Criminology, Law and Society
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD in Criminology, Law and Society

The PhD program in criminology, law and society is designed to produce top academic scholars and leaders in policy and applied settings. It brings cutting edge social science methods to the disciplines of criminology and law and society. Students coming to this program seek to make a difference in the development and evaluation of policy in these fields. The goal of this program is to provide a rigorous course of study that will prepare students to do research, teach, develop and test policies, and administer agencies and programs designed to administer law, deliver justice, reduce crime, and enhance domestic security.

The program draws on a multidisciplinary departmental faculty to teach the required core courses and electives. Students can also take a wide range of other electives from many other university faculty including those in computational social science, conflict analysis and resolution, economics, government, law, philosophy, psychology, public administration, sociology, and statistics. The program takes advantage of the university's proximity to many justice organizations at the federal, state, and local levels in the capital region. The curriculum is structured to give students the skills to do policy-relevant research and work with justice and security agencies in the region to exercise those skills and serve the needs of those agencies.

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see the Academic Policies section of the catalog.

Master's Degree

Students admitted to the doctoral program without a master's degree need to earn the MA in criminology, law and society with thesis. The requirements for the MA degree are included in the requirements for the PhD listed below. When beginning the doctoral program students should add the master's degree as a secondary program using the Secondary Program Application and then apply online to graduate the semester prior to meeting all requirements for the master's degree.

Reduction of Credit

Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree in a related discipline, including a law degree, may request that the required credits for the doctoral degree be reduced by a maximum of 30 credits with approval of the graduate director and dean and in accordance with university policy. Students who have prior graduate course work that has not been applied to another degree may request to have a maximum of 12 of these graduate credits transferred to their degree program, with approval of the graduate director and dean and in accordance with university policy.

Satisfactory Progress

Each new student is assigned an advisor who helps develop a program of study. On advancement to candidacy, the chair of the dissertation committee becomes the advisor. The advisor and faculty assess the progress of all students annually. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress may be terminated from the program. Satisfactory progress in the PhD in criminology, law and society is defined as maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.00 with the minimum grade of B- in all courses. Students who receive a grade below B- will receive an academic warning the first time and a letter of termination the second time.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2016-2017)

In addition to satisfying the requirements for all doctoral degrees, students must successfully complete 72 credits of required course work, pass two qualifying exams, form a dissertation committee, and defend their dissertation proposal, after which they are advanced to candidacy. The final requirement is a dissertation of original research representing a significant contribution to the field, which should be publishable in a referred journal or a quality press.

Doctoral Course Work (48-57 credits)

Four core substantive courses (12 credits)

CRIM 700 - Theories of Justice Credits: 3

CRIM 720 - Behavior of Law Credits: 3

CRIM 740 - Justice Organization and Administration Credits: 3

CRIM 760 - Crime and Crime Policy Credits: 3

Four analytical methods courses (12 credits)

CRIM 780 - Research Methods Credits: 3

CRIM 782 - Statistics I Credits: 3

CRIM 783 - Statistics II Credits: 3

and one course chosen from:

CRIM 781 - Justice Program Evaluation Credits: 3

CRIM 784 - Experimental Criminology Credits: 3

CRIM 795 - Special Topics Credits: 3

CRIM 796 - Directed Reading Credits: 1-3

SOCI 631 - Survey Research Credits: 3

SOCI 632 - Evaluation Research for Social Programs Credits: 3

SOCI 634 - Qualitative Research Methods Credits: 3

STAT 574 - Survey Sampling I Credits: 3

STAT 658 - Time Series Analysis and Forecasting Credits: 3

STAT 662 - Multivariate Statistical Methods Credits: 3

STAT 665 - Categorical Data AnalysisCredits: 3

STAT 674 - Survey Sampling II Credits: 3

STAT 773 - Statistical Methods for Longitudinal Data Analysis Credits: 3

PSYC 633 - Evaluative Research in Psychology Credits: 3

PSYC 640 - Techniques in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Credits: 3

CSS 600 - Introduction to Computational Social Science Credits: 3

CSS 610 - Agent-based Modeling and Simulation Credits: 3

Six courses (18 credits) in two substantive fields of study:

Students select two substantive fields and complete three courses within each. Students may take one non-CRIM elective course in each area or other courses in criminology, law and society with prior written approval of the director of the graduate program.

Justice and Law

Justice-related electives:

CRIM 795 - Special Topics Credits: 3

CRIM 796 - Directed Reading Credits: 1-3

GOVT 520 - Political Theory Credits: 3

GOVT 725 - Democratic Theory Credits: 3

GOVT 631 - Seminar in Comparative Politics and Institutions Credits: 3

SOCI 619 - Conflict and Conflict Management: Perspectives from Sociology Credits: 3

SOCI 711 - Classical Sociological Theory Credits: 3

SOCI 712 - Contemporary Sociological Theory Credits: 3

CONF 501 - Introduction to Conflict Analysis and Resolution Credits: 3

CONF 720 - Ethnic and Cultural Factors in Conflict Resolution Credits: 1-3

CONF 721 - Conflict and Race Credits: 3

CONF 723 - Conflict and Gender Credits: 3

CONF 726 - Moral and Philosophical Foundations of Conflict Credits: 3

CONF 747 - Reconciliation Credits: 3

CONF 802 - Theories of the Person Credits: 3

CONF 803 - Structural Theories Credits: 3

ECON 611 - Microeconomic Theory Credits: 3

ECON 852 - Public Choice I Credits: 3

ECON 854 - Public Choice II Credits: 3

Law-related electives:

Any selected LAW courses. Prerequisite for enrollment in LAW courses: successful completion of CRIM 720 and CRIM 721. Enrollment requires preapproval from the graduate director, law school instructor, and associate dean for student academic affairs of the Law School.

