Graduate Program Director of Criminal Social Justice


Dr. Natalia D. Tapia is the Director of the Criminal Social Justice Graduate Program. She received her J.D. from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (South America) in 2002, her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University in 2011. She has worked as a Security Investigator for the U.S. Department of State; and as a Legal Counselor for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She has also done research for non-governmental organizations in the areas or family violence and prisoner’s rights. Her main areas of academic and teaching expertise are Criminology, Research Methods, Criminal Law, and the Intersections of Race, Gender and Crime. Her research interests include female offenders, corrections, legal research, and elder abuse. She regularly presents her work at annual conferences such as the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Correctional Association. She has published 5 research pieces, and two book reviews at top tier peer reviewed journals such as The Prison Journal, Criminal Law Bulletin, and International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences.



  • Ph.D., Sam Houston State University, 2011
  • M.S., University of North Texas, 2004
  • J.D., Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, 2002
  • B.J.S., Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, 2000