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Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

Overview

The Ph.D. in Criminal Justice trains individuals through an interdisciplinary focus in an online environment. The program prepares students through the core curriculum and allows for specialty training through various tracks. The Ph.D. in Criminal Justice opens opportunity in areas of research, academia, and management to those who are ready to advance as well as to individuals considering a career change.

The program facilitates choice for students and fosters the development of specialized expertise. The Ph.D. in Criminal Justice requires successful completion of sixty credit hours that includes core courses, specialty track courses and dissertation.

Individuals with a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice can lead to a career in administration (social policy), academia, research, and upper-level jobs as criminal investigators, correctional authorities, consultants or criminologists. As a social science, criminal justice researchers identify patterns of criminal behavior in an attempt to analyze the ability of society to control crime and delinquency. Researchers typically use an interdisciplinary approach to study crime in attempt to determine the cause and prevention of crime. A Ph.D. in Criminal Justice prepares one to examine, analyze and propose solutions to crime and problems in the Criminal Justice system.

This doctoral program comprises 60 credits: 33 credits (11 courses) of core curriculum, 15 credits (5 courses) of a specialty concentration, and 12 credits of dissertation work.

Application Requirements

To ensure that your application is complete, please use the checklist below and follow the detailed instructions provided for each item. All documents that are submitted to the University will need to include your name on each page.

  1. Complete online application form.
  2. All applicants must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  3. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework or a master's degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
  4. Application fee of $50 (in U.S. dollars) made payable to Nova Southeastern University will be charged for each application submitted.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation from current professors, employers, supervisors, or similar people most familiar with your professional experience. Letters of recommendation must be less than one year old.
  6. Official electronic transcripts can be sent to electronictranscript@nova.edu or mailed to the address below.

    Applicants who have attended foreign universities or colleges are required to have their academic credentials evaluated for U.S. institutional equivalence. Please visit the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for more information. International students are encouraged to contact the Office of International Student Services at (954) 262-7240 or 800-541-6682, ext. 27240, or by email at intl@nova.edu, or visit the Office of International Students and Scholars.

     

  7. Provide a personal statement of 300 words detailing your goals in research interests and special qualifications for the program. This statement must be attached to the application.
  8. Submit one of the following
    1. Copy of completed master's thesis or equivalent capstone deliverable; the paper must reflect original work, be exclusively of the applicant's authorship and should have been supervised and evaluated by a faculty member.
    2. GRE score of 300 or better on the combined verbal and quantitative sections based on the new score reports (Effective November 2011) or a combined score of 1000 or better on the old score reports. Test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested.
    3. Sample of published work from a refereed publication within the criminal justice or related discipline;
    4. Successful completion of J.D. or doctorate in related field
  9. Submit a copy of current curriculum vitae
  10. Interview

 

Please Mail Items To

Nova Southeastern University
Enrollment Processing Services
Attn: Abraham S. Fischler College of Education
3301 College Avenue P.O. Box 299000
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33329-9905

If you have any questions about the admissions process, call (866) 239-7345 / (800) 986-3223, ext. 28500, or email to eduinfo@nova.edu.

 

Deadlines

term offered application deadline interview period
Fall  May 22 June

Core Curriculum (33 credits)

All Criminal Justice students must take 11 Core Courses.

CJI 0700 - Theories of Crime (3 credits)

Theories of crime causation ranging through biological, psychological, sociological and cultural and political theories, giving close attention to the problems inherent in approaching the study of crime from a "cause of crime" perspective. Emphasis around the key concepts used in theories of crime (e.g. responsibility, rationalization) and the multidisciplinary source of these concepts, how they are applied to criminological theory and their importance for understanding the present state of criminological theory.

CJI 0701 - The Police and Society (3 credits)

A social psychological examination of current issues and problems in municipal law enforcement, including topics such as the informal exercise of police authority, police role conflict, the relative significance of law enforcement and social services and interactional dynamics of police subculture.

CJI 0702 - Criminal Law, Procedure and Individual Rights (3 credits)

The criminal justice system is based upon substantive and procedural criminal law, criminal procedures and criminal rights with emphasis on constitutional theory and practice.

