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Postgraduate study
Policing & Investigation

Criminal Investigation MSc

The MSc Criminal Investigation develops your knowledge of contemporary theory and practices in criminal investigation, relevant legislation, and information relating to criminal justice studies and criminal law.


Course overview

The student-centred nature of teaching and assessment allows you to tailor your studies to your own areas of personal or professional interests. The dissertation module particularly enables extended research in a related area specific to your interests or career requirements.

Course modules focus both on practical investigative guidance and procedures, and current perspectives and requirements in law. The teaching team draw on their specific research interests to deliver enhanced knowledge and appreciation of the module content.

You develop recognised subject-specific knowledge and understanding, cognitive, intellectual, practical, professional and generic key skills and qualities, which have a directly beneficial effect on future employability, whether in the legal profession or in subject-related disciplines, including academia. You will be equipped to contribute to and inform policy-making decisions in your chosen sector.

Studying this course will:
• develop your cognitive-intellectual, practical-professional and generic key skills
• develop your research skills enabling you to conduct your research successfully towards more specialist fields of enquiry for your dissertation
• facilitate appreciation of complex knowledge, theory and concepts appropriate to postgraduate studies
• enable you to plan, manage and evaluate your own learning to become an independent lifelong learner.

Top reasons to study this course:
> Study this course and you may be eligible for a £2,500 Sir Keith Skeoch postgraduate scholarship.
> This degree puts you in the position of the senior investigating officer when considering the practice of investigation of major crime.
> You will develop transferrable problem-solving and analytical skills to explore and identify solutions to issues.
> You are encouraged to appreciate alternative views and beliefs
> If you are already working in the Criminal Justice Sector it will enhance your understanding. If not, it will help you to develop a professional and in depth appreciation of investigation.

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Course details

Course structure

Core modules


You gain awareness and skills in research and evaluation, and your ability to integrate, synthesise and critique criminological content, concepts and research methodologies in the production of a research-based dissertation. You complete a piece of empirical or theoretical research and write a dissertation on a criminological topic of your choice.

Investigation of Organised Crime

This module explores organised crime and its investigation by drawing on a number of sources. Relevant literature is supported by academic specialists in the investigation of organised crime and its support. You will critically analyse UK police investigative practices and those in other countries as well as the varying governmental responses internationally.
You are assessed by 4,000-word essay.

Legal Aspects of Investigating Crime

You enhance your understanding of the sources of English law and the structure of the English legal system, and you begin to consider how the English legal system provides for the investigation of criminal acts. You are assessed by a group presentation and a 3,000-word essay.

Social Research Methods

You develop an advanced understanding of the processes and issues of social research. Drawing upon the philosophical underpinnings which are central to research methodologies, you consider the relationship between theory, methods and data. You also critically consider the need to balance theory with conducting research on real issues in the real world. This ensures you have a coherent understanding of the decisions researchers make when deciding which research methods to use and to develop practical skills in using a variety of research methods. You also develop a sound understanding of ethical and practical issues in designing, conducting and analysing research.

The Practice of Major Crime Investigation

This module is studied online. It explores how investigators manage, direct, supervise and o-ordinate major crime investigations. It also considers a range of nationally recognised investigative strategies which ensure the ethical, timely and effective investigation of crime in accordance with legislative and police requirements and policing best practice. You are assessed by 4,000-word essay.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

Teaching is student-centred to develop your understanding of theory, practice and presentation.
This is a blended learning programme, which involves studying both in the classroom and independently via on-line learning.

These teaching methods offer you the opportunity to develop subject-specific knowledge and understanding, developing your cognitive-intellectual, practical-professional and generic key skills.

Your research skills are developed during the research module and further developed through the course, enabling you to conduct your research successfully towards more specialist fields of enquiry for your dissertation.

The programme involves high levels of personal responsibility and self-direction. It requires you to work with complex knowledge, theory and concepts appropriate to postgraduate studies. On the completion of this course, you should be able to plan, manage and evaluate your own learning effectively so as to become an independent lifelong learner.

How you are assessed

Formative assessment is ongoing throughout each module, either via on-line tasks or by classroom tasks, offering you feedback to assist you to develop your skills.

This programme adopts a wide range of formal assessment methods which assists you to achieve the learning outcomes and to evaluate the effectiveness of your learning. Essays and other forms of writing are commonly used. These assess your analytical, evaluative and communication skills. Presentations allow you to demonstrate a critical and systematic understanding of the key subject matter.

Seen examinations test your knowledge and information retention as well as your fluency. You are required to undertake appropriate criminal investigation-related research. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate standard of research and enquiry into a specialised area of investigation, displaying an analytical discussion of that area.


Entry requirements

You should have at least a second-class honours degree in a relevant field. However, anyone with relevant professional qualifications and relevant experience will also be considered.

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

Graduates are equipped to work within, or progress their existing careers in, the criminal justice institutions, such as the police, prison and probation services, other investigation-related institutions and organisations, and relevant private sectors.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,710 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£17,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: within 1 year
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

Apply now (full-time)



2024/25 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£750 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

  • Length: 2 years
  • Attendance: Tuesdays and Thursdays 6.00pm - 9.00pm
  • Start date: September or January
  • Semester dates

Apply now (part-time)

Apply now (part-time)


Choose Teesside

  • Student and graduate profiles

    Ben Wood

    Ben WoodBSc (Hons) Forensic Science and MSc Criminal Investigation

    Ben studied his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Teesside and hopes to go on to become an expert witness in a courtroom.

    Meet Ben

    Neil Walsh

    Neil WalshBSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology (1997-2000), and MSc Criminal Investigation (2001-2003)

    Neil is the United Nation’s chief of cybercrime and anti-money laundering. He loved his time at University, gaining friends and skills for life.

    Meet Neil


Teesside University Law School

At Teesside University Law School we have over 30 years' experience of delivering high-quality education in the field of law and criminal justice.

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