About the Program
Student will take advanced coursework in diverse subjects such as corrections, policing, courts, comparative/cross cultural issues, minorities and gender issues, victimology, white collar crime, terrorism, ethics, and popular culture. The skills students learn position them competitively for leadership and management positions in every area of the field.
Evening classes are offered for professionals seeking to advance their careers without putting their lives on hold, and flexible curriculum guarantees that you learn the skills relevant to your interests and earn the degree you want.
The 36 hour program consists of 12 hours of required courses and 18-24 hours of electives depending on if students wish to take a comprehensive exam or write a thesis.
For more information on the application process, degree requirements, and more, please consult the catalogue page or contact Graduate Program Director Dr. Crittenden.
Regular Graduate Admission
- hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university,
- have a minimum GPA of 2.7 (based on a 4.0 scale) on all undergraduate work,
- be approved by the Criminal Justice Department
Most students whose native language is not English will be required to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). International students may get assistance in the admission process and should be sure to consult with staff in that area.
The program is selective, and not all students are admitted to the Criminal Justice degree program. Only students with sufficiently high undergraduate grade point averages and GRE scores, effective supplemental applications forms, and excellent letters of recommendation are accepted into the degree program.
Students who do not meet the GPA admission requirement should contact the staff of the Graduate School office to discuss alternative requirements. It might be possible to be admitted conditionally. Conditional admission is a one-time opportunity extended to students who are United States citizens or permanent residents to prove that, despite a low grade point average in undergraduate studies, they can now perform satisfactorily in graduate classes. Enrollment in graduate courses under a conditional admission status does not imply admission into the criminal justice degree program. More information is available in the Graduate Catalog.
Admission as a Non-Degree Candidate
An applicant who meets admission requirements and wishes to enroll in graduate courses and earn credit without pursuing a specific degree program may be admitted as a non-degree graduate student; however, they are not eligible for financial aid.
Admission to the Graduate Program
Students must submit the following application materials:
- Payment of the $35 non refundable application fee
- An official transcript from each college or university previously attended, (sent directly from the institution to the Graduate School office)
- An official report of the applicant’s score on the Miller Analogy Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that is not less than five years old. Applicants who took the MAT may also be required to submit a “Writing Proficiency Essay”
- Have two references complete online recommendation form
All MSCJ students must successfully complete either the thesis or the comprehensive exam to satisfy the requirements for the degree program. The thesis option involves independent original research focused on a specific issue that is relevant to criminal justice. This research will demonstrate broad knowledge of the topic, identify a gap in the knowledge base, and attempt to fill that gap through appropriate study. Initiation of a thesis requires acceptance by your graduate thesis chair of an informal proposal that describes your thesis objectives, provides a preliminary review of pertinent literature, outlines the methodologies that you will use, and details the relevance of your thesis to the field. You then will work closely with your graduate thesis chair toward meeting your thesis objectives. A thesis is recommended for those who plan to pursue a professional degree or are interested in gaining advanced experience in research methodology and analysis.
If you opt to conduct a thesis in partial fulfillment of the M.S.C.J. degree, you must enroll in at least 6 semester hours of CRMJ 5999 (Thesis) while actively engaged in your thesis research, writing, and/or defense preparation, with at least two of these credit hours completed during the semester of your defense. Once you initiate your thesis, you must register for thesis hours continuously (i.e., every semester) until your thesis is complete. For determining continuous thesis registration, the summer term is not considered. As such, you do not need to register for CRMJ 5999 during summer sessions while conducting your thesis research; however, you may opt to do so if this is suggested and approved by your graduate advisor.
Students who want to pursue the thesis option must identify a MSCJ faculty member to serve as thesis chair and that thesis chair must approve of the student’s project before the student can move forward with the thesis option. For more information on the thesis process, contact Courtney Crittenden. The graduate program MSCJ program guidebook outlines specific policies regarding the thesis process. It is located on the graduate student Canvas page.
Comprehensive Exam Information
Students who do not write a thesis are required to successfully pass the comprehensive exam. Comprehensive exams are issued once in the Fall and once in the Spring.
The comprehensive exam is administered by the graduate coordinator and is divided into two parts. For Part I, students will electronically receive a general research/policy question six weeks prior to the official comprehensive exam date. The students will have six weeks to complete Part I, which should contain the following: an introduction, literature review, theoretical foundation, methodology, limitations of the study, and reference page.
On the official comprehensive exam date, students will receive Part II of the exam. Students will be presented with research findings pertinent to their research question and will be asked to interpret these findings and discuss the significance of these results. In addition, the student will write a discussion addressing the policy implications of these results and make recommendations based on their literature review and the findings. Students will have 6 hours to complete the Part II of the comprehensive exam.
For more information on the comprehensive exam process, contact Courtney Crittenden. The graduate program MSCJ program guidebook outlines specific policies regarding the comprehensive exam process and grading. It is located on the graduate student Canvas page.
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