PhD Program

PhD Program Image

Mason's doctoral program in criminology, law and society is ranked among the Top 10 criminology programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The program produces scholars who receive faculty positions at highly regarded institutions and leaders in policy and applied settings. 

Students enrolled in the PhD program pursue a rigorous course of study that prepares them to conduct high quality scientific research in the criminal justice field. They learn cutting-edge social science methods and data analysis skills from internationally-renowned faculty, and collaborate on projects that advance knowledge in the social sciences and make a difference in the development and evaluation of justice policies and practices.

Prospective students can be admitted to the doctoral program with or without a previous master's degree (those who enroll without a master's degree in a related field will earn an MA in criminology, law and society as an integral component of the PhD).

Program at a Glance

Doctoral students take a set of core, analytical methods, and elective courses, write a major area paper, and complete a dissertation. Typically, full-time students complete the required coursework during their first two years in the program, write a thesis in their second year (if required), and complete the major area paper in their third year. 

The department offers multi-year assistantships to outstanding doctoral applicants on a competitive basis. All applicants to the doctoral program who apply by the deadline are considered for funding. Additional funding opportunities for doctoral students are described here.

Please review the links on this page for detailed information about the doctoral program and degree requirements. If you would like to be connected to a faculty member or current student, please contact the Graduate Coordinator at