Postgraduate Course

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£9,450 for the full course* (2024/25)

International fee

£14,900 for the full course (2024/25)

Course level




Start dates

September, January


One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus

Course description

Police leaders today have to operate in a transparent, ethical and highly accountable arena - where their decisions are often scrutinised by politicians, the media and the general public. The Policing vision 2025 outlines the plan for professionalising policing over the next ten years, and acknowledges the social and political challenges our forces face. Our MSc in Police Leadership, Strategy and Organisation aims to meet the professional development of current and future leaders as well as providing a provision for individuals with high potential and capacity to shape the future of the profession. 

Meeting 21st century priorities

This exciting course offers a unique combination of the latest business and management thinking, criminology and social sciences - all applied to the complex challenges of contemporary policing. It has been launched at a time of calls for greater public accountability, the growing importance of community partnerships and, in some quarters, a crisis of confidence in the integrity of police services.

Our MSc goes well beyond traditional public sector skills and generic leadership programmes. It gives you an in-depth knowledge of the critical issues surrounding police accountability, independence, policing effectiveness, performance and organisational transformation. It will stretch and inspire you to take your leadership skills to the highest professional standards.

Powerful networks

You’ll benefit from the wisdom of some of the most influential figures in policing today. We pride ourselves on a superb network of contacts, from chief constables and crime commissioners, to the representatives from national policing organisations such as Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, the College of Policing, the Chartered Management Institute and representatives of the private sector. They have played a key role in the design of our course to ensure it matches the needs of the profession today.

These strong partnerships mean we can offer an outstanding visiting speaker programme, enabling you to discuss issues - in complete confidence - with leaders in the field. We also host regular events with organisations such as the Society of Evidence-based Policing and the British Society of Criminology.

A truly global outlook

Our approach provides a unique bridge between policing in the UK and the rest of the world. While other police leadership courses focus primarily on the UK and USA, our MSc boasts a broader international perspective and you’ll find yourself sharing insights and experience with senior police officers from around the world.

Teaching Team

You can be confident in our quality of teaching as we have an experienced team of academics that have over 250 years combined experience in the criminal justice sector. They’ll give you a fresh perspective on real world policing alongside relevant academic theories.

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

The course is made up of three stages - Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc. There may be the option of a practical placement, subject to numbers and security clearance.

You’ll study the below core modules:

Policing and Accountability

You’ll examine the complex political, legal, financial and operational challenges of working with local and national government and the community as stakeholders. This module explores the relationship with democratic and regulatory bodies as well as the strategies that secure police independence, the rule of law and due process in a society which aims to reflect liberal values such as representation, civil liberties, free expression and accountability. There is also a focus on business, political and economic measures for practical engagement with oversight authorities, the courts and government.

Police Leadership and Organisational Transformation

You’ll consider the changes needed for reorientation of policing organisations to meet 21st century priorities, including the move towards community partnerships and proactive problem-solving. This module addresses the role of the police as facilitators, leaders and enablers, with a broader look at strategic planning, policy development and organisational transparency, including political accountability through Police and Crime Commissioners. You’ll look at logistical issues of resourcing and deployment, with personnel, training and development placed within the context of best practice in strategic human resources. You’ll also explore issues centred on ICT systems and data.

Applied Research in Criminal Justice Systems

This module will equip you with the practical techniques to engage in postgraduate academic research and in real-world studies which support organisational analysis and improvement.

You’ll study the below core modules:

Partnerships and Policing

You’ll develop advanced skills in multi-agency and inter-agency working and explore the situation of policing within the network of social, private sector and public organisations. You will also consider the tools required to build, develop and maximise partner relationships in addressing criminal activity. Public sector interactions and the challenges of inter-agency working, data sharing and organisational culture will be explored, together with contractual considerations through the use of case studies. In addition, this module enables you to examine the role of the media as partners in crime prevention and public engagement and the opportunities now presented through social media.

What Works in Policing

You’ll handle and critique live research case studies conducted in the field, examining and exploring the emerging findings and results so that you can identify what works within the policing arena. This module directly supports the police professionalisation agenda and acknowledges that police leaders, along with other public sector providers, are increasingly being asked to account for their utilisation of resources. The critical importance of research, monitoring and evaluation frameworks in operational decision-making will be examined in depth.

You can then choose one of the following optional modules:

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.

Criminal Investigation 1: Principles of Investigation

Focus on how investigation practitioners carry out investigations with reference to intelligence and security gathering

Criminal Investigation 2: Victims and Witnesses

Cover key topics such as identifying vulnerable victims and witnesses, protection of vulnerable groups throughout the criminal justice process, pre-interview contact, assessing competence, multi-agency working, interviewing and pre-trial preparation.

Criminal Investigation 3: Suspects

This module provides a rigorous and critical approach to not only the process of criminal investigation but also the context in which this takes place, the theory underlying it, and the variety of factors which influence approaches to it.

Financial Investigation

Explore a comprehensive and systematic critique of financial investigation, and develop critical insights into the knowledge of how to engage in lawful financial investigation.

Digital Investigation

Apply routine activity theory and crime scripting technique to the constructive study of ‘cybercrime’.

Understanding Radicalisation

Discuss and debate the many facets of radicalisation and explore whether communities and agencies can be successfully engaged to work together to identify, assess, refer and support those considered vulnerable to radicalisation and the implications for methods of managing risk and preparation, including mitigation, response and recovery.

Personal Career Guidance and Coaching

Explore the theoretical knowledge associated and delivery of  career interventions through a variety of methods including career coaching sessions. 

Concepts of Global Terrorism

Explore in detail contemporary academic and professional thinking and practice in relation to contemporary terrorism and counter terrorism practices. 

Financial Intelligence (part-time students only)

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.

Independent Studies in Policing

You’ll propose a realistic research issue within the context of policing, criminology or the criminal justice sector. You’ll then plan its execution, demonstrating a critical awareness of relevant literature and theories. You’ll be supervised by an Independent Studies Supervisor who can assist you during each stage of the process from selecting your topic and researching the context to presenting your findings.

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.

How you will learn

Teaching and learning

The course combines highly stimulating lectures, engaging seminar group discussions, practical sessions in our courtrooms and interviewing suite, and guided student-centred and independent learning activities. Our emphasis throughout is on developing your leadership, analytical and problem-solving skills. We offer small class sizes and a supportive environment where learning can be tailored to suit your own professional experience and aspirations.

Tackling real-world problems

This course is highly vocational and problem-focused, with each module centred on real and simulated police strategy and organisational challenges. Our aim is to help you develop as an effective manager in complex, unpredictable environments.

You can bring in, share and test your own responses to challenges in a confidential setting. As part of your studies, you can also undertake bespoke projects negotiated with your employer which will benefit your own organisation.

Action research

As evidence-based policy and practice is taking on greater significance within the profession, we also place great emphasis on action research. You’ll be equipped with the tools and techniques to undertake high level research which will generate new insights and add to the body of knowledge in the field of contemporary policing. You will also address how to obtain and use data in a responsible and ethical manner.


Assessment is through 100% coursework. Our assessment strategy is flexible to reflect the diverse backgrounds and learning styles of our students.

Formative assessments may include quizzes, debates, case study evaluation, role-play, group work and presentations, as well as enquiry based learning and problem-based learning activities. Summative assessments may include essays, group presentations, live debate sessions, reflective learning logs, management reports, business case evaluations, and the presentation of a strategy or market analysis.

At the Masters level, you will produce a dissertation as part of the Independent Studies module which showcases your ability to articulate and debate theoretical perspectives in relation to research findings.

Our teaching team

Dr Richard Stapleford (Programme Leader)

Professor Kate Moss

Manjit Thandi

Dr Craig Hughes

Dr David Hicks

Who will teach you

Richard Stapleford in a suit

Dr Richard Stapleford
Programme leader

Richard is a serving Chief Inspector with Nottinghamshire Police with 27 years' service, currently seconded to the University of Derby.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You'll normally need an appropriate undergraduate degree 2:2 or above. We'll also accept students with significant experience through work or voluntary engagement in the justice sector or those who are professionally qualified to work in the justice sector at a graduate stage or above. If English is not your first language, you will also need IELTS 6.5 with 5.5 in each skills area.

Fees and funding

2024/25 (August 2024 - July 2025)


£9,450 for the full course*

£1,050 per 20 credits


£14,900 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

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.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarships

We have a range of scholarships and discounts available to international students which can be used together to offer a reduction in your tuition fees.

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

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.


At a time when recruitment to senior roles in the police is changing, this MSc provides an excellent professional development route. For ambitious police professionals - in the UK and overseas - the qualification will not only showcase their knowledge and abilities but also help with progression. It provides a vital next step for those who have developed general business and leadership skills but need to operate in a higher profile context.

The course will also act as an important stepping stone for middle or senior managers in other sectors who are keen to move into police leadership. In addition, it will help graduates in subjects such as criminology or business to build an impressive CV and prepare for managerial roles in policing, security or related fields.

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’ve completed your studies. You’ll also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions.

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

January start is available for home students only

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 provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

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