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The quality of doctoral programs in deviance, criminology, and criminal justice: An empirical assessment

Journal of Criminal Justice
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0047-2352(84)90004-7
  • Criminology
  • Law


Abstract While information regarding the doctoral programs in any discipline is of obvious and considerable relevance both to those in the discipline and to those seeking access to the best possible sites for graduate training, our knowledge about the quality of doctoral programs continues to be based on little more than speculation and highly ambiguous measures of institutional or departmental prestige. This study attempts to fill this gap for those who have special interests in the related fields of deviance, criminology, and criminal justice by ranking the thirty-six most significant doctoral programs in the nation by means of data derived from the Social Science Citation Index. Perhaps the most striking of our findings—and certainly to us the most distressing finding—is that those departments ranked by our measures as being the highest quality are consistently those which exist within the broader structure of departments of sociology. Given our firm conviction that the discipline of criminology is far, far more than that aspect of it which is closely related to issues of substantive significance to the field of sociology, we can only speculate that those in leadership positions in the growing number of independent schools or departments of criminology or criminal justice are not meeting their obligations to the discipline whose vitality and prospects depend so heavily on the quality of their judgment.

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