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Ten Interesting Criminal Justice Research Topics

Criminal justice topics can help spark your imagination as you select a focus for your own dissertation.

As long as there have been legal systems, criminal justice has played a role in societies around the world. Like many aspects of the legal system, criminal justice is constantly evolving, and researchers earning doctoral degrees in criminal justice are at the cutting edge.

What Is a PhD in Criminal Justice?

Ten Interesting Criminal Justice Research Topics

A PhD in Criminal Justice can prepare graduates for a number of positions, including police chief, private investigator, corrections facility director, director of homeland security, emergency management director, professor, and research consultant.

At Walden, students pursuing a PhD in Criminal Justice can choose the general program or one of several specializations, including:

The courses you take and area you research depend largely on the specialization you choose. However, all online PhD students in criminal justice at Walden complete research and present dissertations.

Interesting Areas of Study for Your PhD in Criminal Justice

Don’t let the idea of writing a dissertation turn you away from earning a PhD in Criminal Justice. Criminal justice is a constantly evolving field with interesting areas to study. Furthermore, the research you conduct can advise decision-makers and prompt changes in the legal system.

Below are just some of interesting topics in criminology and criminal justice that might inspire you as you decide on your own dissertation subject.

  1. The relationship between police and people of different backgrounds. Do body cameras reduce police violence? Is police violence against people of color accurately represented in media coverage? How do perceptions of police impact public safety?
  2. The reliability of eyewitness testimony. Do eyewitnesses provide accurate testimony? Should their statements be allowed in court?
  3. Methods for preventing international drug trafficking. What methods do drug traffickers use to smuggle illegal substances into a country? How do law enforcement officials react and what should they do differently?
  4. Crime during emergencies. Does crime spike during certain types of public emergencies, such as weather events? If so, how can emergency management professionals prevent it?
  5. Gender disparity in the criminal justice system. Why are men more likely to get the death penalty? In what ways are women treated unfairly?
  6. The impact of solitary confinement. How does solitary confinement impact people in prisons? Are they more likely to reoffend? Does the threat of solitary confinement work as a deterrent?
  7. The efficacy of drug courts. In what ways do drug courts help or hurt people with addictions? How should drug courts change during the opioid crisis?
  8. Ethical and legal issues in international intervention. When should the United States intervene in crises in other countries?
  9. How mandatory minimum sentences hurt or help. Do mandatory minimum sentences deter crime or encourage recidivism? What kinds of biases exist in these laws? What could be done differently?
  10. The impact of prison on children of incarcerated individuals. Who cares for children of incarcerated people? How does foster and kinship care affect these children?

The need for leaders in the criminal justice field is best met with highly knowledgeable and skilled professionals who are passionate about making our world a better place. If you’re ready to earn your PhD in Criminal Justice, Walden is ready to help. Walden’s flexible online format allows you to complete your coursework when it is most convenient for you. Walden’s PhD in Criminal Justice program also offers two tracks, depending on your academic background, as well as a Fast Track Option for those who have additional time to dedicate to earning their degree and can take on a larger course load.

Explore Walden University's online PhD in Criminal Justice degree program and position yourself for success. Earn your online degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your life and schedule.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,