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MPhil in Criminology

Course Description

The MPhil programmes consist of core modules and seminars on topics in key areas. The core modules are compulsory and familiarise students with current criminological thinking and research. The other seminars cover a range of topics which include criminal justice, comparative criminology, mental health and crime, a sociology of punishment, developmental criminology, a sociology of prison life, policing, social contexts of crime and crime prevention (please note that not all optional courses are run each year).

The MPhil in Criminology runs from 1 October to 30 June.

Key benefits

- The programmes have a high national and international standing.

- We regularly recruit around 40 students each year from all around the world.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/lwcrmpmcr

Course detail

On completion, students should acquire:

- an understanding of criminological and criminal justice theories; a critical awareness of current problems and debates within the field; originality in application of knowledge to current issues; and skills in critical evaluation of theoretical and empirical literature relevant to criminological and criminal justice research;

- a comprehensive understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods used in criminology; the ability to use acquired knowledge to propose new hypotheses and address research problems; the ability to organise research; the ability to independently acquire and interpret additional knowledge relating to research, and an understanding of the quality of work required to satisfy peer review.

- the ability to use theoretical knowledge creatively and independently; apply research competencies to practical issues, and develop skills in communicating criminological knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences.


The basic aims of the MPhil programme are:

- to offer an up-to-date and high-quality course, introducing students to some of the most important theory and research in criminology

- to offer a sound foundation for more advanced work, such as that involved in research and teaching careers in criminology, and in particular for progression to the Institute’s PhD in Criminology

- to provide those who do wish to proceed to careers beyond academic or research contexts with a sound foundation of knowledge and methodological skills, which can be used effectively in relation to work in criminal justice agencies, the legal profession or other professional or voluntary organisations.


A dissertation of not more than 18,000 words (including footnotes or endnotes, but excluding appendices and bibliographical references) on a criminological topic chosen by the student and approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Law. Students are expected to demonstrate, via the dissertation, a critical understanding of research principles. Each student is required to make a presentation on the topic of the candidate’s dissertation. The dissertation accounts for 35% of the assessed coursework, and the dissertation presentation accounts for 5% of the assessed coursework.

Four essays, each of not more than 3,000 words, on topics chosen by the candidate from lists of topics announced by the Examiners, provided that one such essay shall be from among the topics relating to the core course in Criminological Theories; each essay accounts for 10% of the assessed coursework.

A methodological essay or exercise of not more than 3,000 words chosen by the candidate from a list announced by the Examiners relating to the core course in Criminological Research Methods (the exercise may comprise different elements); the methodological exercise accounts for 20% of the assessed coursework.


For progression from the MPhil to the PhD: the Institute strongly recommends that students who intend to register for the PhD apply for the MPhil in Criminological Research in the first instance.

Continuation to the PhD programme will involve 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. Please see our web pages at http://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/courses/phd/prospective/#applications

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

The Institute offers funding from the Wakefield Scholarship Fund (for applicants born or educated in Canada, Australia or New Zealand) and the Manuel López-Rey Studentship Fund (open to all applicants). In addition, the University offers a range of funding. For further information on sources of funding, please see our funding pages

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Criminology page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK II.i Honours Degree. At least a 2:i honours degree from a UK university or equivalent from other institution (3.6GPA/4). Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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