraduate degree to the required standard. Such applicants should state clearly in their application why they feel their other qualifications/experience are appropriate for admission onto the programme.

International Applicants and students:
Students/Applicants requiring information from an International perspective may visit the website for information regarding our campus, location of UCD and visa information. Applicants may visit
for full information on fees and fee payment methods.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Careers or further progression

Careers & Employability
This programme provides opportunities for those who wish to work or are already working in relevant areas, such as policing, youth justice, prisons, probation and voluntary organisations to enhance their knowledge of the field. It also provides a good platform for doctoral studies and a possible academic career in what has become an area of substantial growth in universities around the world.

We have an excellent Careers Development Centre here at UCD, designed to help you with information regarding future employment or studies. UCD hold a number of graduate events throughout the year including a dedicated law fair at which at which many of the big Law firms will be in attendance. The School of Law has a dedicated careers advisor on it's Academic staff, Dr. Oonagh Breen, and a staff member from the careers office will be in attendance at the School of law on a number of occasions throughout the academic year. To see the full range of services offered by the careers office go to

Further enquiries

Contact Name: Justine McCann
Contact Number:+353(0) 1 716 4109

Subjects taught

The MSc requires the completion of 90 ECTS. The dissertation is worth 30 ECTS and there is a dissertation seminar in semester 2 for 2 hours per week with the dissertation being completed in Semester 3. The typical enrolment for a full-time student is 3 modules in Semester 1 and 2.

Stage 1 - Core

Stage 1 - Option
Punishment, Prisons & Public Policy

Advanced Criminological Theory

International Human Rights

Digital Investigations & the Law

Coercive Confinement

White Collar Crime

Whistleblowing Law & Practice

Policing & Social Conflict

Sociological Research: theoretical and applied issues

Drug Use, Community & Society

Application date

How to apply?
The following entry routes are available:
MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice FT (B220)
1 Years

Full Time

Rolling *

MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice PT (B221)
2 Years

Part Time

Rolling *

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

What is the Application Procedure?
Applicants should take careful note of the following:
Go to to make an application. Remember to keep a note of your login and password as you will need to return to the application.
Official transcripts must be submitted as proof of examination results by all applicants except graduates of UCD
Students of UCD applying for the MSc do not need to supply Transcripts, References or give names of Referees
The personal statement is an important component of the application. It should contain information demonstrating your capability to undertake the course successfully. Thus, you should detail your relevant research and practical experience including any publications and major essays/projects.
Applicants must nominate two academic referees unless the applicant has been in employment for more than two years, in which case one of the named referees must be an employer. Applicants are required to submit the name, position held, postal address, email address and contact number for the two academic referees.
Applicants whose mother tongue is not English must submit satisfactory evidence of competence in written and spoken English, e.g. a TOEFL score of 650 if taken in traditional mode, 250 if taken on computer based version, or 100 if internet based version. The requirement for IELTS is 6.5, achieving a minimum of 6 in each band. Please note that in all cases the test results must be less than 2 years old. Applicants with an IELTS score of 5.5 (with no band less than 5.0) may undertake the ten week Pre-Sessional Pathway at UCD's Applied Language Centre (25 June to
31 August at the UCD Applied Language Centre Upon Successful completion of all elements of this course the level of English attained will be acceptable for entry to this Masters programme. Grade C or above in Advanced Cambridge Exams will also be accepted as sufficient English fluency for the Masters programme.
Please indicate any other Masters programmes for which you are applying.

Letter of recommendation‌

Part Time Applications
Students wishing to apply for the Part Time option should note that classes are as for those taking the full time option, but students will be required to take less credits per semester than in the full time programme as they have a longer period of time (2 years) to complete this programme. Typically, Full Time students study 30 credits of modules (3 modules x 10credits) in Semester 1 and 30 credits of modules (3 modules x 10credits) in semester 2. There is a dissertation seminar in semester 2 for 2 - 4 hours per week. The 30 credit dissertation is completed over the summer term (submitted in mid-August). Part Time students would study 30 credits of modules in year 1 (semester 1 and 2), 30 credits of modules in year 2 (semester 1 and 2) and complete the dissertation in the summer term of year 2. Note: Semester 1: September-December, Semester 2: January –May, Summer Term: June-August

International Applicants and students:
Students/Applicants requiring information from an International perspective may visit the website for information regarding our campus, location of UCD and visa information. Applicants may visit for full information on fees and fee payment methods.

Course fee

MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice (B220) Full Time
EU fee per year - € 8990
nonEU fee per year - € 19200

MSc Criminology & Criminal Justice (B221) Part Time
EU Year 1 - € 4495
EU Year 2 - € 4495 aa
nonEU Year 1 - € 9600
nonEU Year 2 - € 9350

aaSecond Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2019 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2018/19

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships. We also offer scholarships for EU applicants. All applicants who apply before May 31st will be included. Further details at

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2019/2020 September

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!