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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2016-2017

Program Info

Last Updated 2014-02-25

Criminal Justice PhD

Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:


The Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice is a 57-credit-hour, post-master's program of study and research. Substantive emphasis is placed on core coursework in criminal justice theory and institutions, and on in-depth concentrations in policing, corrections or juvenile justice. Students complete a minimum of 42 credit hours of doctoral course work and 15 credit hours of dissertation research.


Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree in criminal justice or a closely related discipline. Applicants’ transcripts will be reviewed for successful completion of a sufficient number of fundamental criminal justice classes. Applicants may be required to complete master’s-level courses in certain topics before being admitted to the program or permitted to take classes.

Students must have completed master’s-level courses in advanced research methods and advanced quantitative methods and be familiar with SPSS, SAS, STATA, or R prior to enrolling in the Methodological Core courses. Students who do not meet this requirement may be required to complete CCJ 6702 Advanced Research Methods and CCJ 6714 Advanced Quantitative Methods prior to enrolling in CCJ 7708 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Criminal Justice Research and CCJ 7727 Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice. All students must also have completed master’s level courses in the concentration area they choose prior to taking courses in that area (policing, corrections, or juvenile justice).

Required Courses—36 Credit Hours

Substantive Core—15 Credit Hours

A grade of B or better is required for all courses listed in the Substantive Core.

  • CCJ 7019 Seminar in the Nature of Crime (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 7457 Seminar in Criminal Justice Theory (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 7096 Seminar in Criminal Justice Systems (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 7785 Teaching Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 7775 Criminal Justice Research in the Community (3 credit hours)

Methodological Core—12 Credit Hours

A grade of B or better is required for all courses listed in the Methodological Core.

  • CCJ 7727 Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 7708 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Criminal Justice Research (3 credit hours)

Select two courses from the list below or another methodological course with adviser approval:

  • CCJ 7725 The Geography of Crime:Theory and Methods (3 credit hours)
    • Students selecting this option must complete CCJ 6073 Data Management for Crime Analysis and CCJ 6079 Crime Mapping and Analysis in Criminal Justice
  • CCJ 7747 Hierarchical Linear Modeling in Criminal Justice Research (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 7752 Structural Equation Modeling in Criminal Justice Research (3 credit hours)

Concentration Area—9 Credit Hours

Students select an area of concentration and complete the assigned 9 credit hours of coursework. Entering doctoral students must have completed a master's-level precursor in their chosen area (e.g., master's-level survey course in policing if the area chosen is Policing Theory and Research). A grade of B or better is required for all courses listed in the selected Concentration area.  Areas of concentration are:

Policing Theory and Research
  • CJE 6320 Seminar in Police Administration (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 6456 Seminar in Policing Urban Communities (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 6706 Seminar in Police Socialization and Culture (3 credit hours)
Correctional Theory and Research
  • CJC 6135 Seminar in Institutional Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 6165 Seminar in Community Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 6486 Seminar in Correctional Effectiveness (3 credit hours)
Juvenile Justice Theory and Research
  • CJJ 6124 Seminar in Prosecuting Juvenile Offenders (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6126 Seminar in Juvenile Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6546 Seminar in Policing and Prevention in the Juvenile Justice System (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—6 Credit Hours

Students select two additional courses (3 credit hours each) from an approved list of electives.


Students must successfully complete a series of cumulative examinations to ensure expertise in the substantive, methodological and concentration areas. Students may enroll in doctoral research (CCJ 7919) during the period of study preceding the examinations.

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

Upon successful completion of all examinations, students will enter candidacy and complete a dissertation. The dissertation topic should be grounded in the student's selected concentration area. Dissertation committees will contain a minimum of four faculty members, at least three of which (including the chair) will be from the Department of Criminal Justice. The fourth member must be from outside the Department of Criminal Justice and may be from outside the university. All dissertation committee members must be approved graduate faculty or graduate faculty scholars.

  • CCJ 7980 (15 credit hours)

Graduate Research

UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to (1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, (2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and (3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. Students are responsible for being informed of rules, regulations and policies pertaining to research. Below are some general policies and resources.

Research Policies and Ethics Information: UCF's Office of Research & Commercialization ensures the UCF community complies with local, state and federal regulations that relate to research. For polices including required Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval when conducting research involving human subjects (e.g. surveys), animal research, conflict of interest and general responsible conduct of research, please see their website: > Compliance.

UCF’s Patent and Invention Policy: In most cases, UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. The graduate student as inventor will according to this policy share in the proceeds of the invention. Please see the current UCF Graduate Catalog for details: > Policies > General Graduate Policies.

Financial Support

The Department of Criminal Justice makes every effort to support funding for graduate research assistants and graduate assistants.  The department evaluates students for Fall Graduate Assistantships in January of every year. Those students that have applied for the spring, summer and fall of the upcoming academic year by January 15, will be considered for Graduate Assistantship and Fellowship positions. GPA, GRE scores, a completed application and other supporting documents are evaluated by the Graduate Committee as part of this very competitive process, and offers are made in the early spring.

Graduate Student Associations

LAE Criminal Justice Pre-Professional Fraternity

Lambda Alpha Epsilon invites all Criminal Justice undergraduate and graduate students interested in criminal justice to become members.  Participate in ride-alongs, jail tours, UCF Career Fairs, criminal justice crime-scene competitions and volunteer events (such as SWAT roundup).  Everyone is welcome to become a member.  Learn more about exciting career opportunities in criminal justice by joining our national pre-professional criminal justice fraternity.  More information and contact e-mail addresses can be found on the chapter website

APS Criminal Justice Honor Society

Students interested in the Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society can visit the website or contact for more information.  Benefits include access to job opportunities, association with other like-minded serious criminal justice students, involvement in a nationally recognized professional organization, and exposure to a wide range of criminal justice related activities outside of the academic environment.  Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum of 3.4 GPA in both Criminal Justice courses and overall courses, on a 4.0 scale.  Students must have completed a minimum of four courses within the criminal justice curriculum.

Professional Development

 Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit

Job Search

UCF’s Career Services department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include evaluation and exploration of career goals, preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at


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