MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

Crime and punishment are issues of central importance to society and by bringing academic rigour to their examination the UCD Institute of Criminology contributes to the achievement of national priorities. The Institute brings together leading academics from across UCD and is the only centre of its kind in Ireland. Its members have conducted major research projects on a wide range of topics in the field of criminology and criminal justice, including work on coercive confinement, prison violence and desistance from crime. The work of the Institute has been the focus of debates in parliament, legislative and policy initiatives and numerous reports in the media.

On completion of this programme, students will be able:

  • To understand and think critically about the intersections between law, politics and social policy that come to the fore in the study of Criminology and Criminal Justice;
  • To apply their knowledge and understanding of Criminology and Criminal Justice to real and hypothetical factual situations;
  • To conduct independent research and write coherent, well-structured papers.
Duration 1 year full time or up to 2 years part time
Starting September
Fees 2016/17 The Fee for this programme is €8270 (EU students) and €17900 (non-EU students) Full Time and €4130 (EU Students) and €8700 (non-EU students) Part Time. Payment may be made in 2/3 installments per year.

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Applications are invited from graduates holding an excellent degree in sociology,  politics, psychology, history or another subject relevant to criminology (at least 2.1). In exceptional circumstances, substantial professional experience within the field of criminal justice may be regarded by the selection panel as compensating for a lack of an undergraduate degree to the required standard. Such applicants should state clearly in their application why they feel their other qualifications/experience are appropriate for admission onto the programme.

We are now accepting applications for 2015-16.

Please note that all modules have a fixed capacity and not all students may successfully obtain a place in a given non-core module. The above list of available modules may change due to unforeseen circumstances from year to year.


What is the Application Procedure?

Applicants should take careful note of the following:

  • Go to to make an application. Remember to keep a note of your login and password as you will need to return to the application.
  • Official transcripts must be submitted as proof of examination results by all applicants except graduates of UCD
  • Students of UCD applying for the MSc do not need to supply Transcripts, References or give names of Referees
  • The personal statement is an important component of the application. It should contain information demonstrating your capability to undertake the course successfully. Thus, you should detail your relevant research and practical experience including any publications and major essays/projects.
  • Applicants must nominate two academic referees unless the applicant has been in employment for more than two years, in which case one of the named referees must be an employer. Applicants are required to submit the name, position held, postal address, email address and contact number for the two academic referees.
  • Applicants whose mother tongue is not English must submit satisfactory evidence of competence in written and spoken English, e.g. a TOEFL score of  650 if taken in traditional mode,  250 if taken on computer based version, or 100 if internet based version.  The requirement for IELTS is 6.5, achieving a minimum of 6 in each band. Please note that in all cases the test results must be less than 2 years old.  Applicants with an IELTS score of 5.5 (with no band less than 5.0) may undertake the ten week Pre-Sessional Pathway at UCD's Applied Language Centre (25 June to
    31 August at the UCD Applied Language Centre Upon Successful completion of all elements of this course the level of  English attained will be acceptable for entry to this Masters programme. Grade C or above in Advanced Cambridge Exams will also be accepted as sufficient English fluency for the Masters programme.
  • Please indicate any other Masters programmes for which you are applying.

Letter of recommendation

Justine McCann 

UCD Sutherland School of Law, 
University College Dublin, 
Dublin 4 

Telephone (01) 716 4109

Part Time Applications

Students wishing to apply for the Part Time option should note that classes are as for those taking the full time option, but students will be required to take less credits per semester than in the full time programme as they have a longer period of time (2 years) to complete this programme. Typically, Full Time students study 30 credits of modules (3 modules x 10credits) in Semester 1 and 30 credits of modules (3 modules x 10credits) in semester 2. There is a dissertation seminar in semester 2 for 2 hours per week. The 30 credit dissertation is completed over the summer term (submitted in mid-August). Part Time students would study 30 credits of modules in year 1 (semester 1 and 2), 30 credits of modules in year 2 (semester 1 and 2) and complete the dissertation in the summer term of year 2. Note: Semester 1: September-December, Semester 2: January –May, Summer Term: June-August

International Applicants and students:

Students/Applicants requiring information from an International perspective may visit the website for information regarding our campus, location of UCD and visa information. Applicants may visit for full information on fees and fee payment methods.

The Institute of Criminology offers a wide range of modules for the Masters programmes. Modules of especial interest to those undertaking this programme include:

Criminal Justice History considers the history of specific offences in a broad socio-political context. Offences examined will include the history of unlawful killing and the evolution of sexual offences alongside aspects of the criminal justice process.

Advanced Criminological Theory explores key theories of crime both classic and recent, including biological, psychological and sociological explanations of criminal behaviour and their potential application in the Irish context.

Crime and Punishment explores a number of central issues in criminal jurisprudence such as responsibility, culpability, harm and moral wrongdoing to deepen an understanding of the basis on which conduct is criminalised and criminal liability imposed.

International and Transnational Crime focuses on the emergence of international criminal law has emerged as a distinct body of law responding to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, before considering the impact of globalisation on crime.

The MSc requires the completion of 90 ECTS. The dissertation is worth 30 ECTS and there is a dissertation seminar in semester 2 for 2 hours per week with the dissertation being completed in Semester 3.

The typical enrolment for a full-time student is 3 modules in Semester 1 and 2. Although all modules are available, students on this programme usually choose from the following modules. 

Click on the following link

Choose the tab '2014/15 Modules'
Click on the tab 'Keyword Search'
Enter the relevant words, e.g.  Human Rights or Law or the module code

Enter the relevant level, level 4 for Masters modules

Click 'Search' and the list of currently available modules will be listed below

Full Time Structure and Modules

Part Time Structure and Modules

This programme provides opportunities for those who wish to work or are already working in relevant areas, such as policing, youth justice, prisons, probation and voluntary organisations to enhance their knowledge of the field. It also provides a good platform for doctoral studies and a possible academic career in what has become an area of substantial growth in universities around the world.

We have an excellent Careers Development Centre here at UCD, designed to help you with information regarding future employment or studies. UCD hold a number of graduate events throughout the year including a dedicated law fair at which at which many of the big Law firms will be in attendance. The School of Law has a dedicated careers advisor on it’s Academic staff, Dr. Oonagh Breen, and a staff member from the careers office will be in attendance at the School of law on a number of occasions throughout the academic year. To see the full range of services offered by the careers office go to