Graduate Programs

Doctoral Program

The doctoral degree at UMass Lowell is an interdisciplinary, research-oriented degree. The program is designed to provide a theoretically grounded, methodologically sophisticated, and statistically rigorous education. As such, the curriculum provides for a sequence of courses in theory, methodology, and statistics. The curriculum also builds upon faculty research strengths and offers substantive courses which address the incidence of crime, the prevalence and correlates of criminals and victims, and the effectiveness of current strategies in the areas of crime prevention, policing, the courts, and the corrections system (both institutional and community based). Throughout the five concentrations or specialty areas in which students can specialize, the curriculum stresses evidence driven and “best practices” approaches to numerous substantive topics that are key areas in contemporary criminology and criminal justice.


The program was designed to achieve particular outcomes. First, we expect that graduates of the doctoral program will be competent to conduct interdisciplinary research and to teach at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in aspects of criminology and/or criminal justice depending upon their specific areas of specialty. The program will thus train the next generation of faculty who will teach criminology and criminal justice in the state and region’s community colleges and four-year institutions, as well as nationally, and who will be well positioned to develop productive research agendas in crime and justice.

Second, we also expect that our graduates will be well prepared for analytical and administrative leadership posts in international and domestic research and policy institutions. The program will thus train the policy analysts, managers, and administrators in criminal justice and community venues to help prevent crime in the first place, or alternatively, respond effectively to those who violate the law or who come into contact with the justice system.

The doctoral program at UMass Lowell will ensure that our graduates will be at the forefront of the expanding frontier of criminology and an ever evolving criminal justice system, and consequently, will more effectively be able to address crime control and criminal justice policy problems through sophisticated research than would otherwise be the case.

Degree Requirements

The doctoral degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 60-credit-hour doctoral program. The curriculum has been developed to incorporate a theoretically grounded and methodologically sophisticated set of courses as a highly necessary foundation for the evidence driven and “best practices” approaches to the substantive concentration areas. In order to deliver this curriculum effectively, the course work contains three progressive tiers. The three tiers are hierarchical and build upon one another. There are multiple measures to assess student learning throughout the three tiers.

Please download the Graduate Programs Guide (pdf) for further information on the three tiers of course work and complete descriptions of all degree requirements and procedures. 

For the latest course information and information about the doctoral program please visit the  UMass Lowell on-line Graduate Course Catalog.