PhD Criminology or Sociology

Doctoral research programmes with sociological or criminological supervision in antiquities trafficking, cultural property, and art crime topics

Is it right for me?

This PhD pathway is specifically for students who are interested in researching topics related to art crime, illicit antiquities, cultural property, heritage, etc using methods, theories, and analytical frameworks from the disciplines of Sociology or Criminology. This pathway is ideal for students who wish to follow research careers (either in academia or beyond) related to crime, social justice, heritage policy, and related fields.

Students applying for a PhD programme in Criminology or Sociology are expected to either have a previous degree in these or a related discipline or significant professional experience in the area. Students with an arts background who wish to take on research topics related to antiquities, art, or cultural property from a socio/crim perspective will be asked to consider completing a 1 year masters degree in criminology before embarking on their PhD programme. If you are unsure of how your background relates to the admission requirements, please contact the appropriate research convenor (see below).

There are currently over 60 postgraduate research students undertaking sociological research at the University of Glasgow, dealing with subjects across the discipline.

Dates and Workload

PhD programmes at the University of Glasgow typically take 3 years with an optional 4th year for writing up (5 to 6 years when done part time). PhD students do not typically take any courses during their time at Glasgow, rather they begin their research project on day 1. Students who feel they need to take topical courses before their PhD in Criminology or Sociology should consider our master’s programmes in Crime and Criminal Justice /Transnational Crime, Justice & Security, with a focus on antiquities trafficking or art crime.

During the course of their PhD research, students will work towards the completion of a doctoral dissertation of 70,000-100,000 words. The precise nature of the research and workload leading up to the thesis will vary from project to project but may involve fieldwork, work placements, archival and related research, etc.

Students normally start their PhD in October but January starts are also possible.

Teaching Team

Note: Donna Yates will not be accepting PhD Students for 2019/2020 admittance.

We provide supervision for PhDs in Criminology and Sociology from across our diverse staff (see full staff list). We are active supporters of interdisciplinary research and most staff are involved in providing supervision to students alongside colleagues from other disciplines.

At the University of Glasgow, PhD students typically have a supervision team made up of a first and a second. Some students have more than two supervisors. For PhDs in Criminology or Sociology, we would normally expect the student’s first supervisor to come from within the School of Social and Political Sciences, but additional supervisors may come from other disciplines or departments as needed for the project.

If your project is focused on issues related to cultural property, art crime, or antiquities trafficking, Dr Donna Yates will likely be one of your supervisors.


I warn that we currently have no specific funding available for PhD students, and you will have to do your own legwork. Home and EU students should consider applying for an ESRC Studentship (due in early December), and all students are expected to conduct research into the funding available to them. On place to start is the University scholarship search:

It is important to be realistic about the dire state of research funding in the UK at the moment.

UK and EU students have the option to study for their PhD part time, with tuition fees at half the cost per year. International students who require student visas to enter the UK are unable to study for PhDs part time as the UK does not grant Tier 4 visas for part time study.


We welcome and expect initial approaches to the Postgraduate Research Convenors:

If you are thinking about applying you are also welcome to contact any staff member directly, although staff may prefer to refer enquiries to the PGR Convenors.

The usual first stage of the application process is to email one of the Postgraduate Research Convenors a full research proposal of 1200 words, plus a bibliography, and a brief curriculum vitae (which could be merely one page if you do not have one prepared since this is not used in the formal application process). The initial research proposal should be as developed and rigorous as possible, including literature review, any theoretical elements, and (for any empirically based thesis) a full research design for data collection and analysis in as much detail as possible. Pure theory or literature-based proposals are also acceptable. The PGR Convenor will then decide whether to seek supervisors, and if so will then reply in due course on whether the required team of two supervisors might be available, and advise of whether to proceed to a formal application.


1. What kind of funding or scholarship are available for this programme?

There are several external and internal funding schemes that can be applied to doctoral research at Glasgow, and we are happy to support funding applications, however it is the applicant’s responsibility to research their options. We suggest you start with the College of Social Sciences student funding page. It is not exhaustive, however, and we suggest you look in to what options for funding exist beyond those contained in this database.

We currently have no internal funding available to PhD students proposing their own research projects.

2. I’m looking for a PhD in Law…

Dr Christa Roodt co-supervises PhD projects in the University of Glasgow School of Law which relate to heritage and art dispute resolution. If you are interested in a PhD in Law you are encouraged to contact Dr Roodt and the Law School to make sure your project can be supported.

3. I have a degree in an arts subject (archaeology, art history, etc) but would like to switch to sociology or criminology for my PhD research, how is that done?

In most cases we would require you to take a 1 year masters degree in Criminology or Sociology before making this switch to make sure that you have the solid social science research foundation needed to undertake PhD level research right away. Exceptions are only made for applicants with significant professional research experience in social sciences.

4. I am an International student. Am I able to work in the UK during my PhD?

Yes, international students an work for up to 20 hours per week on a Tier 4 student visa.

5. I want to do a PhD on this topic generally but I don’t have a specific question in mind, how can I write a research proposal?

If you haven’t quite come up with your research topic yet, we suggest you either take the online PGCert in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime or one of our on-site Criminology Master’s Degrees. During these programmes you can refine your interests in the topic and develop your thoughts into a full PhD proposal. If you choose to complete a full master’s degree, you can focus your master’s thesis on a topic related to your prospective PhD research.

6. Will you help me with my PhD proposal?

Note: Donna Yates will not be accepting PhD Students for 2019/2020 admittance and will not be supporting PhD proposals during that time.

Prospective supervisors can offer very light help on a PhD proposal, but this can be little more than listening to your ideas. We will not edit or substantially comment on your proposal. Your PhD proposal must be entirely yours, it is an indication to the admissions committee of the quality of your work and your abilities to succeed as a PhD researcher.