School of Society and Culture

PhD Criminology

The Doctoral College works with staff and students in all areas of the University’s research to ensure that our diverse community of postgraduate researchers are offered the best possible experience. Most of our programmes can be studied full time or part time and comprise input from researchers, current practitioners, professional bodies, business and industry. This ensures they are current, relevant and stimulating, and enable you to develop practical skills sought by employers.

You work on an advanced research project with a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. You are expected to fully engage with your personal skills development and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.

Course details
  • Programme overview

  • Our themed research groups are: Health, Vulnerability and Inclusion; Environment, Harm and Culture; and, Global Instability and Society. 

    This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake.

    You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.

    Your PhD will be assessed via submission of either a written thesis (up to 80,000 words), or one that combines critical writing with artistic, creative and/or professional practice, and a viva voce (an oral examination).

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
PhD student projects

1. Susanne Baggs, PhD Criminology
Women and Online Gambling
DOS: Oliver Smith
Start date: 2017

2. Sarah Basnett, PhD Criminology
'An exploration into the perpetration of bias motivated (hate) behaviours from a critical perspective.'
DOS: Zoe James
Start date: 2021

3. Brendan Brookshaw, PhD Criminology
What happened within the police service when the Government created the offence of “corrupt or improper practice” for police officers in Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015?
DOS: Zoe James
Start date: 2016

4. Ali Bouyamourn, PhD Criminology
HMP Policies: Rehabilitation Inside Prison
DOS: Julie Parsons
Start date: 2019

5. Rebekah Gregory, PhD Criminology
Man’s forgotten friend: dogs appointed as domesticated companions and the coronavirus pandemic
DOS: Oliver Smith
Start date: 2020

6. Josh Johnson, PhD Criminology
Insidious Liberalism: A Zemiological investigation into the harms caused by neoliberal normality and how society reacts to the manifestation of neoliberal harms.
DOS: Oliver Smith
Start date: 2021

7. Christine Kennedy, PhD Criminology
Consumer Culture and the Online Interaction of Minors
DOS: Oliver Smith
Start date: 2017

8. Rhea King, PhD Criminology
Have the British police force been too heavily focused on combating discrimination as opposed to addressing prejudice?
DOS: Iain Channing
Start date: 2020

9. Alexandra Leaton, PhD Law
With reference to Article 235 of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention on responsibility and liability could a civil liability mechanism and compensation fund be effective in providing a mechanism by which to enforce the polluter pays principle and reduce marine plastic pollution?
DOS: Jason Lowther
Start date: 2019

10. Darren Levers, PhD Criminology
An examination of the impact of professionalising the police through degree focused recruitment and effect on social distance between police and public.
DOS: Dan Gilling
Start date: 2022

11. Narissa MacLennan-Matthews, PhD Criminology
Male Victims of 'Honour Crimes': A critical examination of the concepts of 'Honour' and the wider debates surrounding Honour-Based Violence and 'Hate Crime'
DOS: Chris Pac-Soo
Start date: 2020

12. Ellie Massie, PhD Criminology
An exploration into the online framing of the environmental crisis and the potential impact on British Political behaviour and engagement.
DOS: Dave Brockington
Start date: 2021

13. Fernando Ruiz Molina, PhD Criminology
A Critical Analysis of Hate Perpetration against Roma.
DOS: Zoe James
Start date: 2021

14. Janina Smietanka, PhD Criminology
Exploring unwanted sexual attention in the LGBTQ+ night time economy’
DOS: Oliver Smith
Start date: 2020

15. Emma Taylor, PhD Criminology
'The Commodification of Love - Market structures, Online Dating and Social Harm'.
DOS: Oliver Smith
Start date: 2020

16. Conni Tinmouth, PhD Criminology
A system which supports children to become the best version of themselves' : The Reality Behind the Rhetoric of Child First.
DOS: Katie McBride
Start date: 2021

17. Caroline Watson, PhD Criminology
Independent Academic Evaluation: A Safer Keyham
DOS: Zoe James
Start date: 2022

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have completed a masters level qualification to a high standard (e.g. at 'merit' or 'distinction' level) as well as either a good 2:1 or first class honours undergraduate degree in an area of study appropriate to your project proposal. We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications (for instance, you may have studied different subjects at undergraduate and masters level but have worked in and/or developed an interest in your sector since then). We also accept exceptional undergraduate students (1st class) from a cognate discipline straight in to PhD where there is an associated excellent research proposal.

If you do not already have a masters degree, you may be interested in one of our masters level research degrees – for instance, our ResM in Criminology (which enables a transfer directly into the PhD programme if you are making excellent progress), an MPhil degree, or MSc Criminology. Further details about the University’s research degree awards.

You will also need to provide evidence that you are ready to pursue the project you propose in your application. This will take the form of a research proposal.

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

In addition to completing the online application form (which includes space for a personal statement), you must also upload a research project proposal. Your research proposal should outline your research topic, your key aims and the research question/problem you are addressing, a brief literature review, your proposed methodology, and an explanation of why this topic is significant or important.

Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community.

Submitting your application

Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.

Questions on the application process?

We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College team and we'll be happy to assist you.

You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy.

If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit our Disability Services website.

International Student Advice (ISA) provides support for our international students.

Find more information about how to apply for a research degree.

Meet the team

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Our research community

We represent an integrated team of outstanding researchers with expertise across law, social policy and criminology, with extensive links with sociology, history and psychology.  Our vibrant and sustainable research culture offers a dynamic space for researchers to engage with each other across disciplinary boundaries within an inclusive and coherent environment that provides support and guidance for all researchers, including mentoring of postgraduate and early career researchers. 
Discover more about our research and researchers in law and criminology.

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