Dr. Elaine Gunnison
Graduate Program Director
Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott
Director of Graduate Admissions
L. Devin MacKrell
Administrative Assistant for Graduate Program
Criminal Justice is an academic
discipline that enjoys a high job placement rate, and many positions in today’s competitive job market require the master’s degree and/or provide salary increases commensurate with education level. The criminal justice field offers many career opportunities. Our graduates are working in law enforcement, private security, community and institutional corrections, court services, victim services, social services, academia, and/or investigation in a range of public and private agencies. They have rewarding careers as data analysts, law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, victim advocates, criminal investigators, researchers, policymakers, advocates, and teachers in community colleges and universities.
Our classes meet evenings and weekends. Most students take 6 credits a quarter and complete the MACJ in two years.
You are not required to select a specialization area. The advantage of not choosing a specialization is flexibility in selecting elective credits. The advantage of concentrating in a particular area is that a set of courses will be required and identified on your transcript and diploma as an official specialization. This may stand out to employers who seek expertise in a specific area (e.g., a victimology specialization may be an asset in applying for positions in victim services, research and evaluation for research analyst positions, and investigative criminology for investigative positions) or to graduate admissions and selection committee for Ph.D. programs.
Here are a few tips/factors to think about in determining whether or not to concentrate.
Choose the MACJ with no specialization if:
Choose the MACJ with Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation specialization if:
Choose the MACJ with Investigative Criminology specialization if:
Choose the MACJ with Victimology specialization if:
If you are unsure whether or not you would like to concentrate in a particular area, the best approach is to look at what your schedule will look like if you select the specialization and which courses you will be required to take. Keep in mind that you can select a specialization and/or change your mind at any time prior to your last quarter (although changing or adding a specialization area late in the program may affect your date of completion). To change or select a specialization, contact the CJ Graduate Director and/or your faculty advisor.
All MACJ students are required to either pass a comprehensive examination or complete a thesis. Students wishing to pursue the thesis option must obtain approval from the Graduate Director by submitting a thesis proposal and identifying a thesis chair and committee.
Here are a few tips/factors to consider when deciding which option to choose.
Choose the comprehensive exam if:
Choose the thesis if:
Students may work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA) for criminal justice faculty for academic credit. Both positions offer students an excellent opportunity to acquire proficiencies in pedagogical and research skills. For those students who are considering entering into academic positions or doctoral programs upon graduation, working as a TA or RA is great work experience. TAs assist the graduate faculty member in teaching responsibilities for undergraduate criminal justice courses. Typical responsibilities of TAs include: acquiring recent research for the course, assistance in grading, classroom support, and perhaps the opportunity to make a mini-presentation in the course. RAs assist in the research of the graduate faculty member. Typical responsibilities of RAs include: conducting literature searchers, acquiring research articles, and assistance in data collection and analysis. Students who would like to work as a TA or RA must first contact the criminal jutice faculty member that they are interested in working with to determine the work requirements and the needs of the faculty member. Once an agreement has been reached between the student and faculty member, the student will need to see the department chair for final approval.
MACJ students may obtain 1-3 credits for work completed