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Postgraduate Study

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal. There, you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and you can also request your references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the application fee if applicable. For further information on application fees, and which courses require an application fee, see here.
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Full-time Applicants - Applicants for the full-time PhD should expect to enter the Department in October, as we no longer accept entry at other times due to the fact that the research training programme begins in Michaelmas Term.  ​

Part-time Applicants - Applicants for part-time study can apply for a flexible start date (in either the Michaelmas, Lent or Easter Terms.  However, it should be noted that the deadlines for the University's funding competitions run on an annual basis. For residence, visa and other requirements check the Part-time Graduate Study Guide.  It is important to note that the part-time PhD at Cambridge is not a distance-learning course. Part-time students are expected to fully engage with the Institute, to integrate into the research culture of the University and to attend the University on a regular basis for supervision, study, skills training, research seminars and workshops.

Applications for the PhD in Criminology must be made through the University's Postgraduate Admissions Office. The formal PhD application process will begin with the submission of your application through the online Applicant Portal.

Selection Process

Applications are considered as they are received on a rolling basis. Interviews may be conducted in person, over the phone, or via Zoom depending on the location and availability of parties involved. Applicants applying for funding need to ensure their applications are submitted in full by the relevant deadlines, and that their applications make clear how they meet any specific selection criteria stated by the funder.

Applicants should expect to hear whether they have been successful within 8 weeks following the submission of their completed application and required supporting documents.

Further information on How To Apply

Things You'll Need

In order to apply for this course you'll need to think about getting a few things ready before you apply.

  • Two academic references  
  • Transcript  
  • CV/resume
  • Evidence of competence in English  
    If required - you can check using our tool
  • Statement of interest (1500 characters)
  • Research proposal (M)
    Please upload a research proposal no more than four pages (~2,000 words) in length (not including the bibliography). You can view further guidance on the Institute of Criminology website:
  • Sample of work (1)

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference  
  • Research Proposal (PhD applicants only)

See Gates Cambridge for more information.

How to Find a Supervisor

Postgraduate PhD applicants are required to nominate a supervisor as part of their application. 

Applicants can see the list of current PhD topics for an indication of the wide range of topics currently being researched within the Institute. Please consult the list below to see which members of staff are available to supervise PhD students starting in October 2024. Availability depends on several factors, including sabbatical leave arrangements, contractual arrangements, and the number of students already being supervised by each member of staff. Proposals for doctoral research are unlikely to be successful if there is no suitable supervisor available within the Institute.

You can find more detailed information by clicking through to supervisors’ research profiles (see below). Each entry includes a few words outlining research/supervision interests. When choosing your nominated supervisor, it is important that there is some overlap with your own research interests or approach.

If you are confident that your proposed research is a good fit with your nominated supervisor, we recommend that you contact them in advance. If no potential supervisor is expressly stated in your application, the Admissions Panel will try to match applicants with willing supervisors based on academic interests and area of expertise, but there is no guarantee that this will always be possible.

If you have any questions about whether your topic is a good fit with your potential supervisor’s interests, you may email them, attaching both a CV with details of the degrees you have taken and the marks you have obtained, and a brief research proposal (1-2 pages max).

  • Include in the main text of your message a short statement about your background (what you have studied so far, your degree result or grade average, any relevant experience) and research interests.
  • Indicate why you wish to work with that member of staff, in particular (not just Cambridge in general), and what you can bring to the research group. Demonstrate your awareness of their research and how it aligns with your research interests.
  • It is helpful to include information on your funding situation and plans.

There is no need to attach references or transcripts.

Please be aware that our PhD supervisors receive large numbers of enquiries, and therefore cannot give detailed feedback on your proposal.


Supervisor Name

Research Interests

Professor Barak Ariel

Policing & experimental criminology.

Dr Matthew Bland

Evidence based policing; domestic abuse; algorithms in policing & randomised controlled trials.

Dr Paolo Campana

Criminal networks; organised crime; issues related to gangs & migrant smuggling.

Professor Ben Crewe

Penology; penal power; staff-prisoner relationships; prison management & penal policy.

Professor Manuel Eisner

Violence research; causes of aggression and violence, &prevention and intervention research.

Dr Arushi Garg


Dr Charles Lanfear

Community structures and processes impact on crime, victimization & social control.

Dr Caroline Lanskey

Youth justice, education and the arts in criminal justice & experiences of prisoners' families.

Professor Alison Liebling

Penology; staff-prisoner relationships

Dr Peter Neyroud

Experimental criminology

Dr Bethany Schmidt

Penology; conduct and development of ‘outreach’ MQPL+

Dr Heather Strang

Crime and justice

Dr Justice Tankebe

Police and state legitimacy, corruption, police violence & vigilantism.

Dr Kyle Treiber

Criminal behaviour & Situational Action Theory (SAT).

Dr Maria Ttofi

Antisocial behaviour, crime and violence.

Dr Sara Valdebenito

Evidence based crime prevention; school exclusion & bullying; randomised control trials.

Professor Leo Zaibert

Penal Theory and Ethics, morality of punishment.


Apply Now

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor 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
Oct. 4, 2023
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2024

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

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
Jan. 15, 2024
Course Starts
April 17, 2024

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

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Oct. 2, 2024
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2025

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

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Jan. 15, 2025
Course Starts
April 17, 2025

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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