There are many opportunities for Harvard students interested in studying or working in the criminal legal system.

PhD Research Grants

The Program in Criminal Justice awards annual Doctoral Student Research Grants. The award process is open to PhD candidates from any of the units on Harvard’s campus conducting research to address questions related to the criminal legal system. Priority is given to students who are conducting research that is timely and whose findings have the potential to shape policy and/or conducting research that tackles an important set of questions related to specific policies in the criminal legal realm.  

Click here to learn about the 2024 recipients of Program in Criminal Justice Graduate Student Research Grants.

Follow the links below to read about the research projects we have funded in the past:

2023 recipient Emma Rackstraw discusses her project on TikTok:

@harvardkennedyschool PhD candidate Emma Rackstraw discusses her research on “copaganda” where she aims to answer: what does the omnipresence of cop reality TV shows mean for individuals both behind and in front of the cameras? #LearnOnTikTik #Copaganda #Propaganda #RealityShows #Harvard #PublicPolicy #RealityTV #HarvardKennedySchool #PhDResearch ♬ original sound - Harvard Kennedy School

Courses relevant to criminal justice policy are offered at Harvard Kennedy School as well as across Harvard.

Student jobs and Career resources

The Program in Criminal Justice hires students for various research projects. Positions will be posted here when available.

PCJ works with the HKS Office of Career Advancement (OCA) to assist students with researching a career in criminal justice policy. 

PAE and Internship Resources for Harvard Students

Do you need help finding a Criminal Justice PAE client or a summer internship? The Program in Criminal Justice has a strong network of alumni and practitioner research partners. Feel free to reach out for assistance to explore opportunities that satisfy your individual needs. 

Student groups

Based at Harvard Kennedy School, the student-led Safety and Justice PIC (Professional Interest Council) convenes students from across the University who are interested in creating a network for shared communication around criminal justice reform, careers in criminal justice, or opportunities for activism.

The PIC and PCJ host a wide variety of events. Past events include:

  • Justice in an Era of Mass Imprisonment
  • The Week We Shaped the Future of Policing (series)
  • Challenges to Democracy: The Future of Policing
  • Crises in Cities: What's Next?
  • Lessons from the US Criminal Justice System: Applications for Youth & International Development
  • Criminal Justice Lunchtime Talk (series): What Happens to Prisoners Once Released? with Bruce Western
  • A Discussion with Philip J. Cook on The Dubious Role of Research-Based Evidence in the Gun Debate
  • Harvard Event: Prison USA: The Dilemmas of Mass Incarceration
  • Book Talk and Reception with Mark Moore, Recognizing Public Value
  • Careers Seminar addressing summer internships, careers, and Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) strategies
  • Screening and Discussion of the film, The House I Live In
  • Building a 21st Century Policy to Address Domestic and Global Drug Challenges
  • Rule of Law Engagement in Post Conflict StatesWhere Now?