Help meet the growing demand for criminal justice and security professionals and gain more credibility in the field with our PhD in Criminal Justice degree program.
Students pursuing this specialization have the opportunity to study the risk factors associated with criminal behavior as well as how history has shaped the modern criminal justice system. Through their coursework, students cover the latest approaches to managing crises, current trends in criminal justice, and emerging solutions to contemporary crime.
Track I is a program of study for students who have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. If you have a master's degree in an unrelated discipline, see Track II.
Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.
In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.
Please refer to Walden’s catalog for more information about degree requirements.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
For the highly motivated student with discipline and a flexible schedule, Walden offers an expedited path to your doctoral degree. With the Fast Track option, you can complete your PhD in Criminal Justice in a shorter amount of time by taking additional courses per term. Learn more about this exciting option or contact your enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286 to see if it’s the right choice for you.
|Course Code||DRWA 8880G||Course||Doctoral Writing Assessment||Credits||(0 cr.)|
This course is part of Walden’s commitment to help prepare students to meet the university’s expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.
|Course Code||CRJS 8002||Course||Foundations of Doctoral Study||Credits||(3 cr.)|
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as a scholar-practitioner and social change agent. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop a program of study and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence as they relate to practice in public policy and administration.
|Course Code||CRJS 8350||Course||History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8351||Course||Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8352||Course||Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice in Criminal Justice Administration||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8381||Course||Program Evaluation||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this course look at the evolution of crime—from lone criminals to worldwide syndicates—using the scientific rigor built into the selected readings and discussions. Among the topics examined are the philosophy of community- and problem-oriented policing, transnational crime, terrorism, and the new nexus between them. Current and future leaders are equipped with the knowledge and depth of understanding to assess and manage the opportunities, innovations, and challenges in their profession.
Criminal justice professionals must understand the various factors that influence the development of criminal justice policy, and how to evaluate whether existing policy meets its objectives. In this course, students will examine the principles of policy analysis and the role that scientific information plays in the development of criminal justice policy. Topics explored include policing, corrections, and sentencing; juvenile justice; the relationship among drugs, race, and crime; deterrence as a crime control policy; and the use of public registries. Through further analysis of criminal justice policies, students determine how these policies have changed over time, gaining insight into possible future trends of policy development and analysis.
Students in this course are introduced to the problems that currently confront the administration of the criminal justice system, as well as problems predicted for the future. To be prepared to lead efforts to address these challenges, students acquire powerful models for strategic, critical, and reflective thinking. Students immerse themselves in discussion about the major components of effective justice administration: organizational thought and theory, leadership, human capital, policy development and implementation, and collaboration with other public safety and community organizations.
Students in this course are introduced to the tools used by policymakers and policy analysts to evaluate the impact of social programs. Topics include selecting programs to evaluate, crafting program descriptions, identifying stakeholders and their interests, developing logic models, framing evaluation questions, applying utilization-focused evaluation techniques, using quantitative and qualitative tools to complete formative and summative evaluations, and providing evaluation reports and feedback to decision makers. By the end of the course, each student will develop a program-evaluation design for a social program.
|Course Code||CRJS 8137||Course||The Nature of Crime and Criminology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8215||Course||Controversies in Criminal Justice||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8217||Course||Technological Solutions and 21st-Century Crime||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this course are introduced to contemporary views and theories of maladaptive and criminal behavior. They examine a broad conceptualization of criminal behavior from an interdisciplinary perspective as well as theories and application of criminal profiling. Students also explore specific views of criminal behavior germane to groups, such as psychopaths, serial offenders, and sexually violent predators. At the end of this course, students will have an understanding of the theories and practices that are the foundations of the field of criminology.
In this course, students review recent events that have significantly changed how the legal system interprets the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Code, and the U.S. Patriot Act. Students analyze case studies to further explore relevant events, such as how the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, have broadened the interpretation of certain areas of the law. Students heighten their understanding of how social and historical changes have shifted perspectives and sparked debates on expanding the rights of government versus safeguarding personal civil rights and civil liberties.
