Rutgers School of Criminal Justice


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PhD Overview
General requirements
SCJ PhD Handbook
Contact the PhD Program Director
Course Descriptions

PhD Overview

The Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with a command of criminological theory, research methods, and criminal justice policy; as well as in-depth knowledge in areas of specialization within criminology and/or criminal justice. The doctoral degree is awarded based on evidence that the candidate has achieved a high level of proficiency in independent scholarship and research. This is assessed through course grades, the qualifying exam, the production of a publishable quality empirical paper, and successful defense of the dissertation.

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General requirements

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 should be completed within five (5) years, and must be completed within seven (7) 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, 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 Justice Include:

  1. A minimum of 60 credits for the doctorate
  2. A minimum of 42 credits of coursework, including 7 required 3-credit courses (described below) and 21 hours 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
  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.

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Ph.D. 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 the degree.

202:511 Foundations of Criminological Theory (3)
202:518 Contemporary Criminological Theory (3)
202:521 Criminal Justice Policy (3)
202:542 Introductory Statistics (3)
202:543 Intermediate Statistics (3)
202:640 Research Methods (3)

One of the Following (Advanced Research Requirement)
202:641 Advanced Statistics1 (3)
202:647 Research Design for Causal Inference (3)
202:648 Qualitative Research Methods (3)

Seven (7) Elective Courses

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.


26:202:701, 702, 703, 704 Dissertation Research (18)


Coursework must be completed in the following sequence, except with approval:

Year 1 – Fall Semester
Foundations of Criminological Theory
Criminal Justice Policy
Introductory Statistics

Year 1 – Spring Semester
Contemporary Criminological Theory
Research Methods
Intermediate Statistics

Year 2 – Fall/Spring Semesters
Advanced Research or Statistics Electives

Year 3 – Fall Semester
Electives, completion of coursework

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SCJ PhD Handbook

Read our Doctoral Program Handbook (PDF) to learn more about the PhD program at SCJ, including more detailed information about general course offerings, qualifying examinations and other academic policies and procedures including dissertation work.

Learn more about our current PhD students and SCJ PhD alumni.

Graduate students with questions, please contact:

Mr. Jimmy Camacho

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