The Doctoral program in Criminal Justice permits students to emphasize the problems of crime, crime control and justice administration, while simultaneously developing a strong foundation in social science theory and research methods. It prepares students for careers in college and university teaching and research, as well as advanced public-policy positions.
Each student develops in-depth knowledge in one cognate area consisting of either a basic social science discipline (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, or sociology) or an interest area relevant to the student's area of study. In addition, a sequence of advanced courses in research methodology and statistics prepares students for the design, implementation, and interpretation of research. The program is individualized to allow students, working with a guidance committee, to shape a program of study that is broad in scope yet consistent with specific student interests.
Doctoral level course work in the school focuses and synthesizes the interdisciplinary components and individual experiences. The program is designed to produce graduates who can apply a variety of research methodologies to the study of crime causation, social reaction and the legal system. Throughout the program there is an emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice as well as the interconnection of the activities of the many agencies and professions involved in the systems of justice and private security. Through their research, teaching, and practice, graduates can contribute to the development of improved systems for the prevention and control of crime and delinquency.
For further information regarding our graduate program, please contact Melissa Christle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 353-7133.
Applications for the Criminal Justice doctoral program at MSU are screened for Fall semester entry. All application materials must be received by January 10 for consideration for the following Fall semester. Applicants are typically notified of admission decisions within 6-8 weeks of the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please send all application materials to the following address:
Criminal Justice Doctoral Program
Michigan State University
655 Auditorium Road, Room 560
East Lansing, MI 48824
Application materials include:
- Application for Graduate Study at Michigan State University. May
from the Graduate School or submitted online.
The major code for the Criminal Justice doctoral program is 4725.
A check or money order for the application fee payable to Michigan
State University must accompany the application if the fee is not submitted
- Departmental application. May be submitted
- Graduate Assistantship resume. It may be downloaded here.
- ONE set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities
attended (a transcript of work at MSU is not required). Please do
not request .pdf or electronic versions of your transcripts, as
they will not be accepted by the Office of Admissions if you are
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general exam scores from a test taken
within the last five years. Test preparation material and information
about test dates can be found at www.gre.com.
Please note when scheduling your exam that it may take 4-6 weeks
for your scores to be forwarded to the university and this department.
The institution code for MSU is 1465 and the departmental code is
2202. Admission requires scores at or above the fiftieth percentile.
- A personal statement of your academic and professional goals.
This should include information about your motivation to study criminal
justice, a description of relevant research and/or work experience
and any other information about yourself that you would like the
admissions committee to know. The Application for Graduate Study
has fields for an academic statement and a personal statement, and
you may either submit your statements there or type "submitted
to department" in the fields and mail or email a single essay
to the program office at 560 Baker Hall or email@example.com.
- Three letters of recommendation from tenure-track faculty who
can comment on your ability to perform graduate work. The Letter
of Recommendation form should be included with all letters of
- One or more of the following: a copy of your thesis if it is defended; a copy of your thesis proposal outlining research up to data collection (if data collection is not complete); evidence of research preparation and capabilities (e.g., conference presentations, publications, research report, etc.)
International students must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam scores from a test taken within the past two years. Students from countries where the primary language is English may have the TOEFL requirement waived at the discretion of the department. Please contact the graduate secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine whether the requirement may be waived.
Please note: Applicants must have achieved a GPA of at least 3.0 in prior undergraduate and/or graduate work. While formal admission to the program does not require completion of a master's degree, the screening committee looks for a strong methodological and statistical background.
If an applicant is in the process of completing his or her master’s degree and is granted admission into the Criminal Justice doctoral program, the degree must be earned before the start of the academic year (August 15).