CJI 0703 - Applied Statistics I (3 credits)

This course will introduce concepts, and methods in descriptive and inferential statistics. The course is designed to provide students with the statistical background required for doctoral level applied research. Application of statistics educational and human service research will be emphasized. Areas of study will include estimation, probability, variables, normal distribution, t-distribution, chi-square distribution, F-distribution, confidence intervals, hypotheses testing, and correlation. This course will provide the skills necessary to properly apply descriptive and inferential statistics by helping students understand the role of statistics in scientific research. Further, the assignments were designed to help students identify and implement the correct statistical procedure for a research question through data analysis, using a microcomputer (e.g., SPSS). Students will gain the requisite knowledge necessary to learn more complex statistical/research procedures and become more critical of various statistical presentations in academic journals and the mass media.

CJI 0704 - Applied Statistics II (3 credits)

The goal of this course is to prepare students to use advanced statistics. The course provides an introduction to some of the statistical tools commonly used. While students taking this class will have already taken a course in statistics, this course will place a much stronger emphasis on conceptually understanding the statistical methods. Since the course is targeted to students already familiar with mathematical concepts, we will not shy away from using the mathematical tools needed to develop the conceptual understanding. But the emphasis of the course will be on the conceptual understanding and application of the tools rather than on the math or the mechanics behind the tools. So for example, when studying hypothesis testing, we will place a heavier emphasis on what the test is doing, when to use it and how to interpret its results, than on mechanical repetitions of the calculations involved in conducting the test. Prerequisite: CJI 0703.

CJI 0705 - Qualitative Methods (3 credits)

This course will 1) to suggest the kinds of phenomena for which qualitative approaches are most apt to be useful and 2) to equip students with the skills necessary in order to successfully conduct rigorous and ethical studies. The epistemological bases for such approaches and the complimentary aspects of qualitative approaches will be explored in great detail. The emphasis, however, will be on a hands-on approach on how to do field research, case studies, interviews etc. In addition to a common core of readings, the students may choose from a wide menu of readings in terms of their particular research interests. Course assignments will be topics from the chapters of the textbooks. Feedback will be provided on the evolving research projects including the possible utility of the various approaches listed. Colleagues who are experts at doing field research, analysis, interviewing etc., will be asked to make their contributions at relevant places in the course. For the last five to ten years, there has been burgeoning literature on the value of qualitative research, and guidelines on how to do it well. Most of these earlier studies have drawn from other disciplines.

CJI 0706 - Research Methods I (3 credits)

The overall purpose of this class is to familiarize the student with the language and major issues confronting criminal justice research and researchers. As such, students will learn the basic rudiments of social science inquiry with special focus on how one conceptualizes a problem, uses theory to structure research questions, designs a method to examine the problem and answer the questions of interest, and implements that research approach. This is the first of a required two course sequence. In addition to class exams, during this semester students will begin the design of one research project.

CJI 0707 - Research Methods II (3 credits)

This course is an on-line, doctoral level core course within the Institute for the Study of Human Service, health & Justice at Nova Southeastern University. This course is the second part of the research methods requirement. Because a basic understanding of research methods has been addressed in the previous course, Research Methods II will provide detailed instruction on scientific methods and research designs, as applied to problems of criminal justice, as well as the superiority of scientific knowledge over other forms of human knowledge. It will cover topics such as problem conceptualization and formulation, experimental and quasi-experimental design, sampling, measurement, survey research, observation, unobtrusive measures, and methods of data management and analysis. The final product of this course can, and should, serve as a dissertation prospectus, grant proposal, or publishable article. Prerequisite: CJI 0706.

CJI 0708 - Program Evaluation I (3 credits)

This course will examine key concepts, methods, and approaches in the field of program evaluation research. Students will be exposed to the theoretical and methodological diversity inherent in current evaluation practices across a number of substantive areas. The comprehensive range of activities involved in designing, implementing, and assessing the utility of social programs will be a primary focus of the course.

