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  5. Postgraduate Research in Social Policy and Criminology

Postgraduate Research in Social Policy and Criminology

Prospective Students

Studying for an advanced research degree with us

The Social Policy and Criminology discipline is recognised nationally and internationally for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research. We have an international reputation for methodological innovation, with particular strengths in qualitative mixed-methods research, visual methods, biographical and life-story research, discourse analysis, historical methods and ethnography. We have nurtured a vibrant, supportive and highly collegial research culture, broadly drawing on critical constructivist and interdisciplinary approaches to Social Policy and Criminology. This culture is sustained through our commitment to producing outstanding scholarship and research that plays a central role in public dialogue and policy change, in the UK and beyond. All our research students are warmly welcomed, and are encouraged and expected to contribute to our research events and have access to other career-enhancing opportunities. 

Key facts

Post-graduate research students in Social Policy and Criminology

  • study a wide range of research interests and topics
  • are embedded in a thriving interdisciplinary research environment committed to socially-just forms of social change
  • are encouraged to participate in, and contribute to, our supportive and collegial research culture
  • have access to experienced, research-active supervisors  
  • have access to career development opportunities

We warmly welcome applications in Social Policy and Criminology to study with us for an MPhil or PhD on a full-time or a part-time basis.

We are particularly interested in proposals which fall within our existing research strengths. You can find out more information about our current research expertise here.

Please visit the staff profiles for further information on staff research supervision interests. You can also search Open Research Online for full details of staff research publications as a guide to the research interests of departmental staff.

Here is further information about Postgraduate Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Here is further information about Open University Research Degrees including the application process, fees and what you can expect as an OU Postgraduate Research Student.

We welcome enquiries so please get in touch with Professor Nicola Yeates, PostGraduate Convenor at:

Your research proposal

So that we can provide meaningful advice about potential supervision it is best to send us your draft research proposal. This should be about 1500-2000 words, and should clearly convey what your project is about, why it is important and what motivates you to want to research it. Your draft proposal should be of good quality and contain all of the following:

  • The title of your project
  • Review of academic literature
  • Research questions
  • Research methods
  • References list

It is important you spend plenty of time developing your proposal. Alison Phipps has written a very useful guide to writing a research proposal.

Please note that we do not routinely offer feedback on draft proposals from enquirers.

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