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Criminal Justice Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice

School of Public Service Leadership

Dissertation Research Seminar Requirements

Your PhD program requires the completion of dissertation research seminars (PSL-R8925, PSL-R8926, PSL-R8927). The goal of the three PhD dissertation research seminar tracks is to prepare you for your dissertation early and continue throughout your learning experience.

Dissertation Research Seminar with Residency Costs and Financing:

In the courseroom, your instructor will lead you through a set of rigorous activities, assignments, and assessments designed to help you develop a first draft of your dissertation research plan.

Next, you will attend a residency where you will engage in an intensive, iterative process with faculty and peers to further develop your research plan.

In this last step, you incorporate the feedback you receive in the final session of the residency to refine and submit your research plan.

Dissertation Research Seminars: Your Roadmap to Success

Dissertation research seminars are designed in an optimized, sequential format that allows you to work extensively on your dissertation topic, methodology, literature review, and research plan from the beginning of your program. The experiences give you the time and resources to focus on your project as you build the skills and confidence required to steadily move toward your goals.

Each dissertation research seminar begins with an online course, including modules, assignments, and assessments. Next in the process is an in-person residency experience, followed by completion of a final assessment and development of a preparation plan for your next dissertation research seminar track.

When it comes to your dissertation research seminar requirements, timing is key. Your coursework builds the foundation for your dissertation research seminar and your experience at residency will keep you on track in your program. Your dissertation research seminar tracks are scheduled so you can create quality work and complete all tasks for each track before moving on to the next one. On time completion of the three dissertation research seminar tracks can significantly decrease your time to graduation and overall cost of your degree.

What You’ll Learn—and When

Track 1 Throughout the course, you’ll focus on identifying a theory, topic, and research problem appropriate for your specialization. In track 1, you must also complete PhD dissertation milestone 1 (Research Ethics Education). Following the weekend residency, you’ll complete a final assessment that demonstrates track 1 learning outcomes. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.
Track 2 Throughout the course you’ll apply skills necessary to develop a research question and to select an appropriate dissertation topic. In track 2, you’ll complete PhD dissertation milestone 2 (Topic Approval). Following the weekend residency, you’ll complete a final assessment that demonstrates track 2 learning outcomes. Prerequisite: PSL-R8925. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.
Track 3 Throughout the course, you’ll apply the research skills necessary to develop a methodological design, sampling plan, and strategy for data analysis. In track 3, you’ll complete PhD dissertation milestone 5 (Research Plan Approval). Following the residency, you’ll complete a final assessment that demonstrates track 3 learning outcomes. Learners must complete track 3 prior to beginning the comprehensive examination. Prerequisite(s): PSL-R8926. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

Dissertation Research Seminar Competencies

As you advance through the dissertation research seminar tracks, you will gain mastery in each of these critical areas:

Scholar-Practitioner Development

Identify and cultivate the skills required to professionally execute your research design.


Develop questions that align with an identified problem, study existing literature, propose research methodology, analyze data, and apply ethics and academic integrity to research.

Critical Thinking

Apply advanced critical thinking skills to synthesize ideas and concepts from previous research, as well as guide and support new research methods and designs.

Scholarly Communication

Cultivate academic communication skills in verbal and written interactions necessary to advance scientific research.

Residency Costs and Financing

Residency is part of the three-credit dissertation research seminar and follows the per credit pricing of the program. Included are academic sessions, as well as continental breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks on each full day of the in-person residency. Additional costs include airfare, lodging, evening meals, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

You can finance your residency using Stafford and GradPLUS loan funds. Capella also accepts all major credit cards and checks. Additionally, Capella has partnered with Delta Air Lines to provide special discounts for Capella events.

Residency Locations

Residencies are offered annually at alternating hotel conference centers throughout the United States. To reduce travel costs, locations are chosen based on the number of Capella students in the area. Past locations include Anaheim, Arlington, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, and Phoenix.

Although you are free to travel with friends and family, only students are able to attend sessions and meals. Childcare is not provided.


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