Criminology and Justice Policy, PhD

The doctoral program in criminology and justice policy at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University seeks to prepare students for professional and research careers in criminal justice, criminology, and related fields by applying multidisciplinary and comparative social science to understand, predict, and explain crime and contribute to the development of public policy within urban communities. Using an active-learning approach, the school seeks to develop its students intellectually and ethically, while providing them with a keen appreciation for the complexities of crime and public and private efforts to make communities safer and to ensure justice. 

The program is full time and is small and student centered. It is expected that students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete the program in four to five years, and students entering with a master's degree will be able to complete the program in three to five years.

Year one in the doctoral program offers students an opportunity to obtain a broad foundational knowledge in the discipline: two semesters of criminological theory, two semesters of statistics, and one semester of advanced research methods. To ensure that all students have mastered the foundational material emphasized across the required courses for the PhD program and can successfully integrate theory, research, and policy, all PhD students take a “foundations” qualifying examination at the end of their first year in the doctoral program.  

After demonstrating mastery of the foundational knowledge in year one, students devote themselves to a more specific area of research in year two. Students demonstrate this commitment through a second qualifying examination, which consists of two stages: an area exam and a publishable paper. The two stages of this exam are required and should be related.

Following successful completion of the first and second qualifying examinations, and required and elective course work (totaling 50 semester hours), the students proceed to a formal dissertation proposal defense.

Doctoral Degree Candidacy

A student achieves candidacy when he or she has successfully completed all course work (50 semester hours for students entering with a bachelor's degree), passed both the foundations qualifying examination and the area qualifying examination, and deposited the final version of their dissertation proposal (approved by their full committee) with the school’s graduate program office. Candidacy is certified, in writing, by the college.

Bachelor's Degree Entrance

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Two qualifying examinations—foundations and area
Annual review
PhD candidacy
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense

Core Requirement

A cumulative 3.000 GPA is required for the core requirement.

Criminal Justice Process
CRIM 7202The Criminal Justice Process3
Policy Courses
CRIM 7710Criminology and Public Policy 13
CRIM 7711Criminology and Public Policy 23
Advanced Analysis and Methods Courses
CRIM 7713Advanced Research and Evaluation Methods3
CRIM 7715Multivariate Analysis 13
CRIM 7716Multivariate Analysis 23
Practicum in Writing
CRIM 7706Practicum in Writing and Publishing2


Complete 30 semester hours in the following range:30
CRIM 7200 to CRIM 7989

Exam and Dissertation

Exam Preparation
Exam Preparation—Doctoral
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Dissertation Continuation
Following completion of two semesters of CRIM 9990, registration in the following class is required in each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is completed:
Dissertation Continuation

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

50 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required