The MA in Criminal Justice is designed to skillfully integrate theory and practice into a holistic, engaging, and challenging course of study that provides students with advanced knowledge and understanding of the United States Criminal Justice System. Designed to position graduates for success, the program focuses on developing appreciable knowledge and understanding of crime and the criminal justice system, as well as developing discernible skill sets and competencies necessary for pursuing and/or advancing one’s professional career, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, effective communications, social research, and professional development.

The 36-credit program can be completed in less than 18 months for full-time students, and 18 to 24 months for part-time students.

Program Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding: Consistent with and in addition to the criteria established by the Academy of Criminal Justices Sciences (ACJS), students will acquire a thorough knowledge and understanding of administration of justice; U.S. Constitution, U.S. government, political system, and public policy; corrections; criminological theory; law adjudication; law enforcement; and research and analytic methods.

Critical Thinking: Students will learn and demonstrate critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and the scientific approach to problem solving by selecting and organizing information, identifying assumptions and causal relationships, distinguish between verifiable facts and value claims, determine the credibility of sources, distinguish between warranted or unwarranted reasons or conclusions, detect biases, and evaluate appropriate problem solving strategies, their feasibility and efficacy.

Effective Communication: Students will be able to communicate effectively, in writing and verbally, the conventions of the English language in a clear, concise, articulate, literate, and professional manner consistent with those of college writing and those specific to the discipline of law and criminal justice.

Information and Technological Literacy: Students will be able to demonstrate information literacy and technological competency utilizing the most current computer-based library computer systems and academic databases, governmental resources, and other bono-fide informational resources to facilitate the study of criminal justice and criminology.

Ethical and Professional Behavior: Students will learn to identify, evaluate, assess, and employ appropriate legal, ethical, and professional behaviors and practices within all aspects of their life, including, but not limited to an academic and criminal justice environment.

Admission requirements

Admission to the program is based on an applicant’s demonstrated interest, aptitude, and motivation to successfully undertake and complete Master’s level studies. This will be determined by the following minimal requirements and indicators:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, which may be waived.
  • Performance on the Graduate Record Examination, which may be waived.
  • A 250-500 word personal essay expressing one’s interest for applying to the program
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s interest and ability to undertake graduate level studies
  • Personalized interviews may be considered by the Department’s Admission Committee.
  • Applicants under consideration may be required to complete an abbreviated research paper that demonstrate their ability for effective writing

Waivers for applicants who do not meet the grade point average or standardized test scores will be considered on an individual basis.

Degree Plan

The program’s core curriculum provides a foundation in the concepts of social order and control, the legal and philosophical principles of the U.S. Constitution, the legislation of criminal laws, the theoretical causality of criminal behavior, crime prevention, the treatment and remediation of criminality, the analysis of society’s changing response to crime, the development and influence of public policy on the administration of justice, and the scientific methods for conducting social research and statistical analysis.

Required courses (15 credits)

  • CRIM6000 Professional Seminar in Criminal Justice
  • CRIM6005 Advanced Criminological Theory
  • CRIM6010 U.S. Constitution, Public Policy and Criminal Justice
  • CRIM6025 Social Science Research Methods
  • CRIM8000 Critical Analysis of Criminal Justice

Professional Seminar in Criminal Justice (CRIM 6000) must be taken within a student’s first 3-9 credits of graduate courses. It is recommended that students take Statistics and Data Analysis (CRIM 6020) before taking Research Methods (CRIM 6015)

Elective courses (21 credits)

Recognizing student’s needs and interests for professional development and acquiring specialized knowledge and understanding, the curriculum provides students the option to select from a wide array of courses in fulfilling 21 of the 36 credit program.

Students can choose from any of the following courses in fulfilling their remaining 21 credits. All elective course selections must be made in consultation with the academic advisor.

  • CRIM6015 Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • CRIM6020 Statistics and Data Analysis
  • CRIM7020 Ethics, Politics, and Justice
  • CRIM7025 Comparative Criminal Justice Systems
  • CRIM7030 Principles of Leadership
  • CRIM7060 Social Justice Advocacy
  • CRIM7065 Crime, Victimology, and Risk Reduction
  • CRIM7080 Selected Studies
  • CRIM7085 Adv Internshp in Crim Justice
  • CRIM7090 Professional Development Seminar

Professional Seminar in Criminal Justice (CRIM 6000) must be taken within a student’s first 3-9 credits of graduate courses.

Course Descriptions

  • CRIM6000 This course provides a comprehensive review, critique, and analysis of the United States Criminal Justice System in context to examining the concepts of social order and control, the philosophical underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution and the influence of public policy. Emphasis will be placed on examining the independent and causal relationships of police and law enforcement, courts and adjudications, and the correctional system.

