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Criminology and Criminal Justice, PhD

Criminology and Criminal Justice, PhD

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Criminology and Criminal Justice, PhD

Advocacy, Corrections, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Justice, Police, Policing, Social Justice, Violence, law, sociology

Ranked No. 2 in the nation by U.S News & World Report, this doctoral program prepares you for success in numerous and varied professions. You can work with professors on innovative research projects exploring a range of important topics and study with world-renowned faculty.

Program description
Degree awarded: PHD  Criminology and Criminal Justice

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University offers an on-campus program of coursework and research leading to the PhD in criminology and criminal justice.

This program emphasizes criminal justice theory, research and policy, and is designed to produce highly skilled criminology and criminal justice faculty and agency researchers and administrators.

The doctoral program is organized around a core of required courses in research methods, analytic techniques, criminological theory, and policies and practices in the criminal justice system. The program offers distinctive elective courses in criminology, criminal justice and related fields. To complete the program, students complete both a comprehensive examination and a doctoral dissertation.

At a glance
Degree requirements

84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

Required Core (12 credit hours)
CRJ 601 Seminar on Criminological Theory (3)
CRJ 602 Seminar on Criminal Justice Policies and Practices (3)
CRJ 604 Regression Models (3)
CRJ 605 Topics in Quantitative Methods (3)

Theory Coursework (6 credit hours)
CRJ 521 Topics in Psychological Criminology (3)
CRJ 523 Seminar in Network Criminology (3)
CRJ 524 Theories of Punishment (3)
CRJ 525 Seminar on Life-course Criminology (3)

Criminal Justice Systems Coursework (9 credit hours)
CRJ 512 Seminar in Policing (3)
CRJ 513 Seminar in Courts and Sentencing (3)
CRJ 514 Seminar in Corrections (3)
CRJ 517 Seminar on Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice (3)

Criminal Procedures Coursework (3 credit hours)
CRJ 537 Criminal Procedure of Investigations for Social and Forensic Scientists (3)
CRJ 538 Criminal Law and Social Control (3)
CRJ 539 Topics in Law, Crime and Justice (3)

Research Methods (6 credit hours)
CRJ 510 Criminal Justice Planning and Program Evaluation (3)
CRJ 531 Crime Mapping (3)
CRJ 540 Qualitative Methods (3)
CRJ 560 Topics in Research Methods (3)

Electives (36 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
CRJ 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
A maximum of 30 credit hours of coursework from a previously awarded master's degree or JD may, with approval of the supervisory committee and the Graduate College, be applied toward the doctoral plan of study.

For the theory, criminal justice systems, criminal procedures and research methods courses, students select the number of required credit hours from the list provided. Other courses may be substituted with approval of the academic unit.

The following professional development workshop courses are recommended but not required:
CRJ 614 Professional Development Workshop I: Professionalization
CRJ 615 Professional Development Workshop II: Preparing to Teach Effectively
CRJ 616 Professional Development Workshop III: Navigating the Academic Job Market in CCJ

All students must demonstrate proficiency in research design as well as quantitative and qualitative methods.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Applicants will often hold a master's degree from an accredited institution; it may be in criminal justice, criminology or another field (e.g., sociology, political science, history, social work, public administration, psychology or philosophy). Our program also allows for direct admission into our doctoral program for highly qualified students with only a bachelor's degree; these students will earn their master's degree along the way to completing their doctoral degree.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. two letters of recommendation
  4. current curriculum vitae or resume
  5. personal statement
  6. sample of the applicant's written work
  7. proof of English proficiency.

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency. Requirements can be found on the admission services website.

Official transcripts must be submitted from every university or institution from which a degree was awarded.

The letters of recommendation must be from faculty members or others qualified to evaluate the applicant's academic potential for doctoral study.

The personal statement should not exceed five pages, and it should describe the applicant's prior education, relevant professional experience and career goals. The statement must explain how the doctorate in criminology and criminal justice will help the applicant attain their goals. The statement should explicitly explain how the student's plans are consistent with the role and mission of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU.

The applicant's sample of written work should be submitted electronically. The writing sample may be an article (published or unpublished), a research paper or any other extended sample of expository skill, and the sample must be no longer than 35 pages. Longer writing samples should not be submitted without first consulting the graduate director. Documents should not be password protected. Acceptable file types are .rtf, .pdf, and .doc.

Students should see the unit website for application deadlines.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Application deadlines
Session A/CIn Person 01/01Final
Program learning outcomes

Program learning outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program. This program has the following program outcomes:

  • Apply appropriate theoretical principles and procedures to issues and problems at the frontiers of criminology and the criminal justice system.
  • Select appropriate data collection and data analysis techniques for conducting criminology and criminal justice research.
  • Able to conduct dissertation research resulting in an original contribution to knowledge in criminology and criminal justice.
Career opportunities

Graduates of the criminology and criminal justice doctorate program find a strong job market in the public and private sectors. Employment opportunities include supervisory and management positions in criminal justice agencies (federal, state and local), policymaking, and teaching and research, such as:

  • city, county and state government liaison to criminal justice agencies
  • court administrator
  • detective or investigator
  • evidence and crime scene supervisor (CSI activities)
  • forensic scientist
  • intelligence analyst
  • law enforcement or police crime analysis supervisor
  • policy analyst
  • probation, parole or community supervisor
  • professor of criminal justice

Opportunities also include supervisory and management positions in social service agencies, such as:

  • child and family services (e.g., Head Start, child support enforcement, foster care, elder care)
  • Department of Economic Security
  • homeless outreach
  • victim advocacy

Graduates also have the opportunity to work in supervisory and management positions in the private sector, including online security, as well as in the cybersecurity sector.

Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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