Questions? Please contact Melissa Christle at email@example.com or (517) 353-7133
CJ 809 Issues in Criminal Justice (2-4)
Special issues in criminal justice research and management. Fall, Spring
CJ 814 Seminar in Advanced Management Topics (3)
Critical study of selected areas of criminal justice management such as organization design and analysis, policy implementation, resource allocation, benefit systems, and inter-organizational networks. Fall of odd years
CJ 815 Proseminar in Criminal Investigation (3)
Research on the criminal justice process. Investigation and role of evidence in the administration of justice. Ethical issues. Spring
CJ 817 Law and Forensic Science (2)
Course covers the legal aspects of forensic science including the adjudicative process, admissibility of scientific evidence, laboratory reports, hearsay, relevant case materials and expert testimony. Open only to Forensic Science majors. Spring
CJ 821 Food Protection and Defense (3)
Food systems and criminal justice approaches to prepare for and solve issues relating to food safety and defense. Online course. Interdepartmental course - students will enroll in VM 821. Fall and Spring
CJ 822 Comparative Criminal Justice(3)
Globalization, crime causation, measurement, and control in comparative and cross-national contexts. Nature of policing, courts, and corrections in select countries.
CJ 823 Globalization of Crime (3)
International crimes and organized crime. Trafficking in women, children, and body parts. Related problems such as firearm violence, money laundering, and corruption that transcend national boundaries.
CJ 829 National and Global Trends in Court Planning (3)
Emerging judicial trends. Stakeholder expectations. Impact on judicial branch planning. Regional, national, and global trends that frame strategic issues, planning, actions, and leadership.
CJ 835 Managing Police Organizations (3)
Issues and practices in police management. Management philosophy and personnel management. Spring of odd years
CJ 836 Assessment of Police Policies and Operations (3)
Recent policy-related research and its application to the deployment of human resources. Spring of even years
CJ 837 Counterterrorism and Intelligence (3)
Integrates knowledge about intelligence and terrorism and examines what strategies—both tactical and strategic—can be used to counter the different types of terrorism. Examination of the nexus between terrorism and organized crime, challenges of counterterrorism initiatives and threat assessment.
CJ 838 Terrorism (3)
Overview of terrorism, both domestic and international. Examination of the causes and motives that drive terrorists, their methods of operation, and the impact of terrorism on the United States and other countries.
CJ 839 Analytical Thinking and Intelligence (3)
Analytic processes, tools, applications and contemporary issues as applied to the intelligence function.
CJ 840 Anti-Counterfeit Strategy and Product Protection (3)
Theory and applied techniques for anti-counterfeit strategies and product protection for food and consumer products. Online course. Interdepartmental course - students will enroll in VM 840. Summer
CJ 860 Historical Foundations/Contemporary Frameworks in Judicial Administration (3)
Foundations in the legal and historical evolution of courts. Contemporary methods, practices, and theories of court administration, including purposes and responsibilities of courts, rule of law, caseflow management, and court governance and leadership models.Fall
CJ 861 Budget Planning and Resource Allocation for Court Performance (3)
Financial resources for courts and court systems. Resource acquisition and allocation strategies, output and outcome measurement for expenditure assessment, efficient and effective resource management, techniques for budget presentation in the public-sector context, alternative budget planning and justification formats, audit formats, revenue enhancement sources and strategies. Summer
CJ 862 Workforce Planning and Management in the Courts (3)
Workforce planning and management in the judicial branch. Selections and forms of employment, including elected and appointed judges and other judicial officers, at-will employees, civil servants, contractual labor and services. Succession planning, methods of employee development, coaching, mentoring, and continuing education. Summer
CJ 863 Courthouse Planning: Space, Technology, Security, and Disaster Recovery (3)
Planning for building or remodeling of courthouse and courtroom facilities. Requirements for federal and state courts. Safe public space, efficient workflow, technology infrastructure for electronic courts, security, and disaster planning and recovery. Summer
CJ 864 Elements of Essential Court Operations (3)
Court management infrastructure systems. Contemporary developments in problem-solving courts. Methods for measuring court inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Constitutional mandates, judicial branch independence and interdependence, transparency, and accountability. Spring
CJ 885 Security Management (3)
Organization and management of security operations in business, industry and government.
