Policing research and learning

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
February and October April to July
(February start)
November to February (October start)
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
February and October
Application period
April to July (February start)
November to February (October start)

The Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) is a collaboration between The Open University and 20 UK police forces to create and use knowledge to improve policing through research, learning and knowledge exchange. The Centre is located in The Open University Business School but it works with academics in all of the faculties within The Open University. More information on CPRL can be found on the Centre’s own website. The Centre accepts PhD students who are full or part-time and also provides advice to officers and staff from member forces about PhD study in all faculties within the University. 

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

We can facilitate policing-related research across all OU faculties. The Centre conducts research in four main areas of activity:

  • Investigation, community and vulnerability
  • Digitally enabled policing
  • Leadership, management and organisation
  • Health, wellbeing and resilience

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership or the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; some are funded by University studentships; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Picture of a police helmet

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Lin Nilsen

Email: FBL-phd
Phone: +44 (0)1908 858365

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.