UT Dallas Criminology Ranked 5th in World in Journal

The UT Dallas criminology program has been ranked fifth best in the world in a new study assessing the academic impact of publications.

The findings, published in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, show the impact of social science scholarship among criminology and criminal justice programs using mathematical formulas that assess the scope and impact of faculty publications.

John L. Worrall

Dr. John L. Worrall

“The study shows very objective measures of scholarly impact,” said Dr. John Worrall, head of criminology at UT Dallas. “This is one of the first attempts to rank programs based on objective metrics, and it puts us in an incredibly good position.”

The fifth-highest ranking among the programs measured, Worrall added, is a huge accomplishment for the relatively young criminology program at UT Dallas. The results detailed in the report align comparative standards among criminology programs.

“Many similar attempts at ranking criminology programs use methods that are not quantitative,” Worrall said, “And that makes this analytic approach much more relevant and reflective of the quality of criminology programs at UT Dallas and elsewhere.”

The study’s authors evaluated rankings based on the quantity and quality of academic publications in an attempt to standardize expectations and success of national criminology programs. The lead author on both studies is Dr. Heith Copes,  associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

J. C. Barnes

Dr. J. C. Barnes


Dr. Alex Piquero

Dr. Alex Piquero

To analyze the data from each of the universities, the study included only individuals in tenure-earning or tenured positions. Researchers then crunched numbers that showed how many times scholarly articles published by these faculty members had been cited by others.

The study assessed a total of 35 programs offering doctoral degrees – among them the University of Florida, which ranked seventh, and the University of Pennsylvania, which ranked second.

“We’ve recruited some excellent professors and have attracted some great students,” Worrall said.

In another related study published in the same journal, researchers analyzed impact of individual faculty within criminology programs worldwide. At UT Dallas, two individual faculty members were identified as having top citations in the field.

The number of bibliographic citations of peer-reviewed articles was used to determine faculty productivity.  When faculty members write scholarly articles, the more they are cited, the higher impact they have.

Among the top performers were Dr. J.C. Barnes, assistant professor of criminology; and Dr. Alex Piquero, Ashbel Smith professor of criminology, who came to UT Dallas last fall along with his wife, Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero, also a criminology professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. To assess faculty across the country, the paper’s authors included data on 504 tenure-earning faculty at 35 universities that grant criminology doctoral degrees.

“These rankings put everyone in the world on an even playing field,” Dr.  Alex Piquero said, “and that our faculty measures come out the way they do is a credit to the faculty, students, and the UT Dallas administration for their support of criminology. The data reflect very well on our program and signal that UT Dallas is a worldwide leader in criminology.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].