Criminal Justice (Ph.D.)

Ph.D. Criminal Justice (Doctoral)

Develop the ability to consume and independently produce empirical research on crime and criminal justice.

Program Overview

Are you interested in applying theoretical expertise and methodological rigor to explore critical social problems? With a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in criminal justice from Texas State, students gain the skills necessary to conduct high-quality scholarly research in their chosen area of study.

Course Work

Our faculty and staff assist students in developing a degree plan that meets their individual career and academic goals. Each plan features a mix of substantive and methodological courses. Required courses include:

  • Advanced Criminological Theory
  • Applied Statistics & Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Linear Regression for Criminal Justice Research
  • Quantitative Research Methods

Students complete a minimum of 39 hours of course work and 12 hours of dissertation research. Most courses are offered in the evening to accommodate working professionals studying part-time.

DegreeCourse WorkDissertationTotal Hours
Course Work
39 hours
12 hours
Total Hours
51 hours

What Our Alumni Say

“As a student at Texas State University, I had the opportunity to learn from and work with faculty dedicated to both my success as a student and beyond graduation.ˮ

— Victoria Terranova, Ph.D. ’16

Program Details

The doctoral program is part of the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology, which houses a thriving student body. Full-time doctoral faculty members are involved in a wide range of research activities.

Program Mission

The School of Criminal Justice and Criminology produces and disseminates knowledge through high-quality teaching, research, and service with a focus on empowering students and professionals to improve the criminal justice.

Career Options

Since 2009, more than 40 students have received their doctorates through our School. Many of our graduates are leaders in criminal justice and criminology research. Potential positions include:

  • Assistant professor
  • Criminal justice consultant
  • Director of research
  • Postdoctoral research associate
  • Research analyst

Program Faculty

All students are provided the opportunity to initiate, complete, present, and publish original research, under the mentorship of our School's large and internationally-known faculty. The School boasts over twenty graduate faculty, and is associated with several research centers, including:

  • The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center
  • The Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation (GIi)
  • The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC)

Many of our faculty are experts in the field. Some of their specializations include:

  • Communities and crime
  • Corrections and military veterans
  • Criminal and juvenile courts
  • Criminological theory
  • Gangs
  • Geospatial data analysis
  • Immigration
  • Offender decision-making
  • Police-community relations
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Race, ethnicity, and social class
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Sex crimes
  • Wrongful convictions

Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more. If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following individuals.

Doctoral Program Director  
Dr. Shayne Jones  
Hines Academic Center (HINE), Room 120

Advisor Support
Bridgette Maddocks
Hill House (HILL), Room 110


Apply Now Already know that Texas State is right for you?

Application Deadlines

DeadlinesU.S. CitizenInternational
Fall - Priority
U.S. Citizen
February 1
February 1
Fall - Standard
U.S. Citizen
March 15
March 1

This program's deadline is firm. This type of deadline means the application and other application requirements must be submitted by the program's specified deadline day.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadlines to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Admission Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.

  • Review important information about the online application.

    • $55 Nonrefundable application fee, OR
    • $90 Nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

    Review important information about application fees.

    • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university (Non-U.S. degrees must be equivalent to a four-year U.S. Bachelor’s degree. In most cases, three-year degrees are not considered. Visit our International FAQs for more information.)
    • master's degree in criminal justice or a related field from a regionally accredited university (Non-U.S. degrees must be equivalent to a U.S. Master’s degree. Master’s degrees following a three-year Bachelor’s degrees may not be equivalent; please contact if you are unsure.)
    • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
    • minimum 3.5 GPA in all completed graduate course work

    Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

  • GRE

    • official GRE (general test only) required with competitive scores in the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections

    Approved English Proficiency Exam Scores

    Applicants are required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score that meets the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

    • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
    • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
    • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
      • minimum individual module scores of 6.0
    • official Duolingo scores required with a 110 overall
    • official TOEFL Essentials scores required with an 8.5 overall

    This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

    Review important information about official test scores

    • statement of purpose describing your personal history and life goals that are relevant to obtaining a doctoral degree
    • three letters of recommendation indicating your skills and capacity to be successful in the Ph.D. program

    Review important information about documents.

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