Graduate Criminology

Graduate 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.

Why Choose Penn State Criminology

  • We currently have 12 full-time tenure-track faculty (Eric Baumer, Richard Felson, Corina Graif, Derek Kreager, Megan Kurlychek, Holly Nguyen, Dave Ramey, Eric Silver, Jeremy Staff, Darrell Steffensmeier, Jeff Ulmer, and Pamela Wilcox) with specialized expertise in criminology and criminal justice.

  • Our faculty are leaders in the field: Multiple faculty are Fellows of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and have won major ASC awards, including the ASC Edwin Sutherland Lifetime Achievement Award, the ASC Ruth Shonle Cavan Young Scholar Award, ASC Outstanding Article Award, and ASC Division awards.
  • Penn State’s criminology graduate program is located within a top-rated Sociology department. Students can earn a Ph.D. in either Sociology or Criminology.
  • We follow an apprenticeship approach to graduate training. Only 5 to 6 students are admitted each year to ensure small graduate classes and close interaction with faculty. We emphasize research collaboration and publishing with faculty.
  • All of our students receive a full tuition waiver as well as coverage of student service fees.
  • All of our students receive a graduate assistantship for the academic year, involving 20 hours per week of research or teaching-related duties. The assistantship carries with it a competitive stipend and payment of 80% of the cost of the required health insurance coverage.
  • All of our students receive summer employment to facilitate professional development in research and teaching.
  • All of our students receive approximately $1,500 in travel support each year from the department to attend a professional conference.