Courses | Penology

Penology Course Class

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For more information see:
PDF Document Penology Course Handbook 2017

Course Overview

Who are the Courses for?

The Master's in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management has traditionally been intended for prison and probation practitioners. In addition to such applicants, we now also welcome candidates working elsewhere in the Criminal Justice System, both in the UK and overseas. In recent years, in addition to large cohorts of staff from the prison and probation services, we have welcomed onto the course immigration officals, magistrates and lawyers.

The Aims of the Applied Criminology, Penology and Management Course

The Applied Criminology, Penology and Management programme aims to:

  • offer a high-quality course which introduces senior prison and probation service managers, and other criminal justice professionals, to some of the most important theory and research in management, penology, and criminology
  • enhance the capacity of course participants to apply up-to-date research in their professional practice
  • give students the tools and stimuli to reflect theoretically on their practice and think about wider criminal justice issues
  • provide high-quality instruction enabling candidates to gain a University of Cambridge Postgraduate Certificate or Master's degree in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management

What Qualification Will I Gain?

Upon successful completion of the master's year, students will graduate with a Master of Studies (M.St.) (Cantab) degree from the University of Cambridge. Students who complete year 1 successfully but who do not proceed to or do not complete year 2, will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management.

Should I Consider This Course if I Already Have a Master's Degree?

A number of our students already have Master's degrees, including some in Criminology. This course is tailor-made for senior criminal justice practitioners, and the knowledge gained from the course will enhance your professional practice and develop strategic thinking. For those considering the highest levels in their services, the courses link directly with many of the competencies required for chief officers.

Should I Consider This Course if I Have Never Done a Degree Before?

Potential applicants from non-academic backgrounds should not be discouraged from applying, providing that they have relevant professional experience and strong references. Experienced and talented practitioners will be able to complete the course successfully. Motivation and commitment are as vital as formal academic qualifications, and we offer support to students who may feel nervous about returning to an academic environment.

Can I Do This Course Alongside a Busy Operational Job?

Although all part-time study is hard work, we aim to make the experience as pleasant and feasible as possible. We appreciate the pressures which practitioners experience and the course, in terms of both structure and pace, reflects this.


Cambridge provides a wonderful venue for the courses. Students benefit from the city's location (close to London and airports), and enjoy its history, atmosphere, and culture as a backdrop to their studies.

Most formal teaching takes place at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. The Institute's state-of-the-art new building was completed in autumn 2004 and houses comfortable, modern facilities and the foremost criminology library in the UK. The guest lectures preceding the weekly formal dinners take place at one of the Cambridge colleges.

College Membership

Students on the M.St. programmes matriculate as full members of the University of Cambridge and one of its colleges. Currently students on the M.St. in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management course matriculate as members of Homerton College.