Admission to Graduate Study

For admission to graduate study at the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the applicant must first be admitted to the Graduate School.

The Ph.D. application requirements include: 

  •   Unofficial transcripts from previous institutions (both undergraduate and graduate)
  •   Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test score
  •   Three letters of recommendation from professors, if possible, or employers who are acquainted with the applicant's qualifications
  •   Statement of Goals and Purpose
  •   One Writing Sample that reflects your scholarly potential (e.g., an undergraduate term paper or similar academic scholarship) 
  •   CV/Resume 
  •   TOEFL/IELTS/Pearsons Score [international students only]
  •   A mandatory application fee ($75)

As part of the application, students are invited to apply for a College of Behavioral and Social Science (BSOS) Diversity Fellowship. To determine your eligibility and learn more, please see the instructions

We will be accepting Fall 2025 applications in late August 2024.   If you need additional information or assistance with the application process, contact us at criminologydept [at]

If you would like to be added to our prospective student mailing list, please fill out this form.


Admission Deadline

To be considered for the Fall 2025 cohort, your application must be completed and submitted by December 13, 2024, at 11:59 pm EST. This is the final deadline for international and domestic applicants. 

Please note our preferred deadline is December 2, 2024, which ensures applicants adequate time for all application elements to arrive by the final deadline.

General instructions for completing the UMD Graduate Application are available in the Graduate School’s Step-By-Step Guide to Applying


Admission Decision Process

If the application is favorably recommended by the Department, this decision is sent to the Graduate School. The Graduate School, in turn, notifies the applicant of admission and asks for acknowledgment of acceptance. If the applicant is not favorably recommended for graduate study by the Department, then the Graduate School notifies the applicant of the decision. Typically, admission decisions are issued in late February/early March of the following year.


Minimum Admission Requirements

The Graduate School requires, as a minimum standard, a "B" average or a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in a program of study resulting in the award of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. In addition, the student's undergraduate program should include completion of the prerequisites for graduate study in the chosen field. In individual programs, where resources are available, a few applicants who do not meet this minimum standard for undergraduate work may be provisionally admitted if there is compelling evidence on the basis of other criteria of a reasonable likelihood of success in the program the person desires to enter. If an applicant has studied at the graduate level elsewhere, less weight may be, but is not necessarily, placed on the quality of the undergraduate academic record.

In addition to the general Graduate School requirement, the Department's special admission requirements include the Graduate Record Examination General Test and nine hours of coursework related to criminal justice or criminology. Applicants are encouraged to have completed at least one college-level course in social science theory, statistics, and research methods. There are no minimum GRE scores required to apply to the program, but admission is competitive.

An M.A. degree is not required for admission in the Ph.D. program.  Those students who have not already achieved an M.A. degree in Criminology/Criminal Justice with a thesis will be required to complete master-level courses and write a thesis prior to taking PhD-level courses.  


Provisional Admission

Under certain conditions, applicants who are missing some of the prerequisite courses but who are otherwise fully qualified for admission may be given provisional admission. Students receiving such admission are notified of the conditions of their admission, the period of time they have to meet the conditions, and the need to receive a grade of "B" or better in any courses taken to meet the conditions.


Financial Aid & Funding

The Department's policy is to make financial aid decisions separate from admission decisions. That is, a decision to admit a student to the program is not affected by whether or not the student requests financial aid.

A doctoral program offer of admission will include a financial aid package. The financial aid most regularly available in the Department is in the form of a full-time (20 hour/week) Graduate Assistantship with either a teaching or research focus. In addition, supplemental scholarships might also be available. 

A small number of College and University-level Fellowships are awarded to select new applicants. Currently, our program has students who hold BSOS Diversity Fellowships as well as Flagship Fellowships


International Student Admission

International applicants will need to include scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if English is not the native language. Proper immigration documents and evidence of financial resources are also required. The GRE requirement is not waived for foreign students. To learn more about applying as an international student, please review the Graduate School's International Student Application Instructions


Delay of Admission

A written offer of admission by the Dean of Graduate Studies is made to an applicant who meets all admission requirements. The offer specifies the date of the entrance, which will normally coincide with the date requested in the application. The offer of admission must be accepted or declined by the date specified in the offer. If the Graduate School is not notified by the date specified, the offer of admission lapses and space is assigned to another applicant. An individual whose offer of admission has lapsed must submit a new application and fee if he or she wants to be reconsidered for admission at a later date.

The offer of admission is also a permit to register for courses and must be presented by the student at the time of first registration. The informal letter of admission sent to the applicant by the Department is not official and, thus, not a permit to register.

Any student who cannot register in the authorized semester must immediately submit a written request to have the date of admission extended. This request must be sent to the Department's Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Coordinator at criminologydept [at]



After a student is recommended for admission, the student is advised by the Director of Graduate Studies until such time as the student selects an advisor. Ph.D. and M.A. students are expected to select an advisor from among the Department's Graduate Faculty prior to the end of their first semester. Request for approval of the advisor is available in the Department's Graduate Office. Students are free to change their advisor. They are responsible, however, for the completion of the new advisor form, which must be signed by the new advisor and Chairperson. The advisor is usually the chairperson of the student's thesis committee, but there is no requirement that this is the case. Graduate students may select any qualified member of the Graduate Faculty to act as their thesis advisor. A list of the Department's Graduate Faculty (Associate and Regular) is available in the Department's Graduate Office and on this website.


Program Planning

The student must seek an appointment with the graduate advisor prior to registration for the first semester's course work. The advisor will assist in planning the degree program. Students should bear in mind that neither the advisor, the Department, nor the Graduate School is under obligation to accept any courses to be applied to the student's official program as approved by the Graduate School, which are not a part of the program developed with the advisor's assistance. The policies governing degree programs are subject to modification from time to time. The policies in force at the time of enrollment are binding upon the student, and subsequently, established program requirements may not be imposed retroactively. However, with the prior approval of the advisor, students may elect to conform to all current program requirements.


Contact criminologydept [at] for more information.