The doctoral program in criminal justice requires students to complete a minimum of
60 credits towards the degree, including 42 hours of coursework and 18 hours of dissertation research. All requirements for the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) should be completed within five years, and must be completed within seven years of the first matriculation in the criminal justice Ph.D. program.
As part of their doctoral education, students are expected to regularly participate in
professional development activities, including professional development seminars,
School of Criminal Justice (SCJ) colloquia, distinguished speaker series, meeting with job candidates and attending their presentations, and attendance/presentation at professional
conferences such as the American Society of Criminology annual meetings.
SPECIFIC CREDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PH.D. IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE1. A minimum of 60 credits for the doctorate
2. A minimum of 42 credits of coursework, including seven required 3-credit courses
(described below) and 21 credits of electives.
3. A minimum of 18 credits in dissertation research taken toward the degree.
4. Grades of a B or better in all required courses. A grade of less than a B in a
required course indicates an academic deficiency. Any required course in which
the student earns less than a B must be repeated until a B grade is earned.
5. No more than 3 credits with a grade of C+ or lower are allowed in meeting the
requirements for the degree; these cannot be in a required course.
6. The overall GPA for coursework in the program must be a 3.2 or better.
7. No credits from undergraduate courses may be used for the doctoral degree.
8. Up to 12 graded credits may be transferred from other graduate degree-granting
institutions (see Transfer of Credit below).
9. A full-time, one-year residency (9 credits per semester for the first two semesters)
is required for the first year of the program. After the first year, students may
enroll part or full time for the remainder of the program.
10. Courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the master's degree in criminal
justice at Rutgers may, with approval, be counted toward the doctorate.
Doctoral students take seven required courses (21 credits).
The required courses include a two-semester theory sequence (foundations and
contemporary); a two-semester statistics sequence (introductory and
intermediate), research methods, policy, and an advanced statistics or methods
course. In addition to the required courses, students must complete seven
elective courses (21 credits), for a total of 42 credits of coursework toward
Foundations of Criminological Theory (27:202:511) 3
Contemporary Criminological Theory (27:202:518) 3
Criminal Justice Policy (27:202:521)
Introductory Statistics (27:202:542) 3
Intermediate Statistics (27:202:543)
Advanced Research Methods (27:202:640)
One of the Following
(Advanced Research Requirement)
Advanced Statistics I (27:202:641)
Research Design for Causal Inference (27:202:647) 3
Qualitative Research Methods (27:202:648) 3
Seven Elective Courses 21
The additional elective coursework is to be distributed
among the university's offerings. Only graduate-level courses may be included.
No more than 12 credits may be earned at institutions other than Rutgers. Most
coursework is expected to be taken in the School of Criminal Justice, augmented
and enriched through the graduate offerings in other programs or units. Students who wish to take
credits within other academic units at Rutgers should seek approval from the
Ph.D. director, and contact the department offering the course(s) to determine
whether they accept students from other units.When possible, electives should be selected to create a concentration in
one or more areas of study.
Research (18 Credits)
Dissertation Research (26:202:701, 702, 703, 704) 18
TOTAL CREDITS 60
ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY: REQUIRED SEQUENCE
Admission to the program does not ensure that the student
will be accepted as a candidate for the degree of doctor of philosophy. The
student becomes a formal candidate for this degree only after successful
completion of the examinations listed on the catalog pages that follow and
described in detail in the Criminal Justice
Doctoral Program Handbook.
Examination. Students must pass a written comprehensive examination covering (1) criminological theory and (2) criminal justice policy, which will be evaluated by a rotating committee of six faculty graders--three graders of the theory section and three graders of the policy section--appointed by the Comprehensive Exam Chair. Ordinarily, the comprehensive exam is to be taken at the beginning of the spring semester of the student's second year in the program. Approval from the Ph.D. director is required for deviating from the ordinary schedule. The comprehensive exam will be a 48-hour take-home exam, for which students will submit four typewritten essays (two in each section).
