Home Doctoral Degree in Criminal Justice PhD in Criminal Justice Programs in South Dakota

PhD in Criminal Justice Programs in South Dakota

The criminal justice industry requires cooperation, communication, and collaboration to run smoothly. This includes everyone from front-line workers like police officers and investigators to legislators and advocates. Professionals on the front lines do a lot to keep different agencies and systems running every day, but the industry depends on leaders, researchers, and policymakers for ongoing growth and improvement.

Ready to use your experience to change the future of your industry? Find out how criminal justice PhD programs can get you on the right path.

What Can I Do With My PhD in Criminal Justice in South Dakota?

Drug laws are one area where experts believe South Dakota could use some serious reform (Argus Leader, 2016). Though South Dakota has been successful in many ways in its prison reform efforts, current drug laws do not offer enough treatment options and put too many nonviolent offenders behind bars.

The correlation between crime and mental health is often misunderstood, which is the case in South Dakota (Rapid City Journal, 2016). Experts note that there is a backlog of court-ordered assessments, due to the lack of qualified professionals to perform these assessments. The state has recently secured a number of grants and awards to directly address this issue.

Earning a doctorate in criminal justice may help you strengthen your income potential and job outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average salary of $95,080 per year for South Dakota judges (2016). Per O*Net, job openings for judges may see a 3% increase through the year 2022 (2016).

Criminal justice professors, who work in teaching and research, bring in an average income of $66,230 annually (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). A 10% increase in job openings is expected through 2022 (O*Net, 2016).

What Will It Take to Earn My Criminal Justice Graduate Degree in South Dakota?

You may qualify for admission to a criminal justice doctoral program with either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree. With a Master’s degree, you may graduate in as little as three years. If you only have a Bachelor’s degree, your overall time commitment may be closer to five or six years.

The first stage of your degree should be completed in the classroom. This involves completing a set curriculum of courses that develop your understanding of criminal justice, your ability to think critically about criminal justice issues, and your research abilities.

Depending on the school you choose, your curriculum may include courses like:

  • National Security Policy: An extensive study of American security policies, how they are applied, where they have succeeded, and where they have failed; using current research to create and implement more effective policies
  • Police Administration: Leading police departments; struggles in police department administration; legal and ethical issues in police management and leadership
  • Criminal Procedure: Criminal procedures in the United States, South Dakota in particular; miscarriages of justice in the current system; honing and refining the current system to better serve justice
  • Criminal Law: Criminal laws and statutes, including federal laws and South Dakota laws; how these laws are applied; using these laws to drive reform and improve community safety
  • Courts and Judicial Politics: Working within the court system to see that justice is served; issues in the court system; successfully navigating the politics of South Dakota courts
  • When your classroom courses are behind you, you may meet the practical experience requirement of your degree by completing an internship. What sets a PhD program apart from criminal justice graduate programs is the dissertation requirement. By working closely with an advisor, you create and defend a dissertation that accurately reflects your research interests and career goals.

    This is where your choice of school becomes extremely important. Working with an advisor who has experience in your area of research can help you dig deeper into your dissertation topic and even save time on the research and writing parts of the process.

    A PhD can do a lot for your career while improving the future of criminal justice in South Dakota. Take the first step to an advanced degree by requesting information from the schools below.