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Postgraduate study
Crime Intelligence and Data Analytics

Crime Intelligence and Data Analytics MSc

Understanding data is becoming increasingly important for us all. This is especially true for the intelligence analyst working for a police intelligence unit or business analytics department. The world constantly presents data in data frames or spreadsheets – our daily activities are invariably logged by a time, date or geolocation.


Course overview

The work boundaries of traditional police intelligence analysts and digital forensic investigators are becoming blurred. Analysts now need to be cyber aware and understand how communication records and web search histories can be extracted and analysed.

This course covers these areas and the theories to help understand the causes of crime and the prevention measures to stabilise and reverse these trends. You develop the skills to work effectively with large datasets, allowing you to make more informed decisions in relation to criminal investigations. Key features include writing code to quickly clean up data and packaging it so it’s suitable for analysis and visualisation. You explore strategies employed in forensic investigation and develop your own area of interest in a research project where you maximise your skillsets, from academic writing to data analytics.

The academic year is organised into semesters. In each semester, you study 60 credits worth of modules. There is an intake in September (semester 1) and January (semester 2) and you may begin in either of these intakes.

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Course details

For the MSc award you must successfully complete 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit master's research project.

Course structure

Core modules

Advanced Research Project

This is your opportunity to undertake a major independent practical research project in your discipline. You work independently and to a level recognised to be at the forefront of the discipline.
You complete a hypothesis-driven project using appropriate discipline-specific laboratory, database, or computational research methodologies to interrogate a hypothesis in a specialised area of the investigative sciences.

Delivered through a combination of seminars, supervisor meetings and specialist technical workshops. Key skills in research and knowledge creation are developed through seminars and guided-independent study. You must demonstrate the capacity for comprehensive and objective analysis, and for developing innovative and constructive proposals for the solution to the project topic. Supervisors provide guidance to support you, but a high degree of autonomy is required.

Coding for Intelligence Analysts

You learn basic coding with teaching geared to providing support to first-time coders. Coding is primarily about data analysis, cleaning, and merging data before it’s visualised in charts and tables. Learning some scripts to manipulate tabulated data is a valuable skill – and will become increasingly valuable when dealing with big data. You learn the principles of the programming language Python and how it can be used to change, group, and strip out irregularities in data frames. Performing these simple scripts on large datasets makes life easier – it also provides a platform for you to be able to research on your own with openly available data. Cleansing data in this way makes utilising old favourites like Microsoft Excel much easier too.

You study SQL (structured query language) to develop the skills to grab data from a database. Today everything from mobile phone data to performance business metrics in policing is packaged ready for extraction, provided the user has the knowledge and understanding to ‘query’ its contents.

Crime Science: Theories, Principles and Intelligence Sources

You study crime theories and principles, such as rational choice, routine activity, problem profile models packaged up in environmental criminology. You appreciate how the environment has the potential to facilitate or inhibit criminal behaviour. You consider problem-orientated policing and how we can use theoretical models to understand crime and responses to it – along with emerging debates as to whether traditional theories are still relevant with 21st-century online criminal activity. You study intelligence sources and the explosion of openly available material for analysis. You also consider the software and applications available for this research or data capture.

Criminal Justice and the Forensic Practitioner

Forensic practitioners are called upon to act in some of society’s most challenging situations (in the crime scene, custody block and mortuary) to do crucial work in evidence recovery, analysis, and interpretation. Getting from there to a successful outcome in a courtroom means navigating the complexities of a criminal justice system, understanding the components of crimes, knowing the rules of evidence, and skilfully delivering written and verbal testimony.

This module addresses these questions from the point of view of a potential expert witness. Drawing on UK and international examples, you explore human rights, violent and property crime, and the admissibility of evidence. You prepare and deliver expert evidence in a simulated courtroom setting.

Cyber Security and Digital Investigation

Understanding how computers, tablets, mobile communications, and the internet of things store information about our activity is a fundamental aspect of this module. You explore how to preserve, record and extract the intelligence from these devices whether it’s a recovered mobile phone or a computer at the crime scene – these core principles are relevant to all forensic evidence.

This module also unpacks digital terminology allowing you, as the analyst, to engage in conversation with the computer and digital forensic investigator, ensuring content isn’t overlooked, or social media, encryption, file storage and more. If you are upskilling in this area the focus is on being cyber aware, understanding threats and analysing trends.

Forensic Investigative Strategy

You develop an understanding of the principles associated with crime scene science and its relationship with forensic analysis and the legal process. You address key areas in forensic practice such as quality standards, evidence continuity and contamination issues. You also get an understanding of the methodologies used for processing and examination of physical evidence.

Your lectures are supported by a series of practical sessions which include evidence recovery at a simulated crime scene and the initial forensic examination of recovered items.

Managing and Mapping GIS Data

Spatially-explicit data is used across industries such as logistics, land planning, crime pattern analysis and behavioural studies. You learn to collect, locate, access, and analyse geodata using geographic information systems (GIS). This includes a range of methodologies such as mapping and statistical analysis to address key questions in your field. You are emersed in analysing geographical patterns in the built and the natural environment and relate your findings to real world situations, which may include: crime patterns, habitat mapping for environmental impact assessments, policy and decision making during land planning.

Mapping and analysing of geo-data can be an extremely complex task that can reflect people’s behaviour, societal change, and environmental quality. By learning to use GIS and analyse data, you will learn to interpret the world in a geographical way and bring this novel understanding into your own professional field. You gain skills critical to your success during your studies and your career.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You usually complete three hours of taught content a week for each module. There are three modules each semester so this equates to nine hours or more of taught content a week. You learn through lectures, seminars and practical IT or laboratory sessions. You also have independent study as well as tasks and technical problems to solve each week.

How you are assessed

You are assessed through technical reports and practical examinations, and provided with formative feedback before final submissions.


Entry requirements

You must have a 2:2 degree or higher in a suitable undergraduate subject that contained strong research methods content such as social science, humanities, law, science, engineering.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country



Career opportunities

You could expect to apply for roles including crime intelligence researcher, crime intelligence analyst, business intelligence analyst, data analyst, data modeller and researcher. Opportunities exist within the business sector, law enforcement, probation service and local government.


Information for international applicants


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2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£7,365 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£17,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: September enrolment: 1 year, January enrolment: 16 months, including a summer break
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

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2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£820 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

  • Length: September enrolment: 2 years, including a summer break.
  • Attendance: Typically two days a week
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply now (part-time)

Apply now (part-time)


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