Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

Program Description | Admissions | 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 Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology has a faculty of about 35 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, 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. A personal 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.  The deadline for submitting applications to the Doctor of Philosophy program in Criminal Justice is February 1 for the fall semester.

Degree Requirements

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

Students must register full-time, a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester, 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

Once enrolled in CRIJ 8099 Dissertation IV, students must enroll in this course in every semester until graduation.*
Ph.D. in Criminal Justice
Course Name Hours
Required Courses (19 credit hours)
Choose all from:
CRIJ 7333 Proseminar in Criminal Justice Issues 3
CRIJ 7337 Criminological Theory 3
CRIJ 7442 Advanced Statistics I 4
CRIJ 7387 Research Design 3
CRIJ 7389 Advanced Statistics II 3
CRIJ 7340 Administration of Justice 3
Electives (27 credit hours)
Choose two from:
CRIJ 7334 Seminar in American Policing 3
CRIJ 7336 Seminar in American Corrections 3
CRIJ 7338 Seminar in American Courts 3
CRIJ 7375 Seminar in Legal Aspects of the Criminal Justice System 3
Choose seven from:
7000-level graduate courses in CRIJ 21
Dissertation (12 credit hours)
Choose all from:
CRIJ 8396 Dissertation 3
CRIJ 8397 Dissertation II 3
CRIJ 8398 Dissertation III 3
CRIJ 8099 Dissertation IV1 3
Total 58

*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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