Apply your experience to current issues in criminal justice.
Enhance your career with a professional doctorate in criminal justice, an online degree program from PennWest California.
The first regionally accredited DCJ degree program in the United States, PennWest
California's unique graduate program addresses the need for top criminal justice practitioners
to respond to current issues and policy changes.
Take a leadership role in our changing society.
The Doctor of Criminal Justice program provides these career benefits:
Strengthens skills in in-depth analysis, policy implementation and evaluation for
criminal justice professionals in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
Deepens understanding of real-world concerns such as federal consent decrees, police
use-of-force, wrongful convictions and reducing recidivism.
Develops leadership and provides a foundation for promotion, consulting or a second
Enables you to finish your doctorate in two years of part-time online study, including a comprehensive exam and doctoral research portfolio. One
five-day summer residency is your only on-campus program requirement.
Program at a Glance
Doctorate in Criminal Justice
Total Credit Hours: 42 Time to Completion: 2 Years Delivery: 100% Online Program Contact: Dr. John R. Cencich
Applied learning: The 42-credit doctorate program focuses on professional development and practical
approaches to major criminal justice issues. After passing a comprehensive exam, candidates
develop a doctoral research portfolio (professional dissertation) based on theory
and applied research relevant to their careers.
Collaboration: The D.C.J. program collaborates with the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and
Forensic Sciences, based at PennWest California. The center consults with working
practitioners and offers credentials such as a "Criminal Justice Instructor Development"
Membership:PennWest California is a member of the Association of Doctoral Programs in Criminology
& Criminal Justice.
International Criminal Justice Practitioners and Academics Now Welcome to Apply! (Note: We are now authorized by U.S. government to issue visas for the program)
First in the Nation
A leader in comprehensive education in criminal justice and criminology, PennWest
California's D.C.J. is the first regionally accredited professional doctorate in criminal
justice in the country and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
The D.C.J. program provides advanced education for students with a master's degree
in criminal justice, criminology or related fields such as law, anthropology, sociology,
psychology or public administration; a J.D. degree-holder with experience in criminal
justice may be considered.
Study topics that apply directly to your career.
Learn from expert, experienced PennWest California faculty.
Complete your degree part-time, without stepping away from your job.
The D.C.J. program prepares career-focused individuals for leadership and higher-level
management positions in a variety of criminal justice professions. The program prepares
you for leadership roles in:
Federal, state and local police agencies.
Juvenile justice agencies.
Investigative units of district attorneys' offices.
Curriculum and Admission Requirements
The online doctorate courses in this professional doctorate degree program are designed
to address current issues of practical concern to the criminal justice profession
and our society.
CRJ 800 Leading Criminal Justice Agencies
CRJ 805 Using Theory to Improve CJ Practice
CRJ 810 Improving the Administration of Juvenile Justice
CRJ 820 21st Century Policing
CRJ 830 Corrections: Crisis and Management
CRJ 840 Advanced Criminal Law and Procedure for CJ Leaders
CRJ 850 Contemporary Forensic Science and Technology for Criminal Justice Leaders
Earned master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution (or foreign equivalent)
in criminal justice, criminology or a cognate discipline such as law (criminal justice-related
LL.M.), anthropology, sociology, psychology or public administration. J.D. degree
with demonstrated professional experience in criminal justice will also be considered.
Minimum grade-point average of 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) or foreign equivalent, with
required graduate-level coursework in academic research methods, and graduate or undergraduate
coursework in criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal justice, corrections and
the court systems. Note: The prior criminal justice-related courses may be waived
based upon actual training and experience.
GPA between 3.00 and 3.49 with demonstrated patterns of significant professional accomplishment
in the field of criminal justice.
Current resume, including academic and professional achievements.