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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 welcome candidates working elsewhere in the Criminal Justice System, both in the UK and overseas.


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 building was completed in autumn 2004 and houses comfortable, modern facilities and the foremost criminology library in the UK.

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.

Upcoming events

Refugee Week: You, me and those who came before. Exhibition and Morning Tea

Jun 22, 2019

B4, Institute of Criminology, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA

The Families and Imprisonment Research Conference 2019

Jun 25, 2019

Institute of Criminology

Upcoming events

RSS Feed Latest news

The Institute of Criminology Features In Research Horizons

Mar 11, 2019

The latest issue of Research Horizons focuses on research linked with our local region, the East of England. It introduces many of outstanding research and outreach activities carried out by our very own Institute of Criminology’s academics. We hope you will particularly enjoy this edition of Research Horizons.

Dr Heather Strang Appointed As AEC President

Mar 07, 2019

Dr Heather Strang has been chosen to serve in 2019-2021 as the President of the Academy of Experimental Criminology, the international learned society founded in 1998 that sponsors the JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL CRIMINOLOGY as its official journal.

Date Confirmed for the Families and Imprisonment Research Conference 2019

Feb 25, 2019

The Families and Imprisonment Research Conference 2019 will take place on Tuesday 25th June. The conference will present key findings from the FAIR Study, alongside a range of expert contributors to the field of families and imprisonment.

'Murder map’ reveals medieval London’s meanest streets

Nov 28, 2018

University of Cambridge criminologist Professor Manuel Eisner has plotted all cases of murder from the surviving rolls – covering the years 1300 to 1340 – onto a digital map of the old city to show for the first time the ‘hot spots’ of lethal violence in medieval London. First digital map of 142 murders recorded by city coroner in early 1300s shows Cheapside and Cornhill were homicide ‘hot spots’, and Sundays held highest risk of violent death for medieval Londoners.

safeguarding children in the secure estate

Oct 18, 2018

History shows abuse of children in custody will remain an ‘inherent risk’ – report