Ghent University

Ghent University is a top 100 university founded in 1817 and today one of the leading institutions of higher education and research in Belgium counting over 41,000 students and 9,000 employees. As a highly reputed centre of learning with global reach, Ghent is an open, committed and pluralistic university with a broad international perspective and an active partner in national and international educational, scientific and industrial cooperation. Over the years, numerous research groups, centres, institutes and consortia have been founded. They contribute to the research excellence of UGent, which is listed at the 71th place in the most recent (2015) Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking) – the highest-ranked Belgian university. In addition to its academic and scientific leadership, UGent also places great importance on its environmental policy, its support to spin-offs and other new initiatives.

Internationally oriented, Ghent University is an enterprising university focussed on critical thinking and the potential application of its research to society and the economy. It prides itself on its international perspective and research-based education, grounded in an environment that promotes curiosity and encourages students to transcend boundaries. Above all, Ghent University strives to be relevant, making a positive impact on the ever-evolving global scene.

The department of Criminology, Criminal law, and Social Law is a vibrant international centre of academic excellence, serving all fields of law and the criminological sciences. Firmly rooted in Europe’s heartland, it stands for education and research that is both pluralistic and socially engaged, the embodiment of Ghent University’s motto: ‘dare to think’. The school is diverse and cosmopolitan, a biotope of academic innovation in the midst of one of Europe’s most enchanting historic cities. With more than sixty master level courses taught in English, five English language international LLM programmes, a broad selection of moot courts, research master’s programmes, and a host of foreign exchange students, the department is a significant hub of diversity. Its values are intellectual inquiry, cultural open-mindedness, and research excellence. The mission is ‘to form competent, independent, critical and versatile students who dare to communicate, who demonstrate societal commitment and who have respect for diversity.’

The educational programme in criminology is one of Europe’s largest and is characterized by its multidisciplinary approach. A wide selection of English language courses, in combination with several LLM degrees, specialized centres and excellent research facilities, make it an ideal home for international students, exchange students, visiting researchers, and guest professors alike. The tremendous variety of courses and degrees allow students to tailor their experience to their needs and interests, either as part of their basic degree or in a specialised advanced master.

The Department engages in the internationally relevant scientific research on various criminological as well as legal issues. Its members are experts in areas such as European criminal justice, home affairs and security policy, organized crime, drug policy, sexual offences and human trafficking, critical criminology, sociology of law, youth deviance, policing, financial and economic crime, urban governance, victimology, criminal law philosophy, penology, social work, criminal law and criminal procedure. The department hosts two criminological research institutes: the Institute for Social Drug Research (ISD) and the Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP). The latter brings together over 45 staff, including 11 professors and over 35 (doctoral) researchers, academic assistants, postdocs, external research consultants and a research coordinator. The Department cultivates a strong research culture, with many PhD students being employed on research grants obtained by their mentors through national and EU funding opportunities.

At Ghent University, contact with alumni and other professionals, working in the criminological or criminology-related fields, is maintained in various ways. Within the Gandaius (permanent education) framework, a conference ‘Update in Criminology’ is organised every two years, comprising various sessions, organised per topic over the course of five months, which convey and discuss the recent research findings of the Department with its professional audience. Furthermore, criminology alumni gather in the Crimilumni association, managed partly by the Department’s faculty that organises several academic, professional and social-cultural events for its alumni, thereby maintaining close contact with them and the institutions that employ them.

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