University of Illinois – Chicago

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Updated August 6, 2020

The University of Illinois - Chicago appears in our ranking of the 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Homeland Security Online

The University of Illinois - Chicago is one of the main public university campuses in the Chicago area. Founded in 1965 as the University of Illinois at Congress Circle, its overall history actually dates back to the late 19th century. When the state decided to build a new college in Urbana, it agreed to open a polytechnic school in Chicago. The city also added several other smaller campuses that gave students the chance to take required classes and general education courses before moving to Urbana. Many of these smaller schools merged in the 1960s and later to create the University of Illinois - Chicago.

Often called UIC, the university now has an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, which makes it the largest university in the city. Its campus on the Near West Side is close to the Chicago Loop and gives students a convenient way to get to their classes. U.S. News & World Report ranks UIC among the best national schools, while Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed the school within the top 20 of all modern colleges, which are schools built in the last 50 years. Washington Monthly ranked UIC as the 65th best university in America.

University of Illinois - Chicago Accreditation Details

As there are no professional organizations that accredit criminal justice degree programs, the program that UIC offers does not have accreditation. The university does have the regional accreditation that applies to all its degree programs though, which lets students know that they will get a solid education. This accreditation comes from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and its North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS). This gives students the right to use the FAFSA when applying for federal financial aid and to transfer credits into this doctoral program if they studied at another university.

University of Illinois - Chicago Application Requirements

UIC has a number of application requirements in place for students who want to earn a doctoral degree in criminal justice. Incoming students must have at least a bachelor's degree. The university gives priority to those who studied criminal justice or a related social sciences field at the undergrad level. Students who enter the program and already have a graduate degree in criminal justice will take fewer courses than those who only have a bachelor's degree do. Those who earned their graduate degrees from the university must receive a score of 3.5 on the comprehensive exams that they take near the end of their studies.

All incoming students must submit transcripts that show they maintained a grade point average of at least 3.0 over the last 90 semester hours or 60 credit hours of classes they took. They must also have a GPA of 3.25 or higher in any graduate courses taken. UIC also asks for an official GRE test score and requires that students score in at least the 50th percentile on each section of that exam.

The other application requirements that the university has are similar to those used by other schools. It asks for three letters of recommendation and will accept professional and academic recommendations. Academic letters should explain why the student would do well in a doctoral program, while professional letters can talk about the field experiences that a student has. Students will also submit a personal statement that discusses their professional and educational goals and a writing sample such as the thesis a student did in grad school. UIC recommends that students submit a resume too.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The base tuition rate charged by the university is $5,830 per semester for Illinois residents. This figure increases to $11,950 per semester for nonresidents. UIC also charges different rates as students work their way up to higher-level courses. Though some programs charge even higher fees, its criminal justice program follows the base rate system. Students will also pay fees of at least $1,300 a semester. The university will post the total amount that a student owes on his or her account. Once the student receives any financial aid, UIC will apply that aid to the account. It offers payment plans and tuition reimbursement plans also.

UIC offers both internal and external funding for doctoral candidates. External funding refers to the student loans that students can get from various lenders. While most borrow money from the federal government, those who hit the maximum amount they can borrow and those who need more aid may apply for private loans. Internal funding refers to all the financial aid programs that the university offers. This can include an assistantship such as a teaching or a research position and fellowships. Though many of these programs are only available to students taking classes on the University of Illinois - Chicago campus, the school offers scholarships and other options for online students.

Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

The University of Illinois - Chicago offers one of the best doctoral programs in criminal justice in the Midwest. Called its Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Justice, this program features three concentrations. Students can study law and society to learn more about society as a whole and how norms change over time, but they can also study criminology and focus more on the theories behind why individuals act in certain ways and what the criminal justice system can do. The third concentration is in organizations and administration. This concentration prepares students for working in private and public organizations and can even help them land jobs with the Department of Homeland Security.

Though students must complete 96 credits of work, the university will accept up to 32 credits of work done in a graduate program. Students with only a bachelor's degree can earn both a graduate and a doctoral degree in criminal justice from the university. The program only features nine required classes, including Law and Society, Qualitative Methods and Design and Race, Class and Gender Dimensions of Crime and Justice. Students will take electives and concentration classes to complete the minimum number of credits needed. The program features an oral and a written exam as well as a dissertation too.

Criminal justice majors can select another concentration too. The university allows students to work with other departments to complete a concentration in women's studies, violence studies, survey research or Latin American and Latino studies.

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