MSc Criminal Investigation

Why choose this course?

  • What sets this course apart is the unique approach to studying criminal investigations from initial information gathering through to prosecution. You will concentrate on investigative practices from beginning to end.
  • Delivered largely by former investigation professionals, the highly vocational focus compares contemporary international approaches.
  • Modules reflect the PIP national occupational standards in investigation.
  • You will address the changing nature of law enforcement and the civilianisation of investigation.
  • It will help you in your investigative career whatever sector you choose to focus on.
  • It builds on our successful 'hands on' approach to criminology at undergraduate level.
  • Study at a time and pace to suit you and your circumstances. You can study full time, part time or online, or a combination of all of these.


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Fact file

Course code: MM2AB

Start date: September  

Course length: full time: one year, part time: two years.

Campus: Kedleston Road site, Derby Campus

Faculty: Business, Computing and Law

School: School of Law and Criminology

This course is available to international students

About this course

Professionalisation in policing is the one commonly agreed target by all police forces and has been a focus for agencies such as the Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

Increased professionalism in investigation procedures is recognised in the sector at all levels as crucial to personal and organisational effectiveness, reflective of society's increased expectations of professionally conducted investigations.

The MSc Criminal Investigation both complements and enhances the professional sectors initiatives, such as the Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP), that is jointly sponsored by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the National Police Improvement Agency. Uniquely, you will be studying criminal investigations from beginning to end, from inital information gathering through to prosecution.

Not simply focused on the police, you will also examine other sectors requiring professional investigation, from corporate and financial investigations through to social and welfare services. By building upon this knowledge and the skills that are required of professionals, the MSc develops the theoretical and conceptual principles that underpin professional practice.

The course is taught largely by former investigation professionals and all modules utilise our close research and professional links with policing and law enforcement. The focus is on the internationalisation of crime and the impact of technology.

At the Postgraduate Certificate stage you will concentrate on investigative practices from beginning to end. The focus is on the practical, underpinned by the ethical and critical context of academic investigation. You'll cover how to obtain information from a wide range of sources and manage intelligence. You will be able to conduct serious and complex investigations and interview witnesses, victims and suspects in relation to these investigations. This includes assessing their fitness for interview, using the appropriate interviewing techniques for the situation, and being able to critically analyse and evaluate the interview.

At the Postgraduate Diploma stage you will focus on developing the skills to undertake original research and develop alongside this an appreciation of the social, moral and diversity considerations which should underpin both practice and research. You will become confident in handling advanced methodological and theoretical models in criminal investigation.

The Masters stage is an Independent Study. This provides you with an opportunity to utilise and enhance the knowledge and intellectual skills gained during the programme, by means of an extensive investigation of a significant topic within the context of criminal investigation.

You will study Criminal Investigations 1, 2 and 3, and Applied Research in Criminal Justice Systems, at weekend sessions at Derby. All other modules can be studied online or at weekly classes, except:

  • Investigating Sexual Offences - this module is only available at Derby
  • Comparative Criminal Justice and Policing - this module is only available online

What you will cover

This course is made up of three stages - Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc.

Postgraduate Certificate in Criminal Investigation

You will study these modules:


Postgraduate Diploma in Criminal Investigation

You will study this module:

And you will choose two option modules.

MSc Criminal Investigation

You will study this module:

You will choose your option modules from:

Entry requirements

  • At least a 2:2 from your first degree, or equivalent
  • If your first language is not English you will need to evidence a proficiency in English (IELTS 7)

We also welcome applicants who do not have a first degree but who have substantial and relevant professional experience.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria contact the Programme Leader who will be happy to supply further advice.

How to apply

UK/EU students

International students

Information for international applicants

Applying for a postgraduate degree

Fees and finance

2014/15 fees

UK/EU students

  • £495 per module (you usually take 9 of these modules in total)

International students

  • Full time: £10,955

*These fees apply if you're starting this course between September 2014 and August 2015. We recommend you check fee details with us though, as they can change. Costs can increase each year.

How you will learn

How you'll learn

You'll study in a mixture of classroom settings, groupwork, and learning in simulated settings. Some of the course will be studied via e-learning, enabling you to study when it is convenient for you.

There is also an emphasis on being reflective, helping you to think about how the course is helping you with improving your professional and career development.

How you're assessed

Much of the course is assessed formatively, that is to say it is continuous. Portfolios demonstrating your development are an example. Other forms of assessment include written assignments, presentations and group projects. You will also be assessed on how you well have progressed your skills, for example, when interviewing suspects.

Careers and employability

If you are looking for a career in criminal investigation the highly practical nature of this MSc will enable you to obtain a real understanding of what knowledge, skills and competencies are needed to conduct investigations. Career destinations include the Police, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Social Services, Health and Safety Executive and financial organisations.

If you are already a serving investigation professional, you can enhance your continuing professional development, building upon your existing experience and skills whilst providing new insights into criminal investigation.

MSc Criminal Investigation has been mapped onto the National Occupational Standards for criminal investigation. On successful completion you can claim Accredited Prior Learning (APL) allowing entry into civilian roles related to criminal investigation. Police Officers can seek professional recognition for accredited training that maps to PIP2.

What our students say

"This is just the course I was looking for. No other University does this type of course. I can't wait for it to start it will really help my career in investigation!"