MA Serious and Violent Crime

Serious and Violent Crime



Study level
Full time
1 year
Part time
1 year+

What makes Arden University special?

Education for everyone, everywhere
Whether you're constrained by location, cost, time, or other life commitments, we're passionate about giving you access to higher education that fits into your busy, modern life.
Where to study
You decide how and where to study
We offer a wide range of flexible undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in both our online and blended study modes.
Full support both online and on-site
We're also proud to offer non-standard entry, meaning your work experience and previous qualifications are taken into account when assessing your application.
Strong focus on employability
You will gain in-depth subject knowledge and transferable skills that employers from a huge range of industries will value. Many of our courses at Arden are also accredited by leading professional bodies in the UK.

Course Overview

Are you passionate and committed to preventing and responding to serious and violent crime? Are you ready to take the next step in your career and become a leader in your sector? This unique MA Serious and Violent Crime will impart essential practical leadership skills for understanding, investigating, and responding to serious and violent crimes. The full flexibility of the course has been specifically designed to help you fit your career progression around your professional life.

We offer admission onto the course for anyone with a bachelor's degree (2:2) in a related field or at least three years of work experience within the Criminal Justice System. The programme provides a dedicated support pathway that runs parallel to your studies to equip you with the academic skills needed to succeed, whatever your background is.

Using case studies, you will critically analyse a wide range of criminological topics within the remit of serious and violent crime, such as terrorism, sexual offences, and the dark web. You will also gain the specialised skill set needed to cope with traumatic material in high-pressure environments and lead teams through challenging incidents and investigations. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to take confident strides within the field and make a positive contribution to your community in combatting serious and violent crime. 

The course is led by applied academics with practitioner backgrounds within the Criminal Justice System, ensuring you gain skills that set you apart in the profession. They have aligned your course material with the latest sector standards to reflect the current work of all stakeholders within the Criminal Justice System. 

If you're seeking a qualification that will help you advance your career and make a genuine impact in your professional life in the field of serious and violent crime, this postgraduate degree provides you with the unique opportunity to do just that. 

Why choose Arden
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Career development resources
You'll have online access to a huge range of career development tools from the day you start studying.
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Career development resources
You'll have online access to a huge range of career development tools from the day you start studying.
Learn more

Course details and modules

The bespoke modules on this course cover serious and violent crime and its many guises. With its applied focus, you will gain the professional knowledge, skills, and attributes needed to lead in the sector. Covering areas such as reflective practice and leadership, the psychology of serious offending, and more, our niche modules will provide you with the unique opportunity to meticulously analyse serious and violent crime. Your degree culminates with an independent research project, allowing you to analyse an area of interest within a professional context.

This course primarily focuses on the current research-informed practices at use in England and Wales, helping you to critically analyse, investigate, and manage serious and violent crime. Additionally, it will explore criminal activity from an international context, such as the global impact and effects of terrorism and cybercrime.

Tailored support for your master’s studies

A-PASS: Arden - Pathway to Academic Study Success

Here at Arden, we recognise that not everyone who can benefit from this master's in Serious and Violent Crime will meet the academic requirements. Even those that do may have been out of education for some time and could use a refresh of their academic skills to enhance their chances of success. That’s why we created A-PASS.

A-PASS is a specialised support pathway for those needing additional academic support or wanting to refresh their knowledge and skills before starting their degree studies. Our academic team has curated this pathway to reflect the skills required throughout the MA. 

We offer three free sessions delivered by our dedicated Academic Skills Tutors around:

  • Using our online Library Portal
  • Academic writing
  • Academic skills and referencing 

At the start of the course, you will have a 1-2-1 meeting with our team to discuss whether you want to pursue any of our A-PASS sessions. The pathway will complement your learning, boost your academic knowledge, skills, and confidence, and support you in successfully completing your degree.

Laura Pearson

For me personally, I feel that the support network as a whole is exceptional. It's not just one particular part of Arden either. It's not just the students, and it's not just student support, it's everything, all combined. Everyone is on the same page. The inclusion portal now is fabulous, I love it, you know, I got really excited when I saw that.

