Courses | Ph.D

Penology Course Class


The Institute has a well-established programme for those wishing to study for a doctorate. Each year, a small number of students are admitted to the doctoral programme. Candidates for the Ph.D. must normally pursue supervised research in residence in Cambridge for at least nine consecutive terms (three years) for full-time students, or 15 terms (5 years) for part-time students. Completion of the doctoral programme involves, among other requirements, the writing of a dissertation of up to 80,000 words exclusive of footnotes, appendices and bibliography but subject to an overall word limit of 100,000 words exclusive of bibliography.

The Institute encourages applications from suitably qualified applicants of all nationalities. Proposals for doctoral research on any criminological topic will be considered. See the list of current Ph.D. topics for an indication of the wide range of topics currently being researched. However, proposals for doctoral research are unlikely to be successful if there is no suitable supervisor available within the Institute.

It is therefore imperative that applicants review the staff members' departmental pages before formally applying and contact a possible supervisor to discuss their proposed doctoral research (please follow further detailed instructions below, under 'Applications').

Please choose from the following for more details:



Interested applicants need to send through a PhD Proposal form along with their CV to a suitable supervisor (see, later, list of all available PhD supervisors). All e-mail correspondence must be copied to the Graduate Administrator ( and the PhD Director, Dr Maria M. Ttofi ( Proposal Form

The PhD Programme at the Institute of Criminology is by and large a research-based degree, involving independent work by the student under the guidance of a wiling supervisor, whose research expertise falls closely within the aims of the planned PhD research. Proposals for doctoral research are unlikely to be successful if there is no suitable supervisor (i.e. with relevant academic expertise) available within the Institute.

Applicants need to email potential supervisors directly and send them a CV and PhD proposal. All e-mail communication should be copied to the PhD director (Dr Maria M. Ttofi: and the Graduate Administrator (

In case an interested applicant is unsuccessful in finding a potential supervisor, the Graduate Administrator may further liaise with potential supervisors if necessary and appropriate (which is why all email communications must be copied to the Ph.D. Director and the Graduate Administrator!). Ph.D. Proposals submitted to the Institute of Criminology will be placed on hold (i.e. will not be processed) until a willing supervisor is in place. Applicants should be rest assured, however, that the Department can assist, when necessary and appropriate, in finding a matching supervisor based on academic interests and area of expertise. Prospective students are advised to reflect carefully on which staff member best matches their academic interests. It may be preferable not to send requests to multiple members of staff.

The following list provides the names of staff members who are currently available to supervise PhD students. For some of them, the Department may need to allocate a second supervisor, but this is simply for administrative reasons. In this case, successful candidates will primarily be working with the supervisor of their first choice.


The Ph.D. application process can be completed only through submission of the GRADSAF application form. Applications for the Ph.D. in Criminology must be made through the University's Board of Graduate Studies. Application packs can be downloaded from the Graduate Admission's Website where you can also find information about how to apply on paper if this is your preferred option.

Applying to Cambridge involves a very competitive process and it may be wise for interested applicants to consult International Qualifications on the University's Graduate Admissions website.


All doctoral students are able to enjoy the facilities of the college to which they are admitted, as well as the considerable facilities which the Institute and the University more generally are able to provide. Among the resources likely to be of particular use are:

  • The Radzinowicz Library, one of the world's leading collections of criminological materials;
  • The University Library, one of the country's legal deposit libraries, entitled to copies of all books published in the UK and Ireland;
  • Numerous other departmental libraries;
  • The various computer facilities around the University.

Training, Support & Development Programme

The Institute runs a comprehensive Training, Support and Development (TSD) programme for its Ph.D. students. Attendance at TSD seminars is compulsory and considered part of the PhD students’ duties. Weekly seminars are designed to develop research skills, technique and thinking. There are TSD internal workshops and students are also able to attend the many interdepartmental Ph.D. workshops. Experts on statistics and computing are available for consultation by prior arrangement and both introductory and specialised computing courses are run by the excellent University Computing Service.

Further Information

Further information can be found in the Institute of Criminology Graduate Prospectus.
Prospective students may also wish to consult the University Graduate Studies Prospectus which contains, amongst other information, further details regarding the University, colleges, facilities, finances and the application procedure.
Those interested in any aspect of the Ph.D. degree, including admissions, are encouraged to contact the Graduate Administrator directly.


The Institute of Criminology is pleased to be able to offer a number of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 1+3 or +3 studentships. Each of the studentships covers the cost of fees (University composition fee and College fee) for four years, together with a maintenance stipend for each year. Where appropriate, the Institute can apply for an enhanced stipend for anyone wishing to pursue research which is likely to involve advanced quantitative research. The studentship enables each successful applicant to study for the M.Phil. in Criminological Research in the first year, followed by three years of doctoral research leading to the award of a Ph.D.
For further information on the ESRC studentships, and other possible sources of funding, please see our funding pages.