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Texas State launches new doctoral program in criminal justice

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
July 30, 2009

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has given final approval to a new doctorate in criminal justice at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Enrollment will begin immediately, with the Department of Criminal Justice offering classes for the fall 2009 semester.

“There’s been considerable demand for a doctorate in criminal justice in this area for a very long time,” said Mark Stafford, a professor in the criminal justice department at Texas State who will supervise the program. “The department recognized the demand in Austin and San Antonio several years ago and began developing a doctoral program.”

Currently, there are only about 35 criminal justice doctoral programs in the nation. Texas State’s new criminal justice doctorate is a research degree that should appeal to people in state agencies and law enforcement who are interested in conducting original research and applying that research to the criminal justice system, Stafford said. Potential enrollees are not so much prosecutors or police officers as they are upper-level administrators who see the value of research and desire more graduate education.

“Our enrollment will be a mix of traditional graduate students and working professionals. Ideally we will have 50 percent of each,” he explained. “There’s been nothing in the area to serve working professionals who are place-bound.”

The Texas State doctorate will also draw upon the strengths of existing programs, such as Professor Kim Rossmo’s Center for Geospatial Analysis. This will allow graduate students pursuing a criminal justice doctorate to join research projects almost immediately.

“Kim Rossmo’s work is a cutting-edge, up-and-coming field of study in criminal justice. We see that as where we want to be—on the cutting edge,” Stafford said. “Here at Texas State we can make use of the interdisciplinary strengths of our university. The excellence of the Geography program is one example. It only makes sense to do so, given the expertise of our department.”