My journey to becoming a Liberty Ph.D. student

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Nemo

    Nemo Member

    I'm waiting to hear back from California University, but if I don't make that program, I plan to apply to Liberty. I appreciate you posting updates.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Best wishes. Let us know how Cal U goes. I know someone who's graduating from the program in May. He started in the first cohort in 2017.
  3. Nemo

    Nemo Member

    How has he liked it thus far? Is he already a Chief or Administrator? I've heard that first cohort was spectacularly difficult to get into due to the credentials of the applicants.
  4. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Based on what he told me in the first year, the program was wonderful and challenging. He said he was able to apply what he was learning in the classroom. I spoke with him 2 weeks ago and he said we was working on his culminating research portfolio and had 2 months in which he had to complete it. It doesn't seem like a major task since he told me that he was supposed to complete his the following week after we spoke. He's a criminology department chair at a community college.
  5. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    Hey Chrisjm,

    Any idea how many people have graduated from Liberty's CJ PhD? Not sure if the program has been around long enough.
    I tried to search for some dissertations but I gave up before I found any. I did find lots of other Liberty dissertations from other programs.

    Also, how many students in your classes on average?

  6. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Hey, not4profit:

    The Liberty Ph.D. in CJ started in August 2018, therefore it has no graduates as yet. Classes are divided into sections, so a class like Theories of Crime could have 40 students but would be split into three sections (3 instructors). Each section caps at 15 students but may sometimes contain 2 or 3 extra. So a class may have 35 students so Liberty will try to equalize the numbers in each section, so an instructor may get 17 and another would get 18. Hope that helps!
  7. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    Yeah. Thx!
  8. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Hi, guys:

    As promised, I am providing an update on my Ph.D. in Criminal Justice journey at Liberty after being in the program for an academic year. So far, I’ve completed all four core courses, two research courses, and one elective course. I took one class in Fall 2018, three in Spring 2019, and three in Summer 2019. I have 21 credits so far and have 21 more to go before I get to the comprehensive examination. I will be taking four courses (12 credits) in Fall 2019, which starts on Monday, and my final three courses (9 credits) in Spring 2020. I plan to take the Comp. Exam in the summer and transition into the dissertation phase.

    My experience has been mostly positive. All courses require the integration of a Christian worldview, which in most cases involves quoting a verse or two to support an area or areas of your assignment. In some assignments, an entire section dedicated to a Christian worldview may be required. Some of the instructors seem to have the students’ best interests at heart, and they provide substantive feedback, while others not so much. I have had Skype calls with one of my instructors and have spoken to others over the phone. I have had one instructor pray with me on the phone, and we talked for almost 30 minutes each time.

    A common complaint from students is that some of the assignment instructions contain grammatical errors or they differ from the rubric. Another concern is the some of the multiple-choice questions are graded as incorrect when you’ve selected the correct answer. We have noted these concerns to the program chair who has committed to addressing them. I must say he has always been responsive. As far as student support goes, I haven’t had an issue with them. They are usually helpful and for the most part, knowledgeable. They check in with me periodically to find out how I am progressing. Overall, it’s been a pleasant experience so far, and I have been able to maintain a 4.0 GPA. As always, feel free to post any general questions below or message me directly if you have any specific questions about the program.


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  9. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Question for Chris . . .

    What proportion of the grad CJ students at Liberty seem to be LEO's?* I took one modular grad course at Liberty's campus some 30 years ago, and when I got there it seemed that I was the only student in the class who was not an LEO. I would imagine that at the doctoral level, the overall students would be more diverse - social science types, juvenile justice folk, etc. But I'm aware of more than one grad CJ program that is overwhelmingly cop oriented.

