This is a 21 month part-time programme which equips its graduates with an advanced understanding of crime and criminal justice. The degree comprises core courses in criminological theory and the study of criminal justice, provides training in research design and methodology, and offers students the opportunity to take optional courses in a wide range of subject areas, including policing, sentencing, prisons, the sociology of punishment, restorative justice, crime and the family, human rights, victims, youth justice, risk and security, and the death penalty. Students also research and write a dissertation on a subject of their own choosing under the guidance of a supervisor. A stimulating and demanding programme, involving intensive learning in small groups, the MSc is suitable for those with an excellent first degree in sociology, law, politics, psychology, history or another subject relevant to criminology.

The MSc is comprised of three components:

1. The Core Course and Compulsory Research Methods Course, which covers Explanation and Understanding in Criminology; Understanding Criminal Justice, and Research Design and Data Collection.

2. Five optional modules selected from a list of 15 or so

3. A dissertation of 12,000 to 15,000 words researched and written independently under the supervision of a member of academic staff

The part-time course will demand a commitment to attend Oxford two days a week during term time from students.

See the course structure

Overseas Applicants

As this is a part time long term course requiring weekly attendance during term time, students should only accept a place if they are, or will be, already resident in the UK in a capacity likely to last until the end of the course. Non EU students will not be eligible to apply for a Tier 4 student visa and neither is the Student Visitor category appropriate for the course. If a student accepts a place on the course it is on the understanding that they are able to be resident in the UK and it is their own responsibility to ensure that their visa permission will last for the duration of the course.

Interested in the full-time programme? Find out more.


Part-time students will spend Trinity term of year 2 researching and writing their dissertations but they will be encouraged to start thinking about/planning their dissertations in Trinity term of Year 1.

The Communication Skills for Criminologists workshop is compulsory for all MSc students in year 1 of their programme but part-time students will be strongly encouraged to audit it in the second year. They will also give a presentation based on their dissertation at the separate ‘MSc symposium’, also in Trinity Term of Year 2