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Cultural Criminology - Master of Science programme

Master's programme · 2 years · 120 credits

A tunnel painted with graffiti. Photo.


What are the attractions in dealing drugs, being part of a gang or a deviant subculture? How can we explain the lure of the seemingly irrational and meaningless destruction of property, or of online harassment? The Master’s Programme in Cultural Criminology aims to explain and understand how people involved in deviance and crime go about their everyday life and how they interact with others, echoing sociologist Jack Katz’ famous question: What is it that people are trying to accomplish through crime?

Instead of focusing on statistics, such as increases in crime or correlations of numbers, which traditional criminology often has relied upon, we ask what governs relationships in the drug world or that of prostitution, among buyers, sellers and the police. We aim to get inside the experiences of committing or controlling crime and to grasp the biographical and emotional aspects.

If you are a graffiti writer, what are the thrills? What tools are you expected to use, what vocabulary and even what clothes are you expected to wear? How can we understand and analyse the experiences and situations of paper-less migrants, and how do we place their uncertain situation in a global economy? What role does masculinity and status play among terrorists, or incels, or binge-drinking tourists? What part does the media play in our understanding of crime? And how about true crime stories – what part do they play in describing personal experiences and detailed accounts of life inside institutions?
We will approach these questions and many more, mainly through qualitative methods such as different of types of interviews, participant observations, and also through analysis of texts, images and Internet data.

In short, cultural criminology is a unique approach to crime, deviance and control, combining insights from sociology, social anthropology and social psychology with those of critical, narrative, and feminist criminology. It is cultural in the sense that our focus lies on how local cultures, subcultures and broader cultural structures affect the way we perceive, interpret and act upon the world. We look at patterns of meaning and how crime and deviance can become something attractive and captivating.

The programme is given on Campus in Lund:

As a student of the programme, you will acquire:

  • Knowledge and understanding within criminology, social anthropology and sociology, including knowledge of the disciplinary foundation of the fields and general knowledge of
  • current research issues.
  • Specialised knowledge of research methods in cultural criminology.
  • The ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analysis, assess and deal with complex cultural criminological phenomena, issues and situations.
  • The ability to identify and formulate research questions critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work.
  • The skills required for participation in research and development work or autonomous employment in some other qualified capacity.

Courses and number of credits

  • Semester 1: Theories, Perspectives and Concepts of Cultural Criminology (15 credits), Ethnography in Social Science (15 credits) or Sociology: Methods and Social Analysis (15 credits).
  • Semester 2: Applied Cultural Criminology – Analysis, Organisation and Strategies (15 credits), Methods courses given by Graduate School (15 credits).
  • Semester 3: Elective courses of relevance to the programme or internship or studies abroad (30 credits).
  • Semester 4: Master’s thesis (30 credits).

Career prospects

Crime and punishment are continuously topical in public debate. Furthermore, they constitute the basis for many of modern society’s professions and professional activities: prison officers, crime prevention officers, university lecturers, police officers, social analysts, etc. This programme will also prepare you for PhD-studies and a continued academic career.

Closed for applications

Application opportunities


Study Adviser at the Department of Sociology

Josefina Backman

Email: studievagledare [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se

The Department of Sociology website

Requirements and selection

Entry requirements

To be eligible for the programme the applicant must have the equivalent of a Swedish Bachelor’s degree with a major (i.e. at least 90 ECTS credits) in one of the following social sciences disciplines: Sociology, Social Anthropology or equivalent.

Oral and written proficiency in English corresponding to English 6/B from Swedish upper secondary school is a requirement. International qualifications will be assessed in accordance with national guidelines.

Selection criteria

The applicants estimated capacity to complete the programme is the primary criterion for selection. Students are selected on the basis of their previous study results (grades on courses and Bachelor’s degree essay), proficiency in English and statement of purpose.

