Ph.D. in Criminal Justice


The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Public Administration at Tarleton State University offers coursework and research leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in criminal justice. The program prepares students to face the growing complexities of the criminal justice system and to join the ranks of educated criminal justice professionals with advanced analytical, critical thinking and leadership skills.

Classes are offered face to face in a cohort format and feature vigorous interaction with criminal justice professionals. The Ph.D. program culminates in an applied dissertation project with practical implications to the practice of criminal justice.

The curriculum is designed with working professionals in mind. Classes meet Saturdays at Tarleton in Fort Worth.


The Ph.D. program has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Application Process

  • Submit application packet
    • Personal statement
    • GRE scores (optional)
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Resume
    • Thesis/Writing sample
  • Interview with Ph.D. admissions committee


GRE is optional for Fall 2022 cycle.

Estimated Completion

57 Credit Hours (4 years)


Locations Available



  • Master’s in criminal justice, criminology or related discipline
    • Students with a Master’s degree in a discipline other than criminology or criminal justice may be required to take leveling courses. The Ph.D. admissions committee will review the applicant’s graduate transcripts to make this determination. Taking leveling courses may require applicants to start the doctoral program with a later cohort.
  • GPA of 3.3 or higher on all completed master’s coursework
  • GRE scores above the 50th percentile on all sections (quantitative, verbal, and analytical)

Program Objectives

Graduates of the program are expected to demonstrate:

  • Leadership: Apply principles of leadership to shape, change and improve the governance and management of public policy in the field of criminal justice.
  • Research: Demonstrate methodological and statistical skills to support evidence-based data-driven decision-making within criminal justice.
  • Content Knowledge: Critically apply theories, methodologies and knowledge to address fundamental questions of the criminal justice discipline and inform public policy decision-making in the field.
  • Communication: Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication sufficient to publish and present work in the criminal justice field and to prepare grant proposals.
  • Ethics: Analyze the ethical implications of criminal justice decision-making and practices within the context of a diverse society.
  • Teaching: Demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge at a level required for college and university undergraduate and graduate teaching in criminal justice and in the assessment of student learning.

Coursework Outline

ClassNumberClass Name
CRIJ6380Proseminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice
CRIJ6303Advanced Criminological Theory
CRIJ6330Criminal Justice in a Diverse Society
CRIJ6342Crime and Public Policy
CRIJ6360Evaluation Research
CRIJ6364Crime Mapping, Analysis, and Predictive Modeling
CRIJ6365Ethics of Predictive Policing and Data Driven Decisions
CRIJ6320State and Federal Administrative Law

Program Features

Student Funding Opportunities

Various student funding opportunities are available, including:

  • Research assistantships
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Fellowships
  • Scholarships.

Students can contact the Ph.D. Coordinator for more information on these funding opportunities.

Cohort Program

The Ph.D. in criminal justice is delivered in a weekend cohort format, enabling students to work and learn toward their degree in a group setting. Students in cohorts learn to become interactive, develop team-based skills and gain networking opportunities. For more information about degree requirements for the Ph.D. cohort program, check out the degree plan.

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