Research course

Crime, Harm, Criminalisation and Criminal Justice

Open University · Department of Social Policy

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) and MA/MSc.

Months of entry


Course content

Social Policy and Criminology at The Open University has an established reputation for critical scholarship, which is informed by a dynamic and thriving research environment. Our research programmes take a critical approach to ‘taken-for-granted’ assumptions about ‘crime’, ‘the criminal’ and/or ‘justice’, including a critical interrogation of the meaning of Criminology as a discipline.

The discipline spans a diverse range of research areas. In the area of policing, our research has included studies of policing and gender, and occupational culture as well as violence and police brutality and an ethnographic study of homicide detectives. Current research projects in this area include studies of police corruption, integrity and ethics.

With respect to imprisonment/punishment our research ranges from empirical examinations of prison life (such as the harms experienced by women and young people) to broader questions surrounding penal policy, the use of punishment and the concept of justice, including the Scottish context.

Another key research area is the incidence, nature and regulation of corporate and state crimes and harms, academic criminological and socio-legal responses to the economic crisis, corporate and state power and the research process.

The way in which urban culture intersects with crime and justice has featured in research on bouncers and the night-time economy, gentrification, licensing and planning law in the shaping of nightlife and local government health and safety regulation.

This is not an exclusive list of research areas. Other ongoing research projects relate, for example, to: the criminalisation of young people's non-participation in work, education or training and of homelessness; sexual and other forms of violence; the governance of disengaged youth; gendered harms in social justice movements; and the implications of Scottish nationalism for criminal justice policies.

Staff in this research area are members of the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    15 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1908 654534