Courses | Police

Past Police Executive Programme Students at Dinner

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The Crime Analysis Section of the Police Executive Programme offers a similar content as the Senior Section but is presented as a sub-section within the first year.

Course Overview

Who are the Courses for?

The Crime Analysis Section of the Police Executive Programme is open to all UK university graduates holding a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an overseas university supplemented by adequate Graduate Record Exam scores and who have an employment history, preferably current, with a police agency. It is also open to serving police at the UK rank of Chief Inspector or its equivalent in a police or regulatory agency regardless of prior qualification. Students on the courses are taught by Cambridge specialists with UK and overseas experience, complemented by leading visiting academics and practitioners. The academic staff has considerable experience of conducting and applying criminological research in police agencies, and of delivering postgraduate programmes to police practitioners.

What Are the Aims of the Applied Criminology and Police Management Course?

The course aims to enhance the capacity of those working in law enforcement agencies to apply up-to-date academic research to the strategic aspects of crime and policing by:

  • Increasing awareness of existing research
  • Providing a framework for its use in strategic policy and planning
  • Developing skills for critical evaluation of research methods and findings
  • Developing learning through application

What Qualification Will I Gain?

Upon successful completion of the Master's requirements, students will graduate with a Master of Studies (M.St.) (Cantab) degree from the University of Cambridge. Students who successfully complete year 1 but who do not proceed to or complete year 2 will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Criminology and Police 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 criminal justice practitioners and others working in this field, and the knowledge gained from the course will enhance 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.

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 courses, in terms of both structure and pace, reflect this.


Cambridge provides a wonderful venue for the courses. Students benefit from the city's location, 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 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 and feature distinguished criminal justice practitioners, academics and policymakers.

College Membership

Students in the Police Executive Programme Senior Section matriculate as members of Fitzwilliam, Selwyn or Wolfson College.

Course Structure

Outline of the Courses

The River Cam

Year 1 in the Crime Analysis Section comprises three formal teaching blocks, each of two weeks duration. The first block is held usually around Easter with the second and third blocks in July and September. The second year is designed for students who have completed year 1 to a required standard. The second year also comprises three blocks in Cambridge (again normally around Easter and in July and September), and the submission of a supervised thesis. A variety of teaching methods are used, all requiring active student participation. They include lectures and seminars, case studies, practical exercises and project work. Individual study is also necessary, including essays to be undertaken between the teaching blocks. All students have individual supervisions with Cambridge academic staff to discuss their work as it progresses. Students can discuss their work with their supervisor throughout the courses; their supervisor will provide feedback on assessed essays as well as support during the teaching blocks. For each study block essential reading is provided as well as instruction in online searching for academic materials.

Year One

Core modules for the Masters in Applied Criminology and Police Management are as follows:

  • Evidence-Based Policing
  • Theories of Crime
  • Research and Analysis Methods
  • Police Leadership and Management

A key feature of the course involves regular guest lectures given by distinguished speakers on aspects of the legal, political and human rights environment within which criminal justice work is conducted.

Year Two

Year 2 builds on work completed in year 1. Students will receive a comprehensive introduction to research design and research methodologies utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods. This will provide sufficient 'hands-on' experience to enable students to develop their own research proposal and to conduct a study which will be the basis of their thesis. The study may be based on either library or empirical research and is selected in close consultation with a supervisor. Usually the topic is close to the student's own area of responsibility so that it links into career development. Work proceeds on the research proposal and the conduct of the thesis throughout the two summers of the Master’s course during which there are further research workshops as well as regular meetings with supervisors and thesis advisors.

How are the Courses Assessed?

Year One

Students are required to write three essays of 3,000 words each.

Year Two

This requires one further 3,000-word essay, a 4,000-word methods assignment (which normally takes the form of a research proposal) and an 18,000-word thesis. The marks from the year 1 essays will be carried forward and credited towards the Master's degree.

Course Details


The Course Director for the Police Executive Programme is Professor Lawrence Sherman, Wolfson Professor of Criminology.

The Director of Studies for the Police Executive Programme is Dr. Heather Srang.

Both Professor Sherman and Dr. Strang play an active role in the Diploma and Master’s courses, including teaching and supervising students. They are joined by the rest of the Police Executive Programme team:

The course administrator is Mrs. Lucinda Bowditch

Teaching will also be supplemented by leading criminologists and top police executives from around the world. Students can be supervised for their thesis by an expert from the Institute in their chosen field.

Dates, Fees & Accommodation

Students wishing to complete the course to Master's level are required to complete both years. In some circumstances permission may be given by the Degree Committee of the Faculty of Law for students to intermit between the years, but this is rare and is not encouraged. Students who complete the first year but choose not to continue to the second year will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Criminology and Police Management.

Police Course Fees and Dates 2015-16

The fees include accommodation, breakfast and one formal dinner per week whilst resident in Cambridge, in addition to the tuition fees and some course materials. Students may require some additional funding to pay for lunches and evening meals and any additional text books that they wish to purchase.

Accommodation is provided in individual en suite rooms in one of the Cambridge colleges.

Enquiries and Applications

How to Apply

Applications are made through the Institute of Continuing Education. Please follow the link below to commence the application process:


Most course participants apply for funding from their service or organisation. Some students provide their own funding, at least in part.

Funding available from the Institute and University that we are aware of is detailed on our Funding page, Unfortunately, much of this funding is not available to M.St. students but overseas students may like to note that they may be eligible to apply for Chevening Scholarships, funded by the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The selection criteria and other details for these can be found on the Chevening website. The applicant's organisation will normally be required to contribute a proportion of the funds.