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Ph.D. Criminal Justice Overview

Degree Completion Plan (57 Credit Hours)

  • Phase I: Complete course requirements (45 credits)
  • Phase II: Prepare and pass preliminary exams (3 credits)
  • Phase III: Dissertation research (9 credits)
    • Develop applied dissertation proposal
    • Successfully complete an oral defense of the proposal
    • Complete your dissertation research
    • Complete your written dissertation
    • Successfully complete an oral defense of the dissertation

Recommended Timeline for Degree Completion

  • Year 1: 2 courses in Fall, Spring, and Summer
  • Year 2: 2 courses in Fall, Spring, and Summer
  • Year 3: 2 courses in Fall, 1 course in Spring, take preliminary exams by Summer
  • Year 4: dissertation hours in Fall, Spring, and Summer

Coursework Requirements

  • In order to count for PhD degree requirement, students need to receive a final grade of a B or higher in all courses.
  • Individuals receiving a C or less in a course will be required to retake the course at its next offering
  • Individuals who receive a C or less the second time when taking a course will be subject to removal from the program.

Academic Performance

The student’s major professor should review at least once a year the doctoral student’s progress in his or her research as well as plans for work in the coming year.

Comprehensive Exams

Doctoral students must receive passing grades for each of four exams(1) criminological theory, (2) research design/methods, (3) statistical analysis, and (4) a specialty area reflecting the individual student’s professional background and educational history within the Doctoral Program.

Admission to Candidacy

Following the completion of comprehensive exams, an Admission to Candidacy form is sent to the Registrar’s office and the student becomes a candidate for the doctoral degree. At this stage, the student is eligible to register for dissertation credit hours. The department requires a minimum period of six months between the admission to candidacy and the granting of the degree.

Prospectus Defense

The prospectus defense is a meeting held by the doctoral student and the doctoral committee members to reach consensus regarding the proposal and research methods. The prospectus defense must be held at least one semester prior to the final defense of the dissertation.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

During the preparation of the dissertation, the doctoral student is required by the University to complete at least 9 dissertation credits. Until the dissertation is completed, students must register for at least 1 dissertation credit each semester, even after they have completed the University minimum of 9 credits. All doctoral students are required to register for at least 1 hour of dissertation credit during the semester in which they graduate. The dissertation defense is a formal presentation of the dissertation to the dissertation committee. The formal dissertation defense is open to anyone in the University, and the doctoral dissertation must be presented in an acceptable form before a student will receive clearance from the University to graduate.