Online PhD in Criminal Justice

As the Criminal Justice field expands so does the need for related education. If you are looking to start a career in law enforcement, criminal justice academia, and consulting, the online Criminal Justice Doctorate Degree (PhD) can definitely make that happen.

The colleges and universities below may help you pick the right online Criminal Justice PhD Degree program:

Nova Southeastern University

Also check out these blog posts

Online PhD in Criminal Justice

If you’re looking for an online PhD in Criminal Justice you will be very disappointed at the number of criminal justice colleges and universities that offer such programs. The transformation from online bachelor degrees to master degrees in Criminal Justice online has been a tedious journey in the past years and the concept of the distance learning PhD hasn’t hit a home run, yet.

I remember when I was looking for a graduate level criminal justice program online I was very disappointed at the choices that were available. Sure, there were maybe a dozen schools that had master’s programs in CJ online, but the handful that were really top notch were hidden deeply within the search engine index.

To fix this problem I compiled a list of the Best Criminal Justice PhD / Doctorate Schools – majority are traditional and reputable colleges.

I feel that an online Doctorate in Criminal Justice is something we all will have to wait for. As of this writing only a few universities have an online PhD Criminal Justice degree program. The schools that have it are mostly private, expensive, for-profit and in the “real world,” carry little weight when compared to the ivy league and the top national schools.

Essentially, you will obtain a doctorate degree in criminal justice online, but the name of the school may matter when you apply for a career position in the criminal justice world of academics, training, and director-level positions.

That said, this doesn’t mean that these degrees are not valuable. In fact, they are very valuable and applicable to the current demand. However, until the state and national universities catch up with the online education craze a PhD in CJ from University of Cincinnati, Michigan State University, and Rutgers University will carry more weight than the one at the current online entities.

I will revisit this section in the future. In the meantime, please read the comments

92 comments… add one
  • Paula LeClaire

    This is a great blog! I was lucky enough to stumble into the University of Massachusetts – Lowell online M.A. program. It was hard getting into (I only made 1000 on my GRE) but I got in and now have my MA-CJ. It’s a great program and I wish they would offer a PhD soon.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for reading and congratulations on your achievements. University of Massachusetts – Lowell is a great institution. Good luck with pursuing your PhD.

      • anon

        Their PhD program was launched in the fall of 2011 and they were able to recruit some top notch professors to lead the way. Worthy of a blogpost I believe.

        On an unrelated note (as a current doctoral student), I’m very against the concept of an online PhD and hope these do not develop.

        • Radek M. Gadek

          By “Their,” did you mean University of Massachusetts at Lowell?

  • Pam

    Radek,
    Awesome site with tons of useful and real world information. I just received my Master’s in CJ from Boston University a few weeks ago…Go Terriers!!! I am looking for a good Ph.D. program for CJ, but as a single mom I can not venture too far from CT. Do you have any potential and feasible recommendations?
    Thanks,
    Pam

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t think there’s anything out there, yet. It might be a while before any great online PhD programs for Criminal Justice / Criminology come out. I don’t think there’s anything by you either; if you wanted school to be close to where you live. I would either hold off and wait, or venture out to Massachusetts. There are also online PhD programs that you can easily find at the most advertised / televised schools , but they aren’t top notch.

    • Ashley

      There is PhD CJ program at the University of New Haven in CT

  • Adam Eaton

    I already have my M.S in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, which has enabled me to teach some basic courses at online universities. If I want to pursue my PhD to teach at other acedmic institutions, is on online PhD (Capella?) frowned upon?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I would go the brick-and-mortar way if you want to obtain a PhD and teach at other online and on-campus institutions. Online schools are not as widely accepted when it comes to teaching in academia, unless they have a high ranking program or name prominence.

    • Adam Smith

      No it isn’t.While earning My PhD in Criminal Justice. I have had two Professors who obtained their PhD from Capella

  • A M

    How about sociology? Do you know of any decent online sociology phds?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Sorry, I know of none.

  • Stace

    I had a question, where does Saint Leo University Master’s program rank in the field of CJ?

    V/R,
    Stace

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t think it ranks anywhere. Saint Leo isn’t in top anything that I know of.

      • Carmella Williams

        Hi,

        Well, Saint Leo University is now ranked #59 as one of the top best regional universities out of 118 by U.S. News & World Report Magazine — in “America’s Best Colleges” category. They do offer a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with Specializations in Forensic Science, etc. They also are a widely respected university, especially here in Florida, and have top-notch professors. It is an excellent school at which to get an education! Their Center for Online Learning is wonderful! I just wanted to let ‘Stace’ or anyone else know this.
        Thank you.

        • Stace

          I graduated from Saint Leo U, with a Master’s in CJ just this past May. Saint Leo was a great journey!

          V/R
          Stace

  • Sean

    Hi Radek,

    I have a question – do you recommend Capella’s PhD program in PS/CJ or not? On your other page, of top CJ schools, you have Capella at the bottom saying it is the only online school you recommend. Will a PhD from Capella in PS/CJ allow people to teach at many schools or not? I’m currently enrolled, and I’m considering dropping out and going back to a Brick and Mortar to get another M.S. or M.A. in Criminal Justice. My current masters degree is a M.Div, so it doesn’t relate to CJ, though my professional career is CJ. I have 17 years of law enforcement experience and I want to teach.

    Would you recommend staying with Capella or going to a Brick and Mortar online CJ program that is more readily accepted?

    Thanks.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      For teaching, I would recommend traditional venues. For personal enrichment and/or traditional career opportunities, like in law enforcement and administration, I recommend either going on-campus or online. Despite me approving of Capella’s program, I still would consider having a Master’s from Penn State over having a PhD from Capella.

      • Tracie

        What is your opinion now of online schools? I live in Alabama, so I am not in or near a major metropolitan area. I was very interested in Nova’s PhD program.

        Background: I am an attorney looking to teach CJ. When I went to interview for a position, I noticed one of the instructors (interviewers) had a degree from Nova. He did have law enforcement experience–which I do not. However, I am almost 40 and I just do not see becoming a patrol officer.

        Do you know of any other resources I could access to find information–i.e. statistics on how difficult it might be for someone like me to enter the field, etc.

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Nova Southeastern University has a brick and mortar presence, so he might have attended on campus. I think Nova’s program is probably the only PhD online program I would endorse in the CJ field. Regardless, I still would go to a brick and mortar school for a PhD if given the chance (at least right now)

          I don’t have statistics, but I think that most law enforcement positions from local to federal level would be unattainable unless you had prior law enforcement experience. The field of Criminal Justice is still open to you, since I assume you have JD and obtaining a Criminal Justice PhD degree can always help. Still, I don’t have anything concrete for you.

      • David Woods, PhD

        Radek,
        Having a PhD in CJ from a “traditional” school I could not agree with you more. However, you should tell your readers that all of the online PhD programs I have seen, with the exception of Nova Southeaster University, cannot really be called a CJ PhD program. By this I mean they do not have the CJ or CRJ or ADJ (administration of justice) or equivalent preface in their classes. If you look closely at many of the so-called online PhD in CJ programs you will notice that they are under and titled in programs like Human Resource Management or something along that line. This will not work with most accreditation agencies and thus at the several universities I have worked at in the last 24 years they do not make the “first cut”. I do not know the quality of their programs so I am not commenting on them that way, but the preface to the courses do make a great difference. For example, last time I went, as a department chair, through accreditation with SACS a JD was not a terminal degree and did not “qualify” to teach upper division and graduate CJ students as a terminally degreed faculty member. Same for Sociology and other PhD’s.
        Just thought you might want to know this and warn others that the field has changed in the last 20 years now that more universities (traditional) have PhD in Criminal Justice, Administration of Justice, Criminology (which is different from a CJ degree itself but ok for accreditation purposes), Juvenile Justice, etc.
        David

        • Radek Gadek

          Thanks David,

          Your advice is much appreciated and it’s been implemented nearly since inception of the website. I have been trying to make this message more visible, but it’s probably lost within other articles and countless comments. Maybe a “Guide” or “Start Here” page is in order (it’s been on the “to do” list since early this year).

          Please chime in anytime you come by the blog.

          – Radek

        • JP

          I have a PhD from Capella University. I teach for several universities including Liberty University, Saint leo University, American military university, Grand Canyon University, Bethume Cookman University -and the list goes on. I make well over six figures and never had a problem. I know individuals who have graduated from Capella University who are directors of various CJ programs. Don’t knock it until you try it.

  • Sean

    Radek,

    Thanks for your reply. So I see that the University of Cincinnati has an online M.S. in CJ. You would recommend that over the PhD with Capella also? Do you think it will open many doors to teach online and traditional for undergraduate CJ?

    Thanks again for posting your opinion.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Sean,

      You ask very good questions. In short: Yes! BUT with caveat emptor in mind:
      1. Online Master’s degree recipients may be scrutinized by employers in the academic field, HOWEVER, and this is at your own risk, you can find out if the school is offering the same degree on campus with literally the same diploma (ie. a degree in Criminal Justice from the College of Professional Studies VS. Criminal Justice from the College of Law & Criminology <– I am referring to the actual department). This can mask, sort of, the association of you being a non-traditional student with hopes of teaching at a traditional setting. 2. Despite my suggestion, it is a gamble — a winnable one, however — that a strong Master's will allow you teaching possibilities vs. a weaker brick and mortar PhD degree (ie. Master's from Univ. of Cincinnati VS. PhD from Some Half-Decent State University. The Master's, in my opinion, has more strength vs any online PhD counterpart BUT usually not a traditional one, like I mentioned in the parenthesis, unless you really went to a crappy brick-and-mortar school for your PhD.It's funny how we're able to get a coveted degree, but still receive scrutiny from academic institutions that we want to work for; far more scrutiny then those looking for new careers and career advancement. I do feel there will be a shift within the upcoming years, but it will still be the old "what school did you go to" adage, even with an online degree. That's why I don't advocate getting a PhD online, at least not yet.In reference to points 1 and 2, I still know of quite a few Master degree recipients — from online schools — who are presently teaching at community colleges, online colleges and universities, and for-profit or smaller schools.. and only a small fraction (very small), teach at traditional — decent to very good — academic institutions <– in almost all cases for the latter it is on a trial / part-time basis and with a non-tenure track.I hope this makes sense. If it doesn't please read it again. If that fails, let me know then.One last thing.. and this is an obvious one for me: speak with a knowledgeable person at University of Cincinnati — preferably the Dean or the professor running the Criminal Justice program — about your aspirations and concerns. Please feel free to cite our dialogue. Heck, I welcome it. I hope that when you get some answers, perhaps I can either stand my ground on this issue, or maybe, just maybe, become more optimistic.

      • Jim

        Radek, Shaun,
        I earned my masters from U of Cincinnati online and am now teaching at a local community college and online for one of the big for profit online schools. I can take phd classes from the online school at a discount but I feel it is not worth my money due to the reputation of online degrees.

        Jim

  • Sean

    Radek,

    Thanks a lot for all the information. It really helps! Not to burden you, but I do have one more quick question for you. Nova Southeastern is starting an Online PhD in CJ next year. Are you familiar with that program? Any opinion on it?

    Thanks again so much for your help. I really appreciate it.

    Sean

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Not too familiar with the program or school, but from cursory perusing, it looks pretty decent.

  • SHARON GORDON MULLANE

    I have three degrees from Nova Southeastern (Bachelor’s in C.J., Master’s in C.J. and Juris Doctor.) I am very happy to have just been accepted into Nova’s online PHD in Criminal Justice which is now set to start in August of 2011. I have looked for two years but have found this to be the only pure PHD in C.J. from a regionally accredited (SACS) university that is in an online format(from an American school.) Applicants now have until May of 2011, I believe, to apply for the August 2011 start date. (Applicants can check the Nova CJI website for exact details.) I am extremely excited about the program as Nova has become a very competitive university. (As a graduate of Nova law school I was very excited to just learn that Nova law school had the second highest pass rates for the Florida Bar this last year.) Insofar as questions regarding what one can do with degrees from Nova, I was able to work as a prosecuting attorney for 23 years, as a criminal defense attorney for 4 years and as a college professor of criminal justice/legal for 10 years so I have to say that I highly recommend Nova Southeastern. My daughter also graduated from Nova Medical School and is enjoying a highly successful career.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Sharon,

      Thanks for the very valuable input.

      I was kind of wondering myself, since Sean’s persistent, but very well thought out, comments. I did a little digging around and found the school to be rooted in great academics. I am guessing this is worth a look at. Be aware that the PhD program is awaiting approval from the accreditation agency, but I hope it will pull through.

      I contacted Nova Southeastern University to chime in. I would love schools, like Nova, to contribute to the blog with relevant CJ info.

      • Sharon Gordon Mullane

        HI RADEK:

