PhD in Criminal Justice Programs in Alabama
Criminal justice is a complex and multifaceted field that is constantly evolving. Continued improvement and change is reliant on educated professionals who are willing to challenge the status quo, analyze the research, and implement change. Alabama struggles with a number of justice issues, and with a PhD in criminal justice, you can contribute to systemic change that improves the lives of Alabama residents.
What Can I Do With My PhD in Criminal Justice in Alabama?
Although criminal justice reform is a high priority in Alabama, experts believe that there is still much to be done. Across the country, Alabama has the fourth highest incarceration rate (AL.com, 2016). Legislators and researchers have recommended establishing programs that allow past offenders to move beyond their convictions and go on to create stable, crime free lives (AL.com, 2016).
Between 2013 and 2014, overall crime decreased 6% in Alabama (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, 2016). However, violent crime only decreased 3%, indicating a need to focus more on the eradication of violent crime (ALEA, 2016).
After earning a PhD in criminal justice, you can choose to take your career in a number of different directions. You may work as a judicial law clerk. Job openings for judicial law clerks are expected to increase 3% through 2022, and the average salary in this field is $33,400 per year (O*Net, 2016). During this timeframe, job openings for administrative judges are expected to remain stable (O*Net, 2016). The median income for an administrative judge is $138,200 annually (O*Net, 2016).
With an education that delves into the most complicated aspects of criminal justice, you can change the future of Alabama law enforcement. Keep reading to learn more about earning a PhD degree in criminal justice in AL.
What Will It Take to Earn My Criminal Justice Graduate Degree in Alabama?
Completing a criminal Justice PhD in Alabama is a significant undertaking, so you should be ready to dedicate at least four years of full-time study to this endeavor. The first part of your education focuses on classroom education. Most Alabama schools require the completion of 36 classroom hours. The second half of your education involves writing your thesis, an in-depth research project that explores a highly focused area of criminal justice.
Many Alabama schools offer a terminal graduate degree program and a PhD program. While the terminal graduate degree program typically requires a semester-long internship, many schools waive the internship requirement for PhD students because of the thesis requirement.
Criminal justice PhD programs are extremely competitive. This is partially due to the difference in funding methods. While graduate students may be expected to pay the majority of their educational costs, PhD students often pay little to no tuition in exchange for working as a graduate assistant or teaching assistant. To that end, ensure that you write the strongest application you possibly can.
Course requirements differ from school to school, but topics are similar for most programs. While earning a PhD in criminal justice in Alabama, you can expect to take courses like:
- Advanced Biological Methods in Forensic Science: Explores forensic DNA analysis, issues and trends in forensic evidence, and evidence samples
- Advanced Drug Chemistry and Toxicology: Conducting analyses for drugs and poisons, including pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties
- Patterns in Crime: Assessing correlations between crime and age, race, sex, socioeconomic status, and other factors
- Seminar in Criminological Theory: An in-depth look at classic and contemporary theories in criminology
- Seminar in Research Design: Qualitative and quantitative methods of research, in addition to research terminology and ethics
As a PhD student, you do have some freedom in your electives and graduate-level courses. These courses help you develop a research idea, hypothesis, and plan, so it is important to choose courses that fit with your career goals.
Every Alabama resident deserves to be safe, and every criminal deserves to be treated in a way that maximizes their chances of future of success while reducing their risk of recidivism. Tackle these and other goals by contacting PhD in criminal justice in Alabama programs.
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