The Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice is designed to prepare students for productive careers as teachers and practitioners of criminal justice and research. This doctoral degree is taken after a student has earned a master's degree, and has met all university and school requirements for regular admission.
The Doctoral Admissions Committee uses a wide range of criteria when making admission decisions, including official scores on the GRE (all sections), grade point averages, letters of recommendation, experience in criminal justice and related fields, the nature of proposed dissertation topics, and - in the case of applicants whose native language is not English - a score on the TOEFL examination indicating a high level of proficiency in the English language. Applicants must possess an approved master's thesis or equivalent written research project. Letters of recommendation should be from persons qualified to assess the applicant's readiness and potential for success at advanced graduate study.
Applicants may be granted regular or conditional admission.
- The applicant must hold a master's degree or juris doctorate (JD) from an institution approved by a recognized accrediting agency.
- A competitive official GRE score on the verbal, quantitative and writing sections.
- A GPA or 3.5 or greater on prior graduate course work.
- Successful completion of prior course work in research methodology at least equivalent to that required by the USM B.A., M.S. degrees in Criminal Justice (namely Methods of Criminal Justice Research and Planning CJ 420, CJ 620 - Applied Research Methods for Criminal Justice , and CJ 625 - Applied Statistical Methods for Criminal Justice );
- Successful prior course work at the graduate level in either criminal justice theory or criminology;
- Successful prior graduate course work or professional experience confirming expertise in substantive and procedural criminal law and justice administration.
Regular admission requires no course work above the semester hour minimum for the doctorate outline below.
Conditional admission may be granted when an applicant's credentials suggest aptitude for successful doctoral study but are deficient in one or more of the six prerequisite areas outlined immediately above the provided student possesses a GPA of at least 3.25. If a student lacks an approved master's thesis, a comparable writing sample should be provided. Conditional admission requires a variable amount of preliminary course work above the minimal semester-hour requirement for the doctorate outlined as a condition of regular admission, the amount of such source work being determined by the Graduate Admissions Committee.
Degree requirements include:
- a minimum of eighty-four (84) semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree or fifty-four (54) semester hours beyond the master's degree, with a minimum of forty-eight (48) semester hours completed in specified 600- and 700-level coursework in criminal justice (CJ) and the remainder in approved electives. A minimum grade of B is required in each course credited toward the degree. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
- a qualifying examination administered by the CJ graduate faculty within twelve months of admission.
- research tool(s). A combination of coursework which may include proficiency in statistics or research methods as determined by the school.
- a written comprehensive examination
- presentation and oral defense of dissertation (12 hours of 898 required). Students should consult the Human Subjects Committee (IRB) prior to defending their dissertation proposal.
- residency. Students must meet the residency requirements specified in this Bulletin.
- continuous enrollment. Students must meet the requirement specified in the Bulletin.
Plan of Study. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study Form to the Graduate School by the end of the second semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study Forms are available at www.usm.edu/graduate-school/planofstudy.php - click on the "Plans of Study" link.
Research and Scholarly Integrity Education
All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester there are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduate-school. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy on training information.
Precise details of the standards for admission and of curricular matters are available from the director of doctoral studies in the School of Criminal Justice.