English language requirements

Most of Lund University’s programmes require English Level 6 (unless otherwise stated under 'Entry requirements'). This is the equivalent of an overall IELTS score of 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 90. There are several ways to prove your English language proficiency – check which proof is accepted at the University Admissions in Sweden website. All students must prove they meet English language requirements by the deadline, in order to be considered for admission.

How to prove your English proficiency –

Country-specific requirements

Check if there are any country-specific eligibility rules for you to study Bachelor's or Master's studies in Sweden:

Country-specific requirements for Bachelor's studies –

Country-specific requirements for Master's studies –


Start Autumn Semester 2024

Day-time Lund, full time 100%

In English

Study period

2 September 2024 - 7 June 2026


Closed for applications

How to apply

Lund University uses a national application system run by University Admissions in Sweden. It is only possible to apply during the application periods.

When to apply for studies

Step 1: Apply online

  • Check that you meet the entry requirements of the programme or course you are interested in (refer to the section above on this webpage).
  • Start your application – go to the University Admissions in Sweden website where you create an account and select programmes/courses during the application period.
    Visit the University Admissions in Sweden website
  • Rank your programme/course choices in order of preference and submit them before the application deadline.

Step 2: Submit documents

  • Read about how to document your eligibility and how to submit your documents at the University Admissions in Sweden website. Follow any country-specific document rules for Master's studies or Bachelor's studies
    Country-specific requirements for Bachelor's studies –
    Country-specific requirements for Master's studies –
  • Get all your documents ready:
    - official transcripts and high school diploma (Bachelor's applicants)
    - official transcripts and degree certificate or proof that you are in the final year of your Bachelor's (Master's applicants)
    - passport/ID (all applicants) and
    - proof of English proficiency (all applicants).
  • Prepare programme-specific documents if stated in the next paragraph on this webpage.
  • Upload or send all required documents to University Admissions before the document deadline.
  • Pay the application fee (if applicable – refer to the section below on this webpage) before the document deadline.

* Note that the process is different if you are applying as an exchange student or as a part of a cooperation programme (such as Erasmus+).
* If you have studied your entire Bachelor's programme in Sweden and all of your academic credits are in Ladok, you do not have to submit transcripts or your diploma when applying for a Master's programme. However, there may still be other documents you need to submit! See the link below. 

Svensk student? 
Läs instruktionerna om att söka till ett internationellt masterprogram på

Programme-specific documents

In addition to the documents mentioned under Step 2, you must also submit a statement of purpose (letter of intent) of around one page when you apply for this programme. 

The statement of purpose should give precise but brief information concerning:

  • your main interests within the field of Cultural Criminology
  • your reasons for applying to the programme
  • how you hope to benefit from the programme
  • what future plans you have after completion of the programme.

An application without a statement of purpose will not be considered.


Watch on YouTube: How to apply for a Master's programme 

Tuition fees

Non-EU/EEA citizens

Full programme/course tuition fee: SEK 250 000

First payment: SEK 62 500

Convert currency –

Citizens of a country outside of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are required to pay tuition fees. You pay one instalment of the tuition fee in advance of each semester.

Tuition fees, payments and exemptions

EU/EEA citizens and Switzerland

There are no tuition fees for citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Application fee

If you are required to pay tuition fees, you are generally also required to pay an application fee of SEK 900 when you apply at the University Admissions in Sweden website. You pay one application fee regardless of how many programmes or courses you apply to.

*Note that there are no tuition or application fees for exchange students or doctoral/PhD students, regardless of their nationality.

Scholarships & funding

Lund University Global Scholarship programme

The Lund University Global Scholarship programme is a merit-based and selective scholarship targeted at top academic students from countries outside the EU/EEA.

Lund University Global Scholarship

Swedish Institute Scholarships

The Swedish Institute offers scholarships to international students applying for studies in Sweden at Master's level.

Scholarship information on the Swedish Institute website

Country-specific scholarships and funding options

Lund University has agreements with scholarship organisations and funding bodies in different countries, which may allow applicants to apply for funding or scholarships in their home countries for their studies at Lund University.

External scholarships

Information about scholarships from external organisations