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Program FAQs

Criminal Justice

Q: Are there funding opportunities available for students?

A: Criminal Justice core specialization students recieve a Graduate Center or John Jay fellowship that includes tuition, a $25,000 stipend, and health insurance for 5 years. Students receiving these fellowships are assigned as research assistants in the first year, and as teaching assistants or adjuncts years 2-5.

POA students receive a tuition only fellowship for 5 years, and maintain their own employment.

Additional income can be made by adjuncting, research assistantships, applying for grants, loans, and Federal Work study. Please visit the Graduate Center’s financial aid website for information about fellowships and stipends.

Q: Can I work full-time while attending the program?

A: Criminal Justice core specialization students may not have outside employment. However, the Policy, Oversight, and Administration specialization (POA) is geared towards individuals who expect to remain employed. Our program tries to schedule courses relevant to the POA specialization in the late afternoon/early evenings in order to accommodate their work schedules.

All students must be registered for a minimum of 7 credits per semester.

Q: Can I start coursework in January instead of September?

A: No, you may only begin attending courses in the Fall semester after you are accepted.

Q: Can I take classes as a non-matriculating student?

A: No, we do not accept non-matriculated students.

Q: Can I use some of my graduate degree credits towards my required PhD program credits?

A: Students who have taken graduate level coursework beyond a bachelor's degree at another accredited institution may request to have credits transferred from their graduate degree. CRJ core specialization students may request up to 15 credits to be transferred. POA specialization students may request up to 21 credits to be transferred. The principle for accepting such credits toward the requirements of the Program is that they replicate course work that would ordinarily be taken in this Program. Courses that are transferred in should not duplicate core courses, received a grade of B or better, and should be relevant to criminal justice. It is the determination of the APO and/or EO whether courses are eligible for transfer.

Q: Do I have to have a Master's degree to apply to the PhD program?

A: No, you not need to have a master’s degree in order to apply. Students in the program may apply for an en-route masters upon earing 45 doctoral credits and passing the first exam.

Q: Do I have to have previous experience in criminal justice?

A: Some background in criminology, criminal justice, sociology, psychology or other related field is strongly preferred, but not required.

Q: Do I have to take the GRE's?

A: All applicants are required to take the GRE exam and submit GRE scores. This is true even for students who have taken other standardized exams such as the LSAT. The GRE code for the Graduate Center is 2113. Our program code is 2202. You may sign up to take the GRE exam by calling 1-800-GRE-Call or visiting GRE scores are valid for 5 years.

International applicants must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, unless they have a post-secondary degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English-only and located in a country that recognizes English as an Official Language.

Q: What GRE scores do I need?

A: Though the program does not have a “cut off” score, we rarely consider any applicants with GREs under 1000. Applicants should score above a 50th percentile. We do not require any GRE subject examinations. Please view the GRE conversion chart for new GRE scores.

Q: How do I apply to the PhD program?

A: The Graduate Center application process is self-managed. Applicants are responsible for gathering required documents and submitting all application requirements. Applications and all application materials should be submitted to the Graduate Center Office of Admissions (code 2113) by the January 1st deadline. Please do not send application materials to the program office.

GRE scores should be submitted to the Graduate Center, not John Jay College.

Please see the Graduate Center Admissions official page here for more details on how to apply. 

Q: How long will it take me to earn my PhD?

A. Students are expected to complete the doctoral degree in 5 years. However, the amount of time required to complete the program can vary widely depending on preparation at the time of enrollment, amount of transfer credits, nature of the dissertation project, work assignments, and other demands on the student’s time.

All students are required to complete the degree within 8 years.

Please review the timeline on Path(s) to Degree

Q: How much is tuition?

A: For up-to-date tuition costs, please visit the Graduate Center Tuition & Fees page.

Q: Is preference given to John Jay students?

A: No. The Admissions Committee considers all candidates, domestically and internationally, equally regardless of academic affiliation.

Q: Is study online a possibility?

A: Online study is not available.

Q: What can I do with a PhD in Criminal Justice?

A: The overall orientation of the program is to develop academics with a strong understanding of theory, methods and the criminal justice system. The program provides students with a strong foundation in the understanding of how to conduct independent research in the field, to serve as research and teaching faculty in universities, colleges, and research institutes, and to function as practitioners in a broad range of settings.

Q: What GPA do I need?

A: Consideration for admission into the Ph.D. program is based on the applicant's completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, with a cumulative overall GPA of at least 3.00 (B) on a scale of 4.00. Applicants with a Master's degree should have a 3.50 GPA in their graduate work. However, competitive applicants often have substantially higher GPAs, particularly in graduate work. Special consideration is given to masters level work in research methods and statistics.

Q: What is the curriculum like?

AStudents will complete core courses in the first year. The core coursework will be in criminological theory, criminal justice process and policy, research methods and statistics. After core coursework is completed, students may choose to take electives in a broad range of topics including international and comparative criminal justice, theory, policy, terrorism, policing and advanced research methods and/or statistics.

Q: What is the deadline for the application for admission?

A: The application deadline for the Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice is January 1st of every year. All application materials (including GRE scores) should be submitted to the Graduate Center Office of admission by the deadline. Detailed instructions on applying to the program can be found on the CUNY Graduate Center Admissions official page here.

Q: Who are the faculty and what are their interests?

A: Our faculty represent a variety of disciplines and interests related to criminal justice, broadly defined. For a complete list of faculty and their interests, please visit the faculty webpage.