Doctorate in criminal justice programs are offered in many departments including forensic science and forensic psychology, criminal justice, public policy, and other areas. The goal of the online criminal justice PhD is to provide graduates with the theoretical, empirical, and ethical knowledge that is necessary to understand the reasons for crime, and how the criminal justice system works. To complete a PhD degree takes at least four or five years. During this time, students complete required courses, take comprehensive exams, complete an internship if the particular program requires it, and finally write an original dissertation. The program in criminal justice require students to conduct independent research and to analyze empirical data as part of the dissertation research process. In many cases, candidates for the online PhD in criminal justice may be required to have prior work experience in criminology, law enforcement, court administration, or areas in the legal system.
Criminal Justice Education and Training
You can complete your degree in several specializations including law enforcement, crime scene investigation, private detective, forensic science, corrections, homeland security, public safety, security management, and cybersecurity or cybercrime investigation. PhD in criminal justice students are encouraged to have discussions with other students via synchronous and asynchronous modalities. Earning an online doctor of criminal justice degree means that you will be able to examine the field from a more analytical perspective.
The online doctorate in criminal justice programs of study vary, but students may be required to take courses in forensic science, cyber security, forensic psychology, criminal justice ethics, public policy, research methods, criminology, and the theory of crime. Students in the PhD program often have a background in areas like political science, law, sociology, forensic psychology, etc.
Other courses in the may come from research methods and analysis, crime and public policy; criminal justice ethics; theories of crime, juvenile delinquency, international criminology, comparative criminology, victims justice. In addition doctoral candidates would likely be required to take research design and methods courses, complete a comprehensive exam, and fulfil the requirements for conducting original research and writing a dissertation.
Other areas of study might include legal aspects of the administration of justice, organizational theory that includes budgeting, finance and human resource management. Areas of concentration in the doctorate in criminal justice program are: Forensic Science, Law Enforcement, Corrections, Criminal Justice Administration and Management, and Homeland Security.
Criminal Justice Careers
There are various areas of practice with an advanced criminal justice degree including teaching in higher education, leadership and management positions, consulting opportunities, working as a criminologists, public policy, criminal justice research, and law enforcement to mention a few. With a doctorate in criminal justice or equivalent, one can also teach at the college level.
More and more colleges and universities are requiring college professors to have a PhD in their discipline, especially to teach higher level courses. One can also go into private practice as a consultant particularly in cases where one specializes in an area like forensic science or criminology.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
There are many positions with a doctorate in criminal justice; hence the levels of income also vary. Some positions are CIA Agent, where according to the United States Bureau of Labor statistics, the median annual salary is around $50,000. Crime scene investigator who earn an annual salary of $40,618 to $77,029. FBI Agent who make $52,000 to $100,000 annually. Forensic psychologist who make $68,400 to $115,720. University professors earn an annual average wage of $62,750.
Criminal Justice Programs
- Bachelor’s and master’s programs in Criminal Justice available
- Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2017
- Concentrations include Forensics, Homeland Security, and Cybercrime and Security
- Students study law enforcement operations, corrections, and criminal investigation
- Doctor of Management - Criminal Justice
- Doctor of Management - Homeland Security (Executive Format)