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.

Course details

MSc Cybercrime

3 start dates per year: February, May and September

Next start date: 27 September 2021

Application deadline: To guarantee time for your application to be reviewed, please apply by 13 September 2021 

Duration: 2 years (part time)

Format: Online, with optional face-to-face events. You can also study an MSc in Cybercrime on campus.

Total course fees: £10,500 (including a £250 acceptance fee)

Application form: Start your application for September 2021 now

Application process

Why this MSc Cybercrime?

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 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.

What you’ll study

This course will give you the skills to pursue a career in combating cybercrime.

On this course, you'll:

  • Take a holistic approach to cybercrime, developing critical thinking around responses to technological, human, legal and management perspectives
  • Investigate sociological and criminological aspects of cybercrime, identifying offender characteristics and the main victims of cybercrime
  • Collaborate with experienced personnel such as members of Hampshire Police and the Crime Commissioner’s Office on your dissertation/major project
  • Explore debates surrounding the causes of cybercrimes, digital investigations and the methods and motivations of cybercriminals
  • Assess new harms online such as bullying, harassment and technology-facilitated sexual violence, as well as potential shortfalls in legislation


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

On-campus MSc Cybercrime graduates have gone on to secure positions such as:

  • Data Protection Act Coordinator at Great Ormond Street Hospital

  • Marketing at Data Protection World Forum

  • Digital Team Leader at the NHS Trust

  • Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst at Accenture

To learn more about the paths of progression available to you after graduation, visit our Careers and opportunities page:

Read more

Dr Lisa Sugiura

Course Leader

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Cybercrime, Distance Learning Postgraduate Programme Area Leader, Themes Strategic Innovation Fellow (TRIF), and the Deputy Director of the Cybercrime Awareness Clinic, at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies.

MSc Cybercrime webinar

Course Leader Lisa Sugiura discusses how the MSc's specialist staff will help you understand cybercrime from a criminological perspective:

Watch now

Looking for a full-time course?

You can study an MSc in Cybercrime on campus:

Find out more

How you're assessed

All assessments for this course are based on coursework submitted online. Your performance is assessed through coursework including:

  • Academic essays

  • Briefing papers and reports

  • Blog posts

  • Narrated presentations

  • A dissertation

You can also test your skills and knowledge informally before assessments via online quizzes, group discussions, peer review activities and virtual seminars.

Tutors will provide feedback on practice and formal assessments so you can improve your work for the future.

Entry requirements

To join this course, you must have:


  • A second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent, professional experience and/ or qualifications will be considered. 

  • English language proficiency at IELTS level 6.5 with no component score below 6.5 (or other acceptable proof), if English is not your first language

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to apply, please speak to one of our course advisers on +44 (0)23 9400 3692, or email info@study-online.port.ac.uk

Want to start in September 2021?

Apply now