Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

The Master of Arts in criminal justice is designed for professional workers (law enforcement, corrections officers, security personnel) and others who desire to further their knowledge of the criminal justice system and its related disciplines. It provides the student an opportunity to broaden and deepen his/her perspective in the criminal justice profession. Problem solving, leadership, critical thinking, and the prudent application of theory to practice are skills that the program is designed to foster. It is developed to meet the need for specialized training for criminal justice suited to its unique functions. Students interested in a generalist's approach to criminal justice will find the course of study appropriate. Law enforcement and corrections personnel acquire a broad background in administrative theory and current concerns of the criminal justice system.

The course of study can be pursued on a full- or part-time basis.  Close faculty-student contact is maintained to assist each student in formulating realistic individual objectives and in selecting course work to attain them. Program arrangements are flexible so that individual needs can be served. At least 50 percent of students are employed full-time, often in the field they are pursuing. Course scheduling and specific, individualized programs are designed to take advantage of students' backgrounds and to permit students to pursue the master's degree at the pace most reasonable to themselves. The program is designed for late afternoon and evening students.

Admission Requirements:

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and must have demonstrated intellectual competence for graduate study. Selection is based on such factors as previous academic record (at least a 2.7 GPA) and/or relevant experience. Acceptance on a probationary status is allowed in some cases where academic standards are not fully met but competence has been indicated by the level of the applicant's professional advancement. Also, as prerequisites, applicants must have had at least 15 hours of basic course work in the behavioral/social sciences and should solicit three letters of recommendation. Arrangements can be made to make up deficiencies.

Degree Requirements:

The master's degree program requires completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours of work with a final GPA of at least 3.0 (B). Prescribed core courses are listed below. In addition to course work, all candidates for the master's degree must complete a research component. This is done in one of three ways: (a) a master's thesis, which also conveys six credit hours; (b) two major review papers, or "Plan B" papers, which do not convey course credit; or (c) a master's research paper, which conveys three credit hours. These research components must receive a grade of B or better. In addition, a final comprehensive paper is written during the last semester before the degree is awarded. The master's paper is content-oriented across the 36 hours of the course sequence.

Core Requirements

Twenty one of the 36 hours are to include the following courses:

  • CJS 5000 Research Methodology (3cr.)
  • CJS 5400 Criminal Justice Process & Criminal Law (3cr.)
  • CJS 5550 Deviance & Social Control (3cr.)
  • CJS 5700 Socialization and Social Control (3cr.)
  • CJS 5800 Theory of Law Enforcement (3cr.)
  • CJS 5850 Seminar in Criminology (3cr.)
  • CJS 5990 Justice Seminar (3cr.)

Based on the student's undergraduate work and career experience, substitutions for the above courses may be made with the approval of the department chair. The remaining 15 hours may be selected from other graduate courses according to areas of need, specialization, and formal preparation including courses in addiction studies, business administration, counseling, education, psychology, and others.

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