Ph.D. Program in Criminal Justice
Program of Study
To satisfy requirements for the Ph.D. degree, students must:
1. Complete 60 credits of coursework with a B (3.0) grade point average;
2. Complete required core courses: CRJ 507 (Theories of Crime), CRJ 540
(Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Justice) and CRJ 701
(Research/Analytical Writing Seminar);
3. Pass comprehensive examinations, as described below;
4. Pass or waive the required courses in the support sequence: Statistical
Techniques in CRJ II (CRJ 687) and Research Design in CRJ II (CRJ 688);
5. Complete research tool requirements in a specialized area of research
6. Present and successfully defend a dissertation prospectus;
7. Present and successfully defend a dissertation;
8. Comply with the University's statute of limitations requirement by completing
all program requirements within eight calendar years of the date of initial
The Course of Study
Each student shall be assigned a faculty advisor at the beginning of his or her program; the advisor will help the student identify interests, select coursework that will develop those interests, and locate appropriate professional opportunities in research and teaching. Consistent with individual interests and preparation, and with the assistance of the academic advisor and other faculty as appropriate, students select programs of coursework and other experiences that provide them with broad training as well as more specialized background in areas of individual research interest.
Students will be involved in organized research as early in their program as preparation permits. Research may be conducted in a variety of modes and settings: through independent study with faculty, collaborative work with faculty and/or other students, and paid research assistantships. Students are expected to identify and develop a substantive area of research expertise, as well as the methodological skills necessary to conduct original research, and demonstrate that expertise in the comprehensive examination (see below). This preparation culminates in the identification and development of major research problem, on which the student conducts original research to be reported in the doctoral dissertation.
The doctoral comprehensive examination provides students with the opportunity to practice and be assessed on important skills: development of a research knowledge base, exercise of critical synthesis and writing skills, execution of an independent research project, and presentation and defense of individual work.
A faculty committee selected by the student shall administer each comprehensive examination. The committee shall be comprised of at least three faculty members eligible to teach graduate classes. The chair and at least one other committee member shall be voting members of the School of Criminal Justice faculty. A record of the committee's composition shall be filed with the Dean's Office when the committee is constituted. The committee must be formed not later than the beginning of the student's fifth semester of enrollment following admission to the doctoral program.
The committee must approve the subject of the student's examination. Thereafter, a written description of the examination subject shall be distributed to the faculty.
The committee shall determine how to assess the student's proficiency, and will conduct the assessment. All examinations shall include:
A. Completion of a research project, involving a written report that in the
committee's view is suitable for publication in an academic journal; and
B. An oral presentation and defense of both.
The committee will report annually to the faculty regarding the student's progress on the examination.
The committee will report to the Dean regarding its assessment of the student's performance on the comprehensive exam. The committee must deem the student's performance to be acceptable on each part of the exam for the student to pass the comprehensive exam.
In the event an examining committee reports that a student has performed unsuccessfully on a comprehensive exam, or in the event that the student has disbanded his or her committee, the student may petition the Student Performance Committee to be allowed to form a new committee. The Student Performance Committee's recommendation shall be considered by the faculty. Not more than one petition to form a new examining committee will be entertained.
Most students enroll in Statistics I (CRJ 681) and Research Design I (CRJ 682) in the first year, which are prerequisites for two required courses, Statistics II (CRJ 687) and Research Design II (CRJ 688). A student whose prior coursework is substantively similar to the prerequisites may seek approval from the instructors of those courses for a waiver.
Research Tool Requirement
1. Students must submit a proposal to the Student Performance Committee specifying the area of research methodology in which they will demonstrate competence, and the manner in which such competence will be demonstrated. The proposal must include a statement explaining why the selected area is appropriate to the student's anticipated research in criminal justice.
2. The area of research methodology must be appropriate to academic study in criminal justice. Illustrative areas that may satisfy the research tool requirement include statistical analysis, legal research, foreign language proficiency, historical research, computer utilization, survey design, techniques of field observation, and clinical research techniques. (This listing is not intended to be exhaustive.)
3. A level of proficiency in research that is appropriate to the Ph.D. degree must be evidenced in order to demonstrate competence in an area of research methodology. Such competence may be evidenced:
a. By completing successfully an approved course (no course credits may be
applied toward the Ph.D. degree if completion of the course is used in
satisfaction of the tool requirement);
b. By demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language under procedures and
criteria approved by the Student Performance Committee. This normally will
involve an examination administered by a foreign language department at
the University (e.g., the Departments of French, Hispanic and Italian
Studies, Germanic Languages and Literature);
c. Upon the certification of two members of the faculty that the student has
satisfactorily completed an approved research tool proposal.
Prospectus and Dissertation