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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.

Students in a seminar

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;
  • penology;
  • criminal justice;
  • policing;
  • 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.

Find out more about 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.

Visit the Centre for Law and Society website

Visit the Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law website

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. 

Find out more about the Transatlantic Seminar Series

Contact us

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.

View full programme and course information for the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security

Courses shown below are for the 2020/21 academic year and are for illustrative purposes. Courses for the 2021/22 academic year will be confirmed in May 2021. 

With the exception of compulsory 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 exactly 40 credits of the following courses:

  • Criminal Justice and Penal Process (20 credits)
  • Criminological Research Methods (40 credits)
  • Cybercrime and Cyber Security (20 credits)
  • EU Criminal Law (20 credits)
  • Policing and Punishment: Insights from across the globe (20 credits)
  • Police and Policing (20 credits)
  • Theoretical Criminology (20 credits)
  • Surveillance and Security (20 credits)
  • EU Immigration Law (20 credits)
  • Prisons and Places of Confinement (20 credits)
  • Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection (20 credits)
  • International Security (20 credits)
  • Research Design (20 credits)
  • Cultures of Human Rights and Humanitarianism (20 credits)
  • Genocide and Ethnic Conflict (20 credits)
  • Transitional Justice in Context (20 credits)
  • Human Rights, Global Politics and International Law (20 credits)
  • Conflict and Peace in Africa (20 credits)
  • Humanitarianism and the Media (20 credits)
  • Research Problems in Drugs and Crime Online
  • International Relations and Contemporary Conflict (20 credits)
  • Humanity, Law and Violence (20 credits)
  • The Politics of Migration in Europe (20 credits)
  • Core Quantitative Data Analysis 1 and 2
  • Ethnopolitical Conflict

Full programme details and course descriptions are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View full programme and course information for the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security

Select between 0 and 40 credits of the following courses:

  • The Legal Challenges of Information Technologies (20 credits)
  • Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (20 credits)
  • Inter-state Conflict and Humanitarian Law (20 credits)
  • International Human Rights Law (20 credits)
  • Human Rights Law in Europe (20 credits)
  • General Principles of Criminal Law (20 credits)
  • Current Issues in Criminal Law (20 credits)
  • Armed Force and Society (20 credits)
  • Anthropology of Violence (20 credits)

It is also 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.

View full programme and course information for the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security

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.

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of demand for particular courses, we may not be able to run all courses as advertised come the start of the academic year.

Contact us

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.

Oversight of the programme, day to day management and running of compulsory courses is the responsibility of the following staff:

Dr Andy Aydın-Aitchison: Co-Director 2020/21

Dr Andy Aydın-Aitchison: Co-Director 2019/20

Andy joined the criminology team at the Law School in 2012 having previously lectured in Social Policy, also at the University of Edinburgh. He has previously worked with the Home Office, analysing crime data on the English regions and Wales, and with Cardiff University evaluating a multi-agency robbery reduction initiative in central Bristol. He holds degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University covering Criminology, Politics, and Modern History.
Find out more

Dr Andrea Birdsall - Co-Director 2020/21

Andrea is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the School of Social and Political Science and Co-Director of the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security. Her main research and teaching interests lie in the interplay between International Relations and International Law with a particular focus on human rights, international criminal justice and global governance.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2021/22. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.

Contact us

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.

"A really interdisciplinary discourse"– Piyali, UK

Piyali studied the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security in 2018/19, graduating in 2019. In this video she talks about her experience of studying the MSc and about life in Edinburgh.

Kelsey studied the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security in 2018/19, graduating in 2019. Here she talks about her experience on the MSc and life in Edinburgh.
Christian graduated with an MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security in 2018. In this video he talks about his experience of studying the MSc at Edinburgh Law School and life in Edinburgh.
Hailey, a student from South Korea, studied the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security in the 2018-19 academic year, graduating in 2019. In this video she talks about her reasons for wanting to study the programme, her experience at Edinburgh Law School and her plans for the future.
Josef graduated with an MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security in 2017. In this video he talks about his experience of studying the MSc at Edinburgh Law School and life in Edinburgh.
Ines studied the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security at Edinburgh Law School in the 2016-17 academic year graduating in 2017. Here she talks about her experience of studying on the MSc.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security please don't hesitate to contact us.

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 for September 2021 entry

Entry requirements

We require a minimum UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in law or a social science subject. We will also consider candidates with a degree in a related discipline which includes relevant prior study.

Supporting your application

  • Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.
  • Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.

Entry to this programme is competitive and meeting the minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

If you have a non-UK degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.

Check your degree

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 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other module)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 185 in writing and 176 in each other module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Find out more

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.

View the UKVI 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.

Find out more about the University's English language requirements

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.

Find out more about English language support offered by the University

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study the LLM in Law in 2021/22 are provided in the table below.

Round Application deadline Decisions by
1 04 December 2020 28 January 2021
2 26 February 2021 31 March 2021
3 07 May 2021 18 June 2021
4 30 June 2021 27 July 2021

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 31 August 2021.

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.

Students at this University must not undertake any other concurrent credit bearing studies in this (or in any other) institution, unless the College has granted permission. The College must be satisfied that any additional credit-bearing studies will not restrict the student’s ability to complete their existing programme of study. Students will not be permitted to undertake concurrent degree programmes in any circumstances.

If you are studying at this or another institution just prior to the start of your postgraduate studies you must have finished these studies before the start of the programme to which you have an offer.

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.

Find out more about applying to the University of Edinburgh

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.

University of Edinburgh admissions terms and conditions

Apply for September 2021 entry

Contact us

If you have any questions about the MSc in Global Crime, Justice and Security or the application process please contact us.