Laura Pearson
Criminology/Sociology student


  • Reflective Practice and Leadership (20 credits) 
  • The Criminal Justice System and Globalisation (20 credits)
  • The Psychology of Serious Offending (20 credits)
  • Managing Intelligence and Investigations (20 credits) 
  • Terrorism, Extremism and Hate (20 credits)
  • Cybercrime and the Dark Web (20 credits)
  • Independent Research Project (60 credits)

How do we assess you?

The unique assessments on this course reflect the sector-specific skills needed by employers and are 100% career-focused. Each aims to provide you with transferable skills for your future and can include:

  • Reports
  • Business pitches
  • Senior level strategic briefing documents
  • Dissertation

Develop the professional resilience needed to succeed in the sector

You will develop crucial professional expertise on the course, such as how to cope with traumatic scenarios and material, how to lead and support groups of people through challenging and difficult incidents and investigations, and how to navigate interactions with those accused or found guilty of the most serious and violent crimes.

You will also learn how to recognise the signs of burnout, stress, and PTSD, and what steps to take when you become aware of these affecting yourself and others. 

Supplement your learning with real-world experiences from our guest lectures

This master’s programme has been developed with a focus on gaining real insight into serious and violent crime. In addition to our applied academics, you will have the valuable opportunity to hear from a wide range of guest speakers who are leading practitioners in their fields. Examples of guest lectures for our criminology courses have included:

  • ‘Policing the Police: An Insider's Guide to the Police Complaints System’ was a lecture by a solicitor and senior investigator with significant experience in law, regulation, governance, and professional conduct.
  • ‘Hate Crime: Islamophobia’. Students were given the exciting opportunity to hear from one of the country’s leading criminologists on Islamophobia and hate crime.
  • ‘HYPE - The Role of Pro-Social Activities in Preventing Youth Crime’ showcased criminology theory in practice, with a focus on pro-social activities as a catalyst for positive change in underprivileged youths.

Study options

Ryan-Jay Walsh

Having flexible study is so important to me… I’ve had to do last-minute school runs to drop my nephews off, but Arden has been so understanding and the flexibility of study suits my life perfectly.

Ryan-Jay Walsh
BA (Hons) Criminology and Psychology

Online learning

How does it work? 

Studying this course online gives you the ultimate in convenience. You can enrol with Arden from anywhere in the world and study your degree from the comfort of home, without the requirement to attend classes in a physical location. 

Our online students study their degree through ilearn, Arden’s university campus in the cloud. ilearn provides everything you need to study at university. It offers an integrated virtual learning experience, including your virtual classroom, lecture theatre, and access to our Library Portal. The portal includes an extensive digital library including thousands of journal titles, eBooks, and academic and industry databases which you can use to research your assignments and projects. All of these materials are provided to you free of charge, and contain all the research information you’ll need to complete your degree with us.

ilearn is also integrated with Zoom, making it easier to chat with your course tutor during your scheduled seminar sessions. You can even integrate our study materials into your Kindle, making it possible to study wherever you have your Kindle handy. 

Studying online doesn’t mean studying alone. As well as receiving regular feedback and guidance from your course tutor, you’ll be studying with like-minded students who you can meet with through our Unitu community, and you’ll have access to community message boards to discuss your course and the topics being raised within it. We’ve even set up community boards embedded into each of the course modules so you can have discussions with your tutor and classmates on the topics you’re currently learning.

Online learning students resident in the UK can apply for a Maintenance Loan if they cannot attend their course in person because of a disability. Please find more information on our fees and funding page. If you're a student from Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland you can find information on Living Cost Loans from your student finance body.

Learn more about online learning

Introducing your Digital Backpack

Once you’ve enrolled on your degree with Arden you’ll get access to your Digital Backpack, a toolkit of digital resources we’ve put together to help you succeed during your time studying with us.
Here are some of the digital resources you’ll have available from day one of your course:

  • Office 365 subscription
  • Integrated zoom video conferencing
  • Free online access to our Library Portal, which includes thousands of eBooks and journals, as well as industry databases which we’ve carefully hand-picked to support your studies – all yours for free while you study with us
  • Subscription to Togetherall for an abundance of mental health support
  • You can find out more about how Arden supports your personal career journey on our dedicated careers page here.

