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PhD Program

CCJ ranked #4 in Nation Admission Requirements
Application (deadline January 20th)
Financial Aid & Awards
Required Courses
Transferring Graduate Credit
Evaluation of Good Standing and Progress
Qualifying Papers

***All application materials must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office by January 20th***.

It is imperative that you read this thoroughly. Should you not find information you need on this page or links on this page, please email

Admission Requirements

Undergraduate applicants must have a bachelor's degree or expect one by the end of the academic year in which they apply. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater (on a scale of A = 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.

Graduate applicants who have or will have a master's degree must have a grade point average of 3.0 or greater (on a scale of A = 4.0) for their graduate course work.

Admission to the PhD program is highly competitive.

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Application to the PhD Program

***Application materials are due January 20th.***

Students must indicate on their application that they are requesting admission to the PhD program. The Department only admits students in the Fall Semester. Graduate degrees are conferred by The Graduate School on the recommendation of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice; therefore, students are expected to be familiar with the requirements of The Graduate School in the latest Bulletin.

To consider an applicant for admission, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice must have the following by the January 20th deadline:

Statement of purpose, writing sample, unofficial transcripts, and letters of recommendation can be submitted through the online application system.  They can also be emailed to and

Official transcripts and test scores should be mailed to:
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Graduate Admissions Office
121 Woods Hall
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63121-4400

International students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from the TOEFL examination unless they qualify for one of the exemptions listed here:

International students should consult the International Student Services website for transcript requirements:

Applicants should make certain that the Office of Admissions has all required materials in advance of the admission deadline (January 20th, also contact for further details). Applicants are informed of admission decisions by mail from the Graduate School.

Click here for general Application Information

Click here to submit an Application Online

Click here for information regarding International Students

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Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice requires scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytic components of the Graduate Record Examination. While we don't have a minimum required score, applicants' scores should be above the 50th percentile. Applicants should consult the appropriate office on their local college campus, or contact the Educational Testing Service for information on taking the GRE.

Click here for GRE Information

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Financial Aid and Awards

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a variety of forms of financial support to PhD students, including teaching and research assistantships, university fellowships, and tuition and fee waivers. Financial award decisions are made annually at the time of application review.

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Admission to the PhD Program

Following notification of admission and receipt of registration materials, new students are eligible to register for classes. Before registration, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will mail a set of materials to new students naming faculty advisors and stating how to register. Students who have received teaching or research assistantships will be notified of additional requirements in their letter of admission.

Click here for more information pertaining to After you have been Accepted

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The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is faculty advisor to new PhD students. S/he provides information on issues such as requirements, course selection, and prerequisites. The current DGS is Dr. Elaine Doherty.

Students shall make an appointment with their advisor before their scheduled registration time. Prior to that meeting, students should review the recommended schedule of required courses (described below) and the Schedule of Classes. Students who have not had undergraduate training in statistics (the equivalent of CRIMIN 2220) should consult with their advisor before enrolling in an appropriate course as preparation for CRIMIN 6410.

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Doctoral Degree Course Requirements

The graduate program is designed to provide students with a command of criminological knowledge and analytical skills. Professional competence in theory and research methods is expected, as is in-depth knowledge in an area of specialization (described below). The doctoral degree is based on evidence that candidates have achieved a high level of scholarship and proficiency in research. The proficiency of students and their ability to work independently are assessed through course grades, qualifying and comprehensive examinations, and successful defense of the dissertation.

60 credit hours of graduate work are required for the PhD. More than half of these hours must be completed in residence. 12 credit hours of dissertation research (CRIMIN 7499) are required. Students may enroll for dissertation credits (CRIMIN 7499) only when all other degree requirements have been completed.

Required courses for the PhD are:
6400, Proseminar (3)
6405, Research Methods (3)
6410, Statistics (3)
5415, Foundations of Criminological Theory (3)
6420, Contemporary Criminological Theory (3)
6450, Criminal Justice Process and Policy(3)
6480, Multivariate Statistics (3)
6465, Qualitative Research Design (3)
6471, Evaluating Criminal Justice Interventions (3)
6470, Quantitative Research Design (3)

Please note that the pre-requisites for Quantitative Research Design (6470) and and Multivariate Statistics (6480) listed in the Bulletin are incorrect. According to the Bulletin, the sequence is supposed to be Statistics (6410), Quantitative Research Design (6470), then Multivariate Statistics (6480). Actually, the sequence is supposed to be Statistics, Multivariate Statistics, then Quantitative Research Design.

