Doctoral Program

The Doctoral program in Criminal Justice permits students to emphasize the problems of crime, crime control, and justice administration, while simultaneously developing a strong foundation in social science theory and research methods. It prepares students for careers in college and university teaching and research, as well as advanced public policy positions.

Each student develops in-depth knowledge in one cognate area consisting of either a basic social science discipline (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, or sociology) or an interest area relevant to the student’s area of study. In addition, a sequence of advanced courses in research methodology and statistics prepares students for the design, implementation, and interpretation of research. The program is individualized to allow students, working with a guidance committee, to shape a program of study that is broad in scope yet consistent with specific student interests.

Doctoral level course work in the school focuses and synthesizes the interdisciplinary components and individual experiences. The program is designed to produce graduates who can apply a variety of research methodologies to the study of crime causation, social reaction, and the legal system. Throughout the program there is an emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice, as well as the interconnected activities of the many agencies and professions involved in the systems of justice and private security. Through their research, teaching, and practice, graduates can contribute to the development of improved systems for the prevention and control of crime and delinquency.

For further information regarding the doctoral program, please contact graduate secretary Melissa Christle at burrier@msu.edu or 517-353-7133.

  • Apply

    Applications for the Criminal Justice doctoral program at MSU are screened for fall semester entry only. All application materials must be received by January 10 for consideration for the following fall semester. Applicants are typically notified of admission decisions within 6-8 weeks of the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

    Application materials that may be uploaded include:

    • Application for Graduate Study at Michigan State University. May be submitted online here. The major code for the Criminal Justice doctoral program is 4725.  After you begin your application, you will receive an email with a login and password.  Before paying your application fee, go to Grad Portal and log in.  You will be prompted to upload the following documents and request Letters of Recommendation.  Please note: If the application fee is paid before you visit the Grad Portal, you will be unable to upload supporting documents or request letters of recommendation.
    • A statement of your academic and professional goals. This should include information about your motivation to study criminal justice, a description of relevant research and/or work experience, and any other information that you would like the admissions committee to know. The Application for Graduate Study has fields for an academic statement and a personal statement, and you may either submit statements there or upload a single combined essay to the Grad Portal.
    • One or more of the following: a copy of your thesis if it is defended; a copy of your thesis proposal outlining research up to data collection (if data collection is not complete); evidence of research preparation and capabilities (e.g., conference presentations, publications, research report, etc.).
    • Three letters of recommendation from tenure-track faculty who can comment on your ability to perform graduate work. Please request letters of recommendation through the Grad Portal. You will click on Letters of Recommendation (right side of screen) and then Register Recommender (bottom left side of screen). After you submit the names and email addresses, an email will be automatically generated and sent to them, requesting a letter of recommendation on your behalf and including instructions on uploading the letter.

     

    Additional required materials include:

    • ONE set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. A transcript of work at MSU is not required, unless you attended MSU College of Law. Transcripts from US institutions may be sent electronically, and will be considered official if they are sent directly from the institutions attended to the graduate secretary at burrier@msu.edu. If they are mailed by the institution attended, they should be sent to the address that follows.
      International students must submit official transcripts in both the original language and English translation of transcript and diploma. Please have transcripts mailed directly from the institutions attended to:

      Criminal Justice Doctoral Program
      Michigan State University
      Baker Hall
      655 Auditorium Road Room 557
      East Lansing, MI 48824

      Note for applicants submitting transcripts from Chinese institutions: Certified copies (sealed and stamped by institutions) of all post-secondary transcripts, graduation certificates and degrees must be mailed to our department. MSU requires these documents in the original language (Chinese) as well as an official English translation. Effective Spring 2015, Michigan State University will require all incoming ADMITTED students pursuing degrees or who have earned degrees from universities in China to submit a verification report (English version) through the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) for their final bachelor degree transcripts and bachelor degree. All verification reports need to be sent to the MSU Office of Admissions directly by CDGDC. If you are admitted to the Criminal Justice program while completing your last semester of study, you will need to repeat the process and resubmit the materials once your degree has been conferred.
    • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general exam scores from a test taken within the last five years. Test preparation material and information about test dates can be found at www.gre.com. Please note when scheduling your exam that it may take 4-6 weeks for your scores to be forwarded to the university and this department. The institution code for MSU is 1465 and the departmental code is 2202. Admission requires scores at or above the fiftieth percentile.
    • International students must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam scores from a test taken within the past two years. MSU's score requirement is a minimum average score of 80, with no subscores below 19 for Reading, Listening and Speaking, and no subscore below 22 for Writing. The institution code for MSU is 1465. Students from countries where the primary language is English may have the TOEFL requirement waived with the approval of the department, college, and Graduate School. Please contact the graduate secretary at burrier@msu.edu to determine whether the requirement may be waived.


    Please note: Applicants must have achieved a GPA of at least 3.0 in prior undergraduate and/or graduate work. While formal admission to the program does not require completion of a masters degree, the screening committee looks for a strong methodological and statistical background.

    Questions? Please contact graduate secretary Melissa Christle at burrier@msu.edu or 517-353-7133.

  • Requirements

    The student’s program will be individually designed upon matriculation at Michigan State University under the supervision of a guidance committee. All students must complete relevant criminal justice course work, either in the doctoral program or through completion of a Masters in criminal justice or criminology at an accredited institution.

    Program requirements vary for students with Masters degrees in areas other than criminal justice. Each student takes course work outside the school in a cognate area. With the approval of the student’s guidance committee, relevant post-baccalaureate course work may be incorporated into the cognate requirements.

    The program of each student shall consist of a minimum of 48 semester credits of course work and 24 credits of dissertation research, totaling a minimum of 72 semester credits. The program must be developed in consultation with a guidance committee and approved by the College of Social Science.

    Required core courses:

    • CJ 801 - Crime Causation, Prevention and Control 3 Credits
    • CJ 810 - Proseminar in Criminal Justice 3 Credits
    • CJ 901 - Seminar in Contemporary Criminal Justice Theory 3 Credits
    • CJ 904 - Criminal Justice Organizations and Processes 3 Credits
    • CJ 906 - Advanced Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research 3 Credits
    • CJ 907 - Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice Data Analysis 3 Credits
    • CJ 908 - Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice 3 Credits
    • CJ 909 - Advanced Research Methods 3 Credits


    Admitted without a Masters degree

    Students admitted directly from an undergraduate program will take CJ 811 Design and Analysis of CJ Research and CJ 887 Quantitative Methods as prerequisites to CJ 906, CJ 907, and CJ 909. CJ 811 and CJ 887 may not be used toward doctoral program requirements.

    Criminal Justice Courses

    Students must complete six credits of additional criminal justice courses at the 800 level or above. Three of the core Masters courses in criminal justice taught at MSU may not be used toward doctoral program requirements (CJ 811, CJ 812, CJ 887).

    Cognate Requirement

    Students must complete a cognate of at least 12 credits in a disciplinary department or in an area of professional interest or area of focus (e.g. women’s studies, race and ethnicity). Cognates in a disciplinary department are generally in the College of Social Science (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology or sociology).

    Advanced Research Methods

    While enrolled in the doctoral program, all students must complete two advanced courses in research methods, not including CJ 906 and one semester of CJ 907. CJ 907 and CJ 909 may be repeated for credit and count toward this requirement when topics have changed.

    Responsible Conduct of Research Activities

    Students must participate in 16 hours of RCR activities their first year, and three hours for each subsequent year. Information about applicable workshops, classes, activities, and reporting can be found at the RCR Requirements link under the Documents tab below.

