2024/25 entry Applications also open for 2025/26

MSc Policing and Criminal Investigation | Part-time

Start date(s):
Study mode:
Course duration:
2 years

Tuition fees

Home part-time per credit
International full-time per year
General enquiries:
0151 231 5090
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About this course

Study for a Policing and Criminal Investigation MSc at LJMU and work with crime victims and witnesses to enhance your knowledge and key skills in this area.

  • Explore investigative issues to gain the knowledge and practical skills to operate as a crime investigator in serious and complex cases
  • Consider the links between investigation, forensics and psychology
  • Work with crime victims and witnesses
  • Choose this programme if you are a serving officer or about to embark on a policing or academic career
  • Look forward to excellent employment opportunities in policing/investigative work, private investigation and governmental bodies
  • Progress to doctorate study

Whether your career aspirations lie in investigative work within the police service, within private security or with other public bodies, this new MSc will develop your investigative skills and prepare you for career success. Working with crime victims and witnesses, you will explore the links between investigation, forensics and psychology.

You will receive specialist supervision and study within a diverse community of fellow researchers. Staff have significant research expertise in a wide range of fields including: Data Science; Evidence-Based Practice; Forensic Science; Leadership, Governance and Ethics; Professional Development and Knowledge Exchange; Transnational and Public Order Policing; Urban Intelligence and Informatics; Victimology and Domestic Violence; Serious and Organised Crime and Intelligence Led policing.

The programme will challenge your intellect and encourage you to explore and critically analyse key developments in the field of criminal investigations and policing. You will consider links between investigation, forensics and psychology, and by working with crime victims and witnesses, you will gain practical skills and knowledge to enable you to operate as a crime investigator.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • access to programme-appropriate software
  • library and student IT support
  • free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.

Apply for a College of Policing bursary

The 2024 College of Policing bursary scheme is now open for applications from serving police officers, closing on Thursday 4 April.

The College of Policing bursary offers a maximum of £4,000 towards two years of course fees at higher education level – for example, studying for a BSc/BA, masters degree or PhD.

Apply now


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

This programme prepares you for further study, employment or new roles in your current profession.

Policing and other related public sector fields currently suffer a skills gap in relation to quantitative research. This programme aims to fill that gap. It teaches the advanced skills of research, conceptualisation, analysis, argument, and presentation – all highly valued in many areas of employment.

Students with an interest in pursuing an academic path will be encouraged to progress to PhD level. This MSc plays an important development role in this process.

On completion of your MSc, you may consider a career in the police service or in areas connected to investigation, security or criminal justice e.g. the armed services, prison service, social work or criminal justice-related roles within the Civil Service. If you are already in employment, the MSc will prepare you to specialise in your area of interest.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Core modules

Drugs: Recognition and Identification
20 credits

This module will examine the unique difficulties posited during a drugs investigation and the importance of investigative ethics. It aims to:

  • examine the impact that drugs have upon criminal behaviour and criminal tactics 
  • make you capable of ‘problem-solving’ in the field of drugs investigations
  • assist in the recognition of drug-related items and the differences between specific drugs

Advanced Research Skills
20 credits

This module aims to prepare you for the dissertation in semester three by introducing key epistemological and methodological issues that impact on research into crime, security, community safety and criminal justice. While exploring the politics and practice of research in these areas, the module will introduce research theories and methods.

Advanced Investigation Skills
20 credits

This module will examine the administrative difficulties posited during a criminal investigation and the importance of investigative ethics. It aims to:

  • examine the contributions that forensics bestow upon criminal investigations
  • make you capable of ‘problem-solving’ in the field of criminal investigations

Forensic and Medicolegal Death
20 credits

Discover core foundational concepts of criminal investigations, enabling you to understand, explain, analyse and evaluate causes, sustainment and consequences of processing a death scene

Forensic Cognition: Violence and Victims
20 credits

Cognition is recognised as a key component in the way people think and behave. This course will examine influential theories that have been developed to aid in investigating sexual/violent offences. This module also aims to explore the investigative niche area of serial offending and why offenders chose certain victims.

Investigative Interviewing
20 credits

The aim of the module is to critically explore the intersection of psychology and policing. It will also examine current practices, techniques and applications of police interviewing. You will be exposed to comparative international techniques in interviewing, interpretation of verbal and physical behaviour, causes of denial, deception and defensiveness.

Dissertation - Policing
60 credits

The aim of the dissertation is to develop the ability of students to analyse and interpret an issue in their chosen field, drawing on the relevant body of knowledge, collecting data and completing a piece of writing in a manner conforming to the tenets of disciplined, lucid and critical scholarship. Supervision will be led by the most appropriate academic tutor with full support from the Policing Studies module team.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Full-time students are expected to physically attend sessions 12 hours a week and part-time students should expect to participate 6 hours per week with additional outside study hours.

Teaching methods

The course offers a range of approaches to learning, with peer and tutor feedback greatly encouraged. Workshop activities and tutor support facilitate formative feedback to enable you to work on your weaknesses and build on your strengths.

Applied learning

All Policing Studies students have opportunities to learn directly from practitioners via workshops and masterclasses. The latter are held each month and include talks from a range of eminent experts, professionals and practitioners, from Leader of the North West Circuit, David Steer QC to UN Police Advisor, Chief Inspector Cecilia Dunster and Marie McCourt, mother of 'no-body' murder victim, Helen McCourt.


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

Assessment methods on this programme include: academic essays; annotated bibliographies; reflective research exercises; position papers; exams; reports; case studies; portfolios; online blogs and wikis; workplace practice; posters; oral presentations (individual and group); debates; reviews; group work and the dissertation/research project.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

I am a passionate teacher who draws on my previous police experience to create an innovative pedagogic environment which enables students to both grasp and apply complex criminological and investigative ideas.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

Based within the John Foster Building, in the Mount Pleasant Campus, the School of Justice Studies is equipped with everything you require for your studies, including a bespoke crime scene investigation facility, well-equipped IT Suites, a light-filled Student Common Room and dedicated postgraduate study areas. At the back of the John Foster Building is the Aldham Robarts Library, which provides an exceptional range of materials to support your studies.

Entry requirements

You will need:

Qualification requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • a minimum 2:2 in Policing, Criminology, Criminal Justice or a related subject


  • evidence of current and relevant academic learning, including a Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP) qualification and/or relevant CPD learning


International requirements


    • IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)

Further information

  • Extra Requirements
  • RPL

    • RPL is accepted on this programme

Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.