Entry requirements

At Arden University we consider applications on a case by case basis. If you have significant work experience, have qualifications you have gained elsewhere, or a degree or qualification that isn't a clear pathway to this degree - we are more than happy to discuss your application.

What do you need to study with us?

Our aim is to make learning as accessible as possible by ensuring that you can study your degree in a flexible and convenient way. That's why we keep our requirements simple. All you need is a laptop or desktop PC (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good internet connection. Through ilearn, our online university campus in the cloud, you'll be able to access your course calendar, support services, learning materials, and our online library containing almost half a million texts, as well as creating assignments, keeping notes, and collaborating with other students on your course. 


To be eligible for our MA Serious and Violent Crime, you should normally have:

  • A UK Honours Degree at a minimum of second class (2:2) or equivalent related to the field of criminology, criminal justice, or forensic psychology etc.
  • If you don't hold the above qualification three years work experience within the sector is required, without this your application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

English proficiency

  • IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element); or TOEFL iBT 90; or equivalent
  • Alternatively, evidence you have previously studied in English, such as a letter to show that the Medium of Instruction was in English, can be accepted.

We also offer an internal English test for applicants who are unable to provide the above evidence of English proficiency. More information can be found here.

Before you start studying

Whilst you can read your study materials on your smart phone or tablet, to make the most of your learning experience, you will need access to a laptop or computer (we recommend one running the latest version of Windows), and a good stable internet connection.

Course fees and funding

Funding and Scholarships

The Arden University Postgraduate Merit Scholarship offers UK Online Learning students with a 2.1 undergraduate degree or higher £2,000 off our postgraduate tuition fees. You can also apply for up to £12,167 funding from Student Finance England fund your studies.

Find your country

Use the dropdown above to find course fees and funding information for your country. If you can’t find information for your country in the dropdown, visit our International support page.

Meet the faculty

Dr Emma Winlow

Dr. Emma Winlow obtained her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Criminology and Crime & Justice from the University of Chester and completed her PhD at the University of Gloucestershire. A public criminologist, Emma has extensive leadership and management experience in higher education and is passionate about accessibility, inclusion, and employability in teaching and learning. She established the School of Criminal Justice with these practices in mind. Emma is also a member of the British Society of Criminology and the British Society of Criminology's Teaching and Learning Network.

Dr Emma Winlow
Head of School - Criminal Justice

Career prospects

Our MA Serious and Violent Crime will fully prepare you to become a leader in the sector by imparting advanced professional knowledge and expertise. That means you will graduate from the course ready to take on more senior-level roles with confidence.

What will the MA Serious and Violent Crime do for me?

This postgraduate degree has been designed to provide you with the practical skill set to address serious and violent crimes alongside the expertise integral to meeting the fast-paced demands of the sector. While studying, you will:

  • Gain a comprehensive academic understanding of the societal impact of serious and violent crime
  • Refine and develop the resilience needed to succeed in the sector
  • Supplement your learning with unique real-world experiences from our applied academics
  • Progress your career through practical assessments aligned with advanced sector-specific skills
  • Apply your knowledge and experience to real-life scenarios
  • Gain the essential leadership skills needed to advance your career in serious and violent crime

What can I do after Arden University?

Completing this master’s degree will open up a world of opportunity in criminal justice and related fields and provide universal skills you can apply to diverse industries. With that in mind, some career options you might consider include:

  • Police
  • Security services (NCA/GCHQ/Mi5/Border Force/Interpol)
  • Prison
  • Probation services
  • Victim advocacy
  • Management of offenders (prison service/probation)
  • Non-governmental organisations (IJM, CPG, HRW, etc.)
  • Academia
  • Civil Service

Industry skills

The course stands out in its modern, global, and practice-driven approach, equipping you with real skills you can apply to careers both in your home country and abroad.


Campaign for Social Science

Arden University is a member of the Campaign for Social Science. 

The Campaign demonstrates how social science improves public policy, society, and all our lives. It highlights the value of applied social science research and advocates for its greater use in decision-making and in government. It is supported by a coalition of universities, social science societies, and publishers.

As a member, Arden receives access to case studies, research into the value provided by social sciences, and insights into the employability of social science graduates. Through this, you will gain a better understanding of the skills you are learning and their value to employers.