The School of Criminal Justice is soliciting applications for the following traineeships. These traineeships are semi-structured PhD programs in which students focus on specific issues within criminal justice and criminology. Interested students should contact the traineeship point-of-contact to discuss their interest and the application process.
  • State Courts and Society

    The contemporary crisis of trust in the criminal justice system has brought the relationship between the courts and the communities they serve into sharp focus. It has therefore become increasingly important that courts attend to constructs like trust, confidence, and legitimacy.

    Rigorous Training

    The trainee will complete a PhD in Criminal Justice at Michigan State University under my supervision. Although there is some flexibility, the trainee will also be expected to complete courses in advanced statistical methods and other courts relevant coursework in departments across campus. The trainee will also receive hands-on training by working closely with the National Center for State Courts, an industry leader in courts research, evaluation, and technical assistance.


    The trainee will work closely with Dr. Joe Hamm, faculty at Michigan State University, and researchers at the National Center for State Courts to identify and answer publishable research question at the nexus of the state courts and society. Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding in place between MSU and NCSC, the trainee will have access to data collected by the National Center which will be the focus of this traineeship. Example efforts currently in progress or recently completed that the trainee may join include the Community Engagement in the State Courts Initiative and the State of the State Courts Survey. The traineeship will also include the opportunity to propose new data collection efforts. Throughout these experiences, the trainee will be expected to lead and coauthor research papers and present to academic and practitioner audiences.

    Career Preparation

    Upon the successful completion of the traineeship, the student will be ideally positioned to conduct research at the nexus of the state courts and society in academic positions at research intensive universities; in policy organizations like the National Center, Center for Court Innovation, and the Urban Institute; and within the courts themselves.

    How to Apply

    Interested applicants are encouraged to first contact Dr. Joe Hamm ( to assess fit. Applicants with articulable interest in working with the courts in particular or the legal system generally, experience in research (especially in quantitative data analysis), and a background in the social sciences are especially encouraged to apply. Acceptance into the traineeship is contingent upon acceptance into MSU's PhD in Criminal Justice (application instructions are here).

  • White-Collar & Corp Crime


    Research and theory seeking to understand the causes, correlates, and outcomes of white-collar and corporate crime have richly enhanced the fields of criminology, sociology, psychology, organizational behavior and others. To develop the next generation of scholars in this important area the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University is offering a unique PhD Traineeship in white-collar and corporate crime. Through this funded PhD. Traineeship the selected student will complete a PhD in Criminal Justice under the direction of Dr. Jay Kennedy. In addition to completing the traditional PhD program the student will gain valuable educational and research experiences, to include topically-relevant coursework, direct involvement in research and scholarship, as well as practical experiences centering around issues of occupational and organizational offending.

    Academic Coursework

    In addition to completion of the normal coursework and requirements leading to a PhD in Criminal Justice the selected student will complete a series of additional courses. While there is flexibility in terms of the specific courses selected, generally these additional courses are designed to broaden the student’s academic foundation. The selected courses may relate to organizational behavior, human resource management, labor and industrial relations, psychology, or economics.

    Research Experiences

    As part of this traineeship the student will have regular opportunities to participate in research and related activities designed to enhance the student’s research skillset. Under Dr. Kennedy’s direction the student will receive training in the areas of qualitative research methods, survey questionnaire design, and multi-level research methods. The student will have opportunities to utilize this training through their direct involvement in Dr. Kennedy’s research. Additionally, the student will have the opportunity to work with established scholars across the University, and will be afforded opportunities to work on research conducted through the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection.

    Practical Experiences

    In addition to gaining invaluable research experiences the selected student will have opportunities to interact professionals (e.g., CPAs, CFEs, attorneys, representatives of corporations, law enforcement) working to address issues of occupational and organizational offending. These experiences will allow the student to become familiar with the ways in which research and practice are interrelated and at times interdependent.

    How to Apply

    Interested applicants should first contact Dr. Jay Kennedy ( to express their interest in the PhD Traineeship and to discuss their  particular interests and ambitions in this area of study. Applicants with an articulated interest in white-collar and corporate crime, crimes against business, or similar fields of study within the social sciences are encouraged to apply. Experience conducting research, and courses or experience with quantitative or qualitative methods are a plus but are not required. Students must meet the requirements for acceptance into MSU's PhD in Criminal Justice program.