Tarleton State University has received approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for its first Ph.D. program. The doctor of philosophy in criminal justice begins this fall, pending a green light from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Ph.D. will increase Tarleton’s degree offerings to 100. One of those is a doctorate in educational leadership (Ed.D.).

The new doctorate will combine criminology, criminal justice and strategic studies in a single, unique degree offered by Tarleton’s School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies within its College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA).

The school was approved by The Texas A&M University System in 2014.

“This is a major step forward,” said Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio. “The university’s first Ph.D. program supports Tarleton’s long-standing commitment to academic advancement and improves employment opportunities for students, helping us meet critical community and workforce needs in North Texas and beyond.”

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

To be offered weekends at Tarleton’s Fort Worth campus, the Ph.D. entails 66 credit hours and offers specializations in predictive and analytical policing.

“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 COLFA Associate Dean Dr. Alex del Carmen. “This new doctoral 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 diverse faculty members, known worldwide for their expertise.”