Area Courses (at least 9 hours from this section):
5533, Philosophy of Law (3)
6422, Law, Courts, and Public Policy (3)
6440, Nature of Crime (3)
6441, Juvenile Delinquency (3)
6442, Communities and Crime (3)
6443, Violent Crime (3)
6445, Property Crime (3)
6448, Victimization (3)
6452, The Police (3)
6454, Corrections (3)

Elective Courses (9 hours, may or may not include the following):
6436, Comparative Criminology (3)
6450, Criminal Justice Process and Policy (3)
6550, Seminar in Criminology & Criminal Justice (3)
6485, Directed Readings/Research in CCJ (3)

Dissertations Hours (12 hours required)

Additional courses beyond the above requirements are taken as elective courses. These courses may be at the 5000 level. Students are also encouraged to take courses outside the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

PhD course worksheet

Typical timeline for PhD completion

Course Descriptions

The Bulletin describes undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses offered at the university. For more detailed information on course content, students should consult the professors teaching the courses (as listed in the Schedule of Classes). Most graduate courses are offered in the evenings.

Course Loads

The normal full-time course load for a regular semester is between six and nine hours. For an eight-week summer session, the maximum course load is six hours. Students admitted on a part-time basis should consult with the DGS for relevant conditions and requirements.

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Students should register online through MyView. If you have problems registering, please contact the Registrar's Office, (314) 516-5545 or, Room 269 Millennium Student Center.

SPECIAL CONSENT COURSE: If “Consent of instructor” is indicated in the Schedule of Courses, you may NOT register for the course without a Permission Number. You may obtain the permission number from the department offering the course.

Registration Checklist

Pre-Registration for Continuing Students

Shortly after the midpoint of each semester, the Schedule of Classes that lists course offerings for the following semester will be available on MyView. Continuing students should schedule a meeting with their faculty advisor for approval to enroll in proposed courses. Students must receive the approval of their advisors and the Dean of the Graduate School to enroll in or withdraw from a course after registration. Registration is not complete until all University fees are paid.

Entering a Course in Progress

Students wishing to enter a course in progress must have the approval of the instructor, their adviser, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Only under exceptional circumstances may students enter courses after the first week of the semester.

Dropping a Course

Students may drop courses before the end of the fourth week of a regular semester or the second week of the summer session without receiving grades. At the end of this period and until the end of 12 weeks (or from the third through the sixth week of the Summer session), students may withdraw from courses with "Excused" grades providing they are passing the course and have the approval of the instructor, their advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Otherwise, a grade of F is given. Students who stop attending classes without officially dropping courses also receive grades of F.

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Transferring Graduate Credit

Students with previous graduate work at other institutions with a grade of A or B may request transfer credit. To request transfer credit, students must provide supporting materials for each class such as course syllabi, exams, and papers. Students should submit their request to the DGS, who will make the decision. The decision of the DGS is recorded in the student's file. A student may be asked to take an examination if they are requesting transfer credit for a required course. Departmental faculty determines if prior graduate work meets PhD course requirements. Transfer credits must constitute less than half of the total credits required for the doctorate.

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Evaluation of Good Standing and Progress

At the end of each academic year, the departmental faculty meets to evaluate each student's progress, course load and completion, and grades. The faculty also discusses each student's performance as a teaching or research assistant, and any special accomplishments such as presenting a paper at a meeting or publishing an article or book chapter. Each student's progress is compared to the standards for normal progress described below, and to that of other students -- particularly those who entered in the same year. The DGS will notify students of their progress in meeting requirements and their likelihood of completing the doctoral program. The DGS sends a letter to each student that (a) summarizes the evaluation of progress and standing, (b) conveys any special commendations or concerns, and (c) states any specific risks to good standing, with the steps and deadlines for correcting those problems.

