UCL Graduate degrees


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 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 4 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£25,730 (FT)

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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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 four domains: crime and security analysis, design and technology, forensic science, and future crime. 

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
  • Cyber
  • Ethics and technology

Forensic science

  • Forensic geoscience 
  • DNA
  • Fingerprints
  • Trace evidence dynamics
  • Forensic archaeology and forensic anthropology
  • Inference and interpretation 
  • Cognitive forensics 

Future crime

  • Applications e.g. drones, autonomous vehicles, non-GPS navigation, Blockchain, performance-enhancing prosthetics
  • Background changes e.g. climate change, mass migration, antimicrobial resistance, new finance/banking models, commodity scarcities
  • Generic technologies e.g. AI, robotics/nanobots, quantum computing, 3D printing, hyper-connectivity, smart materials, Internet of Things (IoT), wearable ICT
More information can be found on the department website: Security Science MRes + MPhil/PhD

About this degree

Year One

  • Designing and doing research
  • Foundations of security and crime science
  • Horizon Scanning and the Changing Nature of Crime
  • Research project of up to 15,000 words
  • Two optional taught modules chosen from the list below

One elective module (worth 15 credits) chosen from across UCL (examples are given below, but please bear in mind that any modules taught by other departments at UCL will be at the discretion of the department concerned and we cannot guarantee availability in advance).

Optional modules may include:

  • Applied Cryptography
  • Computer Security 1
  • Computer Security 2
  • Cybercrime
  • Information Security Management
  • Introduction to Cryptography
  • Introduction to Cybersecurity
  • People and Security
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Research in Information Security
  • Spatial-Temporal Data Analysis and Data Mining (STDM)
  • Statistical Models and Data Analysis

  • Introduction to cybersecurity
  • People in security
  • Quantitative methods
  • Research in information security
  • Spatial-temporal data analysis and data mining (STDM)
  • Statistical models and data analysis

Elective modules could include

  • Anthropology of politics, violence and crime • Applied data science
  • Emergency and crisis planning
  • Introduction to machine learning
  • Perspectives on organised crime
  • Perspectives on terrorism

Years Two, Three and Four

  • Research years, ending with submission of PhD thesis and viva

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


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 £15000–£17000. See our website for details.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

CSC-UCL Joint Research Scholarship

Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
Based on academic merit

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.


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 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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The four-year PhD programme at UCL SECReT is now widely recognised as one of 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

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.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

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 department website and the How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 11 June 2021