Professional Doctorate in Criminal Justice
Research to reflect on and contribute to professional practice
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).
Is it for me?
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
How do I apply?
Please contact the Course Leader, Dr Andy Williams, for an informal discussion about whether this is the right course for you.
The cohort environment and workshop structure not only provides support and encouragement but stimulates thought through collaborative working with both academics and practitioners. I have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the course and whilst it has been challenging, it has been invaluable to my own personal and professional development.
Sarah Lewis, DCrimJ Professional Doctorate in Criminal Justice student 2013
- 4-7 years part-time. Start: October.
- 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. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: part time: £4,100 p/a*
2017/18 entry: part time: £4,100 p/a*
Full-time course is not eligible for Government Postgraduate Loan
2016/17 entry: part time: £6,000 p/a**
2017/18 entry: part time: £6,300 p/a**
*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
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.
Teaching and Assessment
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
How are you assessed?
Ultimately you will be assessed on the strength of your thesis.
Facilities & Features
The Institute of Criminal Justice Studies was founded in 1992 and has since grown to comprise 50 academic staff and more than 1,800 students. Now an internationally-renowned focal point for the study of crime and criminal justice processes, it draws together expertise in criminological analysis, applied psychology, police governance and management, victimology, penology, risk and security.
Our extensive experience and close professional relationships with the police service and criminal justice agencies ensure that our courses reflect the changing needs of the profession. You may benefit from these links by hearing guest speakers, listening to leading-edge research and being helped to find professional work placements.
Our distinctive approach to supported distance learning, robust procedures for the accreditation of prior learning and modular award framework not only help facilitate access to higher education but also offer flexible and transferable platforms for life-long learning.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Careers & Opportunities
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.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
Our Postgraduate Information Days for 2016 entry have now finished.
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Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.