Online PhD in Criminal Justice

Learn more about obtaining an online PhD in criminal justice. Find information on courses, prerequisites, concentrations, and careers. View popular schools that offer PhD degrees in criminal justice.

Program Overview

Students who enroll in an online PhD in criminal justice may gain the skills and training needed to make a positive impact in the criminal justice system. Coursework may cover criminal justice, institutional corrections, organized criminal gangs, and delinquency. Individuals may also learn how to develop public policy strategies at the local, state, and national levels. They may study investigative techniques and management perspectives as well as understand human behavior relating to criminal justice. Some programs may include a dissertation requirement, in which students present their findings in a paper or presentation. Popular online PhD criminal justice courses may include the following:

  • Management and Leadership Theory
  • Diversity Issues in Public Safety
  • Business Research Methodology
  • Criminal Law
  • Theories of Crime
  • Police and Society
  • Qualitative Methods

Program Prerequisites

Before students enroll, they may need to adhere to a couple of prerequisites, such as obtaining a master’s degree from an accredited program or institution and maintaining a minimum grade point aveage. Some schools may require potential students to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as well as several letters of recommendation.


Certain online PhD in criminal justice programs may offer students a specific area of concentration, and students may complete these additional courses alongside the core curriculum. Areas of concentration may include homeland security, criminology, criminal justice administration, organizational leadership, juvenile justice, and behavioral science. Students enrolled in one of these concentrations may examine the relationships formed among them and the criminal justice system. Students may also learn how to make significant contributions in these areas of criminal justice.

Career Options

Graduates of online PhD in criminal justice may find jobs working in different sectors of law, including administration, research, and academia. They may work at corporate security firms, the municipal court system, governmental agencies, and correctional facilities. Examples of potential jobs may include criminal investigator, criminologist, consultant, private investigator, deputy sheriff, and correctional officer.

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