Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

Program Description | Admission | Degree Requirements | Courses

Program Description

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice is designed to produce students of crime and justice who possess (1) a deep and extensive awareness of the body of knowledge in the field of criminal justice and (2) the intellectual and methodological skills necessary for the continuing process of discovery and understanding of crime and justice-related issues. The graduate should be capable of integrative and analytical thinking, competent at transmitting knowledge, able to engage in various accepted modes of research, and possess skills in problem-solving.

To accomplish this, the College of Criminal Justice has a faculty of over 40 diverse scholars committed to the study of crime and justice issues. The curriculum includes courses that provide theoretical and applied knowledge of the phenomena of crime and criminal justice. In addition to the demonstration of excellence in the classroom, students are expected to engage in research in accordance with personal specialized interests beyond specified courses.

Through the combined efforts of faculty and students, the Doctor of Philosophy program in Criminal Justice produces students capable of making contributions to criminal justice 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, law, and administration.


  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application fee
  3. A master’s degree in Criminal Justice or an allied field
  4. Official test scores from the Graduate Record Examination
  5. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts for all academic work (Note: Grades must show evidence of the ability to do doctoral level work)
  6. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty who are sufficiently acquainted with the student to comment on potential for success in the doctoral program
  7. Doctoral Follow-Up Application
  8. An original essay as described in the doctoral follow-up application
  9. A current resume or vita
  10. In some instances a personal interview may be requested
  11. International students ONLY: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless they have completed a degree in the United States (Note: A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 [computer-based] is required)

A holistic review of each student’s application will be completed on a competitive basis.

Degree Requirements

Students should consult with the criminal justice Graduate Admissions Coordinator to design a course of study beyond the master’s degree that will provide an in-depth knowledge in the areas of research and statistics, criminological theory, criminal justice administration and legal issues in criminal justice.

Students must register full-time, a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester, on campus for at least two consecutive long semesters and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all courses.

Students must pass the doctoral qualifying examination in the form of a Research Assessment Portfolio. Students must also complete and defend a doctoral dissertation, which is the product of original scholarly research and is of such quality as to represent a meaningful contribution to knowledge in the field of criminal justice.

The Doctoral degree requires 58 hours of 7000-level coursework.

 Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

Choose all from:
CRIJ 7333 <CJ 733> Proseminar in Criminal Justice Issues
CRIJ 7337 <CJ 737> Criminological Theory
CRIJ 7442 <CJ 742> Advanced Statistics I
CRIJ 7387 <CJ 787> Research Design
CRIJ 7389 <CJ 789> Advanced Statistics II
CRIJ 7375              Legal Aspects of the Criminal Justice System
CRIJ 7340              Administration of Justice
2 Electives

Choose eight from:
7000-level graduate courses in CRIJ

3 Dissertation

Choose all from:
CRIJ 8396 <CJ 896> Dissertation

CRIJ 8397 <CJ 897> Dissertation II
CRIJ 8398 <CJ 898> Dissertation III
CRIJ 8099 <CJ 899> Dissertation IV1

1 Once enrolled in CRIJ 8099 <CJ 899> Dissertation IV, students must enroll in this course in every semester until graduation.*


*Effective Summer 2012, graduate students will take dissertation/thesis classes for 3 credit hours until they have completed the degree requirements (12 hours for dissertation; 6 hours for thesis). Students may then sign up for 1 credit hour for continuous enrollment. Students do not have to sign up for thesis/dissertation classes during the summer if they are not working on their thesis/dissertation or if they are not graduating or working on their portfolio. If students do not stay continuously enrolled, they will be back enrolled in 1 semester hour and will be charged for the course.



Criminal Justice (CRIJ)

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