Normal Progress
Students are expected to complete course work and other degree requirements in a timely manner. Reasonable progress for students admitted on full-time status is demonstrated by completing...

Defending the Dissertation within Five Years
The faculty discusses the case of any student who has not defended the dissertation within five years. The student could be deemed in poor standing, depending on the other things normally considered in the student's annual review. More commonly, the student will be notified of marginal progress. All students passing the five-year mark will be reminded of the eight year limit set by the Graduate School.

Completing Courses on Time
Students should avoid delayed grades. Faculty have complete discretion concerning whether or not a delayed grade is warranted. A history of DEL grades indicates an inability to handle a normal workload and jeopardizes good standing and financial aid.
Delayed grades must be removed within two semesters after the time recorded or they automatically become failing grades.

Faculty has complete discretion in assigning grades. Point assignments for grades are as follows:
A = 4.0 points
A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3
C = 2.0
C- = 1.7
F = 0.0

The Graduate School does not recognize a "D" grade for a graduate student enrolled in a course carrying graduate credit. According to the regulations of the Graduate School, grades lower than "C-" are recorded as "F".

Grades in Required Courses
Students must earn a "B-" or better in any required course. A grade of less than a "B-" in a required course indicates an academic deficiency. Any required course in which the student earns less than a "B-" must be repeated.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
All courses taken at UM-St.Louis for graduate credit figure into the calculation of the overall GPA, including courses that may not be a part of the degree program. However, only those courses included in the degree program figure into the calculation of the degree program GPA. The degree program GPA must be at least 3.0 ("B") for a student to receive a graduate degree.

The department will place a graduate student on probation if their GPA falls below 3.0, or if the standards of normal progress have not been met. The student will be placed on probation for one semester, during which time progress will be reviewed by the departmental committee. After one semester the student will be removed from probation, continued on probation, or dismissed from the program. Letters of probation and letters of the subsequent outcome will be sent directly to the student, with copies to the Graduate School and the Admissions Office.

Deadline Extensions
Students may request deadline extensions by consulting with the DGS. The request must include a projected schedule that shows when requirements will be met. Students must be explicit about the reasons for their request.

Family and medical leave are the most common reasons for approved extensions of deadlines. Extensions also may be approved for special academic needs such as study abroad.

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Qualifying Papers

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Qualifying Papers Policy[1]

Graduate students in the doctoral program are not officially classified as PhD candidates until they have passed the Qualifying Papers prerequisite defined below. The goal of this requirement is to establish a student's familiarity with the substantive literature, theory, and methods of criminology and criminal justice, and to demonstrate an ability to imaginatively and creatively use this knowledge to address criminological questions.

A three member Qualifying Papers Committee reviews two sole-authored papers that are submitted to the Graduate Director within nine months of the completion of all coursework.[2] The manuscripts must address distinct topics and theoretical approaches and are evaluated on the basis of the substantive knowledge reflected in the presentations, the application of relevant theory, the use of appropriate data and research methods (if applicable), the clarity of communication, and creativity. One of the papers must represent the application of an appropriate methodological technique to an innovative research question, and the other must demonstrate a proficient knowledge of and a new perspective on a fundamental theoretical issue. The papers must be limited to 40 pages in length (inclusive of tables, figures, appendices, and references) and formatted in the current style of the journal Criminology. Because a student needs to be enrolled at the time of the review, the manuscripts may only be submitted for the first time during the Fall or Spring semesters.


After consulting with the student's advisory committee, the student initiates the Qualifying Papers process by submitting a one-page proposal for each paper, including references for literature cited in the proposal on a separate page, to the Graduate Director, who in turn forwards the proposals to the Qualifying Papers Committee for its review. Both proposals must be submitted simultaneously and must be submitted within three months of completing coursework. The qualifying paper committee will review the proposals independently before conferring with each other to reach a final decision. The Qualifying Papers Committee will strive to complete the review process within two weeks of receipt of the proposals. While this process could take longer than two weeks, it will take no longer than one month. The Committee chair will then provide written feedback to the student and convene an in-person debriefing session at the student's request.

