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Law student
Ruwani Fernando
PhD student
After completing a period of study in Paris, Ruwani moved to study her PhD at The University of Sheffield.
Law student

Study Period: 2017 - 2021

PhD Supervisors: 

Dr D Thompson (Primary Supervisor)

Professor S. Farrall (Second Supervisor)

My PhD is a cross-national comparative study of desistance from crime, which is the process by which people stop offending. I’m looking at how individuals who are supervised on probation stop offending in France and England. Overall, I’ve conducted 45 interviews with people supervised on probation in both countries.

Work with International Experts

I chose the University of Sheffield to work with members of the Centre of Criminological Research, who are experts in the field of desistance and probation studies. Also, the University has a great reputation for criminology both in terms of teaching and research. 

Unique Research Opportunities

What I enjoyed most about my PhD is that it was very fulfilling to meet and speak to the participants and probation officers, after a long time reading and writing. Talking with people who had gone through the criminal justice system and wanted to make a change in their lives was truly insightful and provided valuable perspectives as to desistance from crime in practice. A specifically enjoyable moment of my PhD was when I had finished transcribing all the interviews I had conducted and was ready to start analysing them. 

‘A PhD is hard, intense, full of obstacles but it’s also enjoyable, fulfilling, exciting and really makes you progress as a person.’

Ruwani Fernando


The Sheffield Experience

Sheffield is a good middle-ground city to live in for a PhD – not too big, not too small, lively at times, very quiet at others. Also, because of the city’s location, other big cities are easy to access. Likewise, the peak district is just nearby. My advice would be to make the most of what’s around. Manchester airport is just one train ride away too and tends to be the cheapest airport in the north to travel abroad. Working on a PhD means working independently on your own time, so take advantage of the time for cheap getaways.

Supporting our students

I’m funded by the School of Law. After getting a place for the PhD, I applied for funding. I was invited for an interview at the School in Sheffield and shortly after, I was offered funding. The application process and the interview was smooth and straight-forward. The school’s communication was swift, and I would recommend applying.

Ruwani was recently appointed a fellow of the HEA.

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.