CJ 865 Adult Corrections (3)
Traditional and contemporary adult correctional practices. Social, political, economic and organizational factors affecting correctional policies. Fall of odd years
CJ 866 Adult and Juvenile Corrections Programs (3)
Adult and juvenile crime prevention and correctional programs. Application of research findings to management issues. Fall of even years
CJ 873 Legal Issues in Criminal Justice (3)
Open only to graduate students in the School of Criminal Justice. Law as an instrument of social control. Legal limitations on criminal justice institutions and policies. Spring of even years
CJ 885 Security Management (3)
The organization and management of security operations in business, industry and government. Fall
CJ 886 Security Administration (3)
Administrative and quantitative techniques for security operations. Statistical analysis. Analysis of financial statements. Operations research and computer techniques. Spring
CJ 890 Independent Study (1-6)
Individual research and writing under faculty supervision. Fall, Spring, Summer
CJ 894 Practicum (1-6)
Observation, study and work in selected criminal justice agencies. Participation in domestic and foreign criminal justice systems. Fall, Spring, Summer
CJ 901 Seminar in Contemporary Theory and CJ Research (3)
Theoretical perspectives and issues in criminal justice and criminology theory. Fall
CJ 904 Criminal Justice Organizations and Processes (3)
Theoretical perspectives on organizations and processes in criminal justice. Evaluation of organizational performance in justice agencies. Spring
CJ 905 Law and Society (3)
Theoretical perspectives on law. Impact of law on society and the criminal justice system. Fall
CJ 906 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research (3)
Applications of quantitative techniques to criminal justice data. Use of multiple regression and SPSS technology. Fall
CJ 907 Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice Data Analysis (3)
Advanced quantitative analysis techniques for criminal justice data (may be repeated for credit). Spring
CJ 908 Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice (3)
Intensive study of one subfield of criminal justice. Critical evaluation of the literature (may be repeated for credit). Spring of odd years
CJ 909 Advanced Research Methods (3)
Intensive study of one subfield of criminal justice. Critical evaluation of the literature (may be repeated for credit). Fall
CJ 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research (1-12)
Fall, Spring, Summer
The student’s program will be individually designed upon matriculation at Michigan State University under the supervision of a guidance committee. All students must complete relevant criminal justice course work, either in the doctoral program or through completion of a master’s in criminal justice or criminology at an accredited institution.
Program requirements vary for students with master’s degrees in areas other than criminal justice. Each student takes course work outside the school in a cognate area. With the approval of the student’s guidance committee, relevant post-baccalaureate course work may be incorporated into the cognate requirements.
The program of each student shall consist of a minimum of 48 semester credits of course work and 24 credits of dissertation research totaling a minimum of 72 semester credits. The program must be developed in consultation with a guidance committee and approved by the College of Social Science.
The following courses must be completed at MSU:
|CJ 901 - Seminar in Contemporary Criminal Justice Theory|
|CJ 904 - Criminal Justice Organizations and Processes|
|CJ 906 - Advanced Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research|
|CJ 907 - Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice Data Analysis|
|CJ 908 - Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice||
|CJ 909 - Advanced Research Methods|
In addition to the 900-level series, 12 credits in criminal justice are required after admission to doctoral studies. Students with graduate credit in criminal justice from MSU or other accredited universities may transfer up to 12 credits of electives toward this requirement, with permission of the guidance committee. The student's guidance committee must approve all course work. The core Masters courses in criminal justice taught at MSU will not transfer to the doctoral program (CJ 801, CJ 810, CJ 811, CJ 812, CJ 887).
Cognate requirements: Students must complete a cognate of at least 12 credits in a disciplinary department or in an area of professional interest or area of focus (e.g. women's studies, race and ethnicity). Cognates in a disciplinary department are generally in the College of Social Science (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology or sociology).
While enrolled in the doctoral program, all students must complete two advanced courses in research methods, not including CJ 906, and one semester of CJ 907. CJ 907 may be repeated for credit and count toward this requirement when topics have changed.
With approval of their guidance committee, students may transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours toward CJ elective, cognate, or advanced methods requirements.
All students must successfully complete comprehensive examinations administered by their guidance committee within five years. All other program requirements, including oral defense and submission of the dissertation, must be completed within eight years from the time of the first enrollment as a doctoral student.
Student must submit and defend a dissertation reflecting original research focusing on a significant problem or issue in criminal justice. The guidance committee is responsible for providing direction for the student's research.