Master in Criminology and Criminal Justice System

> LANGUAGE: Spanish
1 academic year full time, 2 academic years part time (60 ECTS credits)
> CALENDAR: From September to June | TIMETABLE: Classes are held from Monday to Thursday 3:30 - 7:30 pm; exceptionally some Fridays  
> TUITION FEE: Students UE: € 3,420 | Non UE students: € 4,639.8
Interuniversity Master's Programme of Pompeu Fabra University (coordinator), Autonomous University of Barcelona and University of Girona 

This master offers one registration fee grant worth 2,000 € for the 2016-2017 academic year


The master's programme in Criminology and Criminal Justice System was started 26 years ago. Today, it is an official interuniversity master's programme offered by Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the University of Girona (UdG) and the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

Over the course of one year, students receive in-depth training in the theoretical and empirical foundations of criminology, the workings of the criminal justice system, and the enforcement of criminal sanctions. They moreover acquire the specific methodological knowledge they need to conduct empirical research in the field of criminology.

The programme's classes are participative, and students are given preparatory work to complete before class. The master's degree final project, which is supervised by a faculty member with relevant expertise, is due at the end of the academic year and must reflect the theoretical knowledge and research skills the student has acquired.


The master's programme in Criminology and Criminal Justice System aims to provide students with advanced specialized training geared towards careers in research and academia.

Who is it for?

The master's programme is intended for university graduates in the various fields of the social and legal sciences (law, criminology, sociology, social work, social education) and in the health sciences (psychology). Specifically, it is aimed at people interested in pursuing careers in the field of criminal justice, broadly understood. Candidates should thus have a keen interest in explanations of crime and the operation and improvement of the criminal justice system, as well as an awareness of the underlying social issues. They must likewise be able to go beyond their original discipline and explore in depth the issues of crime and how the criminal justice system responds to it from a criminological perspective.


This is a research-oriented master's programme, organized into knowledge modules and terms. The Criminology and Methodology modules, as well as the optional modules, include subjects taught in both the first and second terms. The Penology module includes subjects taught in all three terms. The master's degree final project, which begins to be supervised in the first term, is completed and assessed at the end of the third term.

The programme offers several possible focuses with regard to the optional module (immigration, gender, the criminal justice system, victimology, cybercrime, etc.), thereby allowing students to tailor their training to their specific interests.

The programme's subjects are taught by expert lecturers engaged in research in the field. Classes are participative and, when necessary (e.g., when looking at quantitative methods), are held in computer rooms. Advance preparation and students' active participation are vital to the proper development of each class.

The programme may also be completed in two years. In this case, students must take the compulsory subjects the first year and complete the optional subjects and master's degree final project the second year. Students who choose to complete the programme in two years will be eligible to participate in mobility agreements with other European universities.

Students who hold an undergraduate degree in Criminology may take subjects on advanced methods and attend specialized research seminars.


Compulsory modules

Module 1. Penology

Theories justifying punishment. The prison system. Alternatives to prison sentences. The juvenile justice system. Restorative justice. Public opinion.

Module 2. Criminology
Criminological theory. Training programmes. Social reintegration programmes.

Module 3. Methodology
Quantitative and qualitative penological research methods. Introduction to scientific research. Research project design.

Optional modules

The programme offers several possible focuses with regard to the optional module (immigration, gender, the criminal justice system, victimology, cybercrime, etc.), thereby allowing students to tailor their training to their specific interests).  

Master's degree final project

To complete the programme, students must undertake a compulsory master's degree final project, worth 15 credits, under the supervision of an academic tutor. Students work on the project over the course of the year, and it is assessed at the end by an academic board consisting of at least two members.

Knowledge, skills and competences acquired

  • Advanced knowledge of criminology and the enforcement of criminal sanctions.
  • Ability to apply the knowledge acquired to formulate research hypotheses and theories on crime and the criminal justice system.
  • Ability to study and propose solutions to penological issues taking the social consequences thereof into account.
  • Ability to communicate the hypotheses, methodology, results and practical implications of research clearly and concisely to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Ability to design and carry out coherent research projects in the fields of criminology and penology.
  • Ability to make proper use of qualitative and quantitative techniques for collecting and analysing data for research projects.
  • Ability to write research reports and scientific papers suitable for publication in specialized journals.

Career prospects

Broadly speaking, the programme is premised on the belief that all people directly involved with preventing, controlling and responding to crime should have compulsory basic training. More specifically, the programme offers students suitable training to pursue successful careers in the following fields:

  • Law enforcement
  • Technical advice on criminal matters
  • The criminal justice system
  • Alternative penal measures
  • Victimology
  • Restorative justice
  • Prisons
  • Prison surveillance
  • Social exclusion
  • Social reintegration
  • Criminal justice policymaking
  • Criminological research
  • Private security
Additionally, students who successfully complete the master's programme may continue on to the doctoral programme and, thus, an academic career at a university or research institution.

Scholarships and grants

The master's programme is included in the Fundación Carolina scholarship programme for Latin American students.

For information on other available financial aid for master's programmes, see