Criminology and Criminal Justice PhD/MPhil


Course facts

  • Name: Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Qualification: PhD/MPhil
  • Duration: PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MPhil: 1 to 2 years full-time, 2 to 3 years part-time; MARes: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

The School of Social Sciences provides a stimulating and supportive environment for postgraduate training. The emphasis is on small groups, close working relationships between students and supervisors, and development towards full professional participation in the subject area. Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Bangor is focussed on comparative study at a number of cross-cultural levels: national, international and rural-urban comparisons are three of the most important ways in which comparative criminological work is undertaken. For research students we are able to provide both a full research training programme and high quality expert supervision across a broad spectrum of subjects.

Research Areas

Criminology and Criminal Justice with specialisations in:

  • Youth homelessness and crime
  • Institutional child abuse
  • Critical approaches to law, crime and criminology
  • Sociology of Law
  • Public opinion on crime and criminal justice
  • Penal policy
  • Rural criminology
  • Law judges and jurors
  • Procedural justice
  • Popular legal culture, including film and TV
  • Victimology
  • Islamic extremism and terrorism
  • Trust in police, courts and the legal profession
  • Crime and Civic Society:
  • Support for the police
  • Political violence and terrorism
  • Media and public opinion
  • Begging in North Africa and South Asia
  • Popular Legal Culture
  • Violence in intimate relationship
  • Rural criminology
  • Postcolonial societies, crime and deviance
  • Theoretical criminology
  • Criminal Justice Systems
  • Lay participation in the administration of justice

Current graduate students are conducting research on:

  • Women’s accounts of their violent behaviour
  • An ethnographic study of cannabis use in a North Wales community
  • Identity fraud
  • Social problems and juvenile delinquency in Malawi
  • Restorative justice and rehabilitation
  • Accommodating sex offenders after prison

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Research project opportunities

Please note the research project opportunities detailed here are NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

If you are a European or International student this research programme is one of those which allows you to develop a research project proposal as an initial and integral part of a Combined English / Study Skills and Research Course at the University before starting the PhD/MPhil degree.

European and International candidates who have already reached the required level of English can apply for entry onto the project of their choice by presenting a relevant research proposal when applying for admission.

Alternatively you may also consider developing your own research proposal based on the research specialisms within the school.

The opportunities which are currently available are outlined below.

Citizen experience with legal institutions

Supervisor: Professor Stefan Machura

T: +44 (0) 1248 382214/ E:

People may form their opinion on legal institutions, officials and policies based on a plethora of sources. Empirical research and social science theory help in understanding the complexities involved. It is known that personal experience, family and friends, education and media may form individual views. The support for a key policy, or for a very prominent leader, but also criticism based on negative outcomes received, can affect levels of trusts and legitimacy attributed to institutions. As an example, see: Dalton, Ian, Jones, Victoria M.L, Machura, Stefan, Ngaihte, Henry, Norton, Thomas P., and Pritchard, Maria (2009), Speeding, the Chief Constable and Trust in North Wales Police. Papers from the British Criminology Conference, 9, 92-110 [open access journal], or Machura, Stefan, Thomas Love and Adam Dwight (2014). Law Students’ Trust in the Courts and the Police. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 42, 287-305.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Lay participation in the administration of justice

Supervisor: Dr Stefan Machura

T: +44 (0) 1248 382214 / E:

Most legal systems employ citizens as judges, either in mixed courts with professional judges, in juries, as single lay decision-maker (or mediator), or in a group of lay judges. They deal with a variety of legal cases, administrative, criminal and civil cases. Occasionally, lay participation is considered a defining element of the legal and political culture. Only in some countries, there is a strong tradition of social science research whereas there is little literature for many countries and on many dimensions of the topic. Applications are welcome which combine empirical and theoretical work, taking into consideration the prevailing legal culture and local practice. As an example of the kind of research expected, see: Machura, Stefan (2007). Lay Assessors of German Administrative Courts: Fairness, Power Distance Orientation and Deliberation Activity. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 4, 331-362. Or: Machura, Stefan, and Litvinova, Olga (2007). Lay Judges in Rostov Province. In Feldbrugge, Ferdinand (ed.), Russia, Europe, and the Rule of Law, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, pp. 109-127.


Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Media representations of law, legal institutions and legal personnel

Supervisor: Professor Stefan Machura

T: +44 (0) 1248 382214/ E:

In our age, people tend to be informed by TV, film and other media which 'cultivate' their views (George Gerbner). But media theory also takes into account purposeful choices made by the audience and the mix which results from personal experience, media, education and other sources. What people think about the courts, lawyers, the police and other legal institutions makes no exception. Based on careful analysis of media content and awareness of applicable social science theory, empirical research may deepen our understanding of what goes on. Prospective students might want to see the following publications for examples of current research: Machura, Stefan, and Kammertöns, Annette (2010). Deterred From Going to Court? A Survey at German Schools on Media Influences. Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 8(2) [open access journal]. Or, as a content analysis: Machura, Stefan, and Llewelyn Davies (2013). 'Law is an Odd Thing' – Liberalism and Law in the TV-series 'The Good Wife'. Kriminologisches Journal, 45:279-294.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Perceptions of crime and criminal justice; policing and penal policy

Supervisor: Dr Martina Feilzer

T: +44 (0) 1248 388171/ E:

PhD topics in any area of policing and penal policy are welcome but I would particularly invite proposals on specific aspects of perceptions of crime and criminal justice. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the public and criminal justice at local, national, and international level; the relationship between the media and public opinion of criminal justice, as well as human rights; developments in penal policy, in particular in the area of probation and prisons; and comparative and historical research in criminal justice. In terms of research methods, my focus is on the development of mixed methods research and the secondary analysis and visualisation of existing datasets.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree in a related discipline is required. Students without a Masters degree in a relevant discipline will be required to undertake a taught research training programme in their first year. Students should submit a research outline which must be approved by the Course Director.

For those whose first language is not English or Welsh, the minimum English language requirements is:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (with no individual score lower than 6.0)
  • Pearson PTE: 62 (with no individual score lower than 58)
  • Cambridge English Test – Advanced: 176 (with no individual score lower than 169)

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email


Application advice

Applications for research degrees differ substantially from applications for taught courses such as Masters degrees. Although the application form is the same, the way in which you approach your application can make all the difference.

Applying for a self-funded or externally-funded Research Degree

As with all of our courses, you can apply to fund yourself through a PhD/Mphil at Bangor, or you may already have sourced external funding (e.g. from your employer or government), and we warmly welcome all expressions of interest in so doing. However, rather than simply filling in an application form, there are a few steps that you can take in order that your application stands a greater chance of being successful.

All PhD/Mphil students require supervision from at least one academic member of staff at the University, and if you are considering a PhD/Mphil, you will already have a good idea of the specific area or theme that you want to research. In order to ascertain that we hold sufficient expertise in your chosen topic to provide supervision, you should first look at our staff pages. This will provide you with a breakdown of each staff member’s area of academic focus.

Once you have found a member of staff whose research interests broadly accord with your own, you should contact them directly with a concise research ‘brief’ that outlines your proposal and ask whether s/he would consider supervising your project. If the academic expresses his/her interest, you may then further discuss your ideas and develop a full PhD/Mphil research proposal.

At this stage, you should formally apply online for the PhD/Mphil programme. You should fill the form out thoroughly, including academic references, your research proposal and the name of the academic member of staff under whose supervision you intend the research to be conducted.

Your research proposal

A good research proposal is essential if you are applying for a PhD or MPhil. The proposal should include:

  1. Overview – give a brief abstract of the subject area you wish to research and include information on the key theoretical, policy or empirical debates that will be addressed.
  2. Planning – you need to demonstrate that you are aware of the research timescales and have a plan in place to conduct your work. You need to demonstrate that the research is manageable in the given time period.
  3. Literature references – you need to show that your planned area of research has not been studied before. Provide references to key articles and texts relevant to your area of study.
  4. Methodology – you need to show that you are aware of the methodological tools available and have identified which ones would be suitable for your research.

More advice about preparing a research proposal

Applying for funded PhD studentships advertised by Bangor University

Funded PhD studentship opportunities arise frequently throughout the year, and are advertised as specific opportunities for which you must formally apply. The application process for funded PhD studentships may differ according to the academic School in which the studentship opportunity is held, so please check the relevant School’s homepage and follow the application advice therein. If you are unsure of any part of the application process, please contact the individual School for advice, or e-mail

Online applications can now be made by prospective applicants for all postgraduate taught programmes and postgraduate research programmes at the University (with the exception of the PGCE, Diploma in Occupational Therapy and DClinPsy).

Home/EU students

Apply Online here...

Apply online

  • Please read through the Guidance Notes before you begin the online application form
  • Apply online yourself through our online application system.

Home/EU students with admissions queries please contact...

Postgraduate Admissions:, telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717 or write to:

Postgraduate Admissions Office.
Academic Registry
Bangor University
Gwynedd UK
LL57 2DG

International students

  • Agents: if you are an agent applying on behalf of the student, then you can Apply here.  For further guidance click here

International students with admissions queries please contact...

International Education Office: or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When do I Apply?

The University will accept applications throughout the year. We would generally advise that you submit your application in enough time for you to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application.This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer (e.g. in the case of overseas students, taking an IELTS or TOEFL test to meet the English Language requirement).

Further information

Next steps