MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security
The MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security provides you with the opportunity to study global developments in the field of crime, criminal law, justice, and security.
Problems of crime, insecurity, and injustice can take many forms and can undermine well-being and the stability of domestic, international, and global institutions.
Study our MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security to explore how issues of crime and security are manifest in an increasingly interconnected and global world, and how seeking justice in such a context is often highly contested and complex in ways that require inter-disciplinary reflection.
Issues of crime, security, and justice on the global stage raise distinct challenges for law, criminology, international relations, political science, and the social sciences more widely.
In particular the ways in which global crime and security have evolved in recent years, and continue to evolve, draws our attention to the:
- criminogenic potential of increased flows of goods, money and people;
- increased international cooperation in the field of crime control; and
- increasing institutionalisation of international responses to state crimes, and emerging discourses focused on insecurity.
The University of Edinburgh created this degree in 2008 and was one of the very first universities in the UK to offer a programme that promoted the study of global crime issues in ways that emphasised the value of diverse disciplinary perspectives. The programme draws from academic expertise within both the School of Law and the School of Social and Political Science and Edinburgh University is also home to the Global Justice Academy.
As a student on the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security you will join active academic communities in both the Schools of Law and Social and Political Science. You will be based in the School of Law where you will be supported by academic staff with diverse research interests in criminology, criminal justice and law. Both Schools regularly invite local and international scholars and researchers to participate in events, lectures and workshops, and both also have strong links with practitioner communities who lend tangible real world insight into our academic study.
- The programme has proved ideal for students wishing to pursue a range of careers, including: doctoral research; work in international NGOs and Think Tanks; police-work; legal and criminal justice work; government and policy briefs; commercial sector research and security work.
- The programme has supported students and graduates in securing internships at a range of organisations which include: Corpwatch, EUROPOL, International Crisis Group, OSCE, Transparency International and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
- The programme derives particular strength from the diversity of the students who take the degree. Classes are diverse in terms of the countries and cultures that students come from, and in terms of their academic backgrounds. We do not only accept criminology and law students onto the programme. Students with backgrounds in international relations, political science, governance studies and the wider social sciences are welcome to apply.
Our research environment will provide you with a wide range of possibilities to engage with, and participate in, current, cutting-edge research at the University of Edinburgh. Masters degrees also involve many more possibilities for learning and networking beyond the courses taught on the programme.
At Edinburgh you will be taught by academics who are shaping the fields of study covered by the programme with their own research. Within the criminology subject area there are active research interests in the fields of:
- global criminology;
- criminal justice;
- juvenile justice;
- media and crime; and
- qualitative and quantitative methods.
More specifically, academic staff teaching on the programme across both the Schools of Law and Social and Political Science have current research interests in:
- atrocity crimes;
- genocide and law;
- democratic policing;
- Human Rights;
- development aid and regional studies;
- the law of conflict;
- EU criminal and immigration law;
- the International Criminal Court; and
- peace-building and reconciliation processes.
Our approach at Edinburgh is to include students in our research events and activities. These run throughout the academic year in both Schools, but an important meeting point is the Global Justice Academy. The Global Justice Academy is one of five such Academies at the University of Edinburgh. It is an inter-disciplinary network that connects researchers and research centres within Edinburgh and beyond. It encourages and facilitates dialogue on what global justice is, develops ideas to make the world more just, and provides a forum for practitioners to engage with this dialogue. Current themes in its work include:
- Conflict and Justice;
- Gender Justice;
- Human Rights and Social Justice;
- Urban Justice; and Global Justice Theory.
Students on the programme are encouraged to become members of the Global Justice Academy.
Our staff also work closely with criminal justice professionals and practitioners in Edinburgh and abroad, and network with other scholars both domestically and globally. Two institutes that support this engagement and networking, and which you can connect with are:
Seminars and research events are happening all the time at Edinburgh. The Centre for Law and Society is home to one of the School of Law’s longest running seminar series, covering diverse topics in criminology, criminal law, criminal justice and wider issues in socio-legal studies. You will also find interesting seminars hosted by the Scottish Centre for International Law.
The School of Social and Political Science also host a range of seminar series which we highly recommend. The Transatlantic Seminar Series explores American and European relations and the political and economic questions underpinning them.
If you have any questions about the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security please don't hesitate to contact us.
The MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security offers a range of subjects across the fields of criminology, criminal justice, criminal law and social sciences, allowing you to tailor an interdisciplinary programme to suit your interests.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years (due to current UKVI regulations, the part-time programme is only available to UK and EU students). It offers a wide range of subjects that deal with various aspects of private law from a comparative perspective, with the possibility of choosing additional courses so as to enable you to tailor the MSc to meet your specific interests.
