I am planning on applying for PHD's in the UK over the next 12 months - Criminology PHD's specifically.

What is dissuading me is the funding situation. International Students do not have their tuition fees fully covered by their funding stipend and therefore will incur hefty fees.

I am a Republic of Ireland national, which actually falls under domestic fees in the UK - however, I have not been resident in Ireland or the UK for the past 3 years, which is one of the stipulations to benefit from domestic fees. I have been resident in Germany since 2018 and currently live there.

Before I potentially waste hours upon hours in the application (s) process, I want to get feedback as to what my realistic options are. I have no desire to go down the self funded route at this point.

  1. What exact funding options for International Students and how common are they? Keep in mind I have been out of academia for many years, completed my M.A. in 2015, and therefore not the ideal candidate regardless of how interesting or good my research proposal is.

  2. What if I moved to Ireland or the UK in the next 6 months, would this help with my residency status? This is a move I am considering any ways as I wish to be closer to home after quite a while abroad. However, my understanding is that the requirement is to have been based in the UK or Republic of Ireland for the past 3 years.

I want to do a PHD because I have a genuine love for research and writing, it feels truly me, and therefore would love to make this work. Unfortunately it seems nearly all Criminology PHD's in Europe are based in the UK, so I am not sure what other options exist.

  • 3
    Criminology is commonly done as part of other fields - it's very possible that criminology projects would be housed in sociology departments and grant sociology PhDs. Or something else. Aug 17, 2023 at 20:56
  • 1
    This is difficult to answer precisely, as there's so many funding schemes, and there's been a bit of upheaval in funding rules post-Brexit. Some of these have become (at least temporarily) more liberal - e.g. UKRI PhDs are now explicitly open to international students. But you're going to need to look at specific advertisements to determine who's funding particular calls and their rules, unfortunately. But it's not completely impossible. Aug 17, 2023 at 21:27
  • You might want to check this website, they sometimes have funded PhD opportunities: findaphd.com
    – user126108
    Aug 17, 2023 at 23:00
  • "Unfortunately it seems nearly all Criminology PHD's in Europe are based in the UK" - I doubt that. I know someone doing a PhD in criminology in Rotterdam, for example, and from what I've heard it is quite a large group. In Germany, the usual PhD route is still through individual professors, so you won't find many structured PhD programs, particularly in small fields such as criminology. And Alexander Woo's comment is totally on point.
    – LuckyPal
    Aug 18, 2023 at 6:44

3 Answers 3


I do think you're right that you won't be considered a home student for fee purposes, but I'm not am expert on this.

Finding funding for international students is not impossible but much more competitive.

Ate you sure you need to go to the UK for a PhD in that area? I'm not am expert, but doesn't Germany do that as well? Parts of continental Europe including Germany offer much better conditions to PhD students (salary, pension, rights). I could understand the language barrier issue, but you're already living in Germany anyway.


Unfortunately, I don't know about Criminology - but even in the most underfunded fields, there are often a couple of special scholarships for international students. These are usually special pots of money at individual universities/departments, so you might try to scour the websites of the universities you are interested in (as well as big 'prestige' scholarships open to all subjects). As for eligibility requirements, I would guess moving to the UK won't help unless you live for 3 years... but you should ask a university's international students' office (they are the experts and get questions like this all the time).


As other comments have pointed out, you might want to look at sociology or social policy departments, as this is where a lot of criminology research in UK universities happens. In terms of funding I can think of two options: 1) Look for a funded PhD position on a specific project. This will likely be advertised on jobs.ac.uk - a clearinghouse of job opportunities for UK universities. 2) Some universities have scholarship programs that are specifically open to international students. This is likely to be more common at higher-ranking institutions (e.g. I happen to know LSE has these).

If you identify a potential supervisor who is a good fit for your proposed project they are likely to have a good idea about what pots of funding are available.

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