CJI 0709 - Program Evaluation II (3 credits)

This course is intended to provide students with an in-depth and comprehensive foundation in advanced program evaluation methods. Topics will include the development and use of logic models, as well as the use of quasi-experimental and randomized designs in evaluation research. A wide range of data-collection procedures, including conventional (e.g., systematic surveys) and unconventional (e.g., trained observer ratings) will be highlighted. The course will introduce a range of strategies for analysis of evaluation data that will facilitate the use of statistical procedures in evaluation research, address qualitative approaches to analysis of evaluation data, and provide guidance on the application of cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit techniques in program evaluation. Prerequisite: CJI 0708.

CJI 0710 - Data Analysis and Interpretation (3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a rudimentary understanding of data analysis and interpretation in order to help you read and understand research literature. No previous experience in statistics or data analysis is expected. The course is designed with a focus on you as a consumer of the research literature, not as the person doing the research (although you will get some suggestions about that as we go along). The course is designed to teach you concepts; it is not designed to teach you how to do statistics and thus it will not focus on statistical formulas or computation. Rather, this course will involve reading, writing, and, interpretation of basic research and statistical concepts and models.

Concentration (15 Credits)

Students must choose one concentration below and complete 15 credits within the concentration.

CJI 8110 - Criminal Justice Organization and Management (3 credits)

Students will explore various organizational systems such as information and communication, policy, politics and accountability, power and influence, finance, budget and stewardship and decision-making and conflict resolution. Topics to be explored include the identification of innovative approaches currently being implemented or that may be required; best practices and innovative excellence, the application of change theory for new approaches, and the exploration of leadership initiatives and strategies.

CJI 8120 - Criminal Justice Organizational Planning and Change (3 credits)

To be an organizational leader demands an understanding of the basic principles and practices underlying the management of large and diverse organizations. The contrast of management of stability and control with the management of chaos and instability suggests different techniques of leadership and management. Students will explore various organizational systems such as information and communication, policy, politics and accountability, power and influence, finance, budget and stewardship and decision-making and conflict resolution. Topics to be explored include the identification of innovative approaches currently being implemented or that may be required; best practices and innovative excellence, the application of change theory for new approaches, and the exploration of leadership initiatives and strategies.

CJI 8130 - Ethical Practices in Criminal Justice Leadership (3 credits)

This course explores the role of ethics in criminal justice service and policy. The course is designed to empower emerging leaders to be prepared for ethical issues and conflicts that are likely to arise in the field of criminal justice. Participants will explore various concepts, such as what ethics is, what morality is, how does morality and realism affect criminal justice policy decision makers, and in what practical situations have ethics become an issue in criminal justice. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate a variety of ethical conflicts in criminal justice, and the results of those implementations.

CJI 8140 - Current Trends and Issues in Criminal Justice Organizations (3 credits)

This course identifies and examines the current issues and trends influencing the roles, responsibilities, and management challenges in a criminal justice setting. The course explores contemporary political, managerial, and cultural issues impacting criminal justice organizations. The student will develop a critical understanding of contemporary issues in criminal justice leadership; identify and analyze the major trends impacting organizational function, processes, and accountability; review conceptual and theoretical models and strategies to meet the inherent challenges; and critically examine the leader's role in shaping and guiding organizational response to changing public expectations and demands.

CJI 8150 - Advanced Study: Ideas, Issues and Practices (3 credits)

This is a course that includes a menu of topics and issues in criminal justice that students will select for further study, contingent upon faculty approval. Students are expected to synthesize and integrate the learning experiences in criminal justice and to evaluate research and current topics relative to the field. Topics for consideration include but are not limited to: leadership perspectives on criminal justice; the changing nature of criminal justice in the United States; evolving models and practices; and self-care and burnout prevention strategies for criminal justice practitioners.

(Offered through the College of Psychology)

CJI 8210 - Risk Assessment (3 credits)

One of the most controversial areas in forensic psychology is the ability of mental health professionals to predict violent behavior. This course will review the controversy from a historical point of view, and then look at the different methods of assessing the potential for violent behavior. The course will conclude with a discussion of ethical issues involved in the assessment of violent behavior, such as harm to others, and making statements based on insufficient information.

