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College of Psychology and Community Services:
PhD in Criminal Justice

The PhD in Criminal Justice program helps prepare students with the skills needed to pursue a range of criminal justice-related roles including leadership and education. Spanning topics such as homeland security, human services, and the role of technology in law enforcement, the curriculum examines contemporary criminal justice theory and practice while outlining some of the national and global issues facing the field today. Students can choose from six optional specializations to create a program of study that is tailored to their professional objectives.

Note on Licensure

Walden’s PhD in Criminal Justice program is not considered a Professional Peace Officer Education Program for the state of Minnesota and is not designed or intended to prepare graduates for licensure as a peace officer, police officer, or other law enforcement officer in any state.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the root causes of crime and its impact on criminal justice policies, practices, and procedures.
  2. Evaluate management philosophies in managing human resources in criminal justice organizations.
  3. Synthesize theory and research on the historical trends and current perspectives in criminal justice.
  4. Apply data analysis techniques and research design methods to scholarly research in criminal justice.
  5. Evaluate the role of criminal justice in advancing social justice and positive social change.

Program Types

General (Track 1)—Track 1 is a program of study for students who have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.

General (Track 2)—Track 2 is a program of study for students who have a master’s degree in a discipline unrelated to the criminal justice field.

Specializations

General Program (Track 1) - For students master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Track 1 is a program of study for students who have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1 CRJS 8002 - Foundations of Doctoral Study  3 credits
CRJS 8350 - History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice  5 credits
Complete Residency 1 as soon as you begin your program; should be completed within 90 days of completing your Foundations course.
Quarter 2 CRJS 8351 - Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems  5 credits
CRJS 8352 - Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice in Criminal Justice Administration  5 credits
Quarter 3 Elective/Specialization Course 1 5 credits
RSCH 8110 - Research Theory, Design, and Methods 5 credits
Quarter 4 Elective/Specialization Course 2 5 credits
RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis 5 credits
  Complete Residency 2 within 18 months of your start date or linked to your registration for or completion of your first research course.  
Quarter 5 Elective/Specialization Course 3 5 credits
RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis 5 credits
Complete Residency 3 by the end of your third year.
Quarter 6 CRJS 8381 - Program Evaluation  5 credits
CRJS 8115 - Writing a Quality Prospectus  5 credits
  Residency 4 –Complete residency 4 after your prospectus is approved as follows:
  • Residency 4 General (RESI 8404) OR
  • Residency 4 Proposal Writing (RESI 8404Q) OR
  • Residency 4 Methods & Data Collection: Qualitative (RESI 8404R) OR
  • Residency 4 Methods & Data Collection: Quantitative (RESI 8404S) OR
  • Residency 4 Publishing & Presenting (RESI 8404T) OR
  • an approved professional conference (RESI 8900 for select programs only. Contact Advising for information.) OR
  • a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during your 9000 course. Contact Student Success Advising to register. You must attend all sessions and advising throughout the entire intensive retreat in order to successfully complete the experience to satisfy residency 4 requirements. NOTE: Intensive Retreats are NOT included in Fast Track tuition.
 
Quarter 7+ RSCH 8260 - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis  OR RSCH 8360 - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis  OR  RSCH 8460 - Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis  5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation *  5 credits per term for a minimum of 4 terms; taken continuously until completion
Optional: Complete a PhD dissertation intensive during CRJS 9000. Contact Student Success Advising to register.

* Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their dissertation with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval. In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

Track 1: Fast Track Option

Walden offers a Fast-Track Option. With the Fast-Track Option, students take up to three courses and a dissertation preparatory course to expedite their path through the program.

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (20 credits)
  • Specialization/elective courses (15 credits)
  • Research courses (20 credits)
  • Completion of Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support course (5 credits)
    • Dissertation writing courses (5 credits per term for a minimum of three terms taken continuously until completion)
    • Quarter Plans
  • Four PhD residencies

In addition, students must

  • Pass a writing assessment.
  • Submit an application essay.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

Course Sequence (Fast Track for Track 1)

Note: PhD in Criminal Justice Fast-Track Option courses are identified with an ACRJ course prefix for enrollment purposes. ACRJ course descriptions align with corresponding CRJS courses, as listed below. 

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1
CRJS 8002 - Foundations of Doctoral Study
3 credits
CRJS 8350 - History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
5 credits
CRJS 8351 - Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems
5 credits
Quarter 2
CRJS 8352 - Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice in Criminal Justice Administration
5 credits
CRJS XXXX Specialization or Elective Course 5 credits
RSCH 8110O - Research Theory, Design, and Methods
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation*
1 credits
Quarter 3 CRJS XXXX Specialization or Elective Course 5 credits
RSCH 8210O - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation*
1 credits
CRJS XXXX Specialization or Elective Course 5 credits
Quarter 4
RSCH 8310O - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
CRJS 8381 - Program Evaluation
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation**
3 credits
CRJS 8115 - Writing a Quality Prospectus
5 credits
Quarter 5 RSCH 8260O - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis [Inactivated 11/4/2021] OR RSCH 8360O - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis  OR
RSCH 8460O - Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Quarter 5+
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation
5 credits for a minimum of 3 terms; continuously enrolled until completion

* In quarters 2 and 3, CRJS 9000 is equivalent to ACRJ 9001A. ACRJ 9001A is a one-credit course.
** In quarter 4, CRJS 9000 is equivalent to ACRJ 9001B.ACRJ 9001B is a one-credit course.