The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Courses shown below are scheduled to run in the 2019/20 academic year and listed below for illustrative purposes. With the exception of mandatory courses, depending on demand, space on specific courses may be limited.
You must take these courses:
- Global Crime and Insecurity (20 credits)
The focus of the course is the definition, explanation and interpretation of global forms of crime, insecurity and injustice. This is tackled in a structure which examines issues of categorisation and definition first, before exploring a range of contexts in which crime and criminality may be researched, then examining particular forms of crime and finishing with questions of measurement and interpretation.
- Responding to Global Crime and Insecurity (20 credits)
The focus of the course is on legal, political and policy responses to international and transnational forms of crime, insecurity and injustice. The course is delivered in two sections focusing first on transnational forms of organised crime and secondly on atrocity crime (broadly, those defined by international criminal law). A final session looks for contrasts and connections between these two parts.
You must select between 40 and 80 credits of the following courses:
- Criminal Justice and Penal Process (20 credits)
This course aims to provide students with critical insight of the institutions of criminal justice and to introduce some of the relevant policy frameworks, dilemmas and debates. The jurisdictions of Scotland and England and Wales will serve as the primary model for discussions, but an international, comparative approach is considered throughout. The course also has the aim of providing opportunities to practice the research skills necessary to explore and critically assess academic and policy research which informs current criminal justice approaches. You will have the opportunity to observe criminal courts in action and to carry out their own observations on criminal justice processes. By the end of this you should be able to describe the conceptual functioning of criminal justice and penal institutions; critically analyse these institutions and explain the rationale of key developments in policy and practice.
- Criminological Research Methods (40 credits)
This course will equip you with knowledge of principles of research design and key methodological approaches towards the collection, analysis and presentation of research findings. It explicitly emphasises the key roles of theory in research and issues of politics, power, ethics and reflexivity that are so crucial to the research process. Seminars form the backbone of the course through which different research methods will be critically examined. Some of these seminars will require you to take the lead and present your emerging ideas on research to peers, invited criminal justice practitioners and academic staff.
The course is an essential element of academic research training. Even if you do not wish to undertake further research it will equip you with the knowledge and experience to evaluate the research of others. If you do wish to undertake further research (whether in external organisations or as a PhD) the course will equip you with the kinds of knowledge, skills and experience to better undertake that work.
- Current Issues in Criminal Law (20 credits)
This course examines current issues, debates and trends in criminal law. It will introduce you to important developments in criminal law and the criminal process; to the controversies and debates surrounding these developments; and to the broader changes that they represent in the criminal justice field. The course begins by exploring questions of criminalisation: the changing scope of the criminal law, and debates over what conduct should and should not be made criminal. It then turns to examine developments in the law relating to criminal procedure and evidence; and finally to sentencing and other consequences of criminal conviction. The precise content of the course will change year on year, in response to new developments. However, at least some topics from each of these areas will be covered in any given academic year.
- Prisons and Places of Confinement (20 credits)
This course addresses the uses of imprisonment, and related forms of confinement, in modern societies. It introduces students to "classic texts" in the history and sociology of prisons and "total institutions", before turning towards a range of contemporary problems and policy dilemmas, such as the phenomenon of "mass incarceration", the role of international standards and litigation and variations in incarceration around the world. It concludes by raising questions concerning possibilities for penal change, including innovative, experimental and alternative developments, and the prospects for supporting change and desistance in planned environments. It thus enables students to participate in an informed and critical manner in debates on the futures of the prison and its role in human societies.
- General Principles of Criminal Law (20 credits)
This course examines the general principles of the substantive criminal law. It focuses in particular on three areas of criminal law doctrine. First, it examines criminal conduct: the kinds of action, omission and harmful results for which one may be held criminally responsible. Second, it examines criminal culpability: intentional and unintentional forms of fault, and the possibility of criminal liability without fault. And third, it examines criminal defences: justifying and excusing factors that defeat criminal liability. Throughout, the course also considers the application of these principles to problematic cases, and to particular areas of the law (such as the law of homicide).
- Genocide and the Law (20 credits)
In this course, you will learn about and debate the legal elements of genocide. That includes the protected groups, the particular position of specific genocidal intent and incitement to genocide. Another important aspect is the responsibility of States for genocide as an internationally wrongful act, questions therefore of the attribution of the acts of persons to the State and of the prevention of genocide play an important role here.
- Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (20 credits)
This course will examine the role of human rights in intra-state conflict and in peace processes. In particular it will examine how peace processes and agreements deal with power-sharing arrangements, transitional justice mechanisms, gender equality, and return of refugees. The course will examine the moral, political and practical dilemmas in dealing with these issues, and consider the extent to which human rights law provides useful guidance and requirements, or hinders conflict resolution efforts. The course will also touch on the overlapping requirements of international humanitarian law and international criminal law.
- Human Rights Law in Europe (20 credits)
This course will look at the protection of human rights in Europe through a primary focus of the law of the European Convention on Human Rights. The course will also look at some other human rights instruments of the Council of Europe as well as human rights protection in the EU system.
- Media and Crime (20 credits)
Students taking this course will study media representations of crime and responses to crime (such as policing and punishment).
The course will study both non-fictional and fictional representations, exploring theoretical models of the workings of the media (both sociological and political), as well as specific study of the ways in which crime is portrayed, discussed and consumed in different media genres. Genres to be examined include newspapers (local and national), television news, television documentaries, radio, movies, and the Internet. Genres will be studied by focusing on specific instances (for example, a specific television show, newspaper, or newspaper report) of each kind
- Penal Politics (20 credits)
The overarching aim of the course is to enable students to understand, analyse and interpret the contemporary politics of punishment both in the UK and in a range of other countries. We aim to develop explanations for recent directions in penal politics, including the contending influences of populist discourses and expert knowledge. The course offers you the opportunity to study influences on penal policy and to apply this knowledge in a number of focused case studies. The course builds on a strong penological tradition at the University of Edinburgh School of Law and has a comparative emphasis throughout.
- Theoretical Criminology (20 credits)
The aim of this course is to assist you in thinking theoretically about crime, criminal justice and social control, focusing in particular on the articulation between theoretical constructs, research strategies and claims to knowledge. We thus seek to provide clarification of the ways in which the theoretical resources of the social sciences can be brought to bear upon the phenomena of crime and criminality, their occurrence and distribution, and their contested character.
This course is particularly suitable for students who are interested in learning more about the causes of crime and why societies (including the public, politicians and the media) respond to crime the way they do.
There are a wide range of courses in the School of Social and Political Science that can be taken as part of this degree. These include courses covering regional studies (covering Africa. the Middle East and Latin America, for example), transitional justice, globalisation, development aid and humanitarianism, and global politics.
It is possible to take between 0 and 40 credits from courses outside the Law School. Please discuss your course selections with your programme director and please bear in mind that spaces on specific courses does vary from year to year and may be limited.
Full programme details, including core and optional courses is available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Having successfully completed 120 credit points of courses within the LLM, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic from within the field of global crime, justice and security, normally based on a subject you have studied in one of your courses during the programme.
You will be assigned an academic dissertation supervisor who will provide you with support and guidance while you prepare and write your dissertation.
The dissertation is a challenging but rewarding endeavour, asking you to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage critically with a range of sources, drawing on the skills and knowledge you have developed during the course of the programme. Students are encouraged to show originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used, or the manner in which it is presented.
The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.
If you have any questions about the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security please don't hesitate to contact us.
Launched in 2008, the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security will draw on expertise from the Law School and the Politics and International Relations and Social Policy subject groups of the School of Social and Political Science.
Exactly which staff are involved in teaching you will depend on the courses you choose to take as part of your degree.
Richard Sparks is Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh. From 2014-17 he was Head of the School of Law and from 2006-16 was also a founding Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.
Richard's main research interests lie in the relationships between penal policies and democratic politics; the sociology of punishment (especially imprisonment); public responses to crime and punishment; and the uses, abuses and non-uses of criminological knowledge in shaping public policy on crime and punishment. He is a member of the editorial boards of several journals including Punishment & Society, of which he was editor-in-chief 2000-2004.
Christine Bell is Professor of Constitutional Law and Assistant Principal (Global Justice). She is a co-director of the Global Justice Academy and a member of the British Academy. She read law at Selwyn College, Cambridge, (1988) and gained an LL.M in Law from Harvard Law School (1990), supported by a Harkness Fellowship. In 1990 she qualified as a Barrister at law. She subsequently qualified as an Attorney-at-law in New York, practicing for a period at Debevoise & Plimpton, NY. From 1997-9 she was Director of the Centre for International and Comparative Human Rights Law, Queen's University of Belfast, and from 2000-2011, she was Professor of Public International Law, and a founder and Director of the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster.
