PhD in Criminal Justice

If you are thinking of becoming a professor, psychologist, or researcher in the criminal justice system, you will need to get a PhD in Criminal Justice. This is the highest criminal justice degree program you can pursue, and it should lead to the highest paying jobs. Doctoral graduates are the movers and shakers of the field of criminal justice, and they are the ones that ultimately determine how other people work on a daily basis. If that sounds like the right kind of work for you, you may want to go through with a full PhD program. Here is an overview of what that may entail so you can prepare for the work to come.

Degrees before a PhD in Criminal Justice

A full PhD program from beginning to end will take about 10 to 11 years to complete, but there are several degrees you may pass through along the way. You will have to progress from undergraduate learning to graduate level learning, and you will learn all kinds of information as you move along. The list below shows some of the degree programs you may go through on your way to a PhD. You can use this to plan your trek through college:

  • Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
  • Master of Psychology
  • Master of Forensic Science
  • Master of Forensic Psychology
  • Master of Criminal Justice
  • Master of Arts in Social Work

Once you pass through all of those degrees, you will end up in a doctoral program for psychology, criminal justice, or forensic psychology, depending on the school you choose to attend and the career you want to pursue. Complete that last degree program, and you will be the proud owner of a PhD.

Courses in Criminal Justice PhD Programs

The classes you take to get a PhD in Criminal Justice will vary based on your school of choice. Some schools delve more into certain subjects than others, but they all cover the same basic information in the end. Here is a chart showing some of the courses you may go through in your criminal justice degree:

  • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
  • Community Corrections
  • Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice
  • Administration of Criminal Justice
  • Police Effectiveness
  • Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice
  • Criminalistics
  • Advanced Topics in Corrections
  • Applied Criminal Justice Research Methods
  • Criminal Justice Policy Analysis
  • Evidence Analysis
  • Ethics and Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Management
  • Crime and Substance Abuse
  • Correctional Rehabilitation
  • Constitutional Law
  • Foundations of Corrections
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Crime Victim Studies
  • Crime and the Life
  • Introduction to American Court System
  • Constitutional Issues in Criminal Procedure
  • Research Methods and Statistics for Criminal Justice
  • Security and Loss Prevention
  • Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • Introduction to Criminal Law
  • Juvenile Justice System
  • Offender Rehabilitation
  • Theories of Crime Causation
  • Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Theory
  • Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • Foundations of Criminal Justice Systems
  • Theory and Philosophy of Corrections

You can check with your school of choice for more information about the specific classes you will have to take in college.

Job Prospects for PhD Graduates

Once you graduate with your PhD in Criminal Justice, you will be able to work in a variety of careers. Some of these careers pay more than others, so it is important to assess all of your options before settling into one. You want to pick a job that will pay well for you to do something you enjoy. Here is a list of positions and pay rates you may want to keep in mind:

  • College Professor: Median Income – $62,050 per year 1
  • Probation Officer: Median Income – $47,200 per year 2
  • Detective or Criminal Investigator: Median Income – $42,870 per year 3
  • FBI Agent: Median Income – Potentially – $25,195 to $118,957 per year 4
  • Forensic Psychologist: Median Income – $68,640 per year 5
  • Legal Assistant: Median Income – $46,680 per year 6
  • Police Detective: Median Income – $55,010 per year 7
  • Security Guard and Gaming Surveillance Officers: Median Income – $24,380 per year 8

Think about where you want to be in the future and determine if a PhD in Criminal Justice can get you there. If so, prepare to go through many years of training to obtain your degree. As long as you are willing to put forth the work for your education, it will be out there to guide you to success.

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References

  1. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Postsecondary Teachers. Review January 29, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-5
  2. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialists. Review January 29, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm#tab-5
  3. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Private Detectives and Investigators. Reviewed January 29th, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm
  4. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Citing Websites.” Salary Table 2006-GS. Effective date: January 2006. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://archive.opm.gov/oca/06tables/pdf/saltbl.pdf
  5. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Psychologists. Review January 29, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm#tab-5
  6. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Paralegals and Legal Assistants. Review January 29, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-5
  7. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Police and Detectives . Review January 29, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm#tab-5
  8. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Security Guard and Gaming Surveillance Officers . Reviewed January 29th, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/security-guards.htm