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    Jul 23, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
    
American University Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Justice, Law and Criminology (PhD)


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Offered by the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology , School of Public Affairs .

Admission to the Program


Applicants are considered and admitted for the fall semester only. January 1 is the deadline for application for admission. All applicants must submit scores from the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The normal minimum for consideration is a grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in all previous academic work. Applicants are admitted for full-time study only.

Degree Requirements


  • 36 credit hours of approved graduate work, exclusive of  / 
  • Minimum 3.20 cumulative GPA is required to remain in good standing and to earn the degree
  • Advancement to candidacy is accomplished by successfully completing an oral qualifying examination at the end of the second semester of study, two written comprehensive examinations in the third year of study, and successfully defending a dissertation prospectus before the end of the third year of study
  • The qualifying examination is an oral defense of an original research paper
  • Students take written comprehensive examinations in both their First Field and Second Field
  • The PhD is fundamentally a research degree. Understanding scientific inquiry and correctly using research techniques require extensive preparation. All students in the program take three courses designed to help doctoral students comprehend the nature of science and master tools of research (see Course Requirements, below)
  • Each student selects a specialization in which to complete an original research project under the direction of program faculty and write a dissertation. Students may choose research projects within one of the major areas or select a research specialization from one of the other graduate fields within the school
    • Each student prepares a research proposal for the dissertation project. It is the responsibility of the student to secure the agreement of a School of Public Affairs full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member to serve as the chair of the dissertation committee. One of the two other members of the committee may be from outside SPA. As part of this process, each student must publicly defend the research proposal before the dissertation committee and other interested faculty
    • The committee and the SPA graduate advisor (acting for the dean) must approve the defense and the research proposal. The topic covered by the proposal must be related to ongoing research or publications of the supervising faculty
    • As work on the dissertation project progresses, students register for dissertation credit. Substantive graduate work may be used as part of this requirement where it contributes directly to the research specialization and is specifically recommended by the dissertation committee chair
    • Upon completion of the research and the written dissertation, the candidate submits the manuscript to the dissertation committee for review. If the committee members approve the manuscript, the candidate must complete an oral defense of the dissertation and the general field in which it lies before the committee and other interested faculty. The committee determines conclusively at this point whether the dissertation and examination are acceptable
    • The dissertation must consist of high quality original research directly relevant to the student’s doctoral program. A dissertation proposal may be rejected if the topic does not address a major research issue in justice, law and society, the research design is inadequate, the methodology is inappropriate, or because no full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member in the School of Public Affairs is academically competent or available to supervise the project. If the candidate fails to maintain satisfactory progress toward completion of the dissertation, his or her candidacy may be terminated

Course Requirements


First Field (12 credit hours)


Complete 12 credit hours from one of the following fields:

Justice


Law and Society


Terrorism and Political Violence


Second Field (12 credit hours)


Complete 12 credit hours from one of the following fields if not used to fulfill First Field:

Justice


Law and Society


Political Methodology


Complete 12 credit hours from the following, with grades of B or better:

Terrorism and Political Violence


Approved Field


  • 12 credit hours in another field approved by Justice, Law, and Criminology (PhD) Program Director

Research Design and Methodology (12 credit hours)


Complete 12 credit hours from the following, with grades of B or better:

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