Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Graduate School Details

Look! Two posts in one week! Something must be in the air, right?

Anyway, I received a request for more details about my graduate school. This is a topic I could talk about at length as it does consume a large majority of my time, but I will limit it here to a few things. If you want to know more- ask!

Program details
I am enrolled as a Ph.D. student at a local university's criminology program. I had just graduated with my B.S. when I was accepted, so I am earning my master's degree along the way. My degree plan works as thus:

  • Year 1 & 2- master's level coursework & complete thesis
  • Year 3 & 4- complete doctorate level coursework; study & (hopefully) pass comprehensive exams
  • Year 5- dissertate & graduate
I am in my second year of my program, so theoretically I should have my master's at the end of this spring. Due to a scheduling choice, I took a PhD level course out of order and thus need one more master's level (or tier 1) class before earning my master's in December. I am not planning on attending the graduation ceremony for that, so no Mom- no need to plan a trip :)

What do you do with a Criminology Ph.D.?
It's not as glamorous as one might think. No, it is not CSI and I am not planing on going to law school. This degree, like any Ph.D., is a research degree, meaning I will be qualified to do just that. Thus far, research has been my favorite part of graduate school so working for a research agency, the government (local, state, or federal), or a law enforcement agency would be cool. Entering academia & becoming a professor is by far the expected thing, and while I have not ruled that out, I am not sold on that for many reasons.

I definitely get asked what I'm going to do with this degree and depending on the day I may give you different answers. But in all honesty- I don't know. I could see myself becoming a professor, but the number of factors that play into that realistically happening are crazy (for instance the fact that my husband can't just move anywhere). Like me getting into this program, it will definitely be a God thing. Two years in and I'm still not sure, but I know God has a plan for where he wants me to be.

So, there you have it. Some information about grad school. If you want to know more, feel free to ask. Other possible topics include:
-Comprehensive exams
-What research entails in CRIM
-My personal issues with academia
-What being a teaching assistant (TA) is like
-Faculty/Grad student relations
-Professional conferences 

And because no post is complete without a picture, one of my recent favorites from PhD comics...


  1. Good cartoon! And, of course, I vote that you get into the juvenile justice system, where good people are needed. But don't ask me how or what position you could fill!!! Paula

  2. Got it! And I'll admit I'm relieved not to have to plan a graduation celebration.