Master of Science in Criminological Sciences

The research domain of criminology includes deviant behaviour and criminality. As an autonomous discipline it not only analyses crime but also goes in search of the most suited public response to deviant behaviour. Specialization is achieved in the Master’s programme mainly by means of the Master's dissertation topic and a number of electives.

Master's Programme
1 year 60 credits
Faculty of Law and Criminology
About the programme
Programme summary
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Off to a good start
After graduation


As a discipline, criminology has undergone quite an evolution. A criminologist no longer exclusively studies traditional criminality and traditional criminals, but broadens their scope to include all sorts of socially deviant behaviour. This includes organized crime, as well as various less visible forms of criminality, such as economic, tax, and environmental crimes. In addition, criminology no longer exclusively focuses on perpetrators, but also on public responses to criminal behaviour. And it looks into the social origins of criminal law. A criminologist studies the functioning of the various authorities involved in the dispensation of justice such as the police, the prosecutor’s office, the magistracy and administration. Also within their scope is the fate of crime victims, the public willingness to report a crime, and the effects of (social) media on the perception of crime. Criminology, in other words, has evolved into an autonomous discipline that analyses crime and goes in search of the most suited public response to deviant behaviour. In addition to traditional criminal law, disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and history have gained considerable influence in the study of criminology.

For whom

The admission requirements vary. Depending on your prior education, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.


The Master's curriculum contains a 300-hour work placement. It is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and professional attitude. We offer work placements in four broad sectors: the police, the justice system, and research and development.
In addition, the curriculum includes a number of course units on policy and you can choose four elective course units, including two English-taught special issues. The Master's dissertation is the final component of the Master’s programme. It is a personal academic work piece on a criminological topic of your choice which you settle in consultation with your supervisor.
The Master’s curriculum offers a window of opportunity to spend a term studying abroad.

In addition to the (domain) Master’s programme described above, you can also choose a Master’s Programme in Teaching (in Dutch: Educatieve Master). (in Dutch).

Labour Market

Criminology graduates have a wide range of interesting job opportunities in a large variety of sectors. The professional field truly has a broad range. They usually find employment at government agencies and non-profit organizations. In addition to the more traditional employment opportunities (police forces, penal institutions, and counselling), new job opportunities have arisen in the past few decades.
The Federal Home Secretary concluded strategic security and prevention plans with municipalities, resulting in the recruitment of numerous criminologists as experts of integral security.
The judicial reform prompted the Justice Secretary to pursue various policy plans (victim support, houses of justice, alternative sanctions, chain approach to domestic violence), which include interesting career opportunities for criminologists.
Additional job opportunities in the profit sector are on the rise: in the (private) security sector, for example, there is an increasing demand for criminologists in various management positions. In the financial sector, criminologists are often employed in positions dealing with fiscal compliance. Despite the many career opportunities in various sectors entry into the criminology-specific labour market is not entirely straightforward. It might take our graduates a while before they end up in a position that suits their interests fully. A number of obstacles are at the bottom of this. There is no such thing as the criminology profession. Few vacancies explicitly mention the term ‘criminologist’ in the job title. Our study programme does not prepare for a specific profession. Rather, we are a broad theoretical and academic programme that wants to prepare students for a position as policy officer. In addition, recruitment procedures for certain government positions take up a long time. For example, the recruitment procedure for positions in uniform can easily can take up to a year. The government’s recruitment agency, Selor, uses procedures comprising several stages staggered over quite some time. Very few positions are exclusively open to criminologists. Positions in the professional field of criminology, even with the police, are open to a wide range of graduates.

Do not be deterred, however, by the relatively insecure position of criminologists in the labour market. A successful candidacy depends on more than a degree in criminology alone. More than in any other discipline, a lot depends on the graduate’s individual capacities and personal motives. Extra-curricular activities such as volunteer work, an international work placement or an Erasmus exchange can be important additional assets, as can a previous preliminary training. Holders of a previous university degree or returning professionals who decide to take on an additional degree in criminology may have the opportunity to find a new job in a specific domain or at policy level. Think, for instance, of legal experts and doctors, but also sociologists, psychologists and social workers.

Take a look at our faculty website for career testimonials by Criminology graduates (in Dutch).