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 superviser available within the Institute. Applicants are therefore urged to review the staff pages before formally applying and to contact a possible superviser (via the Ph.D. Director, Manuel Eisner, the Deputy Director, Maria Ttofi, or the Graduate Administrator, Catherine Byfield) in order to discuss their proposed doctoral research.

Please choose from the following for more details:


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. 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.


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 Board of Graduate Studies' website or below:

  • If you are applying online you can begin the process by accessing the Board of Graduate Studies website.
  • As indicated in the IoC Graduate Prospectus, applicants also need to send through a Ph.D Proposal to the Department. Prospective students are encouraged to follow the standard Ph.D Proposal Form, and send it, along with their CV, to Ms. Anna Evans at

Ph.D Proposal Form

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read carefully the guidance notes on 'How to make your application for graduate study at Cambridge' which are included in the graduate application pack.


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.