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Security Science MRes + MPhil/PhD

This PhD programme at UCL SECReT - the Security Science Doctoral Training Centre - benefits from the reputation of UCL Security & Crime Science, widely recognised for its research impact on real-world crime problems. Consequently we have long-established links with the police forces, policymakers, academic research centres of excellence and security organisations worldwide.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 4 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£4,915 (FT) N/A (PT)
£23,050 (FT) N/A (PT)

Application dates

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Candidates with a UK Master’s in a science-based subject, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


Security and Crime Science (SCS) uses evidence-based techniques to prevent and control crime and security problems, and to detect offenders. SCS is devoted to reducing crime and terrorism through teaching, research and public policy analysis. The department has strong links with security practitioners and policymakers as well as researchers and institutions worldwide. It is multidisciplined in its approach and draws on both the social and physical sciences. We focus strongly on providing interactive classrooms where a mix of practitioners and new students keen to work in these fields can learn from each other.

Research areas

Our students conduct research across a wide range of areas covering three domains: crime and security analysis, design and technology, and forensic sciences.

Crime and security analysis
  • Big data analysis
  • Ecological modelling
  • Scripting and process analysis
  • Geographical analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Human error analysis

Design and technology
  • UAVs
  • Radar
  • Chemical sensors
  • X-ray scanners
  • Cyberethics and technology

Forensic sciences
  • Forensic geosciences (soils, sediments, pollen, diatoms etc)
  • DNA
  • Fingerprints
  • Trace evidence (gun shot residue, explosives, fibres, paint etc))
  • Forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology
  • Inference and interpretation (Bayes nets, inductive logic programming)
  • Cognitive forensics (decision-making, cognitive issues)
More information can be found on the department website: Security Science MRes + MPhil/PhD

Degree structure

Year One

  • Foundations in Security and Crime Science - CORE (15 credits)
  • Global Security Challenges - CORE (15 credits)
  • Doing Research in Security Science - CORE (15 credits)
  • Risk and Contingency Planning - CORE (15 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods - OPTION (15 credits)
  • Principles of Information Security - OPTION (15 credits)

Year Two

  • Ethics, Security and Research - CORE (15 credits)
Project - Students will undertake a research project in their chosen specialist area of security science (90 credits)

Dissertation - Students must complete a dissertation up to 10,000 words


There are a number of scholarships for the UCL SECReT four-year MRes + MPhil/ PhD in Security Science paying UK/EU fees, and/or an annual stipend of £15–£17000. See www.ucl.ac.uk/secret for details.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates from UCL SECReT go on to careers in a wide range of areas including research posts in the private sector or in academic institutions, or positions in the public and private security industry sectors.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Research Analyst, Trilateral
  • Research Fellow and studying PhD Security and Crime Science, UCL
  • High Potential Development Scheme Law Enforcement Officer, National Crime Agency
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, UCL


Graduates of UCL SECReT are widely sought after. Of the first graduating cohort 82% found careers in the private and public security sector within six months of graduating. A similar success rate is evident in successive cohorts since then and we expect this trend to continue. Our students possess skills modern employers in these sectors are looking for such as: (i) how to work in multidisciplinary teams; (ii) how to apply their knowledge to practical interventions; (iii) how to engage with industry; (iv) a PhD from a world-renowned doctoral centre at one of the world's most highly ranked universities.


UCL SECReT is widely recognised for its knowledge transfer activities, and the impact that its research has had on real-world crime problems. Consequently we have long-established links with over 60 partners from police forces, policy makers, academic research centres of excellence and security organisations from around both the UK and further afield. We bring our doctoral students into contact with these partners through an Industry Evening, a seminar series, annual conferences and an internship in year three of their PhD. This has resulted in nearly all students finding an industry partner to work with, to provide data, research expertise, access to labs and equipment, and career guidance.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The four-year PhD programme at UCL SECReT is now widely recognised as the best of its kind across Europe. It is the first to combine a multidisciplinary crime or security doctoral degree with a programme of taught modules (focusing on the application of scientific method to crime reduction) and professional skills training. Our aim is to produce a new generation of crime and security practitioners with the skills to tackle modern and evolving crime threats. With over 60 partners in industry and the public sector and some of the world's leading academics at UCL working in these areas we provide excellent supervision and career prospects.

Collaborative working is an important aspect of this multidisciplinary programme, and UCL SECReT gives students the opportunity to mix with peers from backgrounds including architecture, computer science, statistics, electronic engineering, chemistry, forensic sciences, psychology, philosophy, ethics and laws.

Department: Security & Crime Science

Student / staff numbers › 12 staff › 120 taught students › 62 research students

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Security & Crime Science

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Application deadlines

The MRes/PhD in Security Science starts in September each year. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed below) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.

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