PhD Studies | Criminology & Criminal Justice | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Kochel with grad student

Ph.D. Studies

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Doctoral degree requirements include 11 seminars, 24 hours of dissertation credits, passage of the preliminary exam and qualifying paper, and successful completion of the dissertation.


Course requirements include 3 core seminars, 4 research toolkits, and 4 guided electives as outlined below, along with 24 dissertation hours (A maximum of 6 dissertation hours may be counted prior to passing the qualifying paper):

3 Core Required Courses

  • CCJ500 Foundations of Criminal Justice
  • CCJ504 Criminological Theory
  • CCJ505 Nature of Crime

4 Required Research Tools

 Students select from the following:

  • One Research Methods:  CCJ510A (or Pols500A or Soc512)
  • Introduction to Statistics CCJ510B (or Soc526a)
  • Multivariate Analysis CCJ510C (or SOC526B)
  • Additional Graduate Methods Course such as CCJ517 Advanced Topics in Quantitative Research or CCJ518 Qualitative Research Methods or another approved toolkit

4 Guided Elective Courses

These courses are to be chosen in consultation with the students’ advisor Only 6 credits (2 classes) at the 400 level will be accepted for the combined MA/PhD degree program.


The residency requirement for the doctorate must be fulfilled after admission to the doctoral program and before formal admission to doctoral candidacy, which occurs with successful completion of the preliminary examination and qualifying paper. The residency requirement is satisfied by completion of 24 semester hours of graduate credit on campus as a doctoral student within a period not to exceed four calendar years. Only 6 pre-candidacy dissertation hours may be applied to this requirement.


PhD students may sit for the preliminary examination only after completing the five core courses within SIU’s doctoral program curriculum: CCJ500 Foundations of Criminal Justice; CCJ504 Criminological Theory; CCJ505 The Nature of Crime; CCJ510A Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Methods and Concepts); and CCJ510B Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Data Analysis and Interpretation).  The preliminary examination is designed to assess a student’s mastery of the knowledge garnered from the five core courses (CCJ500, CCJ504, CCJ505, CCJ510A, and CCJ510B) and ability to critically assess and integrate across the broad areas of criminology, criminal justice, and research and statistics. Preliminary examinations will be graded by a panel of no less than three graduate faculty on four dimensions: understanding of theory, understanding of empirical research, critical analysis/integration, and quality of writing.


PhD students will begin their qualifying paper timeline upon completion of their preliminary exam. The qualifying papers are designed to assess a student’s capability of writing articles for academic journals. To advance to doctoral candidacy, a student must independently write a paper (no longer than 10,000 words) which would likely receive a “Revise and Resubmit” at an academic peer-reviewed journal. The paper should demonstrate familiarity and assessment of the relevant literature, theory, and methods of criminology and criminal justice. Students may write either an empirical or theoretical paper to address criminological questions, but must demonstrate a unique contribution to the literature that goes beyond a review or basic test of theory – with critical analysis and appropriate statistical or analytic procedures.  Papers will be evaluated on five dimensions by a committee of no less than 3 graduate faculty:

  1. Use and understanding of criminological and/or criminal justice theory;
  2. Synthesis of literature;
  3. Appropriate use of methods and analysis;
  4. Quality and clarity of writing;
  5. Contribution to the CCJ literature.


Each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must write a dissertation showing high attainment in independent, original scholarship and creative effort. A total of 24 semester hours is required. The student must successfully defend orally his or her prospectus, giving the faculty two weeks to review the written prospectus before an oral defense, which shall be open to the public.  A student may not hold a dissertation prospectus meeting before successful completion of the preliminary exam and qualifying paper.

A dissertation must be written under the direction and approval of a five-member committee of faculty possessing doctorates, one of whom must be from outside the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.  The student must successfully defend orally his or her final draft of the dissertation, giving the faculty two weeks to review the dissertation before an oral defense, which shall be open to the public.  The faculty are not required to meet for a prospectus or dissertation defense during holidays or summer months.  The success of a final oral examination devoted primarily to a defense of the dissertation and open to the public will complete the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. A final copy of the dissertation must be filed with the Department and Graduate School.