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Criminal Justice and Criminology, PhD

Program Objectives

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and Criminology is designed to produce students of crime and justice who possess:

  • A thorough understanding of criminal justice and criminology issues;
  • The intellectual and methodological skills necessary for the continuing process of discovery and understanding of crime- and justice-related issues;
  • The capacity for integrative and analytical thinking;
  • Competency at transmitting knowledge;
  • Problem-solving skills;
  • The ability to disseminate research findings in published scholarship.

Through the combined efforts of faculty and students, the Doctor of Philosophy program in Criminal Justice and Criminology produces students capable of making contributions to the criminal justice and criminology discipline through the academic and applied components of the discipline. The curriculum is designed to ensure that graduates are well equipped to participate in criminological positions emphasizing research and statistics, theory, and administration of justice.

Program Goals

The overall objective of the program is to provide the student with the highest level of educational value in order to provide the tools necessary for success in today’s law enforcement.  The program goals are:

  • Evaluate an agency’s ability to meet the safety needs of a community including corrections, law enforcement, Homeland Security and administration of justice;
  • Evaluate, research and critically analyze gaps or deficiencies in criminal justice and criminology services;
  • Effectively and ethically lead and manage criminal justice, and criminology and community services, and human/social services professionals in both public and private sectors;
  • Evaluate contemporary criminal justice systems and their policies and practices;
  • Evaluate the psychological basis, nature and causes of crime: typologies and offenders.

Prerequisites for Major Courses

  • Path One: Students may enter the Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a Master’s degree from an accredited institution;
  • Path Two: Students may enter the Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a Baccalaureate degree in criminal justice or related social science from an accredited institution and a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

Note: Courses in the PhD program are eight-weeks in length, and students are scheduled for one course at a time. Dissertation courses are eight-weeks in length and students are scheduled for two dissertation courses per semester.

Program Outline

To receive a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and Criminology degree, students with a Master’s degree must earn 54 graduate semester credit hours as described below. Baccalaureate students may be awarded the M.A. en route to the Ph.D. These students may apply to be awarded the M.A. in Criminal Justice. To be eligible, students must have completed all degree requirements of the M.A. in Criminal Justice. The length of the master’s entry program is approximately 40 months, whereas the length of the baccalaureate entry program is approximately 58 months.

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and Criminology Major Core Courses (60.0-90.0 credit hours)

Upper Division Courses

Pre-requisite Courses (33.0 credit hours, for students without a Master’s degree)
Seminar in Criminal Justice (co-requisite course) 3.0 credit hours
Seminar in Law Enforcement 3.0 credit hours
Seminar in Court Systems 3.0 credit hours
Seminar in Correctional Systems 3.0 credit hours
Theory in Criminology and Criminal Justice 3.0 credit hours
Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice 3.0 credit hours
The Juvenile Justice System 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Criminal Justice Leadership 3.0 credit hours
Research Methods in CJ 3.0 credit hours
Criminal Justice Policies and Practices 3.0 credit hours
Capstone 3.0 credit hours
Foundation Courses (21.0 – 27.0 credit hours)
Proseminar in Criminal Justice and Criminology 3.0 credit hours
Criminological Theory 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Criminological Theory 3.0 credit hours
Criminal Justice Policies and Practices 3.0 credit hours
Police and Society 3.0 credit hours
Criminal Justice Program Evaluation 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Criminal Justice Leadership 3.0 credit hours
Special Topics 3.0 credit hours
Crime and Punishment 3.0 credit hours
Research Courses (15.0 credit hours)
Advanced Research Design 3.0 credit hours
Quantitative Research I 3.0 credit hours
Quantitative Research II (Prerequisite: Quantitative Research I) 3.0 credit hours
Qualitative Research 3.0 credit hours
Advanced Research: Pre‐Proposal and Literature Review 3.0 credit hours

* Advanced Research: Pre‐Proposal and Literature Review is scheduled as the last course and is not scheduled with any other course.

Dissertation Courses (12.0 credit hours) - Students must complete six Dissertation courses.
Dissertation 2.0 credit hours

Residency Requirement

Doctoral students must complete two residencies: one in the first year of the program, the second prior to Dissertation Course.

  • Doctor of Philosophy Residency
  • Doctor of Philosophy Residency Two


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