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Program FAQs

Criminal Justice

Q: Are there funding opportunities available for students?

A: Yes, every fulltime student in our Program receives a stipend and tuition remission. Beginning 2012-2013, incoming students will receive a stipend up to $25,000 per year and health insurance. Students are required as part of the fellowship to TA and/or teach one class each semester in years 2 - 5. Extra financial assistance is available through fellowships, grants, assistantships, traineeships, loans, and Federal Work-Study Program assignments. 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: The policy, oversight and administration (POA) specialization is geared for individuals who expect to remain employed.  However, all students must be registered for 7 credits per semester.  Most courses are offered in the late afternoon or evening.

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 any non-matriculated students.

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

A: Students who have taken course work beyond a bachelor's degree at another accredited institution may request to have these credits transferred, up to a total of 15 credits for criminal justice students and up to a total of 29 credits for policy, oversight and administration specialization (POA). 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. It is the determination of EO whether courses are eligible for transfer. Only courses in which students have received a grade of B or higher are eligible for transfer.

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

A: No, you do not have to have a Master’s degree. However, you may earn your Master’s degree while pursuing your doctoral work.

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

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

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

A: Yes, all applicants are required to submit their GRE scores with the application packet. This is true even for students who have taken other standardized exams such as the LSATs. The GRE Code for the Graduate Center is 2113 and the Criminal Justice Program Code is 2202. GRE exams can be arranged by calling 1-800-GRE-CALL. Applicants can upload a copy of the personal score card that they personally receive directly to their online admissions application as part of the duplicate application (official scores must be sent by ETS to the Graduate Center at the code above NOT John Jay College).

Q: What GRE scores do I need?

A: Though the program does not have a “cut off” GRE score, we rarely consider any applicants with GREs under 1000. Students should score above a 50th percentile or must have an exceptional record to be accepted.  Please view the conversion chart for the new GRE scores.  We do not require any specific GRE test.

Q: How do I apply to the PhD program?

A: Detailed instructions on applying to the program can be found on the Graduate Center Admissions official page here.  You may call 212-817-7470 or e-mail your request to: The CUNY Graduate Center application process is self-managed. Responsibility for gathering required documents such as official transcripts and letters of recommendation rest with the applicant. The GRE Institution Code is 2113.  Completed application forms, transcripts, test scores, and all other supporting material must be submitted to the Graduate Center Admissions Office.

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

A: The amount of time required to complete the doctorate can vary widely — depending on a student's level of preparation at the time of enrollment, the nature of the dissertation project, work commitments, and other demands on students' time. Criminal Justic core students with a higher degree (e.g., MA, MS, MPA, JD) generally complete the coursework and “qualifying” exams within two years. Most students generally take another 2-3 years to complete the dissertation and oral exams. 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 this Graduate Center Tuition & Fees.

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: No. The doctoral program does not offer a degree on line, nor do we offer online courses. In order to pursue the Criminal Justice Doctorate you must be in residence for your coursework.

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?

A: Students must complete one year of core course in criminological theory, criminal justice process and policy, research methods and statistics. Students may then choose electives from a broad range of topics, including international and comparative criminal justice, theory, policy, terrorism, policing and advanced methods and statistics.

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

A: The deadline for submitting an application is January 1st. Detailed instructions on applying to the program can be found on the CUNY Graduate Center Admissions official page here.  You may call 212-817-7470 or e-mail your request to:

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.