Mason's top-ranked doctoral program in criminology, law and society produces scholars who receive faculty positions at highly regarded institutions and leaders in policy and applied settings. The department is internationally renowned for its applied research in policing, courts, and corrections, with particular emphases in organizational change, community partnerships, crime and place, rehabilitation and recidivism, and social justice. The department's multidisciplinary faculty has a wide-range of expertise—including in law, sociology, psychology, political science, and criminology—which gives students a rich variety of perspectives.
Students pursue a rigorous course of study that prepares them to conduct high quality scientific research in the criminal justice field and make a difference in the development and evaluation of justice policies and practices. They learn cutting-edge social science methods and data analysis skills and work on research projects that advance knowledge in the social sciences and help make the criminal justice system fairer and more effective.
Doctoral students benefit from Mason’s location in the Washington, DC metropolitan region and regularly interact with policymakers, partner with state and federal agencies, and work closely with practitioners in the field. Three research centers in the department provide opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate on research and host regular events and workshops on translating research into practice.
The PhD program accepts students with or without a previous graduate degree. Students who enter the doctoral program with a bachelor's degree will earn the MA in criminology, law and society as an integral part of the doctorate.