Regents authorize Tarleton to pursue new criminology Ph.D., master’s degree

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Tarleton State University will get bragging rights to a new doctorate that will be the only one of its kind in the nation combining criminology, criminal justice and strategic studies in a single degree program.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Feb. 11 authorized Tarleton State University to seek final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for the school’s first Ph.D. degree program and a new master’s of science degree program.

The doctor of philosophy in criminal justice and the master’s in applied psychology would, if approved by the THECB, begin in fall 2016. The new programs would increase Tarleton’s total number of degree offerings to 95, including the school’s doctorate in education (Ed.D.)

“This is a major step forward,” said Tarleton Provost Dr. Karen Murray in a news release. “These new graduate-level programs support Tarleton’s longstanding commitment to academic advancement and improve employment opportunities for students. They help us meet critical community and workforce needs in North Texas and beyond.

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“In addition to providing students with exemplary training, our new doctoral degree program will better position the university to define the national character of criminal justice,” she explained. “Graduates of this program will play multiple roles: teach criminal justice to future students, be in the forefront of scholarship and crucial policy issues, and occupy key positions in local, national and international organizations.”

The program follows approval by the Texas A&M System in 2014 for Tarleton’s School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies within its College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

“Tarleton’s pursuit of strong, new degree programs—like the Ph.D. in criminal justice—is evidence of our continued commitment to respond to the changing academic and professional needs of our students and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Alex del Carmen, executive director of the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies. “The new degree program, along with our bachelor’s and master’s programs in criminal justice, is designed with the working professional in mind. Criminal justice students have the unique opportunity to learn from a group of diverse faculty members, known worldwide for their expertise.”

The doctoral program requires students to complete 66 credit hours and offers specializations in homeland security; cybercrime and international criminal justice; predictive and analytical policing; criminal justice leadership and public policy; and mediation, arbitration, legal studies and forensics.

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One of only three in Texas, Tarleton’s new graduate-level degree in applied psychology will prepare students for careers in mental health, market research and human resources. The 30-hour program includes thesis and non-thesis tracks.