Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

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The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice is designed to produce students of crime and justice who possess: (1) a thorough understanding of criminal justice and criminological issues, (2) the intellectual and methodological skills necessary for the continuing process of discovery and understanding of crime- and justice-related issues, (3) the capacity for integrative and analytical thinking, (4) competency at transmitting knowledge, (5) problem-solving skills, and (6) the ability to disseminate research findings through published scholarship.

The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology has a faculty of diverse scholars committed to the study of a broad-range 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 and criminology 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

Applicants seeking admission to the doctoral program in criminal justice must submit the following directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • A master’s degree in Criminal Justice or an allied field.
  • Official test scores from the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts for all academic work (Note: Grades must show evidence of the ability to do doctoral level work).
  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty who are sufficiently acquainted with the student to comment on potential for success in the doctoral program.
  • Doctoral follow-up application
  • A personal essay as described in the doctoral follow-up application.
  • A current resume or vita.

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), 213 (computer-based), 79 (internet-based) is required.

A 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.

Students should consult with the criminal justice Graduate Program Director 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 follow the doctoral program student schedule and 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/criminology.

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

Ph.D. in Criminal Justice
Required Courses
CRIJ 7333Proseminar In C.J. Issues3
CRIJ 7337Criminological Theory3
CRIJ 7340Administration of Justice3
CRIJ 7387Research Design3
CRIJ 7389Advanced Statistics II3
CRIJ 7442Advanced Statistics I4
Select two of the following:6
Smnr In American Policing
Seminar In American Correction
Seminar In American Courts
Seminar in Legal Aspects of CJ
Select seven 7000-level graduate courses in CRIJ21
CRIJ 8396Dissertation3
CRIJ 8397Dissertation II3
CRIJ 8398Dissertation III3
CRIJ 8099Dissertation IV 13
Total Hours58


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

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The Ph.D. in Criminal Justice is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Advanced oral and written communication skills.
  • Advanced quantitative and qualitative research skills.
  • Advanced statistical skills with the ability to supply and interpret results.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of current criminal justice issues.
  • Conduct original empirical research and present findings via publications, reports, and/or presentations.
  • Prepare and/or deliver undergraduate and graduate courses for independent instruction (on-line and/or in-residence).