Criminology and Criminal Justice PhD

Ph.D. Program in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Undergraduate applicants must have a baccalaureate degree or expect one by the end of the academic year in which they apply. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater (on a scale of A = 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Admission is competitive.

Graduate applicants who have or will have a master's degree must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater (on a scale of A = 4.0) for their graduate course work.


To consider an applicant for admission, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice must have transcripts, three letters of recommendations, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and a writing sample. Applicants with master's degrees should include a chapter of their thesis. International students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from the TOEFL examination.

Amount of Course Work

Sixty post-baccalaureate hours of graduate work are required for the Ph.D. More than half of these hours must be completed in residence. A minimum of six credit hours of dissertation research (CRIMIN 7499) are required. Students may enroll for dissertation credits (CRIMIN 7499) only when all other degree requirements have been completed.

Required Courses
CRIMIN 5415Foundations of Criminological Theory3
CRIMIN 6400Proseminar3
CRIMIN 6405Methods3
CRIMIN 6410Statistical Applications in Criminology and Criminal Justice3
CRIMIN 6420Contemporary Criminal Theories3
CRIMIN 6450Criminal Justice Process and Policy3
CRIMIN 6465Qualitative Research Design3
CRIMIN 6470Quantitative Research Design3
CRIMIN 6471Evaluating Criminal Justice Interventions3
CRIMIN 6480Multivariate Statistics in Criminology3
Area Courses9
At least nine hours beyond those required must be taken at the 5000-level or higher within the CCJ Department.
Three additional courses beyond the above requirements are taken as elective courses.

Qualifying Examination

Graduate students in the Ph.D. program do not become recognized as Ph.D. candidates until they have passed the qualifying examination. The goals of the qualifying examination are to assess the student's familiarity with substantive literature, theory and methods of criminology and criminal justice and to evaluate the student's intellectual imagination and ability to apply knowledge to broad criminological questions.

Further information about the qualifying exam is available from the department.

The Dissertation

The dissertation is required of all Ph.D. candidates and demonstrates the student's scholarly expertise. The dissertation process formally begins when all other requirements of the Ph.D. program have been met. The dissertation committee assists in selecting and developing the research problem and evaluates the student's work on that problem.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate a mastery of theory, methods, and substantive literature of criminology and criminal justice, and the interconnections between social theory, research, and policy
  • Analyze the role that social structure (e.g. race, class, gender, etc.) plays in crime and criminal justice
  • Critically synthesize and analyze the nature, scope, and determinants of major criminological problems and identify gaps for further inquiry
  • Independently apply scientific research methods and empirical analyses to produce high-quality original, theoretically relevant, and socially important criminological research
  • Conduct independent high-quality research in accordance with the highest ethical standards and scientific integrity
  • Effectively translate and communicate scientific findings effectively, in both oral and written forms
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the profession needed for a successful research and/or teaching career in criminology and criminal justice