Study programme

Why study IMARC

Increasing flows of people, goods and information: one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Great migrations often come with problems of crime and injustice, like radicalisation, human trafficking and violations of human rights. For decades Europe has reacted in a defensive way. Nowadays we realize the need for new visions and joint international responses. Understanding crime and crime control, and finding a balance between demands for security and social justice will be the start of possible solutions.

As an IMARC student

You develop fresh and critical views on the essential criminological issues. IMARC brings together learning, research and practice through collaboration with partners such as governments, NGO’s, corporate actors and other universities. You are trained in a variety of research approaches and methodologies. You participate in international conferences and intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange. As a graduate you will have a lot of expertise in the field of border crossing, security and social justice.

IMARC is an interdisciplinary full-time programme that prepares you for the current demands in the field of border crossing, security and social justice. IMARC addresses these issues from an European and global perspective.

For the first time, experts in the field of international criminology are working together in one joint international educational programme.

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Your future with IMARC

What is your ambition? Would you like to be a policy maker at the EU? Or do you prefer to do academic research on border security? Maybe become a policy maker at a NGO or an human rights organisation. With a valuable multiple IMARC degree you will have numerous options to build a great career. As an interdisciplinary expert and a skilful researcher, you will contribute to answers to the current social and political challenges of crimes and crime control.


IMARC is a joint programme of three European universities: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Ghent University and the University of Kent. The programme is designed to respond critically, scientifically and in a policy-oriented manner to social questions that have dramatically changed the agendas of crime, harm and control.

First semester

The programme starts at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where you take several basic theoretical and methodological courses in criminology, focusing on international criminology in general and border crossing, security and social justice in particular.  A strong methodological foundation will be developed for research projects by completing a suite of methods modules.

Second semester

In the second semester, you choose a specialisation track at one of the three universities:

Global flows, local dilemmas and glocal answers (Erasmus University Rotterdam): How are global developments interrelated with local problems? What ‘glocal’ answers are needed from research, policy and practice? Key themes are how global flows of people, goods and business transactions relate to law enforcement and governmental control, urban issues, radicalization, and organized and corporate crime.

 European Union criminal policy and justice in context (University of Ghent): How does the EU respond to the various challenges of criminal activities? The modules focus on theoretical foundations of EU policy as well as practical application to crime and control.

Theory, culture, power, and the global (Kent University): How do phenomena of crime, harm, violence, control and transgression involve problems of inequality, injustice, and social and legal exclusion? The modules focus on policy responses with a greater attention to social justice, democracy, equality and rights.

Third semester

In the third semester you will have the choice between a research-based internship or fieldwork for your thesis (if you wish, at another university). You will start or continue you supervised research, for example through fieldwork, or a research internship (at one of our network partner institutions), or desk-based data collection. It is possible to move to another university or location in the third semester for an internship or to do fieldwork for your thesis. If you follow the EUR track, moving to another university is mandatory under the mobility rules (two universities during the programme). For other tracks, you may also stay at the university within that track.

Research abroad
The added value of the IMARC programme is that you are able to do longer and more elaborate research. You may undertake you research abroad or in the country where you are attending the semester and you can choose among IMARC’s network partners or propose other (new) network partners for your research. You will also take the following four research modules that develop the argument of your thesis from different perspectives.

Fourth semester

In the fourth semester you will write your master’s thesis, at the university of your track. The fourth semester is completely devoted to writing your master’s thesis and is the final part of the programme. The master’s thesis is a central and required part of the IMARC programme.

Year 1 EC

Semester 1: Basic courses at EUR


Globalisation, digitalisation and crime
Corporate and White-collar Crime
Analysing criminal policies in a global perspective
Advanced research methods
Year 1 EC

Semester 2: Specialisation track


EUR track: Global flows, local dilemmas and glocal answers

Cross-border organised crime
Terrorism. extremism and control
Urban issues, culture and crime

Doing research in IMARC

One course includes Common Study Session preparation

UGhent track: European Union criminal policy and justice in context

Advanced European criminal policy
Advanced European and international asylum and migration law and policy
Critical criminology and the criminal justice system (includes Common Study Session preparation)

One elective course from list:
- Organised crime
- Sexual offending, prostitution and human trafficking
- Financial and economic crime
- Cybercrime, technology and surveillance
- Spatiotemporal criminology


UKent track: Border crossing – theory, culture, power and the global

Three elective modules from the list below:
- Critical and global criminology
- Terrorism and modern society
- Prisons and penal policy
- Contemporary social theory

3 x 10

Common Study Session presentation

Year 2 EC

Semester 3: Preparing and doing research


Research module I: Where the local meets the global
Research module II: European Union criminal policy and justice in context
Research module III: Global discourse and narratives of crime
Research module IV: Power relations and abuses of power
Year 2 EC

Semester 4: Writing the master’s thesis


Final master’s thesis: continuation of the fieldwork and data collection, master’s thesis writing, presentation at the Closing Session.

Mobility paths

Specialisation starts in semester 2 by choosing one of three tracks. Students start their track with specialised modules at one of the three universities and end their track in semester 4 with writing their master’s thesis under primary supervision of the same university. In semester 3, students may or may not choose to visit another university. Students will have indicated their first and second preference for a track when they apply for the programme. Allocation of students depends on student preference and availability of places per university.

In semester 3 and some of semester 4, it is possible for students to make visits to associate universities or non-academic partner organisations (‘network partners’). Such visits do not count towards the mobility rules. Throughout the programme students are always registered at and supervised by at least one of three IMARC universities.

Semesters             EUR track UGhent track UKent track

Semester 1
All start at EUR


Semester 2
Thematic track

Global flows, local dilemmas and glocal answers 

European Union criminal policy and justice in context

Border crossing – theory, culture, power, and ‘the global’

Semester 3

UGhent or UKent*



Semester 4




*Due to mobility rules, choosing UGhent or UKent in semester 3 is mandatory in the EUR track.

Career perspectives

What is your ambition?

Would you like to be a policy maker at the EU? Or do you prefer to do academic research on border security? Maybe become a policy maker at an NGO or a human rights organisation. With a valuable multiple IMARC degree you will have numerous options to build a great career. As an interdisciplinary expert and a skilful researcher, you will contribute to answers to the current social and political challenges of crimes and crime control.

Access to the field

Through IMARC you can also utilise possibilities provided by associate partners, which are: University Hassan (Morocco), University of Hamburg (Germany), Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary), Koç University (Turkey) and University of Bologna (Italy). In addition, connections with organisations in the field, among which governmental bodies, NGO’s and organisations offer opportunities for research, internships and impact. IMARC also enhances the role of informal and peer-to-peer learning, especially through twice-yearly student conferences (Common Sessions) as part of the Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology (CSP).

This programme involves fifteen universities from twelve countries. Twice a year in Spring and Autumn, postgraduates (Master’s and doctoral), academic staff and associated professionals from participating universities and their non-academic partners meet at one of the university centres for a conference style ‘Common Session’. The CSP offers IMARC students an opportunity to engage freely with peers and academic staff in a range of structured and informal conference style settings. Though the fifteen university partners are centres of formal higher education, the Common Study Programme itself is a transnational and trans-institutional setting in which non-formal postgraduate learning takes place in the timetabled activity of the Common Session conference (see also A key educational element is the experience of short-term mobility, which is physical (geographical) as well as interdisciplinary and intercultural.

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