Students have one opportunity to submit qualifying paper proposals. Students who fail to submit proposals within three months will be allowed to proceed to the final submission phase of the process, but they will not receive comments on the proposals from the committee or be afforded the opportunity to meet with the committee in-person to discuss their proposal. Failure to submit proposals within three months of the completion of coursework is an indicator of insufficient academic progress.

Papers - First Submission

Final qualifying papers should be submitted simultaneously to the Graduate Director, who in turn forwards the papers to the Qualifying Papers Committee for its review. Final qualifying papers must be submitted within nine months of the completion of coursework. The Qualifying Papers Committee will evaluate the papers and inform the student of a Pass or No Pass decision for each manuscript. Again, the Qualifying Papers Committee will strive to complete the review process within two weeks of receipt of the papers but this process could take longer depending on the number of submissions and the time of year (e.g., summer or winter break). The review process will take no longer than one month. Please see Qualifying Paper Due Dates for exact deadlines. Once the decision has been communicated to the student, the student then has an opportunity to meet with the Committee in a debriefing session during which the grounds for the decisions are discussed.

Papers - Second Submission

If the Committee deems that one or both papers is of insufficient quality to merit a Pass, the student must submit a new or revised paper to the Committee within four months of the original decision. If the second round of reviews, which will follow the same process as the first submission outlined above, also is not successful, the Committee will immediately notify the Chair and Graduate Director that the student has failed to meet this core requirement. This information is transmitted to the faculty, who then meet to discuss the case and to reach a collective agreement about the termination of the student from the program. This recommendation is sent to the Graduate Dean, who makes the final decision about the student's status.

For all paper submissions

Students are encouraged to seek advice from others on their papers, but the final products must represent their own independent work. The names and contact information of all persons who have commented on the papers must be included on the cover page.

The University's rules and procedures governing academic dishonesty will be strictly enforced (see Code of Student Conduct).

[1] Effective for the cohort entering Fall 2015.

[2] The clock begins on the day of Fall or Spring commencement as denoted on the UMSL academic calendar.


Finish Coursework
Proposals Due No Later than 5pm on
1st Submission Due No Later Than 5pm on Decision Due No Later Than 5pm on 2nd Submission Due No Later Than 5pm On Decision Due No Later Than 5pm on
December 17, 2016 March 17, 2017 September 17, 2017 October 15, 2017 February 15, 2018 March 15, 2018
May 14, 2017 August 14, 2017 February 14, 2018 March 15, 2018 July 15, 2018 August 15, 2018
December 16, 2017 March 16, 2017 September 16, 2018 October 15, 2018 February 15, 2019 March 15, 2019
May 13, 2018 August 13, 2018 February 13, 2019 March 15, 2019 July 15, 2019 August 15, 2019

NOTE: All decision letters will be distributed to students on the same day.

qualifying papers timeline

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The Dissertation

The dissertation is required of all PhD candidates and demonstrates the student's scholarly expertise. The dissertation process formally begins when all other requirements of the PhD program have been met. The dissertation committee assists in selecting and developing the research problem and evaluates the student's work on that problem.

The Dissertation Committee
Within six months of being advanced to candidacy, a student must constitute their Dissertation Committee. The committee must consist of at least four members of the graduate faculty of the university. Included in this number is the committee chair, who must be a member of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and a member of the doctoral faculty. Also included in this number is at least one person from outside the department. The majority of committee members must be from the department.

Faculty who serve on the dissertation committee do so because they are specialists on some aspect of the proposed dissertation. The student's advisor will assist the student in identifying appropriate faculty members for the student's topic of research. After the student and their advisor agree on a Dissertation Committee, the student must ask the faculty members if they will serve on the committee. The student will then notify their advisor and the DGS, which faculty members have agreed to serve by completing the form for the "Appointment of Dissertation Committee".

Committee membership may change before completion of the dissertation owing to faculty commitments. If this becomes necessary, it is the student's responsibility to obtain a replacement member and to inform the DGS of the new committee member by completing a new "Appointment of Dissertation Committee" form.

Committee Duties
The student should consult frequently with the committee when developing their dissertation proposal and while doing research for the project. The primary duties of the Dissertation Committee are: (a) to examine and evaluate the student's dissertation proposal at the preliminary examination (proposal defense), and (b) to examine and evaluate the student's completed doctoral dissertation at the final oral examination. The chair of the committee is responsible for reporting to the DGS on the student's progress on the dissertation.

