Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice Online Doctorate (D.C.J.)

About the Doctor of Criminal Justice

Apply your experience to current issues in criminal justice.

Enhance your career with a professional doctorate in criminal justice, an online degree program from California University of Pennsylvania.

The first regionally accredited D.C.J. degree program in the United States, Cal U'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 career.
  • Enables you to finish your doctorate in two years of part-time online study, including a comprehensive exam and research portfolio. Two five-day summer residencies are your only on-campus program


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 professional portfolio based on theory and applied research relevant to their careers.

Collaboration: The D.C.J. program collaborates with the Pennsylvania Center for Criminological and Forensic Sciences, based at Cal U. The center consults with working practitioners and offers credentials such as a "Criminal Justice Instructor Development" certificate.

Learn more about applying.

degree of its kind in the nation, the D.C.J. is recognized by the  U.S. Department of Education.
of doctoral program graduate in criminal justice are employed outside of academia.
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Degree Benefits

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 Cal U faculty.
  • Complete your degree part-time, without stepping away from your job.
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Graduate Outcomes

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.
  • Sheriff's offices.
  • Corrections departments.
  • Juvenile justice agencies.
  • Investigative units of district attorneys' offices.

Criminal Justice Courses - Online D.C.J. Program

The online courses in this professional doctorate degree program are designed to address current issues of practical concern to the criminal justice profession and our society.

Example Courses
  • Leading Criminal Justice Agencies
  • Police Management for the 21st Century
  • Corrections: Crisis and Management
  • Advanced Criminal Law, Procedure and Evidence for CJ Leaders
  • Contemporary Forensic Science and Technology for Criminal Justice Leaders
  • Understanding Civicl Liability for Crimainl Justice Managers



View admissions requirements

Doctorate of Criminal Justice Faculty

Dr. John R. Cencich
Professor and Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Investigative and Forensic Sciences and Director of Criminal Justice Graduate Programs