skip to content

Institute of Criminology

Corpus clock 590 x 288


The MPhil in Criminology provides a foundational education in prominent criminological theories, research methods, and areas of criminological knowledge. Compulsory modules on criminological theories and research methods familiarise students with historic and contemporary criminological thinking and research. A variety of optional seminars are on offer each year covering a wide range of criminological topics.

The MPhil in Criminology does not require empirical research as part of the final dissertation and therefore does not include the practical training in research methods which is offered through the MPhil in Criminological Research.


The MPhil in Criminology is structured around two teaching terms, in which students attend two core courses and three optional courses, and one research term devoted to the preparation of a dissertation.

MPhil in Criminology students are required to take the core seminar courses: Criminological Theories and Criminological Research Methods and three optional seminar courses.

Core Courses    

 Optional Courses


Each student will be assigned a supervisor. The main role of the supervisor is to provide general academic advice to students, and subject-specific advice relating to the dissertation.



MPhil in Criminology students must submit four essays, each of no more than 3,000 words, on topics which the student will choose from lists announced by the examiners. These include one criminological theories essay, and three optional course essays, each relating to a different optional course the student has attended.

MPhil in Criminology students must also submit one criminological research methods exercise relating to the core course in Criminological Research Methods which may comprise different elements including a written exercise of not more than 3,000 words. 


MPhil in Criminology students complete one dissertation of between 15,000 and 18,000 words on a criminological topic chosen by the student. Students are expected to demonstrate, via the dissertation, a critical understanding of research principles.

Each student is also required to give a short presentation on their dissertation topic. 


The Institute strongly recommends that students who aim to progress to a PhD apply for the MPhil in Criminological Research in the first instance.

Continuation to the PhD programme involves a separate application process, undertaken during the MPhil year. Prospective PhD students are encouraged to discuss their plans with their MPhil supervisor as early as possible during the MPhil year. 

Programme Aims

The aims of the MPhil in Criminology are to

  • Offer an up-to-date and high quality degree course, introducing students to some of the most important theory, methods and research in criminology
  • Provide a solid foundation of knowledge and methodological skills to those who wish to work in a wide range of criminal justice agencies, the legal profession, or other professional or voluntary organisation

Core knowledge
Students should acquire:

  • an understanding of core criminological and criminal justice theories
  • a critical awareness of current problems and debates within the field
  • skills to critically evaluate theoretical and empirical literature relevant to criminological and criminal justice research
  • the ability to synthesize and apply criminological knowledge in new contexts or to new issues
  • the ability to use theoretical knowledge creatively and independently to guide their work
  • skills in communicating criminological knowledge to specialist and nonspecialist audiences

Research methods
Students should acquire:

  • a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods used in criminology
  • the ability to use acquired knowledge to propose new hypotheses and identify and address research problems
  • the ability to critically assess research designs
  • the ability to apply research competencies to practical issues
  • the ability to independently acquire and interpret additional knowledge relating to research
  • an understanding of the quality of work required to satisfy peer review