General Program (Track 2) For students who have a master’s degree in a discipline unrelated to the criminal justice field

General Program Track 2

Track 2 Course Sequence

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1
CRJS 8002 - Foundations of Doctoral Study
3 credits
CRJS 8350 - History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
5 credits
Complete Residency 1 as soon as you begin your program; should be completed within 90 days of completing your Foundations course.
Quarter 2
CRJS 8351 - Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems
5 credits
CRJS 8352 - Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice in Criminal Justice Administration
5 credits
Quarter 3
CRJS 8137 - The Nature of Crime and Criminology 
5 credits
RSCH 8110 - Research Theory, Design, and Methods
5 credits
Quarter 4
CRJS 8215 - Controversies in Criminal Justice
5 credits
RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Complete Residency 2 within 18 months of your start date or linked to your registration for or completion of your first research course.
Quarter 5
CRJS 8217 - Technological Solutions and 21st-Century Crime 
5 credits
RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Complete Residency 3 by the end of your third year.
Quarter 6
CRJS 8381 - Program Evaluation
5 credits
Specialization Course 1 5 credits
Quarter 7 Specialization Course 2 5 credits
CRJS 8115 - Writing a Quality Prospectus
5 credits

Complete Residency 4 after your prospectus is approved as follows:

  • Residency 4 General (RESI 8404) OR
  • Residency 4 Proposal Writing (RESI 8404Q) OR
  • Residency 4 Methods & Data Collection: Qualitative (RESI 8404R) OR
  • Residency 4 Methods & Data Collection: Quantitative (RESI 8404S) OR
  • Residency 4 Publishing & Presenting (RESI 8404T) OR
  • an approved professional conference (RESI 8900 for select programs only. Contact Advising for information.) OR
  • a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during your 9000 course. Contact Student Success Advising to register. You must attend all sessions and advising throughout the entire intensive retreat in order to successfully complete the experience to satisfy residency 4 requirements. NOTE: Intensive Retreats are NOT included in Fast Track tuition.
Quarter 8
RSCH 8260 - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
 OR
RSCH 8360 - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
 OR
RSCH 8460 - Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Specialization Course 3 5 credits
Quarter 9+
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation
5 credits per term for a minimum of 4 terms; taken continuously until completion
Optional: Complete a PhD dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during CRJS 9000. Contact Student Success Advising to register.

* Students take this course for a minimum of four terms and are continuously enrolled until completion of their dissertation with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval. In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

General Program Track 2: Fast Track

Track 2: Fast Track Option

Walden offers a Fast-Track Option. With the Fast-Track Option, students take up to three courses

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (35 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
    • Note: The General program does not require electives or specialization courses.
  • Research courses (20 credits)
  • Completion of Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support course (5 credits)
    • Dissertation writing courses (5 credits per term for a minimum of three terms taken continuously until completion)
    • Quarter Plans

Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

Note: PhD in Criminal Justice Fast-Track Option courses are identified with an ACRJ course prefix for enrollment purposes. ACRJ course descriptions align with corresponding CRJS courses, as listed below.

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1
CRJS 8002 - Foundations of Doctoral Study
3 credits
CRJS 8350 - History and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
5 credits
CRJS 8351 - Policy and Analysis in Criminal Justice Systems
5 credits
Quarter 2
CRJS 8352 - Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice in Criminal Justice Administration
5 credits
CRJS 8137 - The Nature of Crime and Criminology 
5 credits
RSCH 8110O - Research Theory, Design, and Methods
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation*
1 credits
Quarter 3
CRJS 8215 - Controversies in Criminal Justice
5 credits
RSCH 8210O - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation*
1 credits
CRJS 8217 - Technological Solutions and 21st-Century Crime 
5 credits
Quarter 4
RSCH 8310O - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
CRJS 8381 - Program Evaluation
5 credits
CRJS 8115 - Writing a Quality Prospectus
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation**
3 credits
Quarter 5 RSCH 8260O - Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis [Inactivated 11/4/2021] OR 
RSCH 8360O - Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
 OR
RSCH 8460O - Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis
5 credits
Specialization/Elective Course 1
5 credits
Specialization/Elective Course 2
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation**
2 credits
Quarter 6+
Specialization/Elective Course 3
5 credits
CRJS 9000 - Dissertation
5 credits per term for a minimum of 3 terms; continuously enrolled until completion

* In quarters 2 thru 4, CRJS 9000 is equivalent to ACRJ 9001A. ACRJ 9001A is a one-credit course.
** In quarter 5, CRJS 9000 is equivalent to ACRJ 9001B. ACRJ 9001B is a two-credit course.

Master of Philosophy (Embedded Degree)

Walden awards the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree to recognize PhD students for academic achievement leading up to their dissertation. With an MPhil, students will be able to demonstrate to employers and others that they have an advanced knowledge base in their field of study as well as proficiency in research design and evaluation.

  • Students are eligible to apply for this credential while continuing their PhD program once they have completed:
    • All required PhD core courses (or KAMs)
    • All required PhD specialization courses (or KAMs)
    • All required doctoral research and advanced research courses
    • Program prospectus development course
    • Residencies 1, 2, and 3
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA is mandatory.
  • The MPhil requires a minimum of 45 quarter credits. Maximum transfer of credit varies by program but is not to exceed 50% of the overall, or embedded, program requirements.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

8-Year Maximum Time Frame

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements (see Enrollment Requirements in the student handbook). Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.