    Comprehensive Examinations

    Students entering the program prior to 2019 have one of two options.  They must successfully complete three comprehensive examinations administered by their guidance committee within five years of their start of the program. At least 80% of course work must be completed before the first exam is given. The student will be examined in three areas: two of the three substantive fields of the student’s choosing (criminology, criminal justice, law and society) and research methodology.  Alternatively, if the student has not yet taken a comprehensive exam, they may choose to complete qualifying papers system in lieu of comprehensive exams, outlined below.

    Students entering the program in Fall 2019 and thereafter will complete two qualifying papers rather than taking comprehensive exams, as detailed above. Qualifying papers allow for the assessment of adequate student learning in their chosen specialty area—criminological theory, criminal justice, or law and society—as well as in the areas of research methods in criminology and criminal justice and their chosen cognate. Students will be expected to address unique research questions in their areas of study using the appropriate methods of analysis, and should be able to contribute to the body of knowledge in ways consistent with high quality peer-reviewed publications.

    Dissertation

    Student must submit and defend a dissertation reflecting original research focusing on a significant problem or issue in criminal justice. The guidance committee is responsible for providing direction for the student’s research. All program requirements, including oral defense and submission of the dissertation, must be completed within eight years from the time of the first enrollment as a doctoral student.

    Transfer Credits

    With approval of their guidance committee, students may transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours toward CJ elective, cognate, or advanced methods requirements.

  • Documents
  • Graduates

    2019

    Yi Ting Chua - University of Cambridge, Cambridge Cybercrime Centre
    Alison Cox - University of Northern Iowa
    Gregory Drake - Rochester Institute of Technology

    2018

    Giovanni Circo - University of New Haven
    Lauren Magee - Indiana University School of Medicine
    Robert Peacock - Florida International University

    2017

    Michael Cassidy - Niagara University
    Jina Lee - Grand Valley State University
    Seung Paek - SUNY-Oswego
    Ksenia Petlakh - SUNY-Delhi
    Sarah St. George - Northern Ohio Regional Fusion Center

    2016

    Levente Fejes - Asociatia pentru Relatii Comunitare

    2015

    Sadik Arin - Turkish National Police
    Kimberly Bender - University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    Roy Fenoff - The Citadel
    Byung Hyun Lee - Central Connecticut State University
    Juli Liebler - SCJ Outreach, Michigan State University
    Michael Rossler - Illinois State University
    Brandon Sullivan - Michigan State University/ Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection 

    2014

    Vaughn Crichlow - Florida Atlantic University
    Ryan Martz - Saginaw Valley State University
    Alexis Norris - California State University, San Bernardino
    Miriam Northcutt Bohmert - Indiana University
    Jason Rydberg - University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Charles Scheer - University of Southern Mississippi
    Rebecca Stone - University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Michael Suttmoeller - Missouri State University 

    2013

    Margaret Fischer - Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety
    Melissa Garmo - Saginaw Valley State University
    Manish Madan - Richard Stockton College
    Raymund Narag - Southern Illinois University Carbondale
    Tia Stevens - University of South Carolina
    Julie Yingling - South Dakota State University 

    2012

    Mohammad Ali -Punjab University
    Ismail Demirkol - Turkish National Police
    Joseph Johnson - Rowan University
    Wook Kang - Songpa Police Department
    Dae-Hoon Kwak - Illinois State University
    Juyoung Song - University of West Georgia
    Serkan Tasgin - Turkish National Police 

    2011

    Jeremy Carter - Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
    Suyeon Park - SUNY Plattsburgh 

    2010

    Nebi Cetinkaya - Turkish National Police
    Eric Grommon - Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
    Mustafa Halicioglu - Turkish National Police
    Jason Ingram - Illinois State University

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  • Traineeship

    The School of Criminal Justice is also soliciting applications for the following traineeships. These traineeships are semi-structured PhD programs in which students focus on specific issues within criminal justice and criminology. Interested students should contact the traineeship point-of-contact to discuss their interest and the application process.

    Click HERE for more information on traineeships