CJI 8220 - Gender Violence: Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse (3 credits)

Domestic violence and sexual abuse crimes are different from other criminal acts in that the victims, usually but not always women, often have an intimate relationship with the perpetrators, usually but not always, men. The victims testimony, which is often the most compelling evidence to prosecute the crime, must be obtained despite the fact that the victims have experienced trauma and may develop psychological symptomology subsequent to the events. This course will explore the current psychological theories about the impact of abuse on the victim and the best practices in working with victims who have been traumatized both to obtain their cooperation in prosecution and to prevent future abuse by exploring domestic violence courts and offender-specific treatment programs.

CJI 8230 - Mental Health Courts and Therapeutic and Restorative Justice (3 credits)

In this course the theoretical underpinnings and psychological practices used by therapeutic and restorative justice courts will be examined. An appreciation of the difficulties of blending therapeutic and punishment systems will be explored. The Mental Health Court is the newest member of the therapeutic and restorative justice courts in the criminal justice system. The first mental health court opened in 1997 when it became clear that close to 25% of those people arrested for non-violent misdemeanor crimes suffer from serious mental illness. Most had no permanent home, few family ties left, and were recycling in and out of the criminal justice system. The court is modeled after drug and domestic violence courts that have been operational for a longer period of time. The goal is to identify the seriously mentally ill defendants at the point they entered the justice system and defer them to treatment facilities in the community to restore them to optimum mental health functioning.

CJI 8240 - Sexual Offenders (3 credits)

This course will examine sexual deviance and sexual criminality from the perspectives of victims, offenders, investigators, prosecutors, mental health professionals, and supervision/parole officers. Special emphasis will be paid to the burgeoning problem of online sexual criminality, including Internet predation and the production and distribution of child pornography. The course will identify and integrate psychological factors (e.g., diagnostic and treatment issues, offender typology) with law enforcement factors (e.g., investigative strategies, online undercover operations, interrogation and interviewing techniques, and community supervision of sex offenders). Causal and maintaining factors involved in sexual offending also will be discussed within a context of risk assessment and relapse prevention.

CJI 8250 - Psychological Issues for Children and Adolescents in the Legal System (3 credits)

Children and adolescents may be involved with many different areas within the legal system such as delinquency, dependency, family, drug, domestic violence, and criminal/juvenile courts. In some of these courts, youth have legal standing while in others, their best interests, not what they want, is the standard. The courts dealing with youth often rely heavily on the mental health expert to assist in understanding the psychological needs of the youth. Psychology can provide information about the child’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development as compared to others his or her age by using standardized tests. Social issues such as the impact of culture, poverty, language, and immigration status may also interfere with development. Newer information about brain development has already had an impact on the criminal courts with the U.S. Supreme Court recent rulings forbidding execution and life without parole even in cases where the youth have committed heinous.

CJI 8310 - Contemporary Challenges in Juvenile Justice Leadership (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the various challenges facing the juvenile justice system in the 21st century. A range of contemporary issues central to juvenile justice will be analyzed including: trends in juvenile violence; the proliferation of gangs; the impact of significant institutional influences (family, peers, schools and community) on delinquents; gender and racial disparity in the administration of justice; the correlates of delinquency including childhood abuse, exposure to violence, drugs; and the philosophical shift toward balanced and restorative justice.

CJI 8320 - Legal and Ethical Issues in Juvenile Justice (3 credits)

This course examines contemporary legal and ethical issues from the perspective of their integration into the practice of leadership in juvenile justice systems. Students will research a variety of topics, including institutional values and ethical decision making processes, punishment and treatment of the juvenile offender, criminal culpability, police handling of juveniles, the juvenile court, and juvenile corrections and rehabilitation.

CJI 8330 - Comparative Juvenile Justice Systems (3 credits)

Examines world crime and criminal justice surveys of the United Nations; analyzes the relationship between crime rates and differential juvenile justice systems, as well as socioeconomic development indicators. This course will cover an in-depth analysis of different approaches to law enforcement, juvenile-criminal procedure and juvenile law, and juvenile justice and corrections worldwide.

