PhD in Public Affairs

PhD in Public Affairs: Major in Criminal Justice

The PhD in Public Affairs with a major in Criminal Justice is intended to prepare graduates for research and analytic positions in universities, public and nonprofit organizations. Degree content provides a foundation for undertaking policy-oriented research with emphases on criminal justice. Doctoral students will be expected to demonstrate the capacity for conducting this research through successful passing of coursework and comprehensive examinations, as well as the defense of a dissertation.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the PhD program is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. The minimum requirements for admission to the PhD program include:

  1. A master's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. A 3.5 GPA or higher in both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  3. A combined score of 1120 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE. A minimum score of 500 on each of these components is required.
  4. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors familiar with the student’s academic qualifications.
  5. A 300- to 500-word personal statement describing your background, career goals, and why you want to study public affairs. Indicate how your research and career interests fit with those of current faculty.
  6. A current resume and writing samples.
  7. International students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score at least 600 on the paper-based test, or at least 250 on the computer-based test, or at least 100 on the new Internet-based iBTOEFL test.

Financial Aid

To receive financial aid from university and program sources, doctoral students must be enrolled full-time (9 semester hours during the term in which they receive financial aid). Students having graduate assistantships cannot hold other employment. The exact amount of financial assistance depends upon funding provided by the university and the legislature. The current level of program assistance is approximately $19,000 annually. Students on assistantships are eligible for tuition waivers. Assistantships do not cover additional student fees, such as health, parking, athletic fees, and per credit fees. Program financial aid is awarded in one-year blocks, and is generally provided for up to three years of the student’s doctoral study. The university has a variety of other financial aid opportunities including graduate grants, scholarships, loans, work-study programs and targeted scholarships. Information on these and other opportunities are available through the university and college financial aid offices. To apply for assistance, students should notify the PhD coordinator of their intent at the time of application. For matriculation fee waivers and university assistance, students must file the University’s Financial Aid Form (FAF) and the other university aid documents. Information on the university procedures is available in the University’s Financial Aid office.

Degree Requirements

To obtain the degree, admitted students must complete at least 69 semester hours beyond the Master’s degree or its equivalent, including 45 semester hours of approved course work and 24 hours of dissertation work after admission to candidacy. In addition, there is a residency requirement of at least 18 semester hours in three consecutive semesters of study during the first year of enrollment in the PhD program and a minimum of six hours required in all subsequent semesters. Successful completion of course work and passing scores on the comprehensive examination are required before students can advance to candidacy for the PhD and present a dissertation proposal. Students are advised to consult the doctoral program handbook for any additional information regarding benchmarks for student progress in grade point average, course completion, comprehensive examinations and dissertation work.

Program of Study

The PhD in Public Affairs with a major in Criminal Justice is a 69 semester hour program with seven core courses (21 semester hours), seven courses in the criminal justice major (21 hours), a comprehensive examination (minimum of three semester hours), and dissertation (24 semester hours). During the first semester of the program, students are required to select, with the assistance and approval of the PhD coordinator, an advisor who is a full-time faculty member in the program. By the end of the first year, students are required to develop a program of study with the assistance and approval of their advisor and the PhD coordinator.

Core Curriculum: (21)

  • PAD 7277 Public Administration and the American Political Economy (3)
  • PAD 7155 Organizational Development and Change in Public and Nonprofit Organizations (3)
  • PAD 7808 Economic Development and Urban Management (3) (Crosslisted with PAD 5805 Economic Development and Urban Revitalization)
  • PAD 7865 Development Administration (3) (Crosslisted with PAD 6838 Development Administration)
  • PAD 7702 Empirical Methods in Public Administration (3)
  • PAD 7705 Applied Quantitative Analysis (3)
  • PAD 7707 Advanced Applied Research Methods (3)

Major in Criminal Justice: (21)

  • CCJ 6025 Theory in Administration of Justice (3)
  • CJL 5421 Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Administration (3)
  • CCJ 6705 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3)
  • CCJ 6706 Data Analysis in Criminal Justice (3)
  • CCJ 6485 Criminal Justice Policy Analysis (3)
  • URS 7926 Supervised Readings (3)

Select one of the following:

  • CCJ 6915 Supervised Research (3)
  • CCJ 6926 Supervised Teaching (3)

Comprehensive Examination: (3)

Subsequent to completion of course work, students are required to pass a two-part comprehensive examination (PAD 7960). The first component of the comprehensive examination is a written examination testing for knowledge of the PhD core and related material. The second component is the submission of a research deliverable that demonstrates competence in defining a research problem and addressing that problem through empirical study. Students who fail the comprehensive examination on the first attempt must retake the examination at its next offering. Students who fail the examination twice are automatically dismissed in accord with general university policy.

Dissertation: (24)

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students select their dissertation guidance committee and begin preparation of their dissertation proposal. Students are expected to defend their dissertation prospectus before the end of the first semester subsequent to passing the comprehensive examination. Upon the public defense and approval of the proposal, the student will initiate formal work on the dissertation. During this time, the student is expected to make appropriate progress toward completing the dissertation, and to enroll continually (at least six credits per semester) until the degree is completed. Upon completion of the dissertation, candidates will formally defend the research at a meeting conducted by the dissertation committee. The degree will be awarded upon a positive recommendation of the committee and compliance with all policies and procedures required by the university. Award of Master’s Degree to PhD Candidates: Under certain circumstances, individuals directly admitted into the PhD program following completion of their bachelor’s degree, may be awarded a master’s degree in public administration or criminal justice. To be eligible, a student must complete core requirements in the master’s program. Upon certification by the student’s advisor that this requirement has been met, the PhD committee will approve the award of the master’s degree upon passing of comprehensive examinations.