PhD in Criminology, Law, and Justice

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Complete transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate work must be submitted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must also meet the following program requirements:

  • Baccalaureate Field Students may enter either with an MA or a BA. If applicants received their Criminology, Law, and Justice MA from UIC, then they must have received a "high pass" (3.50) on their MA comprehensive exam.
  • Grade Point Average: At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study, with a GPA of at least 3.25 in all graduate courses taken.
  • Tests Required GRE not required.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score (for International applicants only)
    • TOEFL 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Test); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (revised Paper-Delivered Test), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s academic accomplishments and potential. 
  • Personal Statement Required; 2-3 page statement of academic and professional goals, and research plans or interests. See
  • Other Requirements A writing sample (an MA thesis or other major research paper). Applicants should submit a resume or curriculum vitae (CV).

Degree Requirements

Students who have received a master’s degree or its equivalent prior to being admitted to the doctoral program may receive up to 32 semester hours of credit toward the 96-hour requirement. Credit for other graduate work in a related field, whether taken at UIC or another institution, may be given on an individual basis. Students may earn up to 20 hours of credit for dissertation research in CLJ 599. Students admitted with a BA degree must complete both the MA and PhD requirements which include the MA comprehensive examination. Students with an MA from another institution must satisfy UIC Criminology, Law, and Justice MA requirements. The graduate director will evaluate students’ prior preparation and determine remedial work if necessary.

In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate College, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 beyond the baccalaureate.
  • Course Work
Required Courses
Law and Society
Criminological Theory
Criminal Justice: Process and Institutions
Race, Class, and Gender Dimensions of Crime and Justice
Quantitative Methods and Design
Qualitative Methods and Design
Statistical Applications in Criminology, Law, and Justice I
Statistical Applications in Criminology, Law, and Justice II
Advanced Methods in Criminology, Law, and Justice a

Note: For CLJ 570, upon departmental approval, an equivalent methods course may be taken either outside the department or as an independent study course in the department, dependent on the student’s dissertation research.

  • Electives, Areas of Concentration: Upon successful completion of the core curriculum, students are required to complete 40 additional hours, no more than 12 of which may be taken outside the department. This includes two CLJ Signature Seminars. Signature Seminars are courses within the areas of concentration that offer further inquiry into central questions in the discipline. Three areas of concentration are offered, each of which typically requires students to complete five additional courses in an area:
  1. Law and Society, which examines the socio-legal nature of social norms and rules, their development, use and variation across cultures, societies, and over time.
  2. Criminology, which critically examines theories of deviance, criminalization and punishment from intersectional, psychological, sociological, and political perspectives.
  3. Organizations and Administration, which explores organizations and agencies whose principal function is the application of law, and theories explaining practices of decision making and how organizations are created, maintain and develop resources, and relate to internal and external environments.
  • Examinations
    • Departmental Qualifying Examination: None.
    • Preliminary Examination: Required; written (preliminary exams) and oral (proposal defense).
  • Dissertation Required.

Interdepartmental Concentrations

Students earning a graduate degree in this department may complement their courses by enrolling in select concentrations after consulting with their graduate advisor. Interdepartmental concentrations available for this degree include: