Doctoral in Criminal Justice

If you want to pursue a career in criminal justice, then there may be a variety of career options available to you that will not require a doctoral degree in criminal justice. However, if you are interested in the academia side of criminal justice, such as teaching or researching, then you will need a PhD degree in criminal justice. Criminal justice is an interdisciplinary field which combines principles of criminal justice, criminology, sociology, and psychology. Candidates are taught criminal justice policy, research methods and criminological theory. Furthermore, they are expected to show in-depth knowledge in the area of specialization such as forensic science (FS) and policy, etc.

Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • GRE scores
  • A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Work experience
  • TOEFL (for international applicants)


The degree will typically take 3 to 5 years to complete, beyond the candidate's master's degree.

Degree Requirements

You will be awarded the degree when your university has determined that you can conduct independent research and scholarship. You will be assessed on the following:

  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Publishable research paper
  • Qualifying exam

General Curriculum Requirements

Each university will have its own curriculum. However, a PhD in criminal justice may be offered as a 60 credits program by some universities, out of which 42 credits are supposed to be taken in coursework and 18 credits in dissertation research. Furthermore, candidates will be expected to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Maintain a B grades or better in all required courses
  • Maintain an overall GPA for coursework
  • Residency requirements especially in the first year of the program

In addition to successfully completing coursework and research, candidates will be expected to participate in the following:

  • Professional development seminars
  • Annual meetings of the American Society of Criminology
  • Meet with potential employers
  • Distinguished speaker series

Required courses

  • Foundations of Criminological Theory
  • Research Methods
  • Introductory Statistics
  • Intermediate Statistics
  • Criminal Justice Policy
  • Contemporary Criminological Theory
  • Qualitative Research Methods

Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that postsecondary teachers that teach criminal justice courses earned a median yearly salary of $58,040 in 2012. The career outlook for all postsecondary teachers is quite positive; BLS estimates a 19% growth in the field from 2012 to 2022. Pursuing an academic career in criminal justice may therefore be a wise career move.

Online PhD Criminal Justice

Obtaining a doctoral degree is now more convenient than ever. You can study for the degree from virtually anywhere and at anytime. There are many accredited universities offering full-fledged online PhD programs in criminal justice. Others may offer identical curriculum to their traditional and online counterparts, so that the quality of education is not compromised. An online PhD in criminal justice is about convenience and may suit those who are already working in the field and now seeking a career in academia.


Select Other Doctoral Programs in Criminal Justice

Doctoral in Forensics

Doctoral in Homeland Security

Q:How to get a phd in criminal justice?

A:A doctoral degree in criminal justice is the highest level of education you can aim for. You must have completed your masters and bachelors degree to qualify for enrollment in a PhD Program. The program will emphasize advanced concepts of criminal justice and will prepare you for careers ahead. Yu must complete all the course requirements and meet the minimum CGPA requirement to successfully be awarded the degree.

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