A master's degree in a relevant subject, preferably of Merit level. It is essential that applicants are professionally engaged in one of the many areas of criminal justice. Applicants should be working at a senior level and/or have strong relevant criminal justice experience. All applicants are subject to face-to-face or telephone interview.
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
Months of entry
Why take this course?
The professional doctorate comprises a structured four-year programme with a taught element delivered through a small number of workshops in Portsmouth for the first two years and then two years of supervised research leading to a thesis.
Established in 2007, this course offers a framework for criminal justice professionals to reflect on and contribute to practice in their area of work. The emphasis is on developing researching professionals (which is distinct from the more traditional PhD route which aims to develop professional researchers).
Students are drawn from a variety of backgrounds in criminal justice including:
- counter fraud
- youth justice
- the legal profession/magistracy
- forensic mental health
What opportunities might it lead to?
The overall aim of the course is to develop criminal justice professionals whose work informs, and is informed by, original research in the field. Previous graduates have followed research projects into profession-related subjects such as:
- Reform and the Garda in the Republic of Ireland
- The National Intelligence Model and reduced risk in the public sector
- Gender within specialist police departments
A central feature of this programme is that you will be studying with the same cohort of people over the whole four years. The interaction that this provides will give you the opportunity to work, learn and develop together. This avoids the sense of isolation that some PhD students experience.
It is accepted that for most professionals it will not be possible to attend all of the workshops so we also use an online learning environment to make best use of technology to keep in touch.
A professional doctorate at the University of Portsmouth is achieved in two distinct stages with the second stage being divided into two parts.
This stage comprises 180 M level credits which is the direct entry level to Stage 2.
This stage comprises Parts 1 and 2.
Part 1 (years 1 and 2)
This is the 'taught' component of the course and last for two years. During this part you will earn 120 D level credits in assignment work.
- professional development and review
- advanced research techniques in criminal justice
- publication and dissemination in criminal justice
- criminal justice project proposal
Part 2 (years 3 and 4)
This part comprises the professional research and development, leading to a thesis of 40,000 words. This will earn 240 D level credits and is mainly independent study and research combined with supervision meetings and opportunities to meet with your peers to review and gain critical comment on your progress.
The doctoral programme aims to develop your research ability in the broad area of Criminal Justice to an advanced level and promote evidence-based practice development. The development of the quality and value of your practice and research will be enhanced through:
- seminars and workshops on critical research and criminal justice issues specifically focused on the development needs of criminal justice professionals
- support from peers and staff to ensure your work reaches the necessary (doctoral) standard
- supervision from a team with a very wide range of development and research interests and many years of professional experience
- access to University of Portsmouth library facilities including a large number of e-books, journals and databases accessed electronically
- the use of an online learning environment enabling you to keep in easy touch with your peers and the course team
- development of wider national and international perspectives through networking with the peer group
- building ongoing productive links between criminal justice organisations
- raising the profile, credibility and influence of your profession in both academic and practice contexts
Ultimately you will be assessed on the strength of your thesis.
Your professional needs and interests shape the research you undertake on this course. You may, therefore, use your increased knowledge and awareness of your profession to support your career aims at the same time.
Fees and funding
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Admissions Team
- 023 9284 5566