Criminology at Kent is a dynamic and interdisciplinary subject with political and legal influences.
Criminology is an important part of the activities of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR), which is one of the four top institutions of its kind in the UK. The atmosphere of the School is informal and friendly and there is a lively and diverse postgraduate community.
Regular staff/graduate seminars introduce you to the work of academic staff and research students as well as academic visitors, and provide opportunities both for sociability and for intellectual stimulation. The large number of academic staff and our favourable staff/student ratios mean that academic staff are readily accessible. Where appropriate, research students are encouraged to teach part-time in the School.
Think Kent video series
In this talk, Dr Marian Duggan discusses her current research project which is an analysis of how the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (also known as ‘Clare’s Law’) is operating in Kent. Billed by the Government as a domestic violence ‘prevention policy’ and regularly referred to in the media as a ‘success’, she evaluates exactly how this scheme is operating in practice, whether it is achieving its aims of violence prevention and how useful a tool it is in reducing the average of two women a week who are killed in the UK as a result of domestic violence.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research was ranked 2nd for research power in the UK. The School was also placed 3rd for research intensity, 5th for research impact and 5th for research quality.
An impressive 94% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research, gaining the highest possible score of 100%.
The Complete University Guide
In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.
Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of Criminology is a particularly valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.
Recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers across the criminal justice system, encompassing areas such as counter-terrorism, advocacy, probation, social policy and research. Our graduates have found positions in organisations such as the Civil Service, the Ministry of Justice, various police services and the Probation Service.
The Graduate School ensures that the academic and social interests of postgraduate students are provided for within the University. It works alongside academic schools to support and develop internationally distinctive, exciting and innovative programmes of study that combine academic excellence with an exceptional student experience and appropriate learning resources through the provision of:
- high-quality postgraduate facilities
- a supportive environment for the intellectual interests of our postgraduates
- an excellent Researcher Development Programme
- a strong framework of specialist support for our postgraduates across the University
- the cultivation of external links with Research Councils, graduate schools and other organisations, both nationally and internationally, to provide further funding and study opportunities.
For more details see our Graduate School page.
Across SSPSSR, there is a breadth and depth of research expertise and we can offer high-quality supervision in a wide range of areas in criminology. There are further details on the research activities and publications of individual members of staff and the School’s research units on our website. All research students take a research training programme with the School or Graduate School. Our MA by Research and PhD programmes benefit from the strong research culture and expertise in the School.
Our postgraduate students are given 24-hour access to dedicated office space within the Department and are able to take advantage of excellent library and computing facilities.
The Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology
All Canterbury-based Kent postgraduate students are offered the opportunity to add an international dimension to their criminological study by participating in the Common Studies Sessions in Critical Criminology. This student-led event provides the opportunity to exchange ideas and deliver papers on topics relating to critical, cultural and international criminology at a bi-annual conference run in collaboration with Kent’s international criminology partners, which include Erasmus University, Rotterdam; the Universities of Barcelona, Bologna, Ghent, Hamburg, Middlesex, Porto and Utrecht; ELTE, Budapest; the Democritus University of Thrace; the University of the Peloponnese, Corinth; and the CUNY Graduate Center, New York. The Common Study sessions are hosted in turn by each of the participating institutions.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: The British Journal of Criminology; Urban Studies; Theoretical Criminology; Crime, Media, Culture; Ethnography.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A good honours degree or MA in criminology, criminal justice or a related social science discipline.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Our research areas are listed below; wider research areas are also available from our European partner institutions.
Crime, Control and Culture
The School has a long-established tradition of conducting criminological research. The group covers a diverse range of topics, employs both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and draws upon different theoretical traditions. We have particular expertise in the following areas: cultural criminology; crime, punishment and social change; drug use; gender, crime and criminal justice; penology and imprisonment (especially of female offenders); policing; quasi-compulsory treatment for drug-using offenders; race, crime and criminal justice; restorative justice and young offenders; crime and the ‘night-time economy’, terrorism and political crime; violence; youth crime and youth justice.
Present and current research has been funded by the ESRC, the Home Office and the Youth Justice Board.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Dr Phil Carney: Lecturer in Criminology
Photographic theory; spectacle; radical criminology; cultural criminology; critical visual culture; post-structuralist critical theory; desire and power; the micropolitics of fascism.View Profile
Dr Caroline Chatwin: Senior Lecturer in Criminology
European drug policy; young people and victimisation; drug use and subcultural studies.View Profile
Dr Simon Cottee: Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Sociology of crime and deviance; sociology of intellectuals; terrorism and apostasy; coercion; political violence.View Profile
Professor Roger Matthews: Professor of Criminology; Director of Studies for Postgraduate Criminology
Penology, community safety and crime prevention, prostitution, armed robbery, punitiveness, left realism. Recent publications include: Prostitution Politics and Policy (2008); Doing Time: An Introduction to the Sociology of Imprisonment (2009).View Profile
Professor Larry Ray: Professor of Sociology
Sociological theory; globalisation; race and ethnicity; violence.View Profile
Dr Simon Shaw: Lecturer in Criminal Justice
Youth crime; youth justice; politics of crime; criminal justice policy-making.View Profile
Professor Alex Stevens: Professor of Criminal Justice; Deputy Head of School
The politics and practice of criminal justice, with a specific emphasis on national and international drug policy, youth justice, gangs, organised crime, probation practice and the use of evidence in policymaking.View Profile
The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for UK postgraduate research courses have not yet been set by the Research Councils UK. This is ordinarily announced in March. As a guide only for the full-time tuition fee for new and returning UK postgraduate research courses for 2019/20 is £4,327.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: