Course details

Study options

Full-time: 18 months, Part-time: 36 months

UK/EU fee

£730 per 20 credits* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,700 for the full programme (2020/21)

Course level




Start date



Derby Campus

Course description

The MSc Financial Investigation and Digital Intelligence will place a consistent focus on the study of professional investigative practice across the following themes

Each of these fields provide a base of principles, knowledge and intellectual skills, subject specific skills and transferable skills that underpins the expectation level for the professional practitioner and the postgraduate student.

The MSc Financial Investigation and Digital Intelligence is based on the specific context of practitioners operating under UK legislation, policy and regulation. Most of the principles will be generically applicable to many countries, and the programme will include selected reference to benchmarks for international standards and frameworks for cross-border collaboration between the public sector (law enforcement) and private sector. 

This programme is designed to appeal to the graduate student, practitioners, and investigators with interests in issues such as cybercrime, fraud, organised crime, money laundering, terrorist finance, crime scripting, victimology and criminology.  

What you will study

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

Candidates will study three core modules:

Fundamentals of Financial and Digital Investigation

A platform that will assist you to systemically and critically assess any form of criminality or victimisation, identifying opportunities for integrated approaches utilising financial and digital information, intelligence and evidence.

Financial Intelligence

Offering critical insight on how to develop financial intelligence as a standardised tool. It will focus on the context of the effective and ethical development, control and sharing of information, intelligence and evidence to support investigations.

Digital Intelligence

Providing insight towards how to develop digital intelligence as a standardised tool. It will offer reflection on contemporary crime and victimisation, deconstruct the problem of 'cybercrime' into pre-existing categories of harm, and apply criminology and victimology insights to policy and practice.

Candidates will study three core modules:

Applied Research in Criminal Justice Systems

Developing the skills, knowledge and practical expertise to undertake advanced applied research at masters-level. It will provide tuition in qualitative and quantitative research while considering the politics and ethics of research.

Financial Investigation

Offering critical evaluation of the possibilities and limitations of financial investigation as a standardised tool. It will emphasise professional practice to identify, investigate, confiscate, forfeit or otherwise remediate the proceeds of/for crime. 

Digital Investigation

Offering critical assessment and application of criminology theory to digital investigation as a standardised tool. It will focus on the 'real-world' harm associated with cybercrime, and the use of digital evidence in the context of existing investigatory powers. 

Note: Prior to undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma, the Postgraduate Certificate must be completed.

Independent Study

During this triple module, candidates will use their accumulated knowledge and intellectual skills to carry out a systematic inquiry and academically rigorous study of a significant topic of their choice relevant to the field of investigation. Under the supervision of one of our team of specialist researchers and drawing upon our considerable professional investigative experience, candidates will generate a masters-level dissertation that can be used to showcase their skills and interests towards their current or future investigative role and organisation.

Please note: modules are subject to availability, and may change to suit the needs of industry.

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

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Postgraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

Book your Live Online EventBook your Live Online Event

How you will learn

You will study via a mixture of lectures, seminars and group work. Some elements of the course may be delivered via e-learning through group discussion boards and electronic resources, this enabling some degree of flexibility for you to study when it is convenient for you.

There is also a focus on being reflective, encouraging you to think about how the course is helping you to improve your professional and career development.

Flexible study options

Alongside the 18 month full-time route to the MSc which is spread across 3 semesters (autumn and spring semester in year 1, and autumn semester in year 2), we also offer a 36 month part-time route so that you can study at a time and pace to suit you.

How you will be assessed

Candidates will be assessed by their application of a practical or theoretical theme with respect to the prescribed essay and learning objectives for each module. They will select a relevant and topical challenge of choice, in relation to professional practice, law-enforcement, victim-engagement or crime prevention.

Candidates who are completing the MSc stage will develop and submit for assessment an empirical dissertation research project on a relevant and topical challenge of their choice.

Who you will meet

You will be taught by a team of engaging and inspiring subject experts. Reflecting the practice-oriented nature of the course within masters-level accredited academic study, the team is made up of experienced practitioners as well as academics who have researched widely on criminal investigation issues and related fields.

Dr David Hicks is Programme Leader for the MSc Financial Investigation and Digital Intelligence. He has over two decades of academic, research and professional experience. This includes national and international recognition as a specialist in financial crime and financial investigation, criminal/financial intelligence, organised crime, and crime prevention. He also has experience lecturing in criminology at Cardiff University (Wales) and the University of Ottawa (Canada).  David was the co-principal investigator for the Better Policing Collaborative (BPC) cybercrime project sponsored by the Police Knowledge Fund (PKF), which was jointly funded by HEFCE and the Home Office via the College of Policing.

David Benford MSc is the Managing Director of Blackstage Forensics Limited as well as a Visiting Professional Fellow for the Department of Criminology and Social Sciences at the University of Derby.  He is renowned as a leading expert on hostile profiling through social media and emerging technologies and he is a special officer with UK law enforcement. David works internationally with military, diplomats, corporations and law enforcement agencies and is especially well known for his work with the European diplomatic institutions in Brussels and logistics industries.

Craig Hughes MA (PhD Candidate) is an Associate Lecturer for the Department of Criminology and Social Sciences at the University of Derby.  He has been involved in law enforcement for over thirty years. The last twenty of which he has been a financial investigator and manager at regional and national levels for the Police and Home Office departments and the Serious Fraud Office. Craig was part of the Implementation Team for the setup of the Assets Recovery Agency in 2002.  He is currently researching a PhD on the nature of financial investigation within the UK.

Nir Tolkovsky MSc, CFE, (PhD Candidate) participates in digital and financial research with the Department of Criminology and Social Sciences at the University of Derby. His background includes counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation project management within the Israeli Intelligence community, as well as research and development in the private sector and academia in the UK.   Among his recent engagements are projects utilising a variety of analytical disciplines in criminal justice systems, security and commercial contexts, ranging from cyber intelligence analysis to complex corporate fraud litigation and electronic discovery.  Nir’s doctoral research addresses the interplay between ‘criminal’ and a range of ‘commercial’ and ‘civil’ fraud resolution mechanisms in English law and practice.

Nir is no longer an Associate Lecturer as he is completing his PhD thesis revisions at-a-distance having moved overseas, but the research he has been involved in and continues to be involved in is integral to the content of this master’s degree.

Entry requirements

At least a 2:2 from your first degree, or the equivalent. If your first degree is not in the social sciences or related subjects such as criminology, criminal justice, policing, sociology, psychology and economics, please contact the Programme Leader.

If your first language is not English, you will need to evidence a proficiency in English (IELTS 6.5).

We also welcome applicants who may not have an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) 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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees (August 2020 - July 2021)


£730 per 20 credits*

£730 per 20 credits*


£14,700 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Additional costs and optional extras

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International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply


The MSc Financial and Digital Intelligence has been designed to relate skills and application in professional investigative practice within law enforcement and the private sector. The success of candidates in potentially securing employment or further educational opportunities is embedded in the self-directed nature of the programme. 

Our masters-level candidates are encouraged to pursue (where they are not already employed in a related field) institutional access and collaboration for research as well as possible placement and internship opportunities. The integration between research and practical experience is very important for candidates to express and pursue their interests, whilst developing their skills and access to networks which may facilitate career opportunities.

Ongoing careers support

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with help, guidance and support from day one of your course – and for up to three years after you have completed your studies.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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