  • CRIM6005 This course will take a vertically integrative perspective on criminological theory, to include examining crime and crime theory, and various forms of criminal behavior. Taking an implicitly system theoretical look at crime and delinquency, it will provide tools for determining which theories provide the most explanatory power in specific criminal contexts. The course will also examine criminological thought in areas such as cyber-crime, terrorism, human trafficking, environmental crime, hate crimes, and other current and thematic emerging issues.

  • CRIM6010 This course examines emerging issues as they influence the U.S. Constitution, public policy, and the criminal justice system. Topics such as criminal procedure, individual rights, gun control, decriminalization of drugs, social justice, crime prevention, juvenile justice, sentencing policies, incarceration, and capital punishment will be addressed.

  • CRIM6015 This advanced course in social research exposes students to the methods and techniques associated with identifying and defining problems and developing hypotheses, experimental design, surveys, testing instruments, gathering and analyzing data, and preparation of reports.

  • CRIM6020 This course addresses the basic concepts and methods of statistics applied within criminal justice and social science research. Topics covered include basic statistical methodology, exploratory data techniques, experimental design, sample distributions, interval estimation, inference, comparative analysis by parametric, nonparametric, and robust procedures, analysis of variance (one-way), linear and nonlinear regression, analysis of covariance, correlation and regression, and an introduction to statistical analysis using SPSS.

  • CRIM6025 This course will emphasize the conceptual foundations and methodological approaches used in social science research. This course introduces tools of quantative reasoning and statistics that can be used to address problems in basic research and policy within social sciences, particularly in the criminal justice field. The primary objectives of the course are to build familiarity with the fundamentals of probability and statistical analysis, central concepts of research design and norms of ethical behavior in research.

  • CRIM7020 This course examines classical and contemporary theories and philosophies relevant to ethical thought and behavior in relationship to the administration of justice. Ethical issues confronting criminal justice practitioners, to include the role and influence of politics, are explored through the use of case studies and critical incidents, and examining appropriate and applicable strategies.

  • CRIM7025 This course will conduct a comparative analysis between the criminal justice system of the United States with those of other major countries throughout the world. The similarities and differences between the policing, adjudication and penal systems will be discussed. Issues such as alternatives to incarceration, technologies utilized and legal mandates will be examined.

  • CRIM7030 The objective of this course will be to examine the principles, practices, and complexities of effective leadership. The course will examine the skills and competencies needed to be an effective leader. The benefits of effective leadership and the consequences of ineffective leadership in an organization will be studied.

  • CRIM7060 Practitioners in the criminal justice system are often placed in the position of ensuring that their clients have access to services and proper treatments as they move through the system. Working and aspiring probation and parole officers, social workers, victim advocates and others will receive practical guidance in creating access to justice and services for their clients in criminal, social, and service oriented contexts.

  • CRIM7065 This course will focus on crime victims in terms of factors leading up to and consequences of criminal events. It will examine victimization patterns, typologies, resources, consequences, the criminal justice response, restorative justice and legal rights. Also, it will analyze the dynamics of various violent crimes for warning signs, criminal purpose/selection and strategies to reduce the risk of victimization.

  • CRIM7080 Topics will include the Constitution of the United States and how the safeguards in the Bill of Rights have evolved over time. The course will also focus on how laws and Criminal Justice policies are formulated, as well as why certain acts are considered serious crimes and other are not. Issues of how money and power affect policies in criminal justice will be examined. Topics of victims'rights police brutality, court process, sentencing, prisoner treatment and other policy matters in the criminal justice system will be reviewed.

  • CRIM7085 The course provides individually designed internships within federal, state and local police/law enforcement agencies, courts and adjudication, corrections & probation, private security, juvenile justice, crime victims? advocacy and child protection. Students develop hands-on experience in all facets of the respective agency that they select. The internship provides the students with insight, experience and an available network of professional colleagues.

  • CRIM7090 This course addresses key thematic areas critical to recognizing and developing one's professional effectiveness. Topics covered include effective communication, emotional and social intelligence, negotiations and conflict management, problem-solving, decision making, and strategic planning.

  • CRIM8000 This course represents a synthesis and critical analysis of key concepts and principles address within the criminal justice graduate program. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: social order and control, social contract theory, social justice and crime, statistics and social research, U.S. Constitution and government, politics and public policy, crime prevention and analysis, criminological theory, victimization, criminal law, police and law enforcement, the courts and adjudication system, and the correctional system. The course culminates with successful completion of: (1) a Master's Research Project, or () Comprehensive Examination. Details and requirements for both are addressed at the commencement of the course.