Criminology PhD/MPhil

  1. Course Variations
    Nomenclature Duration Mode Of Attendance
    Ph.D. 3Yr FT
    Ph.D. 6Yr PT
    M.Phil. 2Yr FT
    M.Phil. 4Yr PT

Course Overview

The School of Law has a thriving community of around 30 doctoral students and provides a supportive and friendly environment in which to pursue PhD and MPhil studies in law or criminology.

Key Features

A research degree gives you the chance to pursue a research project based around your own passions and interests, leading to a qualification which can open the door to an academic career or boost employment prospects outside academia.  

Research degrees typically last from three years (full-time study) to six years (part-time) for a PhD, or two years (full-time) to four years (part-time) for an MPhil. 

Key features include:

• Supervision from our world class faculty with a breadth of industrial and academic knowledge.

• A variety of studentship opportunities through the ESRC doctoral training centres and those offered by the University.

• An environment in which you can develop and enhance transferable skills such as problem solving, independent thinking, project management, and critical thinking. 

• The availability of structured training, interdisciplinary seminars, dedicated research facilities and software from both the School and University.

• An integral part of our academic community, PhD students work closely with, and are supported by, academic staff within the School.

• Our PhD student community is drawn from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, bringing a wide range of research interests and personal and professional experiences – enhancing the learning experiences of the whole student community.

• Assessment by means of a thesis of up to 100,000 words which must demonstrate the student’s capacity to pursue original research and should represent a distinct and significant contribution to the subject. This is then followed by an oral examination of the thesis (viva).


Students engage in a period of supervised research leading to the production of a thesis which is then presented for oral examination. 

The academic expertise in the School is wide-ranging and we invite applications in the following areas:

  • Cybercrime and Terrorism
  • Medical Law
  • Neurocriminology and Bioethics
  • Probation and Offender Management services
  • Sentencing and Courts
  • Sex Work
  • Violent and Sex Offenders
  • Youth Justice

Entry Requirements


Applicants for the PhD programme will have a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in criminology or a discipline related to the proposed research project, and will usually have, or be studying for, a master's degree. We would normally expect a distinction, or a merit with an average of at least 65% overall. 

Our MPhil programme requires a first or upper second-class degree in criminology or a discipline related to the proposed research project, or a relevant approved postgraduate qualification. In some cases, there may be opportunities for MPhil students to continue their studies as a PhD student. 

International Students

We welcome applications by prospective students from around the world and look for evidence of previous study that is equivalent to the entry requirements stated above. The Postgraduate Admissions Office is happy to advise you on whether your qualifications are suitable for entry to the course you would like to study. Please email for further information.

English Language

If English is not your first language you will need an acceptable pass in an approved English Language qualification to make sure you get the full benefit from studying at Swansea. We consider a wide range of qualifications, including the Swansea University English Test, the British Council IELTS test (with a score of at least 6.5 in each component). A full list of acceptable English Language tests can be found here.

Applicants to this programme would normally be expected to meet the minimum entry requirements indicated above. The College/School reserves the right to ask for higher academic grades and qualifications. Admissions decisions take into account not only prior academic qualifications, but also factors including the standard of the research synopsis/proposal submitted by the applicant, their performance at interview (if required), intensity of competition for limited places and relevant professional experience (where appropriate).

How To Apply


Identifying a relevant research topic

Applicants are encouraged to explore the research expertise of the School to ensure a good fit between PhD proposals and potential supervisors. You are more than welcome to arrange a meeting with relevant staff in your field to discuss your proposal before submitting it.

Preparing your research proposals

After you have identified a relevant research topic please prepare a detailed research proposal to include with your application. Guidance on writing a research proposal is also available.

How to Apply

After you have completed preparing an appropriate research proposal, please apply for a place on our PhD programme online here

Please note that it is advisable that you contact us before submitting your application. This will ensure we can identify appropriate supervisors, and where necessary work with you to refine your proposal. If you would like to do this, email:

Applicants can expect to be interviewed following their application to discuss their topic of research and ensure they demonstrate the necessary level of commitment to their studies and training.

If you're an international student, find out more about applying for this course here.

Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU International
Ph.D. Full-time £4,345 £15,450
Ph.D. Part-time £2,172.50 £7,750
M.Phil. Full-time £4,345 £15,450
M.Phil. Part-time £2,172.50 £7,750

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

Note: The UK/EU fee is indicative pending confirmation from UKRI

If your course starts in January, April or July 2019 please refer to the 2018/19 fee costs on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

International students and part-time study: It is now possible for some students to study part-time under the Tier 4 visa route. This is dependent on factors relating to the course and your individual situation. It may also be possible to study with us if you are already in the UK under a different visa category. Please visit the University information on Visas and Immigration for further guidance and support.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs.

There are no mandatory additional costs specified for this course.


PhD: A thesis of no more than 100,000 words is submitted, which demonstrates original research that contributes significantly to the subject area. This is then followed by an oral examination of the thesis (viva).

MPhil: A thesis of no more than 60,000 words is submitted, which demonstrates original research that contributes significantly to the subject area.  This is then followed by an oral examination of the thesis (viva).

Meet our PhD student Amy-Louise

Amy-Louise Watkin

Amy-Louise studied Psychology at Stirling University and an MSc in Applied Criminology and Forensic Psychology at Edinburgh Napier University. She is an active member of the PhD community here at Swansea University and her thesis is titled 'The role of social media organisations in regulating online terrorist content'.

Amy-Louise Watkin

She is involved in a range of projects within the School of Law, including the Cyberterrorism Project and How Far?, a project set up by students to counter extremism.

Amy-Louise enjoys studying at Swansea University due to the expertise of academics, particularly Professor Stuart Macdonald

Her advice to anyone thinking of studying a PhD or MPhil is to explore all the funding options available. 

Virtual Open Day

Missed one of our Open Days? Experience a Virtual Open Day within the School of Law.

Contact Details

For more information on this programme, please email