She has been active in non-governmental organizations, and was chairperson of Belfast-based Human Rights organization, the Committee on the Administration of Justice from 1995-7, and a founder member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission established under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. In 1999 she was a member of the European Commission’s Committee of Experts on Fundamental Rights.
Dr Fiona Jamieson is Senior Teaching Fellow in Criminology and Director of the MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice degree programme. Her main research interests lie in sentencing and penal decision-making, punishment, judicial culture and narrative research methods.
Prior to joining the School of Law, Fiona gained substantial knowledge of criminal justice law, policy and practice through her former legal career as a prosecutor in Scotland. Fiona is a member of the Sentencing and Penal Decision-Making Working Group of the European Society of Criminology. Fiona is a member of the Sentencing and Penal Decision-Making Working Group of the European Society of Criminology and also of MESAS (Monitoring and Evaluation of Scotland's Alcohol Strategy) Governance Board (Scottish Government/NHS) and Evaluation Advisory Group (EAG)for the Impact of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) on Crime and Antisocial behaviour (Scottish Government/NHS).
Milena Tripkovic joined Edinburgh Law School in 2019 as a Lecturer in Criminology, having previously taught at the University of Birmingham, University of Kent and University of Novi Sad.
Milena has researched various problems associated with crime and punishment. Her current research, which examines contemporary restrictions to citizenship rights of criminal offenders, is situated at the intersection of law, criminology and normative political theory and explores the issues of punishment, citizenship and community.
David Garland, broadly considered one of the world’s leading sociologists of crime and punishment, is professorial fellow in Criminology at Edinburgh Law School and Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Law and professor of sociology at New York University. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1977 with a first-class honours degree in law and a PhD in Socio-Legal Studies in 1984. In 1978 he earned a masters degree in criminology from the University of Sheffield.
Professor Garland will visit the Law School in the 2018/19 academic year for two weeks (dates to be confirmed) during which time he will host a series of short seminars which are free and available to all our MSc and Postgraduate students.
Please note that the seminar series is not core to the programme.
Alistair Henry is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and an Associate Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, where he leads the Police Community Relations Network. His main research interests currently lie in the field of policing. In particular, he is actively interested in issues of governance and accountability, local and community policing, crime prevention and community safety, and partnership working between the police, other criminal justice organisations and local government.
Find out more
Richard Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. He has published on topics including the electronic monitoring ('tagging') of offenders, access control, border controls, computer crime, penal populism, the media, airport security, the use of force in policing, and surveillance theory. His current research centres on security, surveillance, the sociology of punishment, theoretical criminology, cyber security and cybercrime.
Dr Cornford joined Edinburgh Law School in 2012 as Lecturer in Criminal Law and his main areas of research are criminal law and legal theory. His research to date has mostly focused on criminalisation, its justification and limits.
Dr Leandro Mancano is Lecturer of EU Law. Leandro’s main research interests lie in EU Constitutional Law, EU Fundamental Rights Law, the law and policy of the EU Area of Freedom Security and Justice. He teaches and is courses organizer of courses in EU Law (Hons), EU Constitutional Law (LLM) and EU Fundamental Rights Law (LLM).
Leandro’s publications focus on the interaction amongst different areas of law and policy, such as crime, migration, and human rights. His first monograph analyses the legislative and judicial approach of the EU in the fields of substantive and procedural criminal law, immigration, citizenship and free movement.
Before joining the University of Edinburgh, Leandro received his PhD from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa). He has been visiting researcher at Queen Mary University of London, Université Libre de Bruxelles and the University of Copenhagen. Leandro is a member of the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN).
The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2020/21. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.
If you have any questions about the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security please don't hesitate to contact us.
Find out what it's like to study the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security at Edinburgh Law School from our current and former students.
We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the University's Edinburgh Global) and/or to apply for University accommodation.Apply now for September 2020 entry
Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.
Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:
- IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module).
- TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
- PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
- Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).
Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.
English language support
The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.
The application deadline for September 2020 entry to this MSc is 31 July 2020.
We aim to review applications and make selection decisions throughout the cycle and we monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.
Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 15 August 2020.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:
- Degree certificates showing award of degree.
- Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study).
- A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the MSc programme.
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.
If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.
After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University's applicant hub.
Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.
You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:
- You may be offered a place unconditionally
- You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
- Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
View the University's guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Please note that if you receive an offer of a place to study the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security and later decide that you do not want to accept your place, we do not allow deferrals. In this case you would have to reapply for the following academic year.
You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.
The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.
If you have any questions about the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security or the application process please contact us.