Ph.D. 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.

Terrorism Studies Option

Students interested in the study of terrorism and counter-terrorism within the Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal justice program should indicate this in the Statement of Purposes during the application  process. All other admission requirements are the same. If accepted into the Ph.D. program and the Terrorism Studies Option, students will be assigned an appropriate advisor from the tenured  faculty of the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies. The program of study requires 60 credit hours of study, with terrorism-specific course requirements in Tier 1 (B, D) and Tier II (A, B). For more information, please contact the Criminal justice Graduate Advisor via e­ mail:

Current Ph.D. students in the Terrorism Studies Option program:

  • Jared Dmello
    • Jared’s research focuses on political violence, ethnic conflict, and strategic security. He is a senior member of a research team at the Center for Criminal Justice Research at the California State University at San Bernardino, investigating the rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips in Southern California using social network analysis. He is also an Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where he conducts advanced research on a wide spectrum of issues related to the federal government’s programs and expenditures.
  • Matthew Sweeney
    • Matt's research interests revolve around Political Violence and Terrorism.  He is particularly interested in the American Far Right, Social Movement Theory, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Policy, and Policing within the United States.
  • Michael Palmieri
    • Research Interests: Terrorism, Counterterrorism Policy, Differential State Responses to Terrorism Radicalization of U.S. Citizens, Antecedents of Cybercrime, Differential Law Enforcement Responses to Cybercrime, Cybercrime Clearance Rates, and Treatment Court Evaluation.
  • James Duggan
    • The focus of Jim's current research focuses on the effects of regime type and repression on domestic terrorism. Other research interests include the relationship between globalization, immigration and assimilation with terrorism, as well as the role of state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in domestic counter-terrorism efforts.


Capstone Requirement

One of the requirements for the Master's Program is the Security Studies Capstone Paper (for the MA) or a Security Studies Capstone Project Design (MS). For the capstone paper students will incorporate the tools learned in Research Design and Methods and other courses in order to design a research question, gather and analyze information, and write a Masters level research paper of at least 50 pages on a topic of their choosing related to security studies.  For the capstone project design students will select a faculty advisor and create a project (e.g. firewall, radiation detector, sensor) related to the security field that demonstrates what they have learned.