• Study mode: Part Time
  • Location: Distance Learning
  • Duration: Two Years
  • Start Date: September 2021

Course Overview

With growing public awareness, and concern, about rural and environmental crime, and how to mitigate it, there is increasing demand for specialist practitioners in this field.

Whether your interest is in an enforcement or compliance capacity our MSc in Rural and Environmental Crime and Policing will equip you with the skills and insights to help you prevent this multi-faceted form of offending and to tackle it when it happens.

Causes, context and legislation

The course looks closely at all types of rural and environmental crime, from theft from farms and hare coursing, through modern slavery and organised crime in the rural setting, to heritage crime and environmental offences such as fly-tipping or wildlife crime. You will consider the causes and context of such offending and the explanations offered by rural and green criminologies alongside the legislation in place to deal with it.

A unique focus on practical skills

Unlike other courses which focus primarily on the law, this master’s takes a strong practical perspective. Using case studies, and specialist insights from industry experts, you will explore how the relevant legislation translates into practical compliance and enforcement.

You will gain an appreciation of the complexity of rural and environmental crime, but also go away with the legal and enforcement practices increasingly sought after in this field.

Specialist research

Taught as a flexible-learning programme, the course culminates in an extended project, where you will research an area of particular interest to you or your employer.

Who is it for?

This master’s is for anyone with a professional or personal interest in rural and environmental crime, either in an enforcement, compliance, or management role.

This includes rural police officers and those working for organisations with an evidence gathering or prosecuting responsibility, such as environmental agencies, local authorities, charities, and other organisations responsible for tackling offending in the countryside or protecting our natural environment.

The course is also aimed at those with compliance responsibility, particularly businesses or agencies required to take environmental regulation and legislation into account in their day-to-day activities.

Course Details

You will benefit from working with academics with extensive experience in policing, who can offer you first-hand operational insights, and are involved in the latest research into rural and environmental crime.

Subject experts will also share their perspectives on different aspects of enforcement or compliance, from the persecution of protected birds and animals, to mitigating environmental risks in the agricultural and quarrying industries.

You will graduate with:

  • a solid base of knowledge of the law relating to rural and environmental crime
  • an understanding of the practicalities of that law, and how it is applied in different enforcement or compliance situations
  • specialist subject knowledge in the area of rural and environmental crime that most interests you.

Flexible learning

Designed as a flexible learning programme, you can study this course alongside your work or other commitments.

You will receive lectures and study materials online, as well as podcasts and other tools, and interact with your tutors online, through discussion boards, blogs and wikis.

Recorded conversations with subject experts are integral to the programme, and you will access online workshops and participate in open discussions, with contributions from tutors, practitioners and industry representatives.

Regular on-campus workshop days will give you further opportunity to engage with staff and your cohort, and hear from industry and enforcement subject experts.

Extended project

In the latter stages of the course, you will work on an extended dissertation, focusing on an area of enforcement or compliance of particular interest to you. You will be supported by a supervisor at the University throughout, and have regular contact with them either in person or by phone, email or Skype.

What are the course entry requirements?

Entrants to the programme will normally have an Honours degree or equivalent. Recent graduates would generally have achieved an upper second class honours degrees in any field. It is anticipated that this degree will also evoke interest from students overseas for whom such qualification is not available in their home country. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate English language skills to IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. Applicants who are working for the police or other organisations with prevention or enforcement responsibilities in any aspect of rural or environmental crime may qualify for entry without holding a first degree. Applications will also be considered from those with an interest in compliance who can demonstrate relevant career experience.

Course Modules


  • Forms of Rural Crime
  • Forms of Environmental Crime
  • Rural, Green, and Environmental Criminologies
  • Rural and Environmental Law
  • Rural & Environmental Crime: Enforcement Challenges & Response
  • Dissertation
  • Leading, Managing and Developing Talent (optional)
  • Strategic Leadership (optional)
  • Project Management (optional)
  • Organisational Resilience (optional)


How much does it cost

Part Time Home and EU, Academic Year 2021-2022: £5,250 per year

Part Time International, Academic Year 2021-2022: £5,250 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Questions about fees?

Contact our Enquiries Team:
0330 123 2023

How do I apply?

For application details please visit bucks.ac.uk/applying-to-bucks


What are my career prospects

What are my career prospects?

By the end of the programme, you will be in a strong position to manage and mitigate the threats posed by rural and environmental crime, be that in an investigative or a compliance role.

You will be well placed to work at a senior level in agencies with an enforcement or compliance responsibility in rural or other environmentally-sensitive settings.

The Big Deal

At Bucks, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union have developed our exclusive ‘Big Deal’ package. We’re the only university in the UK to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all to enrich the university experience.

We offer FREE events and entertainment, additional skills workshops, sports, recreational activities, societies and paid student rep schemes. All at one of the top 10 Students’ Unions in the UK.  It’s a big deal!

We are proud that our exciting and dynamic students’ union is ranked in the top three in the UK for representing student’s academic interests (NSS 2020). It’s a big deal!

Want to find out more? Visit our Students’ Union page or watch our video.