The Preliminary Examination
The preliminary examination in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice is a formal oral examination. It is based on a written proposal that the student has developed in consultation with the chair and other members of the dissertation committee.

Preliminary examinations are open to all faculty and graduate students, but only the committee members have voice and vote. The student must arrange the time and place of the examination in consultation with the dissertation committee. All members of the committee must be present for the meeting. The preliminary examination should take place between the third and thirteenth weeks of the semester, or during the summer if the entire committee can attend the hearing. Students must remind committee members of the time and place of the meeting.

Two weeks prior to the date of the preliminary examination, the student must circulate copies of the dissertation proposal to all committee members and the DGS. Two weeks prior to the examination the student must also distribute a one page abstract of the proposal to all faculty members.

The chair of the dissertation committee records the results of the preliminary examination and provides a copy of these results to the student and the DGS. The results may be pass, fail, or adjourn. Special instructions to the student also are included in the record of results. Once the preliminary examination is passed, the chair will complete the "Preliminary Approval of Dissertation and Preliminary Application for Doctoral Degree" and forward a copy to the DGS and Graduate Dean for approval.

Upon preliminary acceptance of the dissertation, the Dean of the Graduate School appoints the Defense of Dissertation Committee to conduct the final examination.

If the dissertation proposal is not approved ("fail"), the student may take the examination a second time. The student must submit a revised dissertation proposal to his/her committee and to the DGS, distribute a new abstract, and schedule a new examination. Students will not be permitted to take the preliminary exam a third time. If the dissertation proposal is approved and the project is later found not to be feasible, the student must submit a new proposal to the dissertation committee and defend it according to the above procedures.

The Dissertation Defense: Final Oral Examination
The student's dissertation committee gives the final oral examination after the dissertation is completed. In the final oral examination, the student summarizes the dissertation. After giving the summary, the student answers questions put forth by the dissertation committee about such things as the ideas, hypotheses, methods, results, and inferences that can be drawn from the work.

It is departmental policy that all students must be present on campus for their preliminary examination and final defense.

When the dissertation committee deliberates on a dissertation, two negative votes are sufficient for failure, even if these votes are outnumbered by positive votes. An abstention will be considered a negative vote. A student failing an oral defense should be provided with an opportunity for an additional defense. The timing and requirements of the subsequent defense will be determined by the dissertation committee.

In order to obtain a specific commencement date, the student must plan well in advance. At the beginning of the semester, the student should notify the DGS and their dissertation committee in writing of plans to defend the dissertation (a brief dated note is sufficient).

Students must arrange the time and place of the examination with the members of their committee. At least three weeks prior to the final oral examination the student must provide each member of the dissertation committee with a copy of the dissertation. At least three weeks prior to the examination the candidate must submit an announcement of the defense, including an abstract of the dissertation, to all faculty in the department and to the Dean of the Graduate School.

The Graduate School requires a completed dissertation at least six weeks before commencement. Therefore, to obtain a degree in either January, May, or August, the student should have completed the dissertation text at least nine weeks prior to those commencement dates.

One copy of the dissertation, certified as complete and provisionally acceptable by all dissertation committee members, must be submitted to the Graduate School at least six weeks before commencement. The Dean of the Graduate School may assign the dissertation to other readers, on or off campus, or seek such other advice, as the Dean feels pertinent.

Upon preliminary acceptance of the dissertation, the Dean of the Graduate School appoints the Defense of Dissertation Committee to conduct the final oral examination. The Dean appoints members of the dissertation committee and such other members of the Graduate Faculty as seem appropriate.

The Defense of Dissertation Committee certifies the final acceptability of the dissertation to the Dean of the Graduate School on the basis of a final examination open to all Graduate Faculty members. The chairperson of the dissertation committee is responsible for verifying that all the changes suggested by the Graduate Dean and the dissertation committee has been incorporated in the final draft of the dissertation. This certification is made by signing the "Final Approval of the Doctoral Dissertation" form and deposition of the thesis at the Library and Graduate School.

Candidates for the doctoral degree are expected to attend Commencement.

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