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Meet Society’s Risks Head-On

Your community needs professionals who are driven to handle crisis situations and implement solutions that can serve society for years to come. Stepping into difficult situations, designing and implementing effective policy, and leading the way for a safer world—professionals in criminal justice and emergency management are ready to face the challenges of the future.

Capella’s online programs in criminal justice and emergency management can help you hit the ground running and make a difference preparing for handling the crises that threaten civic order, working with courts and policing institutions, or making decisions that will have a positive impact on society. Our degree programs combine the skills, knowledge, and practical experiences that employers demand in these changing fields.

Each program offers engagement with a community of peers and professionally experienced faculty to support you as you refine your career strategy. And you’ll experience decision-making in real time with simulated real-world scenarios, helping you apply theory and critical thinking as you solve problems. 

Become a Leader in Criminal Justice

Capella’s online PhD in Criminal Justice gives you the opportunity to build on the skills you already have and prepares you to lead in your career. This program combines the rigor you need to learn with a strong theoretical focus and real-world, practical application.

With your PhD in Criminal Justice, you’ll be prepared to address today’s issues concerning criminal behavior, the penal system, prevention, and intervention. You’ll gain the broad perspective needed to help shape, deploy, and manage public policy strategies at the community, state, and federal levels. Whether you want to pursue leadership roles within the field, begin a career in criminal justice education, or contribute to the body of research, this program can help you take charge in this important field.

Make a Big Impact in Emergency Management

When you’re looking for the most direct path to advance in your emergency management career, we give you options. Choose from a research-oriented PhD in Emergency Management or our new Doctor of Emergency Management (DEM), which focuses on practice. As the first online university in the country that offers both doctoral programs, Capella can help you develop the leadership skills and appropriate responses to crises that you’ll need in your profession.

Get the skills you need to excel in your field—and save time and money—when you apply some of the credits you earned in your master’s program toward achieving your goals in a doctoral program in emergency management.

PhD or DEM?

Earning a professional doctorate in emergency management can help you develop the policy-creation skills you need to turn theory and research into real-world solutions and handle crisis situations.

A PhD in this field can help you prepare to lead as you develop scholar-practitioner skills to contribute new knowledge in the field. 

Reach Your Goals with Comprehensive Support

Your doctoral program will include several important components. If you choose a PhD program in criminal justice or emergency management, you’ll complete online coursework and comprehensive exams, as well as three in-person experiences (called dissertation research seminars), and a dissertation. For the Doctor of Emergency Management, you’ll do online coursework, attend two in-person experiences (called doctoral research seminars), and complete a capstone project.

Writing a dissertation or capstone can be a challenge, but you’ll have the benefit of working through each step during your research seminar.

Plus, you’ll find expert support to keep you moving forward, including:

  • A mentor with knowledge of the subject matter and theory, as well as practical experience to offer ongoing support through frequent, regular contact
  • A dissertation advisor who specializes in problem solving at the dissertation stage, including questions about integrity, time management, and professional conduct
  • Additional specialized personnel, including Disability Services, Career Center, or Financial Counseling, ready to provide support as needed

Respected in the Field

We have over 500 partnerships with highly recognized institutions from around the United States including leading criminal justice organizations, such as the FBI National Academy, International Association of Emergency Managers, United States Secret Service, and National Sheriffs' Association. Tuition discounts from Capella-affiliated employers and organizations can make your degree more affordable, saving you thousands.

Honor Societies

Capella is proud to claim membership in two specialized honor societies, Epsilon Pi Phi and Alpha Phi Sigma. Epsilon Pi Phi is for students in emergency management, homeland security, disaster research, criminal justice, and continuity management disciplines. Alpha Phi Sigma recognizes academic excellence of undergraduate and graduate students of criminal justice.

Gainful Employment & Learning and Career Outcomes

Investing in a college degree is no small thing. At Capella, we’re proud to share our learning and career outcomes—along with gainful employment results—so that you can make the most informed decisions about the programs that interest you.

Interactive, Hands-On Tools for Effective Leadership

Transcript: Capella’s Approach to Public Service Leadership

Your courses offer interactive tools that can help you apply what you’ll learn in your doctoral program in criminal justice or emergency management. These activities will give you a chance to develop skills in problem solving and leadership—and you’ll encounter challenging, realistic problems designed to help you become a more effective leader.

Personalize Your Degree With a Concentration

You can now earn a criminal justice or emergency management graduate degree with a concentration that provides you with the opportunity to choose a more unique learning path based on your personal passion and career goals. Concentrations are designed to integrate theory with real-world application for personalized learning without adding additional coursework to your program. Concentrations are available in:

  • Corrections—Learn the philosophy of punishment and the scope of corrections programs, such as probation, parole, incarceration, and treatment.
  • Criminology—Deepen your understanding of crime prevention, treatment programs, and criminal justice system interventions.
  • Higher Education—Prepare to teach in either traditional or online formats, and apply ethical decision-making, multicultural competence, and knowledge of diverse student populations to your personal philosophy of teaching.

Distinguished Faculty

Every faculty member in the Capella School of Public Service Leadership holds a doctoral degree. Our experienced instructors provide expertise to regional, national, and international criminal justice and emergency management organizations, law enforcement, the U.S. armed forces, and the U.S. government.

View all public service faculty.