Crime scene barrier tape

MA in Crime and Justice

This masters degree explores new perspectives and ways of thinking about crime, harm and justice. It is concerned with examining problematic areas of social life, transgression, ‘crime’, social harm and justice. You will consider the significance of power, social structure, and economic and social inequalities in understanding ‘crime’, and processes of criminalisation in local, transnational and global contexts. Studying this qualification will enhance your ability to think critically about problems of crime, social harm and the delivery of justice. 

Key features of the course

  • Develops your expertise in topics related to the investigation of crime, justice and social harm
  • Extends your skills and insights on the criminal justice system, victim protection and support, civil liberties, human rights, security and social justice
  • Ideal preparation for work where analytical and careful decision making is required, and where initiative is valued.
Please note that this masters degree does not include a research methods component. This may present an impediment for entry to some PhD programmes. If you wish to go on to PhD level study, we recommend you check the regulations of a potential programme of interest.

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits from the following:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801)

This online module aims to equip you with a range of critical research literacy skills that provide a crucial foundation for your continuing postgraduate studies within psychology and the social sciences.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
Crime and global justice (DD804)

Using real world examples, this module provides innovative insights into the complex interplay between local and global dimensions of crime, harm and justice.

See full description

120 07 Oct 2023

Please note that Crime and global justice (DD804) is worth 120 credits. Module fees for postgraduate modules are based on the number of credits you study. Therefore the fee for this 120-credit postgraduate module will be double that for the 60 credit module Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801).

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules for the qualification you can be awarded an MA in Crime and Justice. You will be entitled you to use the letters MA (CJ) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.



As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 March 2023.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK honours degree (2:2 at least) or equivalent to be accepted for the MA in Crime and Justice. Your first degree need not be in criminology, but you must have the skills expected of a social sciences graduate.

This qualification has a required study order. All students will begin with the postgraduate module, Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801). This module will help equip you with the requisite skills needed to undertake postgraduate-level study, but it does not offer remedial training for those who have an unsuitable bachelors degree or inadequate experience. You will have the opportunity to study with a cohort of peers throughout, while the modules and assessments build on one another systematically.

You must be able to:

  • write accurately, clearly and concisely
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically and consistently
  • select and interpret evidence to support a logical argument.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details. If you’re not sure whether your English skills are good enough, there is some help and guidance at our Skills for OU Study website.

How long it takes

You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years by studying one module each year.

Career relevance

This qualification offers knowledge and skills relevant to a range of professions and careers concerned with the criminal justice system, victim protection and support, civil society, civil liberties, human rights, security, safety and social justice. The skills developed will be recognised by employers in all fields who value people who can communicate clearly; plan effectively; analyse complex information; and show initiative in critically considering, formulating and investigating questions of their own and devising innovative solutions.

You will develop skills to prepare you for work in a variety of organisations and sectors concerned with protection, safety, and harm prevention, as well as sectors where analytical, nuanced and careful decision making is required, and where independence and initiative are valued. This qualification will also provide you with the academic skills to further develop theoretical and empirical understandings of issues related to crime, social harm and justice.

Please note that this masters degree does not include a research methods component. This may present an impediment for entry to some PhD programmes. If you wish to go on to PhD level study, we recommend you check the regulations of a potential programme of interest. 

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.