Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice Program

Ph.D. in Criminal Justice Page

The Department of Criminal Justice  offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal JusticeThe Ph.D. in Criminal Justice is a degree that prepares graduates for careers in academic (e.g., teaching and research)  as well as public sector organizations (e.g., research, policy analysis and development, planning, program development and evaluation).

The program consists of a core curriculum and electives that students may use to develop their particular areas of specialization. The core provides a broad orientation and the electives enable students to develop expertise in a particular field. The curriculum includes 54 credits:18 hours of core, 18 hours electives, 6 hours of qualifying project, 12 hours of dissertation research.  Students qualify for official candidacy to the Ph.D. by satisfactorily completing all course work and qualifying examinations in the core curriculum.

Both full and part­ time study is permitted.  Part­ time students are required to meet residency requirements consisting of 4 continuous semesters of enrollment and participation in departmental activities offered to meet the need for scholarly integration and academic immersion in the program.


Application Materials Required

•  Official transcripts from all schools attended.

•  Scores on the General Test Sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

•  3 letters of recommendation

•  Personal statement

•  Writing sample

•  Curriculum vita or resume

•  Completion of graduate-level statistics and graduate-level research methods courses

The Department of Criminal Justice has adopted the Council of Graduate Schools recommendation for a holistic approach to our admission criteria. Successful applicants will typically have strong scores on standardized tests, a strong undergraduate record, and excellent letters of recommendation that speak to the nominee’s scholarly ability and potential to succeed in a doctoral program. However, candidates may have other documented strengths that speak to the potential for success as evidenced by: prior research experience; exceptional community engagement or service; leadership experience; evidence of creativity or resilience; unique experiences or background that will contribute to our program.

Those applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a degree from a university where the language of instruction is English must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language, with a minimum score of 80 on the internet ­based test (iBT) or 213 paper-based test (PBT) or 550 (old test).

Application Deadline is January 15 for those seeking Graduate Assistantships and March 15, for those not seeking assistantships.


The Department of Criminal Justice offers a limited number of Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant positions (GRAs) which are awarded competitively and are intended to support full­ time study. Students in the Ph.D. program may receive a maximum of three years of support as a Graduate Assistant. The Ph.D. Graduate Assistants are provided a stipend of $18,000 over 12 months as well as full tuition remission and health insurance. The application submission deadline is January 15.  Download Application. 

Ph D Graduate Student Handbook (pdf)

Core Courses

CJ 745 Advanced Theories of Crime and Delinquency (3)

CJ 748 Seminar in Criminal Justice Program Evaluation (3)

CJ 749 Advanced Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice (3)

CJ 750 Field Research (3)

CJ 751 Computer Applications in Criminal Justice (3)

CJ 752 Research Methods (3)

Qualifying Project (6 hours are required)

CJ 795 Criminal Justice Qualifying Project – CGE (6) 

Elective Courses (18 total hours, minimum of 9 from Department of Criminal Justice Courses)

Students must take any combination of the elective courses within the department.  Students may also take a maximum of 6 credits from previously approved courses outside the department.

Criminal Justice Electives

CJ 602             Criminal Justice History

CJ 605             Police & Society

CJ 606             Personnel Management in the Criminal Justice System

CJ 607             Law and Justice

CJ 609             Economic Analysis of Crime

CJ 610             Theoretical Foundations of Corrections

CJ 611             Critical Issues in Corrections

CJ 612             Criminal Justice Administration:  Police

CJ 613             Advanced Comparative Criminal Justice

CJ 614             Seminar in Policing

CJ 626             Emergency Management

CJ 627             Computer & Cyber Crime

CJ 630             Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience

CJ 644             Seminar in Juvenile Justice

CJ 652             Constitutional Issues in Criminal Justice

CJ 653             Communities & Crime

CJ 655             International Perspectives on Violence

CJ 656             Crime Mapping

CJ 665             Special Topics in Criminal Justice/Criminology

CJ 670             Directed Studies/Readings

CJ 690             Practicum

CJ 703             Criminal Justice System Planning

CJ 740             Crime Prevention & Social Control

CJ 798             Mentored Research

Proposed Electives from Other Graduate Programs at U of L

COMM 605     Communication Theory and Practice

ELFH 605        Leadership Training and Performance

ELFH 612        Human Resource Management

ELFH 661        Adult Development and Learning

ELFH 662        Organizational Analysis

ELFH 683        College Teaching

GEOG 631      Urban Demography

GEOG 656      Advanced Spatial Statistics

POLS 619       Seminar in Public Policy

POLS625        Public Administration and Organizational Theory

POLS628        Mediation and Dispute Resolution

POLS 649       Seminar in Comparative Politics

SOC 660         Seminar in Crime and Correction

UPA602          Urban Policy and Government

UPA 647         Public Budgeting & Finance

UPA 660         Advanced Organizational Behavior

Dissertation (12 credits are required)

CJ 799 Dissertation Research (1-12 credits)


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