MSc Cybercrime

Gain the investigative skills to combat global cybercrime


Cybercrime is the term applied to criminal and harmful behaviours that are facilitated through the use of digital technologies, or that only occur due to the existence of such tools.

Unfortunately, as more people and services turn to digital technologies, the growing risk of cybercrime is exposing a shortfall in qualified professionals who realise that humans are at the heart of this issue. If you hold a keen interest in understanding and addressing the behavioural and social elements that motivate such actions, you may be well-suited for a career in this field.

The discipline of criminology, which seeks to uncover the underlying causes of crime and delinquency, provides the foundation for our MSc. Through exploring online power dynamics, social science research methods and more, you’ll develop into a confident and capable subject matter expert with the ability to help effect meaningful change for those vulnerable to cybercrime.

Note: Cybercrime is distinct from cyber security, which focuses on techniques of protecting digital technologies, networks, and data against criminal or unauthorised access. A straightforward way to differentiate the two is to think of cybercrime studies as addressing the reasons behind online deviant or criminal activity, whereas cyber security is a technical approach to preventing and tackling the activity itself.

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Course Details

2 start dates per year: January and September

Next welcome week: 18 September 2023

Next course start date: 25 September 2023

Application deadline: 11 September 2023. Apply as soon as possible to secure your place.

Duration: 2 years (part time)

Format: Online, with optional face-to-face events.

Total course fees: £9,400 (including a £250 acceptance fee)

Tailored support: Contact our course adviser team today for application advice

Why this course?

On this postgraduate course, you’ll focus on the acts of cybercrime and the criminals behind them. You’ll gain the skills needed to meet the demand for experienced cybercrime investigators and help make the online world a safer place.

The studies you can expect to take on will encompass a range of topics, including cyber offender and victim characteristics; public and private responses to cybercrime; the regulatory influences that impact upon behaviour online; and much more.

You’ll learn how to analyse and apply different theoretical perspectives and research in relation to cybercrime, plus how to communicate this research to those outside of the field as well.

You’ll take a global approach to cybercrime and investigate the international cooperation needed to tackle it.

Additionally, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate with specialists in the cybercrime field, through The University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Cybercrime and Economic Crime, (including the Cybercrime Awareness Clinic), and our affiliations with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), local constabularies, and regional organised crime units.

The critical and analytical knowledge you develop will help you contribute to the mitigation of cybercrimes on both a local and international level. Plus, with the prevalence of digital technology in most organisations, you can look forward to exploring a range of career opportunities across industries.


You will study the following compulsory modules.
Module 1 - Cybercrime: critical perspectives (30 credits)

This module equips you with the skills to prevent, detect and react to cybercrime by addressing motivations, current responses and investigations at the forefront of cybercrime research and professional practice. You’ll learn to locate and access information pertinent to cybercrime through digital and emerging technologies, and explore how current and emerging internet and related technologies are used to commit criminal and deviant acts.

Module 2 - Regulating Power Conflicts in Cyberspace (30 credits)

Using case studies on major underlying conflicts on the internet, this module provides a core understanding of how the internet functions as a space of interacting influences. You'll focus on the different regulatory influences that impact online behaviour and the shaping and function of the modern internet, and get an in-depth understanding of specialised areas at the forefront of cybercrime.

Module 3 - The Global Landscape of Cybersecurity (30 credits)

You’ll examine the full picture of cybersecurity on this module, evaluating it on a global scale as well as looking at current national and international strategies. You'll gain an in-depth and systematic knowledge of the nature of cybersecurity threats facing organisations and states, and feel confident analysing the challenges of national cybersecurity strategies and the impact of governance.

Module 4 - Research Methods and Research Ethics (30 credits)

On this module, you’ll explore the wide range of research methods used to investigate cybercrime such as qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods. This experience will help you know how to apply them wherever appropriate. You’ll develop a research proposal based on your knowledge, and will evaluate challenges involved in ethical research and how to address them.

Module 5 - Dissertation (60 credits)

Your dissertation will consist of a small-scale research project demonstrating your grasp of research design, methods and ethics as learned on your Master’s course. You can submit an academic dissertation or an applied work-based project report. Our association with the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office can help you access data or interview subjects for your dissertation or project and they can give you feedback on research questions.

How you will learn

Benefits of learning online with us

How you'll learn with us
Our part-time, online courses fit around you. Forget visas and moving costs, with our online degree programmes, you can access your course from anywhere in the world. You’ll need to spend approximately 20-25 hours studying every week. As all course materials are available on demand, you can revise on the days and times that suit you best. We know you have a busy life, so to keep things manageable, your course modules are broken down into weekly segments. This allows you to fit your studies around your work, family, and social life.
All our modules, learning activities, and assessments are delivered online. We do this via Moodle, our easy-to-use Digital Learning Environment (DLE). All you need is regular access to a computer and an internet connection. Through Moodle, you'll have access to discussion forums where you can chat to your online tutors and other students about the course. Watch our short video to find out more about Moodle and then book a personalised demo with our Course Advisers, at a time to suit you.
What does a typical week look like?
Weekly topic Build your course-specific knowledge Challenge activities Apply your studies in learning activities Discussion forums Reinforce your knowledge by sharing ideas with other students Weekly webinar Discuss the week’s topic with your tutor and other students
Additional support 
Studying at Master’s level requires significant independent study, and self-motivation is vital. There are support services available for you to access throughout your studies, these include: University student services, such as IT Support, Student Support, study skills training, and the Library Your Student Adviser Team, who can answer practical and pastoral questions throughout your studies.

How students study with us

• No visas or moving costs
• Access course from anywhere in the world
• Spend approx. 20-25 hours studying each week
• All course materials are available on demand
• Revise on the days and times that suit you best
• Course modules broken down into weekly segments
• Fit studies around work, family and social life
• Support with non-academic queries from a student adviser team

Additional Support

As one of our students, you’ll have access to a range of services designed to support your studies and make your time with us as enjoyable as possible. -Our comprehensive online library of books, journals, and resources -A Student Advisor team to answer non-academic queries -Online software tutorials via LinkedIn Learning -The Students’ Union community -Career advice, CV creation, practice interviews, and more via our careers platform

Career prospects and opportunities

Our MSc Cybercrime is designed to equip you with the expertise needed to find success within the cybercrime field.

In addition to developing the specialist knowledge required to address cybercriminal activity, your research alongside our industry experts will familarise you with real-world processes and offer important experience collaborating with others.

These skills, coupled with the support you can receive from our exceptional Careers and Employability Service, will help position you as a valuable hire to employers across the world.

Roles open to graduates could include:

  • Behaviour analysts
  • Information security officers
  • Risk management analysts
  • Intelligence analysts
  • Researchers

Your future career

After graduating from MSc Cybercrime, you’ll have the technical skills necessary to pursue a career in helping combat cybercrime, with the critical thinking and social awareness needed to understand deviant online behaviour.

With your specialist knowledge, you could become a central player in a range of organisations – from universities to police forces – as cybercrime is an ever-evolving sector that demands someone with a firm grip on the subject.

By committing to the upkeep of your skill set, you could find yourself well-positioned to progress even further within your organisation, and with added job security.

How to apply

Benefits of learning online with us

Entry requirements:

  • To join this course, you must have a minimum of a second-class honours degree in a relevant subject (Social Science, Humanities or Management subject).
  • Information Technology related subjects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Applicants with equivalent professional experience in a relevant organisation (cybercrime, cybersecurity or related) will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must also have English language proficiency at IELTS level 6.5 with no component score below 6.0 (or other acceptable proof), if English is not your first language.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to apply, please get in touch with our course adviser team for advice.


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