        JUST TO GIVE YOU AN UPDATE ON THE PhD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE FROM NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY…I’VE COMPLETED THE FIRST SEMESTER AND AM ALMOST THROUGH WITH THE SECOND SEMESTER. NOVA’S PROGRAM IS VERY CHALLENGING AND THE PHD STUDENTS ALL HAVE UNBELIEVABLE RESUMES. THESE DAYS MORE AND MORE SCHOOLS ARE INSISTING THAT THEIR PROFESSORS HAVE A PhD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THERE IS A HUGE DEMAND FOR PROFESSORS WHO HAVE A PURE PhD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SUCH AS THE ONE OFFERED BY NOVA SOUTHEASTERN. UNLESS A NEW PROGRAM HAS RECENTLY BEEN ADDED, NOVA’S PhD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS THE ONLY PURE PhD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE OFFERED REMOTELY. THE PROGRAM IS A GREAT ONE AND I AM WILLING TO BET YOU THAT,WITH THE IMPRESSIVE RESUMES THAT MY CLASSMATES ALREADY HAVE, THEY WILL HAVE FABULOUS SUCCESS UPON GRADUATION. THE RESUMES OF MY CLASSMATES WILL ABSOLUTELY BLOW YOU AWAY! CLEARLY, NOVA WAS EXTREMELY SELECTIVE AND ONLY TOOK THE BEST OF THE BEST. (I FELT QUITE HONORED TO EVEN BE ALLOWED TO JOIN SUCH AN OUTSTANDING GROUP!) I HAVE NO DOUBT AT ALL THAT, WITH THIS DIPLOMA IN HAND, WE WILL ALL DO EXCEPTIONALLY WELL IN OUR CAREERS. THIS PROGRAM IS NOT SIMPLE TO GET INTO SO I URGE ANY OF YOUR READERS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN A PhD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE TO JUMP IN AND SLUG IT OUT AND TRY TO GET INTO THIS PROGRAM. (NO, I DON’T WORK FOR NOVA AS I AM A CRIMINAL TRIAL ATTORNEY AND A COLLEGE PROFESSOR. HOWEVER, I HAVE HAD TREMENDOUS SUCCESS IN LIFE HAVING EARNED A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE, A MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND A LAW DEGREE, ALL FROM NOVA SOUTHEASTERN.) AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY, MY DAUGHTER HAS ALSO DONE VERY WELL AFTER EARNING HER MEDICAL DEGREE FROM NOVA SOUTHEASTERN. SHE HAS BECOME AN EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL MEDICAL DOCTOR AND CONTINUES TO EXCEL IN HER SPECIALTIES.

        • Radek M. Gadek

          What an update… Kudos!

  • SHARON GORDON MULLANE

    Hi Radek,

    Thanks for your reply. I know that Nova is being very selective regarding the students that they accept into the PHD in CJ program. They have only accepted five students so far and have a cap of 20 students for the program. Nova is a very large school. They have a law school, a medical school, a dental school, and many more. They offer various doctorates in many subjects including psychology.

    Thanks for all the work you do on your blog.

    Best Regards,
    Sharon

  • Jon

    I am planning to start the Masters in CJ at the University of Cincinnati online in March 2011. After completing the MCJ at University of Cincinnati, I plan to apply to a PhD program as a traditional student. I have worked in Corrections and as a Parole Agent for the past 21 years with the State of California. I plan to retire in three to four years and want to teach after finishing my PhD. My question is, if I receive a MCJ at the University of Cincinnati online, will I have difficulty getting into a traditional PhD program because I graduated from an online program?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Good question, Jon. Really good!

      Firstly, University of Cincinnati is an excellent school, especially for Criminal Justice majors.

      Secondly, no one really should/must know that you went to school online. Your diploma will not say “online” on it. I think that as long as you obtain letters of recommendation from your professors, you should be fine with avoiding that hurdle. I wasn’t as persistent and that’s something I would want to change if I “did it all over again”. Get those letters – they are worth it. If your grades / GPA / GRE / and other important factors are great, the letters of recommendation will make them pop out. If you take the route of mentioning that you went to school online in your application for a PhD, then you may OR may not be setting yourself up for failure. It just depends on the mindset of the reviewer / admissions dept as a whole.

      I think the whole taboo of going to school online will change within the next several years or so. Right now, there’s a huge transition in high school grads and professionals taking their baby steps towards online education. Soon, I think both modes of going to school (on campus or online) will be widely accepted.

      If anyone had success going to college online and getting into a brick-and-mortar PhD program, please let us know how you did it? Thanks

  • G.M.

    Please allow me to offer the results of my yearlong search for an Online doctorate program in CJ or Criminology…the bottom line, none of any substance exist. Let me offer a bit of background and why I believe that Online doctorate training in this country will never become mainstream…it will remain nothing but an expensive dream that will never materialize.

    Online education in this country is still relatively young. I myself have been involved in it daily for 8 ½ years. The concept was good…affording working adults and/or non-traditional students a choice over the traditional “brick & mortar” schools. I would say that initially, the quality of the Online classes was quite good. In fact, I recall as a new Adjunct thinking there is no way I would have jumped the hoops my students had to in order to complete the class.

    But about 5 years ago, a shift began in the Online world. The institutions decided they could build market share by simply lowering the standards of student performance. Personally, I began to note (in a relatively short period-of-time) students go from striving to achieve, to just simply just “getting by”. Things like performance and GPA’s took a back seat to passing and students went from a desire to better themselves to just checking a box.

    But what really has surprised me was the attitude shift of the administrators in the Online world. Initially, they too had a strong desire to promote academic excellence and genuinely believed they were helping develop a new format of education for the next century. Their talk was that the Online world had to be better than the “brick & mortars”, or people would simply stop enrolling. But somewhere around the ‘06/’07 timeframe, a shift occurred. Most who noted this change attribute it to retirements of Online administrators who came from “brick & mortar” institutions but had moved into Online. This opened doors for lower-level employees to move into these admin positions. But unlike those who had retired, these new admin types only had Online academic backgrounds…many had never sat in a traditional college-classroom in their entire life. This was especially true for a very large Online institution that finds itself in the media spotlight quite often now.

    The net effect was that academic excellence went from being the norm to more of a recruiting slogan. With the advent of these new Online-trained administrators, an attitude shift started too. It became all about “servicing” the students and being sensitive to their needs and teaching the material took a back-seat to this mentality. This was true no matter how ridiculous or offensive student behavior became. Students discovered that if they filed complaints against faculty members (no matter how absurd), the schools would side with the student. I personally caught a student plagiarizing not once, but twice in a Master’s class. I failed the student and an investigation was opened on me!

    But what really blew my mind is that a large number of Online Adjuncts and even Online Full-Timers who sort of dumb-down their approach too. They soon discovered that if they gave everyone and “A” or “B”, they had no problems, with the students or the Admin people. The faculty who refused to comply were summarily dismissed or simply saw offers of additional classes reduced to zero.

    This is important because the traditional academic world has discovered all this. So has Congress and so have the student-loan people. The folks who work in the accreditation agencies are getting up-to-speed as well. I believe that serious changes are coming to Online education in this country in the very near future. But perhaps most effective in stifling Online doctorates have been the brick & mortar Ph.D’s. Unlike their admin bosses, they very quickly saw Online education as a threat and circled the wagons to stop the Online Ph.D’s. In fact, they have been extremely successful at keeping Online “Doctors” out of the tenured-track faculty appointments at both private and land-grant colleges and universities. One university-level VP told me the Online people will never have positions in academia of any substance. Their entire careers will be spent teaching at junior colleges, other Online institutions or low-level non-tenured Instructor positions.

    Sorry to have gone on for a bit, I just wanted to share my experiences. If your desire is just to have a Ph.D after your name, then you’re probably OK with the Online programs. But if you desire a career in academia, corporate management, or a senior National Government positions, please, before you spend 50K – 60K on an Online doctorate, do your homework. Don’t get caught-up with the recruiting slogans or brochure testimonials that claim an Online doctorate will land you anything of substance…the simple reality is that none of the Online doctorates are considered legitimate by those who are smart on the set-up and do the hiring.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Did someone say featured post?! Wow!

      I think you’re right on target. I’ve seen positive changes in online academia in the last few years/months, but “the road” is still hard and uneven.

