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.
Through this specialization, students explore how past and present legal decisions influence the creation of public policy. In their coursework, students cover foundational legal concepts, landmark cases, and current trends in law and policy. Students also have the opportunity to examine the legal knowledge that is made available to public policy practitioners.
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.
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.
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||CRJS 8002||Course||Foundations of Doctoral Study||Credits||(3 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8350||Course||History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice||Credits||(5 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.
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.
|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 8810||Course||Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8110||Course||Research Theory, Design, and Methods||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8811||Course||Legal Research for Public Policy||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8210||Course||Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8812||Course||Contemporary Cases and Issues in the Courts||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8310||Course||Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8381||Course||Program Evaluation||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||CRJS 8115||Course||Writing a Quality Prospectus||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis
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.
Legal decisions and the law have an impact on the creation of public policy. Students in this course explore the relationship between laws and public policy and the impact court decisions have on policy and policy leaders. Topics include legal concepts and terminology, legal jurisdictions, case law, seminal cases, and the Supreme Court's roles and procedures. Students apply fundamental legal concepts and principles to case studies and contemporary problems.
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.
There is a wealth of vital legal knowledge available to public policy practitioners. In this course, students will be introduced to a number of print and electronic resources available for legal research and will gain an understanding of how the law is used to inform the creation of public policy. Topics include navigating legal libraries, citing cases, and using research to support public policy. Students apply legal research to case studies and contemporary issues.
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.)
Major issues in the Supreme Court have an impact on public policy at the state and local levels. In this course, students examine major past and current U.S. Supreme Court decisions and explore how these decisions affect public policy. Topics include individual rights, property rights, administrative law, immigration law, and foreign policy. Students apply legal research and verdicts to case studies and current issues. Outsourcing of public programs is also examined.
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 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.
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.
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||DRWA 8000||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 be guided toward any further recommended or required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it after they complete their first term of their doctoral program.
|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.