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About The Centre of Criminology


What We Do


The Centre of Criminology is a niche research organisation within the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town, committed to advancing research and policy analysis on critical issues of public safety, criminal justice and evolving forms of crime.  

In the past two years, research topics have ranged from the local to the global, including detailed qualitative work conducted on illicit trafficking and organised crime in Africa and West Africa, poly-substance users and the Cape Town illicit drug market, alternative forms of policing in South Africa, and extortion markets in in Cape Town and Johannesburg.


Other developing themes have included environmental risk and security; developments and challenges for policing, both public, private and community driven; organised crime and illicit trafficking in South Africa and Africa, including with a focus on the evolution of criminal networks in fragile states and their impact on governance, democracy, livelihoods and the environment; criminal justice policy challenges, with an emphasis on developing country contexts; and violent crime - with particular attention to its impact on youth and women.

In the recent past, the Centre has hosted high-level conferences on gangs, organized crime and wildlife trafficking, drawing international audiences, and through our associations with policymakers and practitioners at national level and in major multi-lateral institutions, our research and policy work is having an impact on national, regional and global debates. 

Pivotal to the Centre’s mandate is the critical importance of addressing safety issues as a core challenge of holistic development. To do this successfully requires stretching the boundaries of criminology in ways that will enable it to recognise and respond to the changing international, regional and local landscape of risk. The Centre of Criminology is pushing the boundaries of the discipline, and encourages its students to think innovatively about challenges to public safety and human security. 

The Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation’s South African Research Chair in Justice and Security in Africa is hosted within the Centre.  

Studying at the Centre of Criminology

The Centre of Criminology offers postgraduate students the opportunity of both research and taught degrees. Masters students can register for an MPhil (Masters) in Criminology & Criminal Justice for Humanities graduates, an LLM in Criminal Justice for Law students, or enroll in our new, multi-disciplinary coursework Masters in Criminology, Law and Society.

Doctoral degrees are available with students pursuing a wide range of innovative research work, providing a unique space for cross-disciplinary inquiry. Opportunity also exists for Postdoctoral Research Fellows to join the Centre. Additionally, we also often have visiting students from other universities across the world who wish to get involved and make use of Centre's resources. 

Our Postgraduate student body is the heart and soul of the Centre of Criminology, ringing their diverse backgrounds and intellectual curiosity and passion for issues of social justice and public law, our students are researching, publishing and engaging with cutting edge debates around citizen security often with a focus on hard-to-teach or marginalised groups. Our research is bounded by a respect for the ethical requirements of doing work with victims, offenders and the most marginalised people in our society. 

Student-friendly work spaces have been created in the Centre’s own Multimedia Electronic Resource Library (MERL), and students are encouraged to play a key role in shaping the research activities of the Centre, as well as organising and leading seminars, workshops and social events to facilitate discussion and debate.

Research Assistantships are on offer to registered students to develop research skills, while benefiting research projects. Please note that all research assistantships are subject to the policies and guidelines relevant to the student's funding or registration.