The Joint Master’s in Criminal Justice and Social Welfare Ph.D. program prepares students to make significant contributions to both education and research in the social sciences.

The goals and objectives of both the MSCJ and Ph.D. programs reflect the department’s concerns with urban social problems, social and economic equity and well-being, cultural diversity, and the empowerment of individuals, families, organizations, and communities to effect change.

Admission Requirements
  •   A bachelor’s degree in any field.
  •   Completion of at least 21 semester credits in the social and behavioral sciences (i.e.,psychology, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, and/or their equivalents).
  •   An undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or better.
  •   Meet admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School.
  •   Successful applicants must be prepared to enroll as full-time students; the program does not offer an option for part-time study.
  •  The expected time to completion of degree requirements for the MSCJ is approximately two years, plus another two years for the Ph.D.
  •  International students must complete all additional requirements for international applicants. Refer to Center for International Education website or contact them directly at or 414-229-4846. A checklist for graduate applications can be found here.
How to Apply
Thank you for your interest in the Joint MSCJ/PhD program. We are pausing admission for the academic year 2021-2022 only, and will not be accepting applications at this time.
Students are accepted in the spring of each year for admission in the following fall semester. Between three and five students are typically accepted in each class. In order to be eligible for full consideration for admission and financial support, students should submit all application materials by January 2.
  • Submit the following to the Graduate School:
  •  A completed Graduate School application and application fee. Click here to complete the application.
  •  A personal statement identifying that you wish to pursue the criminal justice option of the PhD program.
  •  Your reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree.
  •  Your goals as a future scholar.
  •  A topic or issue in the field you consider to be particularly challenging and worthy of study. You may also provide other information you consider relevant regarding your commitment to criminal justice in the academic arena.
  •  One official transcript from each academic institution you have attended.
  •  If applicable, scores from within the past five years on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Submit the following to Dean Tina Freiburger:
  • Tina Freiburger, Social Welfare Interim Doctoral Program Director, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 786, Milwaukee, WI, 53201-0786. If you prefer, you may email your materials:
  •  A current copy of your professional résumé or curriculum vitae.
  •  Scores from within the past five years on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test.
  •  A sample of written work that demonstrates: the applicant’s knowledge of social welfare theory, practice and research; ability to think analytically; and writing skills. The sample should be at least 1,000 words in length and represent work for which the applicant was the sole author, or if it is jointly authored should indicate which sections were primarily done by the applicant.
  •  Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your achievements and academic potential, including a least one current or former instructor.

    Submitting Letters of Reference – Three steps must be completed in this part of the application:
  • STEP 1: Choose the persons you will ask to write letters of reference. Select at least three but no more than four individuals familiar with your achievements and academic potential. Do not include friends or relatives. 
  • References should include the following:
  • Current or recent supervisor from paid employment and current or recent instructor from a graduate-level classroom course.
  • If you are unable to secure one or both of the required references, you may substitute that reference with another from a professional source. Please explain the reason for the substitution on the list of references form (see link below).
  • STEP 2: Provide a copy of the reference form to each of the individuals you select. Copies of the Ph.D. Program Reference form are available here.
  • You must print a copy of the form and complete the top portion of the first page before mailing it to the persons you ask to write letters of reference on your behalf. Information is provided on the form to indicate how it should be sent to us when completed. Each person completing a form must sign the mailing envelope on the back before sending it.
  • STEP 3: Let us know who will be sending letters on your behalf. Complete the List of References Form and mail it to us at the address shown.
Financial Aid and Support
Contingent on the availability of funds, the program seeks to provide tuition assistance and financial support to all incoming students.
  • First year students are eligible for the Dean’s Fellowship, which provides full tuition plus a stipend of $20,000 for the nine-month academic year. In the second and third years the assistance takes the form of teaching and research assistantships.
  • All fellowships and assistantships are contingent on the recipient’s satisfactory progress in completing program requirements. Opportunities for support in subsequent years and in the summers, including dissertation fellowships, research assistantships, and others, are also available. Students may be asked to assist the program in applying for internal or external fellowships or awards for which the student may be eligible.
  • Teaching assistantships are typically 50% time and will usually involve assisting faculty with larger class sections. Project assistantships are also typically 50% time and involve assisting faculty with research projects. Both appointments provide healthcare benefits and remission of tuition.
  • Click here for further information.
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