CJI 8340 - Advanced Juvenile Justice Policy (3 credits)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the origin, philosophy and objectives of the juvenile justice system. An extensive and systematic analysis of juvenile justice policies and practices will be undertaken, especially those reflecting the philosophical shift toward offender accountability and public safety. Topics include an examination of Supreme Court decisions and legislative reforms related to the treatment, prevention and control of juvenile delinquents

CJI 8350 - Advanced Study: Ideas, Issues and Practices (3 credits)

This is a course that includes a menu of topics and issues in juvenile justice that students will select for further study, contingent upon faculty approval. Students are expected to synthesize and integrate the learning experiences in juvenile justice and to evaluate research and current topics relative to the field. Topics for consideration include but are not limited to: leadership perspectives on juvenile justice; the changing nature of juvenile justice in the United States; evolving models and practices; and self-care and burnout prevention strategies for juvenile

Dissertation (12 Credits)

CJI 9000 - Dissertation I (3 credits)

This course provides the student with an opportunity to examine the dissertation process. The course focuses on structure and design of a concept for PhD dissertation research that includes peer/collegial review and scholarly discourse leading to a draft of Chapter one of the proposal development. Prerequisites: CJI 0700-CJI 0710.

CJI 9001 - Dissertation II (3 credits)

This course provides the student with a continuation of the dissertation process. The course focuses on structure and design of PhD dissertation research that includes chairperson review and scholarly discourse leading to proposal development. Prerequisites: CJI 0700-0710 & CJI 9000

CJI 9002 - Dissertation III (3 credits)

This course provides the student with a continuation of the dissertation process. The course focuses on structure and design of PhD dissertation research that includes chairperson review and scholarly discourse leading to proposal development. Prerequisites: CJI 0700-CJI 0710, CJI 9000 & CJI 9001

CJI 9003 - Dissertation IV (3 credits)

Students enroll in this course after enrolling in Dissertation I-III and before they receive final dissertation approval from their dissertation committee.

CJI 9004 - Continuing Services (1 credit)

Students will be required to enroll in this course after the completion of Dissertation I-IV, each term, until the completion of their final dissertation defense during the first part of the term.

CJI 9005 - Continuing Services (1 credit)

Students will be required to enroll in this course after the completion of Dissertation I-IV, each term, until the completion of their final dissertation defense during the second part of the term.

Degree Plan

Below is a sample of a degree plan for a full-time student (3 classes per semester) who begins studies fall semester. Because students will be admitted to a cohort and the degree plan is sequential, it is expected that students will take three classes per semester as outlined below.

Degree Plan: 60 Credit Hours

Important Financial Aid Notice:Please be advised that financial aid is awarded to students based on a fall/winter/summer academic year. Federal regulations permit the posting of financial aid to student's account 7 days prior to his or her earliest scheduled class start date.

YEAR 1
Fall CJI 0700 - Theories of Crime CJI 0701 - The Police and Society Track Course
Winter CJI 0703 - Applied Statistics I CJI 0706 - Research Methods I Track Course
Summer CJI 0704 - Applied Statistics II CJI 0707 - Research Methods II Track Course
YEAR 2
Fall CJI 0705 - Qualitative Methods CJI 0708 - Program Evaluation I Track Course
Winter CJI 0710 - Data Analysis CJI 0709 - Program Evaluation II Track Course
Summer CJI 0702 - Criminal Law CJI 9000 - Dissertation I  
YEAR 3
Fall Dissertation II Dissertation III
Winter Dissertation IV Defend

Frequently Asked Questions

From getting started to graduation, we have answers to some of your most important questions: 

What will my degree say?

It will say Doctor of Philosophy. You will also receive a certificate stating Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice and your specialty track.

 

Is the program accredited?

NSU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

 

What are the benefits of an online environment?

Traditional courses require you to attend classes in person two or three days per week. With the online environment, you can check your e-mail and bulletin board at any time convenient to you in your own home.

