The Graduate Program in Criminology

Penn State's Criminology graduate program is one of the nation's top programs in criminology and criminal justice. During the last four academic years alone, our students have won prestigious graduate research fellowships and dissertation improvement grants from the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Fulbright program, and the National Science Foundation, and twice received first place in the American Society of Criminology’s Gene Carte student paper award. They have received awards from the University and College for superior teaching and research, for outstanding teaching as a graduate assistant, and for their dissertation. These accomplishments demonstrate the high-quality advanced education that we offer to students interested in careers involving research and teaching.


The graduate program provides training in theory, methods, statistics, and substantive issues related to crime and its control. For students with strong interests in methodology and statistics, we also offer graduate certificates in quantitative criminology and survey methods. Related departments (such as economics, human development and family studies, political science, psychology, and statistics) provide a wide range of graduate courses of interest to Criminology students.

Our program is unique. Like the best graduate programs in the country, we possess a large faculty with specialized expertise in criminology and criminal justice. Unlike those departments, however, we possess a strong theoretical and methodological foundation due to our close relationship with a sociology program. Indeed, because we are part of Penn State's prestigious Department of Sociology and Criminology, our students can receive Ph.D.s in sociology and pursue careers as sociologists. Moreover, because we are also an interdisciplinary program incorporating a broad range of perspectives on criminology and crime and justice, our students can receive Ph.D.'s in criminology while obtaining a top-quality education from a major research university.