Criminal Justice

Doctor of Philosophy

Why study Criminal Justice?

The PhD program in Criminal Justice began in September 1992 and had its first graduate in 1996. Students enrolled in the Doctoral Program receive intensive training in consuming, producing, and transmitting scientific knowledge on crime and criminal justice. This training occurs both in the classroom and through teaching and research opportunities that offer students the chance to apply the skills that they have developed. Students also have opportunities to attend professional conferences and obtain funding to pursue their specific interests. The program is research-intensive and the School’s faculty has won numerous awards for research in their respective fields and has been recognized for scholarly productivity in several publications. UC's School of Criminal Justice was ranked #3 in the most recent US News and World Report survey of graduate education in criminology and criminal justice.

Program Goals

The criminal justice faculty at the University of Cincinnati are very serious about the education of our graduate students. We are demanding but also supportive; our goal is to motivate students to achieve new intellectual levels and to maximize opportunities for success within and beyond the graduate program. We want our students to play an integral role in shaping the future of criminal justice research and education.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students will complete the online application through the UC Graduate School by the posted application deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials and support documents are successfully submitted. Incomplete applications will not be processed or reviewed.

Review of applications for Fall Semester admission begins January 10th.

Admission requirements include:

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores (50th percentile or above is preferred) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if applicable
  • Unofficial Transcript with Grade Point Average (a minimum of 3.5 is preferred)
  • Recent Writing Sample
  • A personal statement with discussion of relevant experience, goals, and fit with the UC program
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (3 preferred)
  • Inclusion of Curriculum Vitae highlighting any prior research or teaching experience is recommended

Ph.D. students in criminal justice leave the program with a thorough understanding of crime and the justice system. Students learn, apply, and demonstrate mastery of a variety of skills through research in criminology and criminal justice. The Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice degree is in high demand in academic and other settings. Recent research suggests that there are more academic positions in the field than there are new criminal justice PhDs to fill them. Federal, State, and local criminal justice agencies and private “think tanks” offer research positions to criminal justice PhDs as well. Ninety-five percent of all the graduates from the doctoral program in Criminal Justice have been hired into faculty positions or other jobs in criminal justice research and policy.

The demand for persons with advanced graduate degrees in criminal justice is expected to continue to increase as agencies continue to become more evidence-driven and the discipline continues to develop.

For advising questions, please contact Prof. Chris Sullivan at or by phone at (513) 556-3851.

Application Deadlines

The application deadline for Fall Semester admission is April 1. Review of completed admission applications begins in January - for best consideration, please apply by January 10.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

Christopher Sullivan
School of Criminal Justice
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-3851

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Program Code: 18DOC-CJ-PHD