PhD, MPhil

Criminology at Leicester offers supervision for the degrees of:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - full-time and part-time
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - full-time and part-time

These degrees are available to study on campus and the PhD is also offered by part time distance learning.

Supervision and research areas

We offer PhD and MPhil supervision in Criminology in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

  • Causes of crime
  • Victimisation and victimology
  • Crime prevention and security studies
  • Probation, prisons and offender rehabilitation
  • Gender crime and violence
  • Hate crime and social justice
  • Forensic science and psychology in criminal justice
  • Police and policing
  • Security and terrorism

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests - otherwise we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelor's) degree with at least First-Class or Upper Second-Class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.

You will normally be expected to hold a Master's degree in a relevant subject (at Merit or above) or be able to demonstrate equivalent research experience and academic writing skills.

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements.

How to apply

  1. Make sure we offer PhD/MPhil supervision in the area in which you want to work. Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors prior to submitting an application.
  2. Secondly, you should submit a pre-application email. This should be submitted to in advance of submitting a full proposal.
    When sending the pre-application email please provide the following:
    • The title of your proposal.
    • A brief summary of your proposal (approximately 500 words). This should include aims and objectives, a consideration of relevant literature and an identified research gap, your proposed research design and methodology, the data you anticipate collecting, and potential analysis techniques you will use.
    • The names of two potential supervisors from the department (or one if two cannot be identified).
    • How you intend to fund your studies.
    • A list of your qualifications or relevant professional experience if you do not meet minimum academic requirements.
  1. Once your pre-application has been approved, download and save the Research Proposal Form and prepare your proposal. Complete all sections and make sure that it tells us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing.
    You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.
  2. Prepare your supporting documents with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:
    • Include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
    • International applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used and, where possible, an indication of their class ranking/position in class
    • Supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation
    • CV
    • You must also enter contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme or upload letters of reference if already available.
    • Personal Statement 
  1. Submit your application using the Apply button at the bottom of this page. Upload your supporting documents and your completed Research Proposal Form.

When to apply

Campus-based courses

We have intakes in January, April, July and September each year.

Distance learning courses

We have intakes in January, April, July and September each year.

You should try to submit your application as far in advance of your preferred start date as possible. If you are an international applicant and require a visa to study in the UK you should submit your application at least three-to-four months before the proposed start date.

After you have submitted your application, it will take a minimum of six weeks for you to receive a decision about your application.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees vary according to your fee status and the mode of study (full-time, part-time or distance learning). For clarification please contact

UK/EU Campus-based


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £4,407 per year


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £2,203.50 per year

International Campus-based


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £15,520 per year


Please note that owing to UK visa restrictions, part-time campus based registration is not normally available to international applicants.

The normal duration of a PhD programme is three years (full-time). PhD students may use the fourth year as a 'writing-up' year for which a reduced fee is payable if active research has been completed (currently £100). The maximum registration permitted is four years full-time or seven years part-time).

Distance learning

For distance learning study if you are living outside of the UK/EU during your studies you will pay the International fee.

UK/EU Distance learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £20,825 (Total course fee)

International Distance learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £24,930 (Total course fee)

Paying for distance learning

The fees quoted are the total fee for the PhD distance learning programme and can be paid by the following options:.
  • Total course fee paid in full before first registration
  • Total course fee split into four annual payments with first annual payment made in full before first registration
  • Total course fee split into 12 equal instalments paid spread over years 1-4 of the study. The first instalment to be paid before first registration
  • If study extends beyond the 4th year no further fees are required
A payment schedule will be sent with the offer letter.


For a list of our available scholarships/studentships, please visit our funded opportunities pages.

PhD description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time/distance learning).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time/distance learning) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs Explained