Two graduate degree programs are offered: the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Criminal Justice and the Master of Science (M.S.) in Security Administration. These programs are designed for professional workers (law enforcement, corrections officers, security personnel) and others who desire to further their knowledge of the criminal justice system, security operations, and related disciplines. They provide an opportunity for the professional worker to broaden and deepen his/her perspective in the criminal justice profession and/or the administration of security programs. Problem solving, leadership, critical thinking, and the prudent application of theory to practice are skills that these programs are designed to foster.
These graduate programs are developed to meet the need for specialized training for criminal justice and security personnel suited to their unique functions. These studies can be pursued on a full- or part-time basis. Furthermore, a three-semester sequence has been arranged within the academic year to provide occasion for expediting the completion of program requirements. 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 enrolling in the two graduate programs 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. All programs may be taken in the late afternoon and/or evening, full- or part-time.
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.
The master's degree programs require completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours of approved graduate work with a final grade point average of at least 3.0 (B). Prescribed core courses are listed under each program. 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.
Master of Arts-Criminal Justice
Students interested in a generalist's approach to criminal justice will find this course of study appropriate. Law enforcement and corrections personnel acquire a broad background in administrative theory and current concerns of the criminal justice system.
Twenty-one of the 36 hours are to include the following core courses:
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 Criminal Justice, Security Administration, and Intelligence Assurance courses. In addition, other graduate courses can be taken according to areas of need, specialization, and formal preparation including (but not limited to) courses in addiction studies, business administration, counseling, education, liberal studies, and psychology with the approval of the student's advisor.