Criminology, Law and Society Ph.D. program (2022)

​​The Ph.D. program in Criminology, Law and Society is ranked #2 in the US News and World Reports rankings. The program focuses on the causes, manifestations, and consequences of crime; the impacts of crime on society; social regulation; the civil justice system; the social and cultural contexts of law; and the interactive effects of law and society. With high-caliber faculty and an interdisciplinary perspective, the program aims to develop students’ theoretical and methodological sophistication to prepare them for faculty positions at major universities and colleges or for research, training, and administrative work in the justice system.

Program OverviewGraduate Student EmphasesResearch Centers22-23 Tentative Course Schedule
Financial SupportAward OpportunitiesHousing OptionsProgram Learning Outcomes

Program Overview

In this doctoral program, students must pass nine (9) required courses and four (4) electives, allwith a grade of B or higher. For a description of the following courses and others, please visit the UCI Course Catalogue.

C201 Research MethodsC202 Research Methods IIC203A Qualitative Research Capstone*
*Only one or the other is required;*students are welcome to take the other as an Elective.C203B Quantitative Research Capstone*
C228 Criminology: Micro ApproachesC239A Law and Society ISE264A Data Analysis I
C229 Criminology: Macro ApproachesC239B Law and Society IISE264B Data Analysis II
C225 Consequences of ImprisonmentC252 Issues in Environmental Law and Policy
C232 Juvenile DelinquencyC263 Eyewitness Testimony
C234 Anthropology of LawC265 Memory and the Law
C249 Law and MoralityC275 Special Topics in Criminology, Law and Society

Students are also required to complete a Second Year Project, pass comprehensive examinations (comps), prepare & defend a dissertation proposal, and prepare & defend a dissertation.

Second Year Project/Master's Thesis

Beginning in their first year, students initiate independent research projects under faculty supervision. Approaches to research vary widely and may include questionnaire and survey analysis, systematic field observation, computer simulation, archival searches, ethnographies, oral histories, and legal analysis. This project is further expanded on and completed during the second year. This Second Year Project is designed to introduce students to developing their own research projects and writing for an academic audience. The report of the Second Year Project should be comparable in scope and format to articles that appear in leading journals within the field of criminology, law and society. Each project is evaluated and approved by the advisor and one other faculty member.

Students may submit the written report of their Second Year Project as a Master's Thesis for an M.A. in Social Ecology. For the Ph.D. degree, however, an M.A. is not required, and most students move directly to the completion of the doctoral requirements.

Comprehensive Exams

The comprehensive examination(comps) is an untimed take-homewritten examconsisting of two essays, to be completed in the third year of graduate study. The goal of comps is to allow graduate students to demonstrate mastery of major theoretical, substantive, and methodological issues in both criminology and law & society. The examination consists of two sections – criminology, and law & society. Beginning in 2021, students must complete the exam by the first day of classes in the Winter Quarter of their third year (adjusted for any Leaves of Absence), and must pass all sections of the exam by the last day of classes in Winter Quarter of their third year (adjusted for any Leaves of Absence). Students who do not pass one or both sections on the first attempt will retakethe failed section(s) in the subsequent quarter. Students are allowed to take the exam twice, but must pass all sections according to this timeline.


During the fourth year of study, students draft and defend a proposal for dissertation research. The proposal is developed under the guidance of a faculty advisor, and clearly presents the research questions, theories, andmethods which will inform the doctoral dissertation project. Once students complete the proposal, they must defend the proposal to a committee comprised of the faculty advisor and four other faculty members. Upon approval of the defense, the student will advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. Students generally complete the proposal defense by the end of the fourth year.

(Video) Graduate Programs in Criminology, Law and Society

Once students have advanced to candidacy, they spend their remaining time at UCI completing data collection and analysis for their dissertation. Following the completion of the written dissertation, students must orally defend their project to a committee comprised of the faculty advisor and two other faculty members. The dissertation defense usually occurs in the fifth or sixth year. Upon passage of the oral defense and approval of the committee, the student has completed all of the requirements of the Ph.D. program.