 

Do you limit the number of students who can enroll in the program?

Yes, we do limit the number of students who are admitted. We typically accept 20 students per year.

 

How long will it take to complete my Master of Science in Criminal Justice?

There are three semesters offered each year: Fall (Aug), Winter (Jan), Summer (May) and typically students complete the program in two (2 1/2) years by taking three (3) courses per semester; however, never enrolled in more than 2 at a time. Please see suggested course of study.

 

How many classes do I need to take to be considered a full-time student?

A student who is registered for a minimum of 2 courses is considered to be a full-time student.

 

Can I take two or more specialty tracks?

Yes. It is possible for students to take additional specialty tracks. Students must complete all five (5) courses within a given track to get credit for that track.

 

How do I apply to the Ph.D. in Criminal Justice program at Nova Southeastern University?

Assemble your application materials (e.g., test scores, transcripts, etc.) and mail them to:

Nova Southeastern University
Enrollment Processing Services (EPS)
Attn: Abraham S. Fischler College of Education
P.O. Box 299000
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33329-9905

Note: Documents and materials submitted in support of the application become property of the university and will not be returned to the applicant/student.

If you have any questions about the admissions process, call (954) 262-8500 / (800) 986-3223, ext. 28500, or email to eduinfo@nova.edu.

 

What materials do I need to complete my application?

To ensure that your application is complete, please use the checklist below and follow the detailed instructions provided for each item. All documents that are submitted to the University will need to include your name on each page.

Check List

  1. Complete online application form.
  2. All applicants must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  3. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework or a master's degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
  4. Application fee of $50 (in U.S. dollars) made payable to Nova Southeastern University will be charged for each application submitted.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation from current professors, employers, supervisors, or similar people most familiar with your professional experience. Letters of recommendation must be less than one year old.
  6. Official electronic transcripts can be sent to electronictranscript@nova.edu or mailed to the address above.

    Applicants who have attended foreign universities or colleges are required to have their academic credentials evaluated for U.S. institutional equivalence. Please visit the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for more information. International students are encouraged to contact the Office of International Student Services at (954) 262-7240 or 800-541-6682, ext. 27240, or by email at intl@nova.edu, or visit the Office of International Students and Scholars.

     

  7. Provide a personal statement of 300 words detailing your goals in research interests and special qualifications for the program. This statement must be attached to the application.
  8. Submit one of the following
    1. Copy of completed master's thesis or equivalent capstone deliverable; the paper must reflect original work, be exclusively of the applicant's authorship and should have been supervised and evaluated by a faculty member.
    2. GRE score of 300 or better on the combined verbal and quantitative sections. Test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested.
    3. Sample of published work from a refereed publication within the criminal justice or related discipline;
    4. Successful completion of J.D. or doctorate in related field
  9. Submit a copy of current curriculum vitae
  10. Interview

Is financial aid available for students taking online courses?

Yes, financial aid is available for online courses. Individuals should evaluate their eligibility for financial aid by calling the Office of Student Financial Aid at (954) 262-3380 or 800-522-3243.

 

Do I need a master's degree?

Yes. In order to be admitted into the program you need a master's degree. A Master of Science in Criminal Justice Program is available online at the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education. For more information, please complete the online form or call (954) 262-8500 or toll free at 800-986-3223 ext. 28500.

 

When should I complete an Application for Degree?

An application for degree should be submitted with payment no later than the last term in which your program will be completed.

 

Where do I obtain an Application for Degree Form?

To access the Online Application for Degree/Diploma, you must first read these important instructions.

 

How do I register for courses?

To register for courses you must first be formally accepted into one of our programs. To learn how to become a student, please visit our admissions page.

Students must register for courses during the registration periods each term. To register for your courses, please login to SharkLink where you will find all of your course planning and registration tools, how to order your books online, access to your online courses, and other useful academic information.

 

How do I request more information?

If you would like additional information, please complete the online form or call (954) 262-8500 or toll free at 800-986-3223 ext. 28500.

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