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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Centre of Criminology do?

The Centre of Criminology is a specialised research and teaching unit within the Department of Public Law, at the University of Cape Town. We aim to initiate and develop policy-relevant research, which focuses on engaging with African and South African issues of crime, criminal justice, governance and security. By actively engaging with the challenges facing African societies with an holistic and multidimensional approach to finding solutions, The Centre of Criminology aims to develop and support socially responsive teaching, research, and extension services in the broader field of criminology, security and criminal justice, and to promote public interest in all aspects. Since 2007 the core focus has become that of African Security and Justice, which you can read more about on our Research Priorities page.

What can I study at the Centre of Criminology?

The Centre offers both postgraduate degrees by instruction, and postgraduate research degrees. Our Courses page has detailed information and descriptions of the processes for applying and registering, course content and research themes. You can also view for a quick overview of doctoral and masters degrees below:   

What types of Degree can I register for in the Centre of Criminology?

Note: LLM and MPhil degrees differ according to the applicant's background and focus of study. If the person has a law background, they'll register for an LLM and their research will be primarily law-focused. Alternatively, someone with a non-law background (most often Humanities) will apply for an MPhil, and their research will not be limited to law-focused topics. 

Does Criminology offer distance learning?

UCT is not a distance learning institution. On an individual basis, PhD or Master's by research only may be accommodated in terms of remote supervision. 

Am I eligible for admission?

The Centre of Criminology welcomes students, researchers and partnerships from various disciplines and fields - both academic and professional - with a background in Law and/or Humanities, or in a field related to one of our research and teaching priorities. For the MPhil/LLM or Masters by dissertation programmes, a student needs at least an honours degree in a suitable field. Similarly, for the PhD programme, a student needs at least a Master’s in a suitable field. For the PGDip, an applicant will need at least an undergraduate or three-year degree in a related field of study. 

Need more info? Feel free to get in touch at

I am a visiting student, can I still come and study here?

The Centre of Criminology welcomes students from all over the globe. With the approval of the Centre, visiting or international students may choose to take one course, do a PGDip (post-graduate diploma), register for a single semester, or an entire programme.

To design a study opportunity that suits your needs, please email us at: with your details.

Are there any employment opportunities for students at the Centre of Criminology?

Research assistantships may be on offer to registered students to develop research skills, while benefiting research projects. Contact us to hear if any opportunities are available. 

How can I apply to study at the Centre of Criminology?

For PGDip or LLM/MPhil by coursework and research

  • You can apply online by clicking here.

For PhD or Master's by research only:

If you wish to study at the Centre of Criminology, email us with the following:

  • A brief 2-3 page summary of the research you intend to undertake with the Centre;
  • A cover letter motivation your choice of institution and research topic;
  • A recent example of writing (e.g. previous dissertations, thesis, publications); and
  • Your CV with study records.

After feedback from the Centre, you may apply to study online as per the instructions or guidelines for postgraduate degree applicants on the University of Cape Town's website. 

How much does it cost to study at UCT/Centre of Criminology?

Fees are handled through the UCT Fees Office routes. We have no control of the fees structure. 

Does the Centre of Criminology offer any undergraduate degrees or courses?

The Centre only offers postgraduate degrees (see ‘what can I study at the Centre of Criminology’), however it does have one undergraduate course. ‘PBL2800F: Crime and Deviance in South African Cities’ is offered in collaboration with the Dept. of Sociology. This course is only available to Humanities students as its focus is sociological rather than legal, although it considers legal and criminological issues in South Africa.

Is it possible to register for a part-time postgraduate degree?

Occasional Students may choose one or two courses from our Masters Programme and will receive a certificate from UCT ensuring their validity as courses with transferable credit value. 

The LLM/MPhil by coursework and mini-dissertation can also be studied part-time over 2 years. The majority of the Master's courses are after working hours (16h00) to accommodate working students. The part-time option will have students take one course per semester, instead of two. 

What is the course code for my desired Postgraduate degree? 

  • MPhil in Criminology (Master's by coursework and mini-dissertation) - PBL5850W
  • Master's by Dissertation only - PBL5800W
  • PhD in Criminology - PBL6700W 
Masters by Coursework Programme in Criminology, Law & Society Codes?:

Compulsory Courses:

  • Law in Action: Research Methods - PBL5849F

  • Choose one of following:

    • Theories of Crime & Social Order - PBL5280F; or

    • Law and Society in Africa - PBL5848F

Choice Courses (NB: Before registering, check that your desired course is offered for that year):

  • Forensic Science & Law - PBL5847S

  • International Criminal Law - PBL5807S

  • Issues in Crime & Justice: Organised Non-State Violence in Africa - PBL5660S

  • Police & Policing: Explorations in Security Governance - PBL5844S

  • Punishment & Human Rights - PBL5815S

  • Victims & Victimology: Theory, Policy & Practice - PBL5822S