CRIM 721 - The Constitution, Criminal Procedure, and Security Credits: 3

CRIM 723 - Law and Social Control Credits: 3

CRIM 730 - Courts and Constitutional Law Credits: 3

CRIM 795 - Special Topics Credits: 3

CRIM 796 - Directed Reading Credits: 1-3

CONF 733 - Law and Justice from a Conflict Perspective Credits: 1-3

ECON 895 - Special Topics in Economics Credits: 3

Justice Organizations, Administration, and Leadership

CRIM 509 - Justice Organizations and Processes Credits: 3

CRIM 510 - Policing in a Democratic Society Credits: 3

CRIM 741 - Conduct of Justice Organizations at the Street Level Credits: 3

CRIM 742 - Leadership in Justice and Security Organizations Credits: 3

CRIM 743 - Changing Justice and Security Organizations Credits: 3

CRIM 744 - Corrections Credits: 3

CRIM 795 - Special Topics Credits: 3

CRIM 796 - Directed Reading Credits: 1-3

PUAD 502 - Administration in Public and Nonprofit Organizations Credits: 3

PUAD 520 - Organization Theory and Management Behavior Credits: 3

PUAD 621 - Principles and Practices in Government Organization and Management Credits: 3

PUAD 622 - Program Planning and Implementation Credits: 3

PUAD 661 - Public Budgeting Systems Credits: 3

PUAD 671 - Public Employee Labor Relations Credits: 3

PUAD 680 - Managing Information Resources Credits: 3

PUAD 700 - Ethics and Public Administration Credits: 3

PUAD 727 - Seminar in Risk Assessment and Decision Making Credits: 3

PUAD 781 - Information Management: Technology and Policy Credits: 3

CONF 731 - Conflict in Organizations Credits: 3

CONF 741 - Negotiations Credits: 3

CONF 743 - Dynamics of Conflict Termination Credits: 3

PSYC 631 - Industrial and Personnel Testing and Evaluation Credits: 3

PSYC 639 - Survey of Organizational Processes Credits: 3

SOCI 605 - Gender and Social Structure Credits: 3

SOCI 623 - Racial and Ethnic Relations: American and Selected Global Perspectives Credits: 3

Crime and Crime Policy

CRIM 761 - Politics of Crime Policy Credits: 3

CRIM 762 - Crime and Place Credits: 3

CRIM 764 - Sentencing Credits: 3

CRIM 795 - Special Topics Credits: 3

CRIM 796 - Directed Reading Credits: 1-3

SOCI 607 - Criminology Credits: 3

GOVT 745 - International Security Credits: 3

PUAD 540 - Public Policy Process Credits: 3

PUAD 644 - Public Policy Models Credits: 3

PUAD 645 - Policy Analysis Credits: 3

PSYC 617 - Child Psychopathology Credits: 3

Electives (6-15 credits)

Students complete the remaining 72 credits through additional elective courses relevant to criminology, law and society in consultation with their advisor. Students may have more than 6 credits of electives, depending on the number of dissertation credits required by their program of study.

One professionalization course (0 credits)

CRIM 797 - Professionalization Seminar Credits: 0

Qualifying Exams

Students must pass written qualifying exams in two core substantive fields of the student’s choosing, selected from the three fields above. Students may take a single qualifying exam at each sitting.

Students are not eligible to take the qualifying exams until they have successfully completed the required course work, as well as course work in the substantive area in which they intend to sit for the qualifying exam. Students have one opportunity across both exam areas to retake a failed exam.

Dissertation Committee

The student’s committee is composed of at least four faculty members. Three of the four must be members of the graduate faculty in criminology, law and society. The fourth must be from another program at Mason or from outside the university. The faculty member serving as the chair of the committee must be a member of the graduate faculty in criminology, law and society.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must complete all course work required on their approved program of study. Students must also successfully complete and pass two qualifying exams. In addition, students must have a dissertation committee appointed by the Dean’s Office and have defended their dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Research (15-24 credits)

Once enrolled in 998, students in this degree program must maintain continuous registration in 998 or 999 each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is submitted to and accepted by the University Libraries. Once enrolled in 999, students must follow the university’s continuous registration policy as specified in the Academic Policies section of the catalog. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of 999.

Students may apply to this degree a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 credits of 998 and a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 21 credits of 999. They may apply a maximum of 24 dissertation credits (998 and 999 combined) to the degree. Because of the continuous registration policy, students may be required to register for additional credits of these courses. Students who take fewer than 24 dissertation credits will have accordingly more elective credits.

CRIM 998 - Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Credits: 1-6

CRIM 999 - Doctoral Dissertation Research Credits: 1-21

Total: 72 credits

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