Criminal Justice (MA)


The Department of Criminal Justice offers three graduate degrees: The Master of Arts with a major in Criminal Justice, the Master of Science in Security Administration, and the Master of Science in Intelligence Analysis. For information on Security Administration and Intelligence Analysis, click directly on those programs. The master's program in Criminal Justice is designed for professionals in the fields of law enforcement or corrections and others who desire to further their knowledge of this field. The program provides an opportunity for the professional worker to broaden and deepen his or her perspective in the criminal justice profession. Problem solving, leadership, critical thinking and the prudent application of theory to practice are skills that this program is designed to foster.

This graduate program is developed to meet the need for specialized training for criminal justice suited to its unique function. This program 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 coursework to attain them. Program arrangements are flexible so that individual needs can be served.

At least 50% of students enrolling in the criminal justice master's program 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. Courses are generally offered in the late afternoon or evening.

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    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 coursework in the behavioral/social sciences and should solicit three letters of recommendation. Arrangements can be made to make up deficiencies.


    Degree Requirements

    The Master of Arts with a major in Criminal Justice Program requires 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 below. In addition to coursework, 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. The research component must receive a grade of B or better. In addition, a final comprehensive essay is written during the last semester before the degree is awarded. The master's essay 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.

    Core Requirements

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

    • CJS 5000 Research Methodology (3 credits)
    • CJS 5400 Criminal Justice Process & Criminal Law (3 credits) OR CJS 5410 Trends in Constitutional Law (3 credits)
    • CJS 5550 Deviance and Social Control (3 credits)
    • CJS 5700 Socialization and Social Control (3 credits)
    • CJS 5800 Theory of Law Enforcement (3 credits)
    • CJS 5850 Seminar in Criminology (3 credits)
    • CJS 5970 Justice Seminar (3 credits)

    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.

    Electives (choose five) 15 credits

    The remaining 15 credit hours (five courses) may be selected from graduate level Criminal Justice, Security Administration, and Intelligence Analysis 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.

Program Contact Information

Program Director and Interim Department Chair: Erick Barnes
Briggs Building, Room 221
McNichols Campus

Telephone: 313-578-0363

Fax: (313) 993-1166

Department Website