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College of Arts & Sciences
The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice


Ph.D. Application Process

Prospective students applying for admission to the Ph.D. program in Criminology and Criminal Justice must possess a baccalaureate degree or a masters degree from an accredited college or university. An undergraduate or graduate degree in criminology, criminal justice, or a related social science is desirable.  Admissions to the Doctoral program in Criminology and Criminal Justice is competitive and based on the merits of the application materials.  In addition to meeting all the requirements of the University’s Graduate School, applicants must submit the following materials directly to the Graduate School:

  • University application through The Graduate School website (on-line), including a written statement describing prior education, relevant work experiences, criminal justice interests and purpose in pursuing a doctoral degree in criminology and criminal justice (500-1,000 words).
  • A sole-authored writing sample such as a course paper or thesis chapter written during your previous degree program (please limit the sample to no more than 25 pages and include course number, date, and name of professor).  Writing samples are uploaded electronically by applicants at the time they complete the on-line application. Note:  If applicants prefer to submit a hard copy of their writing sample they may do so by sending it to the Graduate Director (see address below).
  • Three letters of academic reference from faculty members or other persons qualified to evaluate applicant’s abilities to undertake graduate-level studies.
  • Scores obtained within the last five years on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE - both verbal and quantitative sections of the general exam). NOTE: we only accept GRE scores for the doctoral program.
  • Official grade transcripts from all previous institutions.

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice admits doctoral students only during the fall semester. The deadline for applying to the Ph.D. program is April 15th, however students interested in receiving department funding (i.e., graduate assistantships) should submit a completed file on or before February 1st for full consideration of funding. ALL application materials must be received by the university on or before these deadlines.

Address all questions about the Graduate Program to the Graduate Director:

Dr. Barbara Koons-Witt, Associate Professor and Graduate Director
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Currell College
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
bakoons@mailbox.sc.edu