In consideration of modern technological innovation and the spread of knowledge through digital means, the relationship between technology and criminal activity is increasing. In this course, students explore this relationship and gain a comprehensive view of cyber crime, including current trends. They learn how law enforcement agencies use technology to track and apprehend criminals. Through real-world scenarios, students examine legal responses to cyber crime and learn different approaches and techniques for solving cyber crimes and handling related challenges. Students also have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of building cases and prosecuting crimes through practical exercises in identification, data mining, and the protection and gathering of evidence.
|Course Code||RSCH 8110||Course||Research Theory, Design, and Methods||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8210||Course||Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8310||Course||Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis
In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography.
In this research course, students are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing and carrying out quantitative research at the doctoral level, including the application of statistical concepts and techniques. Students explore classical common statistical tests, the importance of the logic of inference, and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. Students approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting appropriate statistical tests for a research design. Students use statistical software to derive statistics from quantitative data and interpret and present results. RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110.)
Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop basic knowledge and skills for conducting qualitative research at the doctoral level. Students explore the nature of qualitative inquiry, how theory and theoretical and conceptual frameworks uniquely apply to qualitative research, data collection procedures and analysis strategy, and how the role of the researcher is expressed in the ethical and rigorous conduct of qualitative research. Students practice collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data, and they develop a detailed research topic for conducting a qualitative study. RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110.)
Students in this research course build upon knowledge and skills acquired in the prerequisite quantitative reasoning course and are presented with opportunities to apply them. They are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for conducting quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding multivariate data analysis and applying more advanced statistical concepts, such as factorial ANOVA, mediation, moderation, logistic regression, ANCOVA, and MANOVA. Students explore existing datasets and apply suitable statistical tests to answer research questions with social change implications. In this course, they approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting the appropriate statistical tests for more complex research questions and social problems. Students use statistical software to perform analyses and interpret and present results. They will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by carrying out a quantitative research project. RSCH 8110.)
Students build upon the knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis. and have experience applying them. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the theoretical antecedents and practical applications of eight contemporary qualitative approaches. Students gain experience developing qualitative interview guides, collecting data, and managing the process from transcription through analysis. The unique challenges of confidentiality and ethical issues are explored as well as implications for social change. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a qualitative research plan using a topic relevant to their capstone.
Students build upon knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis for more specialized knowledge and skills to design mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. Students are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for designing mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. They gain an understanding of the types of mixed-methods designs and how to select the most appropriate approach for the research question(s). The emphases of this course are on integrating quantitative and qualitative elements into true mixed-methods studies, practice in data analysis, and integration of qualitative and quantitative data within a research write-up. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a mixed-methods research plan that incorporates qualitative and quantitative elements appropriately. RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110 and RSCH 8210 or RSCH 7210 or RSCH 6210 and RSCH 8310 or RSCH 7310 or RSCH 6310.)
|Course Code||CRJS 8115||Course||Writing a Quality Prospectus||Credits||(5 cr.)|
The prospectus is a brief paper, typically 15–20 pages in length, that helps students organize, delineate, and make decisions regarding their doctoral study and appropriate research methodology. Students create a prospectus to establish the background for the problem statement; the problem statement itself; a survey of the relevant literature (typically 25–75 references); and a research, implementation, and evaluation plan for the solution of the problem. Students in this 5-credit course focus specifically on the process of writing the dissertation prospectus. They employ their preliminary research plan to develop a problem statement for their dissertation. Students further refine the problem statement and carry out the planning and the library research that lends to the formulation of a dissertation prospectus.
|Course Code||CRJS 9000*||Course||Dissertation||Credits||(5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)|
Through this course, doctoral students have the opportunity to integrate their Program of Study into an in-depth exploration of an interest area that includes the completion of a research study. Students complete the dissertation independently, with the guidance of a dissertation supervisory committee chair and committee members. Students complete a prospectus, proposal, Institutional Review Board application, and dissertation. Once students register for CRJS 9000, they will be registered each term until successful completion of the dissertation.Students take this course for a minimum of 4 quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their Dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.To complete a dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
*Students are continuously enrolled in CRJS 9000 for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion of their dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
8-Year Maximum Timeframe
Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe, but an extension is not guaranteed.
Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.