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Policing (Operational and Strategic Leadership) MSc

This course is designed in consultation with police forces for senior police officers (in-post) who wish to enhance their career. UWTSD will use an online/blended approach to minimise the time that officers would need to take off from their duties which represents an important feature of this course.

The MSc will allow senior officers to gain recognition for prior learning and experience and develop enhanced skills in leadership both on an operational and strategic level.


You can apply directly to the University using the Apply Now button at the top of the page. 

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Tuition Fees 2023/24:
Home: £7,800
Overseas: £15,000

Reasons to choose this course

  • Complete your Masters while working full-time – regardless of your schedule – with our flexible blended-learning delivery.
  • Undertake a higher qualification programme designed for those in supervisory, management and leadership roles who want to further develop their understanding and critical skills.
  • The programme draws on and benefits from the expertise across other faculties in our university, allowing reflection on your individual approach to leadership in a complex environment.
  • The modules have been designed in consultation with serving leaders in the police service who are either currently active in areas of specialist police activity or have significant recent experience of delivery across organisational boundaries on a national scale.
  • Benefit from participation in Masterclasses with senior leaders from across a number of organisations which impact on policing policy and practice.

What you will learn

Course Overview

The MSC Policing (operational and strategic leadership) degree has been designed after extensive consultation with the Welsh Police Forces. With the introduction of the Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) which has established a degree entry level for all PCs receiving full occupational competency.

It has been identified there is now an educational gap between the ranks, with PCs eventually all being degree level, while some Chief Inspectors do not have any formal accredited qualifications, despite working at a high level of critical thinking.

The MSc will allow senior officers to gain recognition for prior learning and experience and develop enhanced skills in leadership both on an operational and strategic level.

This course is designed to be delivered via a combination of online and blended learning, which will allow officers to undertake the course whilst still working and reduce abstraction time; this is in line with the needs of the force and will also follow the pattern set down by the degree apprenticeship that we currently deliver with South Wales and Gwent Police forces.

The course also allows officers to apply for recognition of prior experiential learning (RPEL) against a number of modules such as Operational Leadership, Corporate Governance in Policing, Strategic Management in Policing. Through consultation with the forces, this is an attractive option as it gives recognition for the skills and knowledge they have already gained within their working career.

Module Topics

PGCert, PGDip & MSc

Corporate Governance in Policing (20 credits; compulsory)

To allow students to consider the professional aspects of the governance structures that exist in policing and the wider partnership world that ensures accountability.

Operational Leadership (20 credits; compulsory)

To explore the current and future strategic challenges that leaders in policing and law enforcement face in meeting increasing complexity and demand.

Policing and the Political Landscape (20 credits; compulsory)

To allow students to consider how local, regional, devolved and national politics and political structures impact on policing.

PGDip & MSc

Contemporary Issues in Policing (20 credits; compulsory)

To allow students to consider contemporary issues that impact on policing and how these influence the development of policy, the setting of priorities and the design and delivery of services

Leadership and the Individual (20 credits; compulsory)

To allow students to consider the theoretical aspects of leadership and how this relates to policing and the individual, in an environment that is constantly changing and increasing in complexity.

Strategic Management in Policing (20 credits; compulsory)

To build a systematic understanding and detailed knowledge of the theoretical basis of strategic management within the police and to develop skills relevant to strategic management for the police service, with reference to political imperatives and the challenges of implementation.


Dissertation in Policing (60 credits; compulsory)

The dissertation provides the student with the opportunity to produce a substantial specialist body of work which has been instigated, developed and produced as a consequence of their own research initiative.


The modules and the assessments have been designed by the programme team collectively, to ensure they form a cohesive whole. 

The key purpose of the assessment scheme is to enable students to demonstrate individually that they have met the aims of the programmes and achieved the learning outcomes at the standard required for the level of study.  Assessment will also be used to provide feedback to students to assist in subsequent learning.

A range of summative assessment methods will be employed, i.e. assessment expressed in marks that count towards the calculation of the final mark.  Coursework and practical assessments are used to test knowledge and understanding, but they tend to focus more on the development of cognitive, practical and key skills. 

Such methods are highly appropriate to the nature of the policing discipline as they facilitate authentic, workplace relevant assessment and practice. Coursework and practicals will be set in a variety of formats.

These include:

  • Essays
  • Reports
  • Portfolios
  • Research projects

Related Links

Student and Swansea Life

Key Information

Entry Criteria

Candidates should be in position and be of a senior officer level.

Career Opportunities

The opportunity to study at level 7 and undertake research within the force or partnership group will also not only benefit the individual but other staff within the organisation, as specific areas are investigated and concentrated on by someone who has a certain level of knowledge and understanding in a particular area.

Additional Costs

Students will be required to have access to IT equipment to undertake this course online.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study.  To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other available funding opportunities, please visit our Scholarships and Bursaries section.

Further Information

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions related to the University or to this course in particular.