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Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate Student Emphases

UCI offers graduate students the opportunity to earn emphases in several substantive areas. Many of our students earn one or more of these emphases, and several of our faculty are associated with the emphases-granting departments.

Asian American Studies

This graduate emphasis is a formal component of graduate studies at the University of California, Irvine, in addition to the fulfillment of requirements towards the Ph.D. or M.F.A. degree in an array of fields in the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences, Social Ecology, and the Arts. Designed to complement existing graduate degree-granting programs by providing interdisciplinary training in Asian American Studies, this particular specialty is comprised of four courses: two foundation courses introducing theories, methods, and historical and contemporary special topics in Asian American Studies; one elective course in Asian American Studies; and one related elective course in a student’s specific discipline or area of study. Learn more...

Critical Theory Emphasis

The Critical Theory Emphasis (CTE) graduate specialty is the curricular arm of UCI's Critical Theory Institute (CTI). Scholars of Critical Theory explore and develop theoretical models to analyze and critique cultural forms from literature and art to more general systems of information, social relations, and symbolic categories of race, gender and ethnic identity. The goal of the CTE is to promote the study of shared assumptions, problems and commitments of the various discourses in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Learn more...

Graduate Feminist Emphasis

The Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at UCI offers a graduate emphasis in Feminist Studies for students pursuing Ph.D. or Master's programs across the campus. Participating in the GFE provides students with advanced interdisciplinary training in Feminist Studies, and offers them an opportunity to become part a network of feminist scholars at UCI and beyond. GFE students are subscribed in our email listserv, which features current job openings, fellowship information, and important news about our upcoming events. Learn more...

(Video) (Episode 18) PhD Student at UC Irvine in Criminology, Law & Society

Law, SocietyandCulture Emphasis

The Center for Law, Society and Culture sponsors the LSC Emphasis.This concentration is designed a) to instill an intellectual ethic on inter-disciplinarity among participating students early in their training and b) to create trans-disciplinary communities of emerging socio-legal scholars whose intellectual development is enhanced by formal and informal exchange across diverse fields.In the spring of each year, students in their first through third years of graduate study are invited to apply to the Emphasis, which is composed of 4 inter-connected components: 1) a year-long theory and research seminar, with each quarter taught by one faculty member from a different school at UCI; (2) cross-disciplinary mentorship and advising; (3) ongoing professionalization opportunities andresponsibilities; and (4) a culminating intellectual project. Each student is assigned a faculty mentor outside of his or her home department and will meet with that mentor on a monthly basis to discuss the student's ongoing research. Learn more...

Race and Justice Studies Emphasis

Students from any UCI state-supported graduate or professional program, including J.D., Master’s and M.F.A. students, are eligible to apply to the Emphasis in Race and Justice Studies (RJS), housed in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society (CLS).The Race and Justice Studies Emphasis is comprised of four requirements that promote inclusive excellence in graduate training at UCI:(1) A first-year mentorship proseminar offered over three quarters by faculty from across campus whose research and teaching foster inclusive excellence; (2) one RJS-approved course offered under the supervision of the Emphasis; (3)a writing seminar in which a paper developed through the Emphasis will be workshopped and revised toward publication; and (4)a public presentation which translates the student’s RJS-influenced research for an interdisciplinary audience. Learn more...

Visual Studies

The Emphasis in Visual Studies offers a focus on Visual Studies available to Ph.D. and M.F.A. students in all departments at UCI. Satisfactory completion of this concentrationis certified by the Graduate Advisor in Visual Studies and is noted in the student's dossier. Learn more...

Research Centers

Students in the Ph.D. program often work with various Research Centers, including the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections, the Center in Law, Society and Culture, the Center for Psychology and Law, the Newkirk Center, the Irvine Lab for the Study of Space and Crime, and the Metropolitan Futures Initiative.

Financial Support

Students in the Ph.D. program have a variety of financial support options. The most common sources of support are Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.