      I am very curious about potential career prospects for Master and PhD level grads. Your assertion seems to mimic current trends and I think that’s very misleading to those who take up online learning in order to BETTER their life and NOT make it more mundane.

      Thanks for you insightful comment.

  • Jim

    I could not agree with you more Mr. Gadek. I received my MS in CJ from U of Cincinnati in 2004. I was impressed with their program. It does not mention “online” anywhere and one would only find out if the recipient of the degree mentioned it.

    I then looked for a PhD online and found several “subpar” Universities offering the PhD. In early 2010 I signed up for the PhD at Rocky Mountain University at a cost of $56,000. I then started background checks on the school and withdrew before my first class.

    I am still looking. I retired from law enforcement 3 years ago and am teaching online for a big name online only University. I also am teaching at a community college part time with no chance of a tenure track in the foreseeable future.

    Just my $.02.

    Thanks for your insight.
    Jim

  • Jim

    I forgot to mention, the online University I teach for offers a PhD in CJ, but I feel it would not be in my best interest to obtain a degree from them in order to teach at a University.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  • Sharon Gordon Mullane

    I AM VERY EXCITED TO REPORT THAT THE NEW ONLINE PHD AT NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY APPEARS TO HAVE RECENTLY BECOME FULLY ACCREDITED. I SAY THIS BECAUSE THE WEBSITE USED TO STATE THAT THE PROGRAM WAS “PENDING” APPROVAL FROM SACS AND NOW STATES THAT THE PROGRAM IS FULLY APPROVED. POTENTIAL STUDENTS SHOULD CHECK OUT NOVA’S WEBSITE FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE TO SEE IF THIS CAN BE CONFIRMED. IF THIS IS THE CASE THEN THE PROGRAM IS TRULY ONE OF A KIND. I SAY THIS BECAUSE, IN ALL OF MY RESEARCH FOR AN ONLINE, “REGIONALLY ACCREDITED” PHD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROGRAM, THIS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT I HAVE FOUND THAT IS A PURE PHD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE FROM A REGIONALLY ACCREDITED SCHOOL. SINCE I LIVE ONLY A FEW MILES FROM NOVA AND HAVE RECEIVED SEVERAL DEGREES FROM THERE, I CAN TELL YOUR READERS THAT THE SCHOOL IS EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL AS THE CAMPUS AND VARIOUS COLLEGES (MEDICAL, DENTAL, LAW, PHARMACY, PSYCHOLOGY, ETC.) ARE BEAUTIFUL TO VIEW. NOVA HAS A TREMENDOUS AND IMPRESSIVE PRESENCE IN THE AREA AND, AS I UNDERSTAND, IS ONE OF THE LARGEST PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN THE NATION. SO MUCH THE BETTER THAT NOVA HAS A TREMENDOUS BRICK AND MORTAR PRESENCE!

  • Justin

    How early can you apply at Nova for PhD program for 2012 start?? Definitely going to apply now and I am excited!

    • Sharon Gordon Mullane

      Hi Justin:

      Yes, I agree with you. I remain extremely excited about the program. As of my last check, Nova’s new PHD in Criminal Justice remains the only true PHD in Criminal Justice program which can be taken fully on line from a regionally accredited (SACS) university. Since Nova has a huge brick and mortar presence, and since the diploma will not state that the degree was obtained online, this PHD in CJ from Nova will give the student the best of all worlds. To make the program even better, the PHD can be earned in two and one-half years after the student completes 60 credits. Again, I have searched extensively for the past several years, and there is no online program to match this one. At $765 per credit the price is also quite reasonable.

      Justin, I don’t know what the deadline is for the 2012 session but I recommend that you go to the CJI Institute website at Nova Southeastern University. If there is any way that you can apply now for the August 2011 start, if I were you I would do it. (Deadline is May 27th to have everything in.) I just recently learned that they will also accept a JD in lieu of a Master’s degree in CJ. This only makes sense and opens up this fantastic program to even more students. As mentioned, since I live down the road from Nova Southeastern University, I can tell you that the campus is huge and extremely impressive. Aside from the medical school, dental school, law school and all the other integrated schools, Nova Southeastern is the training ground for the Miami Dolphins.

      Good luck to you, Justin!

      • Radek M. Gadek

        Sharon,

        Thanks for the insightful reply. I’m happy to see that Nova is offering a “true” PhD program in Criminal Justice online. Let us know how things go.

        • Sharon Mullane

          Hello Radek,

          I have tried to respond to some of the entries on your blog in an effort to help those who have inquired since, for several years, I was in the same dilemma they were in. The Nova program is very demanding and rigorous and we are learning a lot. I am very happy that I chose the Behavioral Science track over the other two options, Management or Juvenile Justice. Thanks for all the help you give future students as it is very difficult to know what to do given the limited options that are out there. I am still unaware of any online program that comes close to matching the PhD in Criminal Justice offered by Nova. Since it took a well-established school like Nova years to perfect the program and get it accredited, I don’t think that there will be a lot of competition anytime in the very near future. If your readers can get into this program (only 20 students are accepted each year), I think that they would find it to be an excellent program. I, for one, am very happy that I chose Nova.

          Best Regards,
          Sharon

          • Radek M. Gadek

            Hi Sharon,

            I am very excited every time you post an update. As you said, there are virtually no true online Criminal Justice PhD programs at reputable schools and having a “play by play” account of the only one that’s available is a boon. Thank you for taking the time to shed a big beam of light on the online Criminal Justice PhD degree track. Can’t wait for the next update :-)

            Sincerely,
            Radek

            • Sharon Mullane

              Hello Radek,

              Just an update on the PhD in Criminal Justice program that I am involved with at Nova Southeastern University. I just reached the approximate half-way point in pursuit of my PhD and am still alive to tell about it! LOL! Keeping in mind that I am in a brand new PhD program, with the very first group of PhD students, I have to say that Nova has done a stellar job. Not perfect yet, but getting close! They have just selected candidates for their second class. I have to tell you and your readers that it is very difficult to get into Nova’s PhD program. They only accept 20 students per year. I only wished that you could see the credentials of my classmates as their legal and/or law enforcement credentials are extremely impressive! As I mentioned before Nova’s program is a true PhD in Criminal Justice. I chose the Behavioral Science Specialty Track as my interest has to do with the behaviors of those who have come to the attention of Homeland Security. There is also a Management specialty track and a juvenile justice specialty track. If I stay on schedule I will become ABD in about 9 months. My how time flies when you’re having fun! I wished that I could tell you how thrilled I am that I chose Nova and their particular program. I predict that the program will become more and more difficult to get into, so, for those who have an interest you might want to start lining up. Best of luck to everyone in accomplishing your goals and in realizing your dreams.

            • Sharon Mullane

              Thanks much, Radek!

  • Taylor

    I’m planning to join the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force. But, doing my research, I decided that a Bachelor’s degree would be nice, but I have no experience, even with the CSCEP my Junior and Senior year. I needed way more.
    So I thought that I would finish my Bachelor degree in three years, and start my Masters degree. Florida State University and Northern Arizona University both had the Applied Masters degree, but only Florida State had a Doctor’s.
    So, my question is – experience. Would the classes offer me experience, or the CSCEP, or would I have to earn it out of school? I plan on earning my Ph.D in 7 years, not 10. Taking classes year round, even during winter break. (NAU offers online classes during that time)
    Which school would you say is best, and how can I earn the experience?

    • jake

      Question. Why would you a PhD if you want to be a US Marshal?
      You make no sense.

    • DUSM

      Taylor,
      Your enthusiasm is commendable and I’d never discourage anyone from aiming high. I’ve been in LE for 16 years, 13 of that with the marshals. My advice would be to remember to balance education and experience. To be assigned to a USMS Fugitive TF will take 4-6 years minimum as a deputy, and probably more like 10 years experience as a state/local officer. A bachelors is a good start with the USMS, a masters gets you additional points on a promotion exam. Of course the knowledge gained in your educational endeavors will be beneficial, it’s not necessary for advancement in the USMS or assignment to a TF. Years of LE experience and a relentless desire to catch bad guys are much more important. Good luck.

  • Lisa

    I earned my Masters in Criminal Justice from UCF. When I began, they were just beginning to offer the full program online. They have two tracks-professional and research-and they work with the students to make sure you have the best experience. I hope that UCF will offer their PhD online soon. Great article

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Lisa, thanks for sharing.

  • Elda

    Hello,

    I will start the MS program in CJ at the University of Cincinnati in the fall. I am very excited about it. However, I have to admit that my “passion” is for Forensic Psychology. Unfortunately, there are not too many schools that offer such program online. Therefore, I chose UC over Argosy (they offer an online MA in Forensic Psychology) primarily for three reasons: (1) ranking (UC is ranked #3 graduate school in the nation in CJ by U.S. News and World Report) whereas Argosy is unranked, (2) type of degree (MS holds more “weight” over MA), and (3) a “broad” degree would most likely offer more opportunities in the job market…

    My dilemma, however, is this: I don’t know if I should pursue a second Master’s degree (in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University) or continue with a PhD program in Criminology/CJ. I have read that NOVA is the only institution that offers an online PhD in CJ that is fully accredited.

    I would appreciate any comments/feedback.

    Thanks!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I would go the PhD route vs. another Master’s. Knowing what I know now, I would not consider Argosy and schools like it.

    • Sharon Mullane

      Hi Elda,

      I am 100% in agreement with Radek. Nova’s PhD in Criminal Justice is perfect for you if you can get in. Recall that they only accept 20 students per year. We started out with 20 and, I believe, are now down to 15 as the program is very rigorous. I take the Behavioral Science track which is out of Nova’s Psychology Department. Sounds like that track would be perfect for you.

      Best of luck to you.

      Sharon

  • Steve Coppinger

    Just commenting on those looking at a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati (UC) – JUST DO IT! The on-line program is excellent as I graduated from it in December 2009. The diploma doesn’t say anything about “on-line” so you do not have to worry about people looking over your credentials looking down on you for having completed the program on-line.

    And here was one of the most interesting things for me – I have a friend who attended a brick and mortar institution to get his MS in criminal justice. I examined all his textbooks used in his course and discovered that 80 percent of them were written by professors I actually had at UC. My brick and mortar buddy is impressed that all those folks were my actual professors.

    And regarding the instructional staff – the course facilitators and professors were very, very helpful during the course. You won’t go wrong with UC.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Good to hear. University of Cincinnati is the real deal : )

  • SHARON GORDON MULLANE

    TO ALL POTENTIAL PHD IN CJ STUDENTS:

    JUST THOUGHT THAT I WOULD REMIND YOU THAT NOVA’S NEW PHD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS LIMITED TO ONLY 20 STUDENTS. THE DEADLINE FOR ALL APPLICATIONS IS MAY 27TH WITH A PROJECTED START DATE OF AUGUST THIS YEAR. I DON’T KNOW EXACTLY HOW MANY STUDENTS HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED THUS FAR BUT MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THERE ARE A FEW MORE SPOTS AVAILABLE. YOUR READERS CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM BY GOING TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE INSTITUTE TAB AT THE NOVA SOUTHEASTERN WEBSITE. BEST OF LUCK TO ALL!

  • Elda

    I just wanted to thank everyone for providing feedback to my post. I am very excited about starting the MS in CJ from UC!!

    Are there any reputable universities that offer Forensic Psychology? You mentioned that you would not go with Argosy University.

    Thanks!

    • Jim

      Check the U of North Dakota.

  • Anthony Campbell

    I have been seriously considering a PsyD – emphasis in criminal behavior, online from the University of the Rockies. Reading the above posts have renewed my interest in NSU. I am one week away from completing a masters in forensic psychology and have 22 years on the police department. Future goals include teaching Criminal Justice at the university level. I’ve read a PhD is preferred over a PsyD for teaching; any thoughts or comments. Thank you.

    • Sharon Mullane

      Anthony,

      I looked at all those programs as well. They don’t compare to Nova. You can have the best of the best at Nova. Try to get into the PhD in Criminal Justice and sign up for the “Behavioral Science” track. It’s the best of both worlds. That way you have the PhD in Criminal Justice and a specialty track that is out of Nova’s psychology department. I don’t think that it can get much better than that. This is why I am signed up for this particular track.

      Best of luck to you,
      Sharon

  • Ken Coyle

    I am currently teaching at a community college that is very isolated making it impossible to do a PHD anywhere. I don’t need a Doc, but I’d really like one for my personal satisfaction. I am retired from a police job and have been teaching for quite some time so it’s very impractical for me to spend a fortune on a doctorate in an on-line (for profit) program. I could never earn enough to pay this back, and they are so expensive I’d have to take out loans. I’m interested in a broad area of CJ topics and given the best possible scenario I’d like to be able to pursue a Doc in the history/ evolution of different crimes. A Doc in history might do. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • Mrs. Melig

    I have a masters degree in CJ from Texas State University in San Marcos Texas. The instructors in the CJ department there come from all over: Suny, Arizona, Oklahoma, Sam Houston, Albany, and more…
    One thing you have to ask yourself is this: What do I want to do?
    If you want hands on work in the field of CJ, I suggest first going into the work field while doing your bachelors degree- This will ensure you won’t have an issue finding a job like I am.

    If you are more interested in research, intel, and the academic theoretical perspective, then go 100% to school and get your hands on from the internships available in the CJ program versus doing research. When you reach the masters level, start your thesis asap, don’t wait! This is the part that takes long to put together, get your committee picked out, and bug them constantly!

    If you want more field work, find a professor that does that- and forgo the doctoral degree unless you have a shoe-in at your workplace that they will move you up with the phd.

    Hope that helps!
    S. Melig

  • daniel

    FOR THE NOVA STUDENTS: PLEASE REMEMBER. THE SCHOOL IS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL CONTRIBUTE. CURRENTLY, THE PROGRAM CONTAINS MEMBERS FROM LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO INCLUDE: INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITIES LIKE CIA, AND DIA. IT’S COMPETITIVE AS THEORISTS IN THIS FIELD ARE NOT NEEDED WHEN THEY HAVE NO EXPERIENCE IN LEO. ALSO A REMINDER, EVEN WITH A PHD, YOU CANNOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMUNITY WHEN YOU MAKE ATTEMPTS TO KNOW MORE THAN LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMBERS WHO LIVE IT EVERYDAY. THEREFORE, IF YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD, LIKE BEING A BEAT COP OR INTEL ANALYST, THEN THIS DEGREE MAY NOT BE SUITING TO YOU AND MAY JUST BE A WASTE OF YOUR AND OUR TIME AND YOUR MONEY.

  • Jessica B. Gonzalez

    i know i want to major in criminal justice, i just dont know what and where to start. i know i want to be dealing w/juveniles, and guns, and drugs, and how they killed, and study stories like jaycee dugars, or bahmer, i just dont know if there is something in the C.J system there for me, can anyone help me?

  • Sharon Gordon Mullane

    HELLO READERS,

    I WANTED TO PROVIDE AN UPDATE AND LET YOU KNOW THAT I, ALONG WITH ABOUT 19 OTHER CANDIDATES, HAVE STARTED NOVA’S ONLINE PHD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THE PROGRAM WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE USUAL GROWING PAINS BUT WILL, NO DOUBT, TURN OUT TO BE ONE FABULOUS PROGRAM. BASED ON MY RESEARCH, THERE IS NO OTHER BRICK AND MORTAR, REGIONALLY ACCREDITED, “PURE” PHD IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEGREE BEING OFFERED ONLINE. FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO JOIN US PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET ALL OF YOUR APPS IN BY DEADLINE.
    (YOU PRESENTLY NEED EITHER A LAW DEGREE OR A MASTERS DEGREE IN CJ TO GET IN.) YOU CAN CHOOSE ONE OF THREE TRACKS: (1) BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE (2) ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENTS (3) JUVENILE JUSTICE.
    I CHOSE THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE TRACK AND THINK THAT IT’S JUST TERRIFIC!

    BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE,
    SHARON

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for the update Sharon :-)

  • Darrell

    Hello. I’m looking at enrolling in the online Masters in Justice Management from the University of Nevada. I have been working with Juvenile offenders for about 18 years. The last 10 I have been working for Juvenile Justice Services for the state of Utah. Would the MJM program from the UNR be any good trying to teach in a college?

  • Al

    Radek,

    I am going to be graduating from the University of Cincinnati with an MS in CJ and I am wondering what would be the best options for me to further my education. I am in the military so I have never worked a day in criminal justice but that is what I am hoping to do very soon when I am discharged. I also have put thought into law school. I want to be a police officer, and a detective in the future. Given my situation which doctoral programs do you think would make me the most competitive candidate?

    • Bryan

      If your career goal is to be a police officer and detective, I think u have more education than u need. Just start applying for depts. To get to the detective level u have to do your time in the street and build experience and a solid reputation. No one cares how many degrees u have if u can’t find ur butt with both hands. I worked for a major police Dept for 9 years. I made detective after 4 and investigated personal crimes for three years. I have a BS in CJ. No one in the Dept ever asked me what my degree was in. Some depts pay extra for the degrees u have. Mine was 6% for a BS. They did not pay extra for MS or anything hire. I could not justify getting more educe. I was investigating great cases and sending bad guys away for the rest of their lives. WOW, and all with only a BS. Experience, reputation, and work ethic are everything.

  • Tony

    Radek,

    I hope this posting finds you doing very well. Thank you by the way for this criminal justice online blog; it is very informative. I recently graduated from Boston U’s MCJ program and am contemplating a doctoral program. The only problem is the traditional brick and mortar programs are not a very viable option due to career and family obligations. That unfortunately leaves me with very few choices. I have researched the Ph.D program at Capella, and although it is seemingly legit, the price is a bit high. As I was perusing through internet sites this morning I came across an online doctorate program in strategic security through Henley-Putnam University out of San Jose, CA. Do you know anything about this program? Have you heard anything good, bad, or indifferent? Thanks.

    Tony

    • Radek Gadek

      I haven’t heard anything about the program. I did a quick search on the school and its accreditation. Lets just say, that it’s not regionally accredited. Therefore, in my book, this school gets zero consideration for further academic studies.

      I am still in the market for a PhD, and at the moment I wouldn’t consider any other ONLINE based program, other than, Nova Southeastern University out of Florida. I’ll ride on my Master’s til I go to a stellar online or brick-and-mortar school. Just my two cents.

  • Bryan

    Do not paint yourself into a corner with a CJ degree if u want to work in LE. Most agencies don’t care what ur degree is in. Get a degree in something else u can fall back on and then go work in LE. A close friend of mine wanted to be a cop so bad he could taste it. I advised him to study something else in college and go through the hiring process. Good for him, he got a degree in IT and started applying. Guess what? He applied three times and was rejected all of them because of something silly in his background. Glad he got that IT degree to fall back on. He now works with computers and makes double what he would of as a cop. In 9 years in LE, 3 as a detective, my CJ degree has never helped me advance. It is experience, reputation, and work ethic that get u the furthest.

    • Radek Gadek

      Great points Bryan. Thanks for your input.

  • Tony

    Thanks for the reply Radek; it is much appreciated. It appears we are in the same boat; both looking for the right PhD program that fits our needs, yet is reputable and accepted by those working within the field, especially those in academia.

    I will have to take a look at Nova Southeastern University’s Online PhD program and weigh my options. What I can tell you is that I loved BU’s MCJ program, and if a school such as BU came out with an online PhD program or even a blended online/traditional PhD program, I would be all over that in a heart beat. Thanks again for this blog.

    Tony

  • Johnathan

    @Sharon Gordon Mullane

    I am interested in the on-line Ph.D. in criminal justice at NSU, which I may consider taking in the future. I do have some concerns and questions. Online degrees are not well accepted in the marketplace and academia. The marketplace and academia have a low opinion of online degrees owing to (1) lack of rigorousness, (2) lack of face-to-face interactions, (3) increased potential for academic dishonesty, and (4) association with diploma mills. I have the following questions. Is the on-line Ph.D. in criminal justice at NSU accredited? If so, by whom? Is the accreditation recent? Is the on-line Ph.D. in criminal justice at NSU synchronous or asynchronous? What funding options are available? How is the on-line Ph.D. in criminal justice at NSU perceived in the marketplace and academia? Have alumni had success getting jobs in the marketplace or academia? I would greatly appreciate you addressing each concern and question. Thank you and have a great day.

    • Radek Gadek

      1 and 4 can be circumvented by going to a quality college or university. Avoid for-profits and inferior schools.

      When I tell people I got my degree from Boston University, no one asks me “did you go online?” I feel, that in many cases, the education received online can actually be better. Not from the perspective of saving time or because the courses are accelerated, but because you actually learn more since the vast majority of responsibility lies in your court. The amount of research and writing alone will make or break any online learner.

      All this, of course, is debatable and may hinge on your preferred learning method – face to face or online. I like both, but find considerable time savings (of about 10 weeks per course) when I study online. In essence, I can cover a 16 week class in about 5-6 weeks and still live semi-normally (work, see a movie here and there, hang out with friends and family). Same book, similar curriculum, but at my preferred [faster] pace.

      No. 2 is a little harder to justify. Many schools are starting to resort to video presentations and video-chatting to achieve this. The technology and delivery aren’t quite there yet IMHO.

      No. 3 and cheating can happen on either platform. Granted, if you had enough money to hire someone, in theory, that someone can complete your entire degree online. Why would you pay tuition and probably its equivalent to learn nothing… Just to get a degree? I know someone reading this is probably saying: “heck yea” — not worth it…

      I know I hijacked this comment thread. I kinda wrote this response for everyone. I personally think that a PhD in Criminal Justice completed online is something to think A LOT about. There are only a handful or fewer quality schools that offer a full-on Ph.D. in CJ online, but given the choice, I would lean on going the brick and mortar way. At least in the near future.

      I hope Sharon can shed some light on these issues and the other questions you may have.

      I also recommend getting in touch with the school directly. In my recent online degree collection efforts for Online College Report, I saw that they have a solid page at NSU exactly for the online Ph.D. in Criminal Justice program.

      Good luck on your journey.

    • Eddy

      I will address your four concerns:

      (1) Lack of Rigorousness
      This is a two way street. Academia and employers fail to see the double standard, thus they only see a one way street. Some traditional (or brick and mortar) institutions lack rigorousness. Likewise, some on-line institutions lack rigorousness. Moreover, how do we define “rigorousness?” What makes a program, whether traditional or on-line, “rigorous?” How do we measure “rigorousness?” Rigorousness is subjective thus it is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, this argument does not hold water.

      (2) Lack of Face-to-Face Interactions
      This is true to a certain degree; however, technology is rapidly evolving. Some on-line programs are using virtual face-to-face interaction using webcams. Again advanced technology and software is making this possible. I would like to point to the fact that face-to-face interaction is limited at traditional (or brick and mortar) institutions as well. Students only see their professors via classroom, advising, or appointment. Other than that, professors are at home or isolated in their office doing research, grading, etc. Therefore, face-to-face interactions are limited for both traditional and on-line environments.

      (3) Increased potential for academic dishonesty
      This is a two way street. Academia and employers fail to see the double standard. Academic dishonesty occurs at both traditional (or brick and mortar) and on-line institutions. The phrase “increased potential” is irrelevant because, again, academic dishonesty occurs at both types. There are many cases of cheating and plagiarism occurring at traditional institutions (e.g., Ivy League institutions are not exempted). Likewise, on-line programs have their fair share of academic dishonesty. Both traditional and on-line programs are guilty of academic dishonesty, and “increased potential” is irrelevant.

      (4) Association with Diploma Mills
      This is easy to avoid. Look at the following link:

      http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Index.aspx

      If your on-line program or institution is accredited, then you are good to go. Achieving accreditation is not easy. Accreditation also requires strict adherence to standards, rules, and regulations to maintain that accreditation.

      CONCLUSION
      There is no perfect traditional (or brick and mortar) and on-line programs and institutions. Both traditional and on-line have their pros and cons. Both traditional and on-line have their faults. In my humble opinion, our society places too much emphasis or value on a sheet of paper (i.e., degree). From my experience, field experience is valued more than a degree. In my company, we look to field experience as the number one factor when hiring individuals. Yes, indeed, degrees give one an edge in the hiring process, but degrees are not the number one deciding factor in the hiring process, at least at my place of work.

      Let us assume two candidates apply for a position at my place of work. Both candidates have a Master’s; one from an Ivy League and one from a mediocre on-line program, which was accredited. Both differ in field experience; the Ivy League candidate had two internships and the mediocre candidate has seven years of field experience. Which one will I hire? I will hire the so-called mediocre candidate. Why? His experience matters. His field experience will enable him to discern. The fact that he has an on-line degree is irrelevant.

      As long the on-line program or institution is accredited, so what? In today’s face-paced world, not everyone has the opportunity to quit his full-time job to attend higher education, whether it be Associate, Bachelor, Master’s, or PhD. Again the problem in our society is placing too much emphasis or value on paper (i.e., degree) and where that paper was obtained than field experience. Will this mentality change? I dare say it will. Statistics show employers are beginning to shift their opinion about on-line degrees. The academia remains rigid since the academia is an elitist and arrogant atmosphere. The academia does not care about field experience. The academia favors research than field experience. When I applied for my doctorate, my interview board felt threatened by my field experience. Why? I was a double threat to them. I had years of field experience and I had theory owing to my Master’s background. Majority of professors in the academia never lifted a nail and hammer, thus actual work is frightening to them. Again the academia is an elitist and pompous environment; therefore, on-line degrees will continue to be shunned. Nevertheless, I think that opinion will change with time, since traditional institutions continue to establish on-line programs owing to our fast-paced world.

      Good luck in your endeavor.

      • Radek Gadek

        Eddy, thanks for your input. You bring up some great points.

        • Eddy

          Thank you, Mr. Gadek. I failed to mention one other point. The whole “traditional” versus “on-line” degree debate is childish and hypocritical. Childish because the academia and employers are quick to judge and they fail to see the double standards. In addition, “my traditional PhD is better than your on-line PhD” is nothing more than playground immaturity backed with no substance whatsoever. As long as a degree or institution is accredited, does it really matter where and how one obtained that degree? Alas, as I said above, our society places too much value on how obtained, where obtained, and a sheet of paper than field (or “real world”) experience.

          What is the “traditional” versus “on-line” degree debate hypocritical? Here is my question. If accredited on-line degrees (e.g., associate, bachelor, master, or doctorate) lack rigorousness, lack face-to-face interactions, have increased potential for academic dishonesty, and associated with diploma mills, then why are TRADITIONAL institutions offering on-line classes and degrees in the first place? It makes no sense whatsoever. It is counterproductive and counterintuitive. The academia is biting the hand that feeds them. That is the irony with the “traditional” versus “on-line” debate. A degree is a degree, right? Last I checked, both traditional and on-line degrees are printed on paper.

          At my place of work, we look at experience as the main deciding factor in the hiring process, not degrees. Yes, degrees will give one an edge, but degrees are not the main focal point for us. How and where one obtained his degree is not of major importance. To be sure, we will check to see if the degrees and institutions are accredited.

          I just feel that people who have earned degrees on-line are facing injustice owing to ignorance and arrogance of the academia and employers. We live in a faced-paced and technological world. People working full-time, supporting families, and working irregular hours or schedules do not always have the opportunity or means to obtain higher education via traditional brick and mortar. Yet, we see TRADITIONAL institutions offering on-line degrees to provide to those individuals. And they (i.e., the academia and employers) have the audacity to criticize or belittle one who earned an on-line degree? It means no sense to me whatsoever. Nevertheless, I believe attitudes about on-line degrees will change with time since our world continues to evolve technologically and vocationally.

    • Sharon Mullane

      Dear Johnathan:

      I will try to answer the questions listed above as best I can. The answers are:
      Not only is the PhD at Nova accredited but it is accredited by SACS. The accreditation is fairly recent because the program is relatively new. The program is asynchronous with most professors holding chat sessions at definite times. You can get student loans just as you could with any other program. We will be the first graduating class but I can tell you that there are countless jobs available for those with a “pure” PhD in Criminal Justice from a regionally accredited university, such as Nova. I am absolutely certain that I will have no problem getting a job as a professor. At present I work as a college professor and also as an attorney primarily specializing in criminal defense. I highly recommend Nova’s program as it is, to date, the only pure online PhD in Criminal Justice program in America. However, please be advised that the program is difficult to get into with Nova only accepting 20 students per year. If I can answer any more questions please feel free to contact me at sharongwyn hotmail.com. Best of luck to you!

    • Sharon Mullane

      Hi Johnathan:

      I tried to answer your questions at another location on this site, which I just saw. If you have further questions please feel free to contact me at sharongwyn hotmail.com.

  • Ryan

    @ SHARON GORDON MULLANE
    Sharon,
    I would like to get your email to correspond back and forth about NSU. I have a few questions regarding the program, current curriculum, teachers and course workload. I have been looking for Ph.D schools in CJ for some time and I believe NSU would be a good choice. I currently reside in the Tampa bay area and employed (for several years) in the CJ field.
    Thank you.
    Very Respectfully,
    -Ryan-
    02/26/13

    • Sharon Mullane

      So sorry, Ryan, but I am just seeing your e-mail for the first time. You can e-mail me at sharongwyn hotmail.com.

  • John

    Radek, could provide some insight on which road I should head down? It would be greatly appreciated. I have over 14 years of experience in the criminal justice profession holding many positions throughout law enforcement including patrolman, detective, probation officer, and training officer. My undergrad degree is in criminal justice, and I eventually obtained a masters degree in strategic leadership hoping to broaden my education, and potential career advancement opportunities.

    The end result landed me in a catch 22 situation. Upon graduating with the advanced degree in strategic leadership, I was given the opportunity to facilitate both online and in-seat organizational leadership courses for 3 years. The school abruptly came under investigation by the Higher Learning Commission and has since closed its doors.

    I have always wanted to teach criminal justice, however, I have since found out that because my graduate degree does not contain any criminal justice related credits, I don’t qualify to teach criminal justice courses, as I don’t meet the minimum requirement of possessing 18 graduate credit hours in the specific field of study. I can’t find any teaching opportunities in leadership due to the fact that I don’t have a business / management background.

    This sticky situation has made me realize that I must to go back to school if I wish to pursue teaching higher education criminal justice courses. With that being said, would it be better to obtain a second masters degree, this time in CJ, or simply go ahead and go all the way with a PhD program.

    I have been accepted to Boston University for a MCJ, and Capella University for a PhD in Public Safety with a specialization in Criminal Justice. BU is a traditional brick and mortar school which is both well known and respected throughout the CJ community. Capella is online only and carries the stigma that it doesn’t quite compare to a traditional setting.

    Will it be worth it to try to shoot for the second masters degree and hope to try to “make the cut” when it comes to applying for positions? Would a PhD from Capella make me a stronger candidate for potential opportunities?

    My main goal here is to find gainful employment teaching in the field that I love. I would love to eventually be able to teach in a full time capacity, however, I would also be perfectly happy teaching multiple courses on a part-time situation. My ideal goal would be to land a position at a community college on a full-time basis, with the ability to take on a few online courses for some extra income.

    I should also mention that I’m currently in the process of obtaining a state issued certification to become a General Instructor for criminal justice and law enforcement classes.

    Thoughts, suggestions, concerns? Thanks in advance for your insight.

    • Radek Gadek

      I know exactly what you’re talking about here. I’m sure you’re also aware that Capella is a for-profit university and BU is a not-for-profit university. Both are private institutions, but one answers to its shareholders above all.

      I think the stigma is on the for-profits much more now and will remain so… There’s a huge spotlight on for-profit schools… It’s not that they are online bur rather this argument that many journalists might summarize like this…”they are taking taxpayer money in forms of grants and student loans. Yet, they don’t deliver the quality graduates. Have extremely low graduation rates. Have high student loan default rates” — an argument portrayed in newspapers from LA Times to New York Times.

      I don’t know if my answer will help you at all here, because of the limited choices in schools. But if my life depended on it, I would consider BU over Capella – despite Capella’s terminal degree offering, but is it enough to get you in the door?
      – Do you risk the possible stigma, but you hold a PhD, or
      – Do you hope the Master’s from a very reputable Boston University will be THE answer, or
      – Do you risk the Master’s might not be enough if there’s a long line of competitors at the local community college?

      Lots of [big] factors to consider here.

      Let us know what you decide. All the best :-)

  • Sharon Mullane

    Hello Radek and friends:

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have just reached ABD status in Nova Southeastern’s first PhD in Criminal Justice class. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the program and have to say that the folks at Nova did a masterful job at putting together the program and in selecting the highest students from the large pool of applicants. Nova only accepts 20 applicants yearly and only admits applicants into the program once a year. Nova’s PhD program remains, to the best of my knowledge, the only “pure” PhD in Criminal Justice program from a regionally accredited brick and mortar school in the nation. I predict that, in the future, it will be extremely difficult to get into this program. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of such a program. Since I now have a Bachelor’s in CJ, a Master’s in CJ, am ABD in my PhD in CJ , have a Juris Doctor, 23 years experience as a prosecutor, 7 years experience as a criminal defense attorney and 13 years experience as a college professor, the combination will all work together to keep me employed for some time to come. Please feel free to contact me if any of you have questions and I will be happy to try and help. Best of luck to Radek and all the CJ folks out there!

  • Robert Phillips

    I’m 50, retired LE with a B.S. and M.S. in criminal Justice. I just want to teach above the community college level. Am I wasting my time with a PhD from Nova? I really just want to teach and write. I have little desire to do a lot of research as I am closer to retirement than many!!
    Thanks

    • Sharon Mullane

      Hello Robert Phillips,

      Being in the dissertation phase of Nova’s PhD in Criminal Justice program I can tell you that it is not a waste of time but it’s something that you have to really want. The program is extremely rigorous and is quite difficult to get into as Nova accepts no more than 20 students per year and has a start date only once per year. The degree will pay off for you over and over again but, as mentioned, is quite difficult to get into and to remain in. The great thing about this degree is that you can use it until you about 100 years old or so and then some! . I can tell you that the PhD in CJ from Nova is very tough, extremely demanding and is not for the faint-hearted so you might want to first determine if you want it badly enough to pay the price. Best of luck to you, Robert. whatever you decide to do.

  • Elda

    Hi everyone,
    I graduated with my MS in CJ from University of Cincinnati last month! I loved the program. I just applied to Nova Southeastern PhD in CJ…I also applied to Northcentral University’s PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in CJ. I applied to this program also because of NCU’s non-residency requirement…Their PhD in BA-CJ is ACBSP accredited. Let’s see where this journey takes me.

    • Radek Gadek

      Congratulations! All the best on your journey.

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