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Scholarships available for SECReT: The International Training Centre for Security and Crime Related Research Degrees

UCL SECReT: The International Training Centre for Security and Crime Research Degrees

UCL's Security Science Doctoral Research Training Centre (UCL SECReT) was founded in 2009 with support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESRC) and an array of public and private sector organisations working in crime reduction security and law enforcement.

Since then, numerous students from around the world have passed through the programme, going on to work in prestigious careers in crime reduction, security and academia with organisations such as the UK Home Office, DSTL (the UK Defence Science and Technology Lab), Rapiscan, Darktrace, the UK National Crime Agency and a range of top universities.

Visit our website for full programme details

We offer the most comprehensive integrated PhD programme for students wishing to pursue multidisciplinary security or crime-related research degrees.

We recruit our doctoral students from a range of scientific backgrounds to pursue research in crime or security domains across the engineering and social sciences.

Students can enter through various funding routes (self-funded, industry sponsors, scholarships).

Find out about our current PhD scholarships

Watch our PhD Open Evening

Watch our recorded session to hear from the programme leads and current students. We also explain the aim and content of the programme and discuss the scholarships we currently have available.

Scholarships available for SECReT: The International Training Centre for Security and Crime Related Research Degrees

Research Areas

During their PhD, all SECReT students develop an expertise in specific crime and security domains such as cybercrime, terrorism, organised crime, sexual abuse, urban crime, environmental crime, heritage crime, etc. Their research can be classified into three categories as outlined in the box below:

Crime and Security Analysis

Looks at how crime events occur and affect complex systems in the physical world or cyberspace. This research focuses on understanding what influence criminals’ decision making, the patterning of crime events in time and space, crime reporting, intelligence analysis and security operations, and directly informs the design of prevention policies and security measures. Students typically come from political science, crime science, psychology, geography, computer science, statistics and mathematics. During their PhD, they develop a strong theoretical knowledge in social/behavioural sciences along with advanced skills for complex systems analysis, such as:

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

Design and Technology

Looks at the design and evaluation of crime prevention and security measures e.g. the emergence of new materials, sensors, and algorithms for security applications. Focuses on technological innovation and a powerful network of external partners, with researchers coming from physics, chemistry, electronic engineering and computer science backgrounds.

Key research areas include:

  • UAVs
  • Radar
  • Chemical sensors
  • X-ray scanners
  • Cyber
  • Ethics and technology

Forensic Science

This research addresses all stages of the forensic science process, from the crime scene to the analysis of evidence, the interpretation of those results and their presentation to a court. The focus of research projects within the forensic sciences broadly fall into two domains: 1) developing our understanding of trace evidence dynamics, and 2) addressing the interpretation of forensic evidence and intelligence. Students come from a range of backgrounds and develop a strong understanding of a particular forensic science domain and theoretical frameworks to enable more robust inference and interpretation of the significance and weight of intelligence and evidence.

Key research areas include:

  • Forensic geoscience (soils, sediments, pollen, diatoms etc.)
  • DNA
  • Fingerprints
  • Trace evidence (Gun Shot Residue, explosives, fibres, paint etc.)
  • Inference and Interpretation (Bayes Nets, Inductive Logic Programming)
  • Cognitive Forensics (decision making, cognitive issues)

Future Crime

Our Dawes Centre for Future Crime at UCL identifies emerging crime threats and works to deliver pre-emptive interventions for the benefit of society. The centre focuses on key questions such as "which emerging crimes should we focus on, given limited resources?" and "how can we mitigate future threats?" The Centre funds and/or supervises research in the following areas:

  • Cybercrime
  • Artificial Intelligence and crime
  • Drones
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Non-GPS navigation
  • Blockchain
  • Instructional technology
  • Hyper-connectivity
  • Robotics/Nanobots
  • Mass customisation
  • Portable, renewable power
  • Wearable ICT
  • Smart materials
  • Stealth technologies
  • Sensors, sensor fusion
  • IOT
  • Chemical synthesis
  • Hacking (both senses)
  • Crime caused by social changes eg. Climate change, migration

Who should apply?

Students applying must have (or expect to achieve) a 2.1 undergraduate degree.

Get started

Please visit our website to find out more about course fees, routes of study and what you need to prepare when applying for a PhD with us.

Register your interest for this PhD