PhD in Criminal Justice Programs in Nebraska
Nebraska may have one of the most stable criminal justice fields in the country, thanks to its largely rural layout and infrastructure that supports policing, corrections, and legal functions. Still, there is room for improvement in any system. If you have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in criminal justice or another related field, earning a PhD may provide you with a deeper understanding of criminal justice issues.
What Can I Do With My PhD in Criminal Justice in Nebraska?
If you are passionate about change in specific areas of criminal justice, a PhD could give you a way to get your foot in the door. Experts indicate a growing need for mental health reform in Nebraska, due to jails running at more than 150% capacity and offenders not getting the help they need to avoid recidivism (Daily Nebraskan, 2016).
Going hand-in-hand with mental health reform is the need to reverse the overcrowding of Nebraska jails (Daily Nebraskan, 2016). Advocates claim that overcrowding has led to the neglect of inmates’ health, staffing issues, and a failure to meet standards.
The role you play in this industry is largely determined by your drive and the educational path you take.
Becoming a criminal justice professor may be ideal if you would like to teach the next generation of justice professionals. Job openings for Nebraska criminal justice professors may increase 10% by 2022, and the average salary is $57,400 annually (O*Net, 2016).
If your interests lie more in the legal realm, you may thrive as a judicial law clerk. These professionals earn an average of $38,900 per year and may experience a 4% jump in job openings by 2022 (O*Net, 2016).
Criminal justice graduate programs are equipped to prepare you for the next level of your career. Learn more about these programs below and contact them for more information.
What Will It Take to Earn My Criminal Justice Graduate Degree in Nebraska?
While the end result of any PhD program is the same, the path you take to get there may depend on your previous work experience and education. Some students choose to move directly to a PhD program after earning a Bachelor’s degree. If you have a very strong application and academic history, this may be a great option for you, as it may allow you to get all of your graduate study funded by your school.
If you already have a graduate degree, you may apply to programs that strictly include PhD work. Combined graduate and PhD programs tend to require about 70 to 80 credits, while PhD programs may range from 40 to 50 credits.
Upon completion of your PhD in criminology or criminal justice, you should be able to consider yourself an expert in one highly specific area of criminal justice. To reach that level, you must be well-versed in many different areas of study.
To offer you a well-rounded education and help you find your niche, your curriculum may include courses like:
- Seminar on Theories of Crime
- Advanced Statistical Analysis
- Special Problems in Research and Statistical Analysis
- Women and Criminal Justice
- Court Processing and Sentencing
- Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice Systems
The PhD is a prestigious degree, so you have to prove that you are worthy of it. Don’t be surprised if your school has many student assessments, including comprehensive exams, capstone projects, internships, and a dissertation. The dissertation is possibly the largest academic project you’ll ever undertake. At minimum, it typically takes two years. Many students spend closer to four or five years on their dissertation. During this time, you should build a strong relationship with your advisor or advising committee, which may benefit your career.
Throughout your education, you can explore financial aid opportunities. The Iowa-Nebraska IASIU awards scholarships to PhD students each year.
If you think a doctoral degree could enrich your career and your life, this is the time to act. Compare criminal justice schools in Nebraska to learn about your options.
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