The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to test (1) students' familiarity and understanding of central issues, concepts, and debates in criminology and criminal justice; and (2) their ability to present a thorough, well-reasoned, and critical assessment of these enduring issues. Preparation for the comprehensive exam is facilitated by taking required courses in theory and policy, methods, and statistics. In addition, students will be provided with a recommended reading list for the exam, which includes key scholars and works in theory and policy. A bank of sample essay question will also be made available. Passing the comprehensive examination signals that students are ready to move on to the next stages of the degree--the empirical paper and dissertation--which require mastery of a substantive research area, demonstration of methodological competence, and an independent contribution to knowledge.
Empirical Paper. After
successful completion of the qualifying examination and required courses, students must complete a sole-authored
empirical paper. This paper must be judged to be of sufficiently high quality to be consistent with publication in a
leading journal, as determined by the evaluation of a committee of three
faculty members. The goal of the paper requirement is to demonstrate (1)
familiarity with criminological theory and a relevant substantive literature;
(2) competence in research methods; and (3) an ability to imaginatively use
these skills and knowledge to address research questions of relevance for the
field. Students are encouraged to seek guidance and feedback from relevant faculty
and colleagues while working on the empirical paper, though it must be
sole-authored, independent work.
The paper must be limited to 40 pages in length (inclusive
of tables, figures, appendices, and references) and formatted in the current
style of the journal Criminology. Ordinarily, the empirical paper should be submitted by the end of year
three. It must be submitted within one year of the completion of all
Proposal Submission. To initiate the empirical paper, the
student will submit a one page proposal and accompanying preliminary bibliography to the Ph.D. director.The proposal may be submitted at any time during the academic year. The Ph.D.
Committee, chaired by the Ph.D. director, will review the proposal and
appoint an Empirical Paper Committee, which will provide an assessment of the
proposal. Ordinarily the proposal will be assessed within two weeks of its
receipt by the committee. The proposal assessment will include suggestions and
guidance for the paper, and will be graded as Pass or No-Pass.When a proposal is not passed by the
committee, the student must submit a revised proposal, accompanied by a copy of
the original proposal. Proposals can be submitted to the committee for review
up to two times. Since completion of
this stage of the process is included in the one-year timeline, students are
strongly encouraged to initiate their proposal review early.
Prospectus Defense. Upon completion of coursework and all examinations, the
student presents a prospectus for dissertation study, receiving the
consultation and advice of faculty and students in an open, public meeting.
Following the successful defense of the prospectus, the student may apply to
the dean of the Graduate School-Newark for admission to candidacy for the
degree of doctor of philosophy.
Candidacy. Following the successful defense of the prospectus, the student
may apply for admission to candidacy. To do so, the student submits the
Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
form to the Dissertation Committee chair, to obtain signatures from the chair
and Dissertation Committee members. The cover page and Part I (Qualifying
Examination Committee Report) of this form are completed at this time. Once properly
signed, the application should be returned to the Graduate School-Newark. The
candidate must continue to register for dissertation research or matriculation
continued in order to maintain status as a candidate.
Defense of the Dissertation. The
third major step of the dissertation process is the execution of the
dissertation. This includes collecting data or identifying and preparing an
available data-set; analyzing it as described in the prospectus; and reporting
the results, implications, and contribution of the research to theory and
extant research in the written dissertation. The structure, format, and length
of the dissertation are determined in consultation with the Dissertation
Committee chair, with approval of the committee.
Once the dissertation is completed and reviewed by the
Dissertation Committee, the candidate schedules the oral dissertation defense.
Like the prospectus defense, the dissertation defense is a scheduled public
meeting that is open to fellow students and faculty. The dissertation defense
date is set by the Dissertation Committee chair, with the approval of the Ph.D.
director and dean of the School of Criminal Justice, and conveyed to the dean
of the Graduate School-Newark. It should be scheduled in the Center of Law and
Justice, Room 572.
Dissertation. The dissertation is required of all Ph.D. candidates and is the culmination of the advanced study
leading to the doctoral degree. It demonstrates the student's scholarly
expertise and independent contribution to knowledge. The dissertation process
formally begins when all other requirements of the Ph.D. program have been met,
and includes 18 credits of dissertation research. The doctorate requires that
each doctoral candidate perform original research in the form of a doctoral
dissertation. The dissertation is an investigation of a problem of significance
that makes a unique contribution to the field. It must demonstrate that the
candidate is capable of independent research and analysis, reported in accepted
scholarly style, and that she or he has attained a high degree of scholarly
Dissertation and Academic Data. After the granting of the doctorate, the
Graduate School-Newark will have the dissertation microfilmed. The dissertation
must, therefore, be prepared for this purpose with the same care as if it were
to appear in printed form. The abstract that must accompany the dissertation
also must be ready for publication when it is submitted to the dean, as it will
be published in Dissertation Abstracts.
