Criminal Justice (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (JA PHD)
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Criminal Justice
Program Webpage: louisville.edu/justice/

Program Information

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

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 credit hours: 18 credit hours of core courses, 18 credit hours of specialization courses, 6 credit hours of qualifying project, and 12 credit hours of dissertation research. Students qualify for official candidacy to the PhD by satisfactorily completing all course work and the qualifying project.

Admission Requirements 

  • Completed application form
  • Transcripts of previous undergraduate and graduate study
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample 
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume

Additionally, applicants must show evidence, on their transcript, of the completion of both graduate-level statistics and 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 the standardized tests, a strong undergraduate and master's degree 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. The holistic review of applications allows our faculty to select the students who best fit the research areas offered within the department. 

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 (TOEFL), with a minimum score of 80 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 213 paper-based test (PBT) or 550 (old test).

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.

Degree Requirements

Criminal Justice Core Courses

CJ 745Advanced Criminal Behavior3
CJ 748Seminar in Criminal Justice Program Planning & Evaluation3
CJ 749Advanced Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice3
CJ 750Field Research in Criminal Justice3
CJ 751Advanced Statistical Computer Applications for Criminal Justice3
CJ 752Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 795Criminal Justice Qualifying Project 6
CJ 799Dissertation Research in Criminal Justice12
Electives 118
Minimum Total Hours54

Criminal Justice Electives

CJ 602Criminal Justice History3
CJ 605Police and Society3
CJ 606Personnel Management in the Criminal Justice System3
CJ 607Seminar in Law and Justice3
CJ 609Economic Analysis of Crime3
CJ 610Theoretical Foundation of Corrections3
CJ 611Critical Issues in Corrections3
CJ 612Criminal Justice Administration: Police3
CJ 613Advanced Comparative Criminal Justice3
CJ 614Seminar in Policing3
CJ 626Emergency Management3
CJ 627Computer and Cyber Crime3
CJ 630Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience3
CJ 644Seminar in Juvenile Justice3
CJ 652Constitutional Issues in Criminal Justice3
CJ 653Communities and Crime3
CJ 655International Perspectives on Violence3
CJ 656Crime Mapping3
CJ 665Special Topics in Justice and Criminology3
CJ 670Directed Studies/Readings3
CJ 690Practicum3
CJ 740Seminar in Crime Prevention and Social Control3
CJ 798Mentored Research in Criminal Justice3