    * Don'tcha hate it when people use esoteric abbreviations on this forum, especially with regard to obscure school names that they expect everybody to know and no one would care about anhyway? So, for the benefit of any culturally ignorant people here, "LEO" is a standard abbreviation for law enforcement officer. In other words, a cop.
  10. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member


    Back in May, I conducted a poll on the career fields of the 40 members in the group at the time (now 53 members strong). There were 28 respondents. Below was the breakdown:

    Law Enforcement - 17 (60.71%)
    Other* - 7 (25%)
    Corrections - 2 (7.14%)
    Court/Legal - 1 (3.57%)
    Military - 1 (3.57%)
    Security/Public Safety - 0 (0%)
    Juvenile Justice - 0 (0%)

    *Other included two high school teachers, a community college instructor, a parole officer (which I think falls under corrections but she said it wasn't quite LEO nor corrections), a risk/AML analyst, a program manager in a state division of justice and community service, and a owner/CEO of a mental health and substance abuse agency.

    Yours truly is a former LEO of 5 years, juvenile justice direct care worker of 1+ year, and starting my second year as a business and criminal justice high school teacher :)
  11. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    The group I referenced above is a Facebook support group I created for Ph.D. in CJ students at Liberty. There are way more than 53 students in the Ph.D. program.
  12. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    I said I'd give an update in the spring but since I'm on a month's break, I'm a little bored. I'll be posting on here more frequently (whether you like it or not lol). I've been in the Ph.D. in CJ program at Liberty for 14 months. I completed 11 courses (33 credits), which include all 4 core courses, all 4 research/evaluation courses, 1 advanced focus course, and 2 electives (School of Education). I have 2 more advanced focus courses to take in Spring B and I will take my final elective concurrently with my Comprehensive Exam and Research Concept in Spring D. If all goes well, I will be starting the dissertation in Summer (May). The dissertation courses are 16 weeks long (whole semester), so it will take a full academic year at minimum to complete the dissertation.
  13. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Hi, guys:

    I wanted to provide a quick update on my journey at Liberty. So, last week I took my comprehensive exam and passed. The exam consisted of three questions; each required a 10 to 15-page response. Question 1 was released on Monday at 8 a.m. and due Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Question 2 was released on Wednesday and due on Thursday (same times). Question 3 was released on Friday and due on Sunday (same times). It was a lot of work, but being home was undoubtedly a blessing. I have four more weeks left in this course (Comp Exam & Research Concept). The remaining portion is to complete our concept draft papers. The concept paper consists of a mini-chapter 1, 2, and 3, that serves an introduction for the dissertation committee. Btw, I already selected my dissertation chair and reader. I was among the first three students to take this course and will be among the first three to start the dissertation in the summer. Like I have said in previous updates, my experience at Liberty has been mostly positive. I am happy with my decision. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to post them below or send me a message.

    Blessings, Chris
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  14. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    I, for one, really appreciate these updates. They are super helpful to the students behind you in the program. Good looking out. Just having the timing info on the comps is very helpful for planning purposes.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  15. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    You seem to be making decent progress! Congrats and good luck!
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  16. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Hi, DI'ers :D

    I just wanted to provide an update on my progress. I successfully defended my proposal today at 11 a.m. Not quite the typical proposal as it only consisted of Chapters 1 and 2. I know the other doctoral programs in the other schools at Liberty, and even other HEIs, allow students to defend their proposal after Chapters 1-3. I already have my Ch 3 draft written so I did touch on some methods stuff during my defense presentation. Anyway, I will be submitting Ch 3 and applying for IRB approval in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I'll get to do data collection before the end of the year. My goal is to write Ch 4 and 5 in the spring and become Dr. Chris :) All dissertation courses are a semester-long (except the fourth dissertation course, which is the defense and can take place anytime). I will provide another update at the end of the fall semester!

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  17. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    Congratulations Chris!
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  18. Garp

    Garp Active Member

    Congratulations Chris!
    chrisjm18 likes this.
  19. tempORary_Harry

    tempORary_Harry New Member


    Did Liberty recently drop a whole bunch of their online Doctoral programs? I went on there site today and there are many missing from just a few weeks ago; entire Departments are no longer listed.
  20. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Not to my knowledge. I just checked and all the programs I'm used to seeing are still there.

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