PhD Program
Criminology and Justice Policy

The doctoral program in Criminology and Justice Policy is student-centered, with the goal of preparing students for academic careers in research and policy development.

In The News

Students of this full-time, fully-funded PhD program complete the degree in five years on average.  Additionally, PhD students are offered several benefits throughout their studies, including:

  • Generous, full-year funding packages
  • Extensive summer research opportunities
  • Flex fellowship: one semester off from graduate assistantship responsibilities
  • Experiential and dissertation completion fellowships

In keeping with Northeastern’s long-standing, practice-oriented approach to education, the PhD in Criminology and Justice Policy links students to city, regional, and national agencies.  Students gain valuable experience working with practitioners through faculty who collaborate with policy-makers via grant work.  Students are encouraged to put skills obtained through the PhD into practice.

Our doctoral program is strongly committed to producing the next generation of research-productive scholars.  Coursework, qualifying examinations, and dissertation structure are geared toward providing students with the theoretical, methodological, quantitative, qualitative, and practical skills needed to obtain top-tier academic positions in the discipline.  Students also work with faculty to individualize their courses of student within existing frameworks to fulfill career aspirations.

Learn more about the doctoral program in Criminology and Justice Policy from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

  • The Center on Crime, Race, and Justice (CRJ), comprised of the Corrections and Reentry Lab (CRL), the Crime Prevention Lab (CPL), the Race and Justice Lab (RJL), and the Violence and Justice Research Lab (VJRL), offers the students the opportunity to participate in action-oriented research.
  • Students complete a foundations exam, area exam, and publishable paper before defending the dissertation proposal and embarking on the dissertation.
  • Students enroll in both a teaching practicum and a writing and publishing practicum.
  • Produce research-productive scholars in criminology and criminal justice.
  • Emphasize action-oriented work by linking students to local, regional, and national agencies.
  • Instill criminological and organizational theoretical knowledge via rigorous coursework.
  • Provide the methodological, qualitative, and quantitative tools needed for an array of research, teaching and policy careers.
  • Prepare students to teach undergraduate courses independently via a teaching practicum.
  • Discuss the rigors of academic publishing and guide students through the process of formulating a research question and submitting a publishable paper through a writing a publishing practicum.

Our graduates pursue four primary career paths:

1. Tenure-track assistant professor positions at research universities

2. Tenure-track assistant professor positions at teaching institutions

3. Post-doctoral research fellowships

4. Research and policy professions locally, regionally, and nationally (e.g. the Pew Charitable Trusts, RAND Corporation, Boston Police Department, California Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Application fee – US $100
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
  • English proficiency for international applicants
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – Optional
  • Writing sample
  • Resumé


Online admissions deadline for Fall term: December 1

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