The School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences has a vibrant and multi-disciplinary research environment, which is home to a wide range of research projects that tackle important questions in the social sciences.

We have an excellent international reputation for producing high quality research which has global impact.

Our work is centred around three key themes:

  • persistent and emerging socio-economic challenges
  • policy and practice in divided societies
  • national global social justice

If you are interested in pursuing doctoral research in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Ulster University, you’ll be joining a community of academics who are engaged in an evolving field dealing with an extensive range of sensitive issues.

From traditional forms of deviance and offending, through to contemporary issues such as cybercrime and crimes against the environment, criminology continues to be highly relevant to the harms faced in society.

The criminology team at Ulster University is diverse in terms of teaching and research interests, which range from the more formal aspects of the criminal justice process, policing and prisons for example, through to community responses to deviance and offending.

Our research extends from a focus on individual offences and victims on a local level, through to corporate and state crimes on a national and global scale.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

At Ulster University our research into crime and punishment is distinguished by its critical approach to the administration of justice, coupled with an emphasis on the application of criminological theories to the lived realities for individuals, communities and broader society.

Key research themes and potential supervisors include:

Prisons and Punishment

Desistance from Offending

Restorative Justice

Victims and Survivors of Violence and Offending

Children’s Rights and Youth Justice

Gender, Crime and Justice

Policing, Human Rights and Accountability in a National and Transnational context

State Violence, Crime, Resistance and Human Rights

Terrorism/Political Violence, Security and Intelligence Handling

Cybercrime and/or Cyber Security

Human Trafficking/Modern Slavery

Drugs and Drug Policy - Consumption, Markets and Regulation

Environmental Crime, Harm and Justice

Transnational Corporate Crime and Corruption

We welcome interest from prospective PhD candidates in any of these areas.

For more information on the research interests of each staff member in Social Work, please visit the Criminology and Justice page on the website of the Doctoral College. For more information on how to prepare an application, including how to draft a research proposal, please visit our School’s webpage that describes the variety of PhD Opportunities.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

English language requirements

In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.

Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.

Careers and opportunities

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Details of tuition fees can be found under the fees schedule for the academic year of entry.

To work out for which fees you would be eligible and to find out more information about potential sources of funding, please view the Fees and Funding pages on the Doctoral College website.


We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.

Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application.

Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.

Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.