PhD Criminology

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Research opportunities

Established in 2016 by the Department of Social Work & Social Policy, this award offers students the opportunity to study for a PhD under the supervision of internationally-leading experts from across the University of Strathclyde but primarily located within the Department of Social Work & Social Policy and the Law School.

Current Criminology expertise across the Faculty relates to a broad range of areas in two schools:

Department of Social Work & Social Policy:

  • youth and criminal justice social work
  • probation
  • vulnerable offenders
  • mental health
  • learning disability
  • capacity and adult protection
  • human rights
  • gender, crime and interpersonal violence
  • risk assessment and the management of high-risk offenders
  • international prisons, international penal policy and the sociology of prisons
  • public health in a penal context
  • mental health justice, learning disability and adult protection
  • child protection
  • employment and employability in prisons and communities
  • public management and co-production in carceral and community justice

Law School:

  • criminalisation
  • criminal process & policy-making
  • punishment & sentencing
  • risk assessment & management
  • desistance from crime
  • homicide; prisons & release
  • prosecution & defence work
  • judiciary; security – policing - counter-terrorism
  • children’s hearings
  • youth justice
  • human rights
  • gender
  • sex work
  • technology, risk & crime
  • therapeutic jurisprudence
  • transitional justice
  • environmental crime & justice

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

Entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland





Take a look at our funding your postgraduate research web page for funding information.

You can also view our scholarships search for further funding opportunities.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

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Criminal & social justice

Name Areas of Expertise 

Laura Piacentini

  • sociology
  • criminology
  • Russian area studies
  • contemporary Russian imprisonment
  • history
  • human rights
  • political science

Beth Weaver

  • desistance
  • user involvement and co-production
  • regulation and governance of post-release and community supervision
  • experiences of punishment
  • employment rights of people with convictions
  • management of those classified as high risk of serious harm

Nina Vaswani

  • experience of loss and grief in children and young people

Cara Jardine

  • criminology
  • the impact of imprisonment on families and communities
  • punishment, harm and carceral citizenship
  • young people, families and relationships
  • poverty and social marginalization

Melanie McCarry

  • male violence against women
  • children and young people
  • abuse in young people’s intimate relationships
  • gender roles and relations
  • participatory methods
  • research ethics

Fern Gillon

  • youth justice
  • youth violence
  • participatory methodology
  • comparative criminology

Sarah Golightley

  • Mad Studies & Critical Disability Studies
  • 'Troubled teens'
  • pathologisation of youth deviance
  • institutional abuse
  • domestic abuse
  • social work with LGBTQ+ people

Law, crime & justice

Name Areas of Expertise 
Louise Brangan
  • sociology of punishment
  • comparative prisons and penal culture
  • social history of punishment
  • penal politics
  • Irish penal state
  • Magdalene Laundries

Donnie Campbell

  • criminal law
  • evidence

Genevieve Lennon

  • policing
  • counter terrorism
  • accountability
  • human rights
  • risk

Therese O'Donnell

  • human rights
  • hate speech
  • terrorism
  • war crimes
  • collective guilt
  • transitional justice

Jane Scoular

  • theories of gender and law
  • feminist legal theory
  • legal social and political aspects of sex work
  • gender and crime
  • domestic violence

Cyrus Tata

  • sentencing and penal processes
  • access to justice
  • guilty pleas and plea bargaining
  • penal theory
  • discretionary decision-making
  • technology and justice

Rhonda Wheate

  • criminal justice
  • criminal law
  • expert evidence
  • forensic science
  • jury trials

Dominic Aitken

  • punishment and penal policy
  • imprisonment and immigration detention
  • criminal law and criminal justice
  • criminological theory

Our research

Research Centres

The Department of Social Work & Social Policy is the University of Strathclyde’s lead partner in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), which is a cross-institutional criminology research centre between the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling, and we work closely with the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice Research (CYCJ). The Department of Social Work & Social Policy, in addition, hosts the research cluster Criminal and Social Justice. The Law School also hosts relevant centres: the Centre for Law, Crime and Justice and the Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law.

Research areas

In the Department of Social Work & Social Policy, expertise includes:

  • criminology and critical criminology 
  • sociology and social theory
  • social work and activism
  • social policy and governance
  • youth justice

We have strong links with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Prison Service, Criminal and Youth Justice Social Work Services, related voluntary sector, industry partners and penal reform organisations around the world.

In the Law School, expertise includes:

  • law
  • criminal law
  • youth justice
  • criminal justice
  • inter-disciplinary between law, economics, politics, geography, human rights, history, sociology, social work, psychology and computer and information science

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International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent.

The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

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Support & development

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is a friendly and supportive study environment for research students studying subjects within Humanities & Social Sciences.

Our staff will support you through your studies and you'll become part of a community of students who get involved with our workshops, seminars and competitions.

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

Our PgCert RPD programme aims to ensure you get the most out of your current research activities at Strathclyde and helps you prepare for your future career as a researcher.

We'll help you recognise and develop your transferrable skills that'll have a positive impact on your research, now and in the future.


The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation. Take a look at our careers service pages to get more information.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

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The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if English isn't your first language
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 1,500 to 2,000 words in length, detailing the subject area and topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.


You'll need to identify your research supervisor before you finalise your application, preferably as soon as possible. When you've identified a potential supervisor, based on how well your research interests match theirs, drop them an email to introduce yourself. In the email, make sure you attach a draft of your research proposal along with a copy of your CV. Don't worry about how rough your research proposal may be at this stage – you'll have help from the Department of Social Work & Social Policy to refine it.

If your chosen supervisor is available to work with you, they'll confirm this and nominate a potential second supervisor. As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

When you accept our offer, you'll receive a full offer in writing via the email address you provide. 

Accepting an offer

When you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask. 

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024


Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024


Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025


Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

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Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026


Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026

Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026


Start date: Oct 2025 - Sep 2026

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Contact us

Department of Social Work & Social Policy

Graduate School

Telephone: +44 (0)141 444 8400