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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Criminological Research is no longer accepting new applications.

The basic aims of both MPhil programmes are:

  • to offer up-to-date and high-quality degree courses, introducing students to some of the most important theory, methods and research in criminology;
  • to offer a sound academic foundation to those who aspire to undertake a PhD and/or a career in teaching and research in criminology or related fields; and
  • to provide a sound foundation of knowledge and methodological skills to those who wish to work in a wide range of criminal justice agencies, the legal profession, or other professional or voluntary organisations.

The MPhil in Criminological Research provides a foundational education in prominent criminological theories, research methods, and areas of criminological knowledge. Compulsory modules on criminological theories and research methods familiarise students with historic and contemporary criminological thinking and research. A variety of optional seminars are on offer each year covering a wide range of criminological topics. What is on offer varies by year, but in recent years has included topics such as criminal justice: players and processes, policing, organised crime, the sociology of prison life, victims and injustice, socio-critical perspectives on criminal justice, history of violence, global perspectives on violence, characters, crime and criminal careers, and neurocriminology.

The MPhil in Criminological Research requires empirical research as part of the final dissertation and therefore includes practical training in analytical and advanced research methods through the Social Sciences Research Methods Programme (SSRMP).

Learning Outcomes

Core knowledge

Students should acquire:

  • an understanding of core criminological and criminal justice theories;
  • a critical awareness of current problems and debates within the field;
  • skills to critically evaluate theoretical and empirical literature relevant to criminological and criminal justice research;
  • the ability to synthesise and apply criminological knowledge in new contexts or to new issues;
  • the ability to use theoretical knowledge creatively and independently to guide their work, including their empirical research; and
  • skills in communicating criminological knowledge to specialist and nonspecialist audiences.

Research methods

Students should acquire:

  • a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods used in criminology;
  • the ability to use acquired knowledge to propose new hypotheses and identify and address research problems;
  • the ability to critically assess research designs, and develop their own robust design;
  • the ability to apply research competencies to practical issues, including in their own research;
  • the ability to independently acquire and interpret additional knowledge relating to research, including their own; and
  • an understanding of the quality of work required to satisfy peer review.


The Institute strongly recommends that students who aim to progress to a PhD apply for the MPhil in Criminological Research in the first instance. Progression to the PhD requires a strong performance on the MPhil programme, a suitable research topic and proposal, and an available supervisor.

Continuation to the PhD programme involves a separate application process, undertaken during the MPhil year. Prospective PhD students are encouraged to discuss their plans with their MPhil supervisor as early as possible during the MPhil year. Please visit the course page on the Institute of Criminology website for more details.

Open Days

We welcome informal contact, and prospective students may visit the library (with advance notice).

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details..

Key Information

12 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Institute of Criminology

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
March 31, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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