Additional materials to be submitted at this time include
two paper copies of the title page of your dissertation with the original
signatures in black ink of all dissertation committee members, an electronic
copy of the dissertation uploaded to http://etd.libraries.rutgers.edu, and additional surveys and forms as required.
University Microfilms of Ann Arbor, MI, microfilms the
dissertation and publishes the abstract. Information on how to prepare the
dissertation and abstract, and the agreement with University Microfilms, which
the candidate must sign, are available in the Office of the Dean of the
TRANSFER OF CREDIT
The School of Criminal Justice will allow up to 12 transfer
credits of related coursework from appropriate master of arts or master of
science degree programs. These can include transfers that replace required
courses in the program, but with particularly close evaluation for continuity
of content. Courses may be considered for transfer credit after completing at
least 12 credits with grades of B or better in the School of Criminal Justice
and with the following stipulations:
- Courses must have been graded with letter or
numerical grades; neither Pass nor Satisfactory will be accepted.
- The student must have earned a grade of B or
better in the course.
- Courses may not include work for a master's
thesis or related research.
- Courses must normally form a part of the
student's program in his or her field of concentration.
- Courses must normally have been taken during the
six-year period prior to the qualifying examination.
The responsibility for requesting transfer credit lies with
the student. In applying for the transfer of credit, a student must obtain an
official transcript of the grades to be transferred, a copy of the course
syllabus or course description, and complete a Transfer of Credit Form that is
available in the Office of the Dean, School of Criminal Justice. Once
completed, the form, syllabi, and official transcript should be submitted to
the Ph.D. director for approval. The Ph.D. director then submits both documents
to the dean of the Graduate School-Newark for review and final authorization.
When the transfer is approved, the registrar's office will record the transfer of
credits on the student's transcript. Students completing a master's degree in
criminal justice/criminology at another university must meet with the Ph.D.
director to review their transcripts. This will ensure there is not course
duplication at Rutgers.
All doctoral degree students are advised during their first
year by the graduate program director, who reviews and discusses each
first-year student's course selection during the fall and spring registration
The graduate program director will continue to serve as a
doctoral student's academic adviser until the student chooses an adviser after
successfully completing the core examination. This may or may not be the core
area chair. At that time, the adviser will assume responsibility for the
student's future academic advisement, and the student should consult with the
adviser each semester prior to enrollment. If a different faculty member later
assumes responsibility as the dissertation committee chair, that faculty member
will then assume responsibility for future academic advisement. The Ph.D.
committee is responsible for reviewing annually each student's academic
Candidates for the doctorate are expected to show evidence
of distinction in their coursework, demonstrated by grades of A in at least
half of the formal coursework. Grades of B or better are expected; no more than
3 credits bearing the grade of C will be allowed in meeting the requirements
for the degree.
ACADEMIC PROBATION, TERMINATION OF STUDIES, APPEAL, AND STUDENT GRADE COMPLAINTS
A detailed discussion of the current policies and procedures
regarding academic probation, termination of studies, appeal, and student grade
complaints is presented in the Criminal
Justice Doctoral Program Handbook. Also, see the section
on Scholastic Standing in the chapter on Academic Policies and Procedures in
Students who are obliged to interrupt their studies may,
with the approval of the graduate program director or the associate dean of
academic and student services, register for matriculation continued. There is
no tuition fee for this registration, although a student fee is charged. This
category of registration is available only to students not present on campus
and not using faculty time and university research facilities. Students who are
away from campus but working on their dissertations and are in contact with
their committees should register for 1 or more credits of research.
All requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy
should be completed within seven years of the first matriculation in the
criminal justice Ph.D. program.
Additional information is available in the School of Criminal Justice catalog.