Research Assistantship. Many students work with faculty on research projects funded by external grants or university monies. As with Teaching Assistants, RAs generally work for up to 20 hours per week and are involved in a wide variety of research activities (e.g., data collection and analysis, article preparation, etc.). Compensation for RAs is roughly equivalent to that for a Teaching Assistant, and covers fees and tuition.

Teaching Assistantship. Ph.D. students in CLS are eligible for 12 quarters of support as a Teaching Assistant (TA), making this the most common means of financial support. TAs work up to 20 hours a week, are responsible for assisting the professor with many common classroom tasks (e.g., creating exams, grading papers, etc.), assist students understand course material and meet course requirements, and experience the opportunity to practice the art of teaching (usually through discussion sections and/or guest lecturing). To maintain their eligibility, students must be in good academic standing and must have a satisfactory record as a Teaching Assistant. Some students may even receive a TAship after this 12-quarter period (subject to CLS and Graduate Divivsion approval). A Teaching Assistantship is not only an important means of financial support (a monthly salary plus fees and tuition coverage), but the work also serves a vital role in training Ph.D. candidates, particularly those who intend to pursue academic careers.

(Video) Criminal Justice, Ph.D.

Additional funding is available through student loans, departmental and university fellowships, and outside funding sources. In addition to support during the academic year, students are often able to secure research grants from the Department for the summer. These grants are allotted on the basis of academic standing and financial need.

Award Opportunities

Listed below are the CLS Department awards current students have the opportunitiy to be nominated or apply for.

  • Arnold Binder Award
  • Dickman Award
  • Gil Geis Award
  • Kitty Calavita Award
  • Michelle Smith-Pontell Award
  • Peer Mentoring Award

Graduate Student Housing

A number of housing alternatives are available for graduate students at UCI. Two apartment complexes and a residence hall are available exclusively for graduate students and those with families who wish to live on campus. In addition, there are many off-campus options, including apartments/houses at the beach or apartment complexes just across the street from the university. Due to their affordability and convenience, more than half of our graduate students choose to live on campus.

Among the on-campus options are Verano Place Apartments, Palo Verde Apartments, and Vista del Campo/VdC Norte. Verano Place includes 862 units which are one-, two-, or three-bedroom unfurnished apartments. Palo Verde is designed solely for graduate students and post-doctoral students, and consists of 204 apartments thatrange from studio to three-bedroom apartments. Vista del Campo is a privately owned and managed apartment community located on the UCI campus, offering furnished apartments to single students who are sophomores, juniors, seniors, or graduate students. For information on all of these housing options, please visit the UCI Housing website.

For more information, please contact:

Irice Castro
Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services

​​ ​Criminology, Law and Society Ph.D. program (1)

(Video) Student Spotlight - Ginny Oshiro UCI Criminology, Law and Society

(Video) 2023 Criminology, Law & Society PhD Program Info Session


What can I do with a criminology law and society degree? ›

Correctional Services
  • Criminal Investigator.
  • Criminology Assistant.
  • Corrections Officer*
  • Counsellor*
  • Child Welfare Care Worker.
  • Juvenile Justice Counsellor.
  • Child and Youth Worker*
  • Case Workers.

What is a criminology law and society major? ›

The major in Criminology, Law and Society is designed to provide students with an overview of the American legal system and in-depth focus on the regulation of behavior, the problem of crime, and responses to crime within this system.

How long is a criminology PhD? ›

Criminology MPhil/PhD: 7 years part-time or 4 years full-time, on campus, starting October 2022 or starting October 2023.

Does UCI have a criminal justice program? ›

The distinctive, interdisciplinary undergraduate major in Criminology, Law & Society (CLS) focuses on the problem of crime and on understanding the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that interact with the law.

Can you become a lawyer with a criminology degree? ›

Studying this balanced combination of law and criminology means that you have a great choice of career options to choose from. Not only could you continue your studies to become a qualified lawyer, but you can consider careers in politics, journalism, business or criminal investigation and analysis.

Is criminology and law a good degree? ›

Criminology and Law students are highly valued by employers due to their broad skillset and knowledge base. This degree combination leads naturally to a career in criminal law. If you major in law, you could pursue a career as a solicitor, barrister, legal adviser, legal executive or paralegal.

What are the 6 major areas in studying criminology? ›

The course covers the six areas of concentration, such as Criminal Law and Jurisprudence, Law Enforcement Administration, Forensics/Criminalistics, Crime Detection and Investigation, Sociology of Crimes and Ethics, and Correctional Administration.

Is criminology or criminal justice a better major? ›

Both criminology and criminal justice are important fields, but they serve different purposes. If students want to work in research or policy, they should study criminology. If learners want to work in law enforcement or the legal system, they should study criminal justice.

How much do criminologists make? ›

How much you might earn: Average salaries are around £27,000. This will depend on where you're located and whether you work for a government agency or a charity. Salaries can rise to £38,000 with experience.

What can I do with a PhD in criminology? ›

Criminal Justice PhD programs can prepare professionals for a variety of career roles within government agencies, including policy analysis, forensics, investigation, management, and administration.
  • Fraud Investigator.
  • FBI Agent.
  • IRS Agent.
  • Secret Service Agent.
  • NSA Agent.
  • DEA Agent.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst.
  • Policy Analyst.

Where can I get a PhD in criminology? ›

Top Ph.D in Criminology and forensic law Universities in India...
  • Karunya University - Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences. ...
  • DHSGSU Sagar - Dr Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya. ...
  • OPJS University, Rajgarh. ...
  • Rashtriya Raksha University, Gandhinagar. ...
  • Sardar Patel University of Police Security and Criminal Justice, Jodhpur.

Who can study criminology? ›

Admission & Eligibility

For admission in B.A degree programme in criminology or cyber crime, a student had the art group in 12th can apply. For admissions into master courses like MA or LLM, you should have completed a bachelor's degree in the related field from any recognized college or institution.

Should I major in criminal justice or psychology? ›

Criminal justice majors tend to work more in law enforcement and prevention, while psychology majors focus on the psychological precursors to or after effects of crime. There are benefits to each type of major and the related jobs, so deciding between the majors may come down to personal preference.

What UC has the best criminal justice program? ›

UC Irvine's Department of Criminology, Law, and Society offers prestigious undergraduate and graduate criminal justice programs that consistently top US News ranking lists (including Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs, on which UCI is currently ranked #1).

Does UC have criminology? ›

The Department of Sociology offers a specialization in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies.

Is studying criminology hard? ›

Difficult Academic Requirements

The academic training of a criminologist is rigorous, according to "The Princeton Review." Entry-level criminologist jobs require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, usually in sociology, psychology or criminology.

Is criminal law hard? ›

Criminal law is tough—but if you're willing to rise to the challenge, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more exciting, diverse, or thought-provoking legal career.

Is criminologist and lawyer the same? ›

Both law and criminology are academic subjects that can be studied at a college or university.. A person with a degree in law is called a lawyer. Someone with a degree in criminology is a criminologist.

Do lawyers need criminology? ›

A major in criminology can give you a strong foundation for understanding the criminal justice system, but it's not sufficient to become a lawyer.

Is a career in criminology worth it? ›

With this in mind, a degree in criminology can lead to plenty of job opportunities, with over 3.95 million graduates currently in the workforce (Data USA, 2021). It can lead to a career path in law enforcement, such as that of an FBI agent, forensic analyst, criminal investigator, or even a social worker.

What degree is best for criminology? ›

Criminology undergraduate degrees may be offered as either Bachelor of Arts or Science, letting you decide. Additionally, some programs allow you to select an emphasis area like juvenile delinquency, criminal justice, cyber criminology, psychology, and more.

Does criminology have math? ›

The major also includes research-related classes, so prospective criminology majors should be prepared to take math courses, particularly in statistics, calculus and data analytics.

What are 3 criminology branches? ›

This relatively young field of study has three principal divisions: (1) the sociology of law, which examines how laws are made and enforced; (2) criminal etiology, which studies the causes of crime; and (3) penology, which addresses society's response to crime and includes the study of the criminal justice system.

What type of math is used in criminology? ›

Institutions of higher education are increasingly differentiating mathematics requirements by field of study. Professional associations for criminal justice and for mathematics agree that statistics is the appropriate math course for criminal justice and criminology degrees.

Is criminology a respected degree? ›

Whether criminology is a good degree depends on what you require from your education and what expectations you have of it. It may be an excellent academic degree option for individuals interested in any of the disciplines associated with the field, such as psychology and sociology.

Is criminology A police? ›

In government public services, Criminologists are employed as personnel in the criminal justice system. They are appointed to the PNP, NBI, PDEA and other Law Enforcement Agencies or as Jail or Correction Officers or the Fire Safety and Protection ranks.

What's the difference between criminology and criminal law? ›

Criminology at The University of Law is a critique of the law, while Criminal Justice is a study of the implementation of the law within the criminal justice system. Criminal justice studies look at how the system operates and tends to be less critical of the law.

How do I start a career in criminology? ›

People interested in becoming criminologists usually pursue a minimum of a master's degree in the field. You could start with a baccalaureate degree in criminology, psychology or sociology. Criminologists also need to understand laws and law enforcement procedures, so you may take criminal justice courses, as well.

What field of criminology makes the most money? ›

Jobs are presented in order of average income, according to current Payscale data.
  1. Forensic Psychologists. ...
  2. Police Identification and Records Officers (Crime Scene Evidence Technician) ...
  3. Criminologists and Sociologists. ...
  4. Immigrations and Customs Inspectors. ...
  5. Forensic Accountants and Financial Examiners. ...
  6. College Professor.

Can you work for the FBI with a PhD? ›

The Collegiate Hiring Initiative is the FBI's full-time, entry-level hiring program. You are eligible to participate in this program if you are a graduating senior or have received an undergraduate, graduate or PhD degree.

Is a criminology masters worth it? ›

You'll become an expert in your niche. You'll better understand what to expect in the actual work, experience a boost of personal development, and enjoy higher pay. Getting a diploma in the graduate school programme is worth it, with the benefits you can get to further enhance your professional skills.

What happens after you graduate criminology? ›

A criminology graduate may become a police officer or assigned as jail officer, port police personnel, firefighter, and drug enforcement agent.

What degree is beyond PhD? ›

degree outranking the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The Doctor of Divinity (DDiv) and the Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) are considered by Oxford to outrank all other degrees, including a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. The DDiv is usually awarded for academic accomplishments beyond the PhD level.

Is there PhD in criminology? ›

The Ph. D. in criminology is designed to be a highly interdisciplinary program that prepares students to produce theoretically informed policy relevant empirical scholarship related to issues of crime and justice.

Do Forensic scientists need a PhD? ›

You will likely need a master's degree in forensic science or a related field to reach your full potential as a crime scene investigator or laboratory technician. If you want to lead investigative efforts or pioneer new techniques, you should consider earning a PhD.

Is criminology a 4 years course? ›

Bachelor of Science in Criminology

The BS Criminology program is a four-year course that is geared towards careers in police administration, corrections, scientific crime detection, jail management and penology, fire protection and industrial security.

What subjects do I need for criminology? ›

The study of criminology draws on sociology, psychology, psychiatry and social anthropology, as well as criminal law.

How many years are there in criminology? ›

The short answer is a full-time student will finish a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology in four years.

What major is closest to criminal justice? ›

Here are some options you may have:
  • Forensic science major. ...
  • Police science major. ...
  • Pre-law and legal major. ...
  • Criminal justice major. ...
  • Sociology major. ...
  • Criminal psychology major. ...
  • Law enforcement administration major. ...
  • Rehabilitation services major. A rehabilitation major includes studying aspects of sociology.

Which is better forensic psychology or criminal psychology? ›

Forensic psychologists may work with witnesses to crimes, criminal offenders, and victims of crimes. Criminal psychologists are more focused, looking only at the perpetrator and aspects of the crime itself. Forensic psychologists do not profile criminal suspects or create behavioral profiles of perpetrators.

What qualifications do I need to be a criminal psychologist? ›

You'll need:
  • knowledge of psychology.
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach.
  • analytical thinking skills.
  • the ability to understand people's reactions.
  • sensitivity and understanding.
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure.

Where is the best place to study criminology? ›

Best Universities For Criminology
  • University of Cambridge, Institute of Criminology.
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, FLA.
  • Griffith University, Australia.
  • University of Sydney, Institute of Criminology.
  • Victoria University of Wellington, School of Social and Cultural Studies.
1 Apr 2015

Which UC school is best for pre law? ›

If you're interested in a law career, the best UC school for pre-law (legal studies) and law school is the University of California, Berkeley.

How do you study criminal law? ›

To pursue a career with a specialisation in criminal law, it is necessary to complete an integrated BA LLB course at the undergraduate level. At the postgraduate level, you can pursue the following courses: LLM in Criminal Law. LLM in Criminal Law and Security Law.

Which faculty is criminology in? ›

Department of Criminology | Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities.

Does UCLA offer criminology? ›

UCLA Law also offers numerous courses in international and comparative criminal law, including Global Perspectives on Criminal Procedure and International and Transnational Criminal Justice. There are also many specialty seminars to choose from, including: Current Topics in Criminal Law.

What can you study in University with criminology? ›

Modules you can study on a criminology degree include:
  • Introduction to fieldwork and research.
  • Criminal justice.
  • Data collection and analysis.
  • Youth justice.
  • Race and society.
  • Crime science.
  • Forensics.
  • Policing.

What can I do with sociology law? ›

Sociologists are well-suited to legal careers because they understand how laws and social institutions influence individual and group behavior.
  • Lawyer.
  • Army JAG Corps.
  • Judge.
  • Paralegal.
  • Law librarian.
  • Private investigator.
  • Legal secretary.
  • Police officer.

What is the highest paying job in criminology UK? ›

Jobs are presented in order of average income, according to current Payscale data.
  1. Forensic Psychologists. ...
  2. Police Identification and Records Officers (Crime Scene Evidence Technician) ...
  3. Criminologists and Sociologists. ...
  4. Immigrations and Customs Inspectors. ...
  5. Forensic Accountants and Financial Examiners. ...
  6. College Professor.

Can a sociologist become a lawyer? ›

Sociology offers great training for careers in law, the criminal justice system, and the government. Sociology graduates can immediately take jobs in the government, work in law firms, or go on to graduate school in law or public policy.

Can a sociology student be a lawyer? ›

With the help of sociology, students can be better prepared for the analytical nature of law school. Therefore, it is not only possible to get into law school with a degree in sociology, it is actually a preferred major by most leading institutions.

What is sociology of law in criminology? ›

Sociology of law is a scientific field that studies the social preconditions of the law and the justice system, and their effects on society.

Is a PhD in criminology worth it? ›

Earning a Ph. D. is a long and challenging process. The career options available with this prestigious degree make it worth the work. Especially in a field as dynamic as Criminal Justice, holding a doctorate degree opens up a wider variety of jobs with greater freedom of professional interest.

Is criminology in high demand? ›

Criminology Career Outlook

Criminology graduates generally have a positive career outlook to look forward to. If we take a look at the job outlook of sociologists, which typically include criminologists, the employment rate is projected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).


1. Valerie Jenness | UCI Professor Criminology Law and Society | UCI News
(Valerie Jenness)
2. UC Irvine Master of Advanced Study (MAS) in Criminology, Law and Society
3. Valerie Jenness | Professor Criminology, Law, Society | Doctorate Degrees - UC Irvine
(Valerie Jenness)
4. Laguna Woods Democratic Club presents Professor of Criminology, Law & Society Charis Kubrin of UCI.
(Village Television)
5. Ceana Ussoletti Criminology Interview
(uwindsor fahss)
6. Criminology and Criminal Justice Program
(University of Michigan-Dearborn)

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