Criminology PhD and MPhil

Apply for a PhD or MPhil in Criminology
How to Apply

Make sure we offer PhD/MPhil supervision in the area in which you want to work

Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors prior to submitting an application: search the Criminology research pages and our Criminology staff research interests.


Secondly, you should submit a pre-application email. This should be submitted to in advance of submitting a full proposal.

When sending the pre-application email please provide the following:

  • The title of your proposal.
  • A brief summary of your proposal (approximately 500 words). This should include aims and objectives, a consideration of relevant literature and an identified research gap, your proposed research design and methodology, the data you anticipate collecting, and potential analysis techniques you will use.
  • The names of two potential supervisors from the department (or one if two cannot be identified).
  • How you intend to fund your studies.
  • A list of your qualifications or relevant professional experience if you do not meet minimum academic requirements.

Download and save the Research Proposal Form. Complete all sections of the form telling us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing and how, with reference to existing practice and research, it constitutes an original investigation.

When you are ready to apply for your place you will need to upload the form to the Research Proposal section of your online application form

You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.


Prepare your supporting documents - with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:

  • include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
  • international applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used and, where possible, an indication of their class ranking/position in class
  • supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation

You must also provide contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme

5. Submit your online application

Since its inauguration in 1987 the School of Criminology has established itself as an internationally-renowned School where students benefit from an environment that is home to some of the UK’s leading criminologists.

Our Research Degrees

The School of Criminology offers supervision for the degrees of:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Full-Time and Part-Time
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - Full-Time and Part-Time

We also offer a distance learning PhD/MPhil - allowing you to gain a University of Leicester research degree wherever you are in the world.

Supervision and Research Areas

We offer PhD and MPhil supervision in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests. Otherwise, we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

Entry Requirements and Fees

Applicants should hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree with at least first class or upper second class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution. We will consider students who have a 2:2 or equivalent if they have a Master’s degree with a minimum classification of Merit, or substantial relevant work experience.

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements

Tuition fees vary according to the applicant's fee status (UK, EU, or international) and the mode of study (full-time, part-time or distance learning).

See current course fees

Studentships and Funding

Funded PhD studentships and other funding opportunities are advertised as they become available.

See current studentships and funding

PhD Description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time/distance learning).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time/distance learning) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs Explained - Description and Requirements

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