Similar to the Independent Study, the Honors Research Thesis allows Criminal Justice students in their junior or senior year a unique opportunity to conduct a year long specific, in depth research in an area of their choice (as relating to the field of criminal justice). Students work under the guidance of a full-time faculty member. As the honors research thesis project is more intense and rigorous than the independent study project, students are required: to have completed at least 15 credits toward the Criminal Justice major, to have completed the research methods requirement toward the C.J. major, to hold a 3.4 GPA in the major itself, and to maintain a 3.0 GPA overall. Students are also required to complete 2 consecutive semesters (for a total of 6 credits) of the honors research thesis; however, while the 2 semesters must be consecutive, they do not have to be within the same academic year.  Students have the opportunity to defend their research thesis after completion of their research paper in front of a panel of Criminal Justice faculty.

The Honors Thesis course (01:202:498 and 01:202:499) can be used to satisfy the 400-level elective required for completion of the major. Students take 3 credits of Honors Research per semester, earn a total of 6 credits overall, which can be used for the major.


It is up to the student to reach out to a faculty member if interested in completing an honors research thesis project. Students are advised to set up an appointment to discuss the possibility of working on such a project, and it is helpful to have an idea in mind of the topic of research intended. The requirements for completing an honors research thesis project involve completion of a research paper: this paper must be completed within the second semester that the student is enrolled in 01:202:498/01:202:499. The details and logistics of completing any research is up to the discretion of the faculty mentor.


N.B. Only full-time faculty members are allowed to serve as mentors for the Honors Research Thesis project.


Once a student has obtained a faculty mentor and both parties have agreed on the research topic, students must fill out the Honors Thesis form (also found in the Student Forms section), and have it signed by the faculty mentor. The student must then meet with the advising staff in order to submit the Honors Thesis form: we will provide a Special Permission Number in order to register for the honors thesis course. To schedule an appointment to meet with one of the advising staff, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The student will present their final completed project to a faculty panel.



“Working with the professors in the Criminal Justice department was a pleasure. My two advisors went over and beyond to help me when I needed something. Working one-on-one with the professors was also something that really made my time at Rutgers stand out and allowed me to truly receive honest [feedback about my writing]: if I have learned anything, it is that feedback is extremely important to improving writing skills.  

I believe the [honors research] thesis really pushed me above the rest when applying to law school. Several schools personally addressed my writing skills. And even now, in my Criminal Law class, the topic [from my thesis] comes up and my extensive knowledge on this subject may even help to select my chosen career path. I would strongly suggest doing an honors thesis in Criminal Justice. Plus it's 3 credits a semester. Why not?”

~Megan M. ‘12


“I found writing a thesis on a specific topic in the criminal justice field incredibly rewarding both academically and intellectually.  I have always preferred smaller classes to larger ones because of the closer relationships with teachers the former often provides and an honors thesis was a great opportunity to get to know the professor overseeing my project.  Being able to work one-on-one with a professor and discussing the issues related to my thesis topic helped me learn more as I had guidance to build my arguments and develop my critical thinking.  I have often felt disgruntled with the use of multiple choice exams in classes in the past while preferring to learn information through research and writing in the form of an essay.

As I move forward and plan on attending law school, having completed an honors thesis project has made me feel more confident in my writing abilities and research skills.  I would recommend that every student studying criminal justice to consider doing an honors thesis.  Not only does it provide the opportunity to study in depth an issue related to the student's interests closely with a professor, but it can greatly enhance any student's writing and critical thinking skills.”

~Jason B. ‘13


Honors Thesis Papers


The Dark Side of Justice: Misidentification by Megan Moran

  • Class of 2012; Faculty Advisors Dr. Patrick Carr, Sociology & Dr. Robert Szejner, Criminal Justice.

Gideon in the Garden State: New Jersey's Support for Public Defenders by Jason Boyle

  • Class of 2013; Faculty Advisor Dr. Alec Walen, Philosophy and Camden--Law.