According to the Guardian’s 2019 league table for Criminology, Surrey was ranked number one, but don’t just take the Guardian’s word for it.
Although I did not undertake my undergraduate at Surrey, I am very lucky to be doing my Msc in Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) at Surrey. This is just one of three Criminology related Masters offered by the University of Surrey, the other two are: MSc Criminology and MSc Criminology (Corporate Crime and Corporate Responsibility). All of which you can find on the Course Finder on the University of Surrey website.
Specialists in their fields
There were a number of factors that made me want to attend Surrey, and one of them being the structure of the course. The Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) course offered by the department at Surrey is very unique. Surrey does not require you to have a computing background and anyone from any undergraduate disciple is able to join this course, although it is helpful to have some experience in Social Sciences. The course is taught by a range of specialists in their fields, with years of experience, which helps to make learning more engaging and fun. Mike McGuire who is the course leader for Criminology (Cybercrime and Cybersecurity) has years of experience working and researching in the field, and has written a number of Government papers as well as academic papers. In addition to this, my dissertation supervisor has experience of research in my area of interest, and this has helped to not only plan my project, but assist with recruitment of participants through her contacts.
The Sociology department also provides a large amount of support to their students. All Criminology staff always have their doors open to students, as well as having designated office hours, where students are able to book in some time. This is something which I think is very important for Masters students, as there is a mix of students who may have taken a few years out of education or others who have come straight from their undergraduate degree. Nevertheless, for everyone, it takes some time to adjust to the workload and the academic writing which is expected. From my own experiences, having the opportunity to speak to my course leaders about readings and my essay plans has been very helpful, in order to ensure that I reach my full potential. Even now, during a time where the University is closed for face to face contact due to COVID-19, staff are available via email and zoom calls to discuss essay plans and any concerns.
The department also have a number of opportunities and experiences available to students. Each year, all masters students attend a conference, which is a chance to engage in discussions regarding a variety of research. The internal and external speakers all discussed areas relevant to the three criminology master courses. It was a great chance to network with staff and guests and gain a further insight into my areas of interest, as well as areas I had not even thought about. The conference is also an overnight stay, and it was a nice way to get to know and spend time with my course mates. I would say this has been one of the highlights of my Master’s experience.
The department run a course called ‘Learning Together.’ This is a programme that aims to engage university students with prisoners in a safe environment, giving them the opportunity to learn together. The University of Surrey offer this to 10 MSc Students, and I am lucky enough to be selected for this years cohort. Although I have not yet had the opportunity to do this, as takes place in May following the teaching term, this is a great project and provides an opportunity for students to see the Criminal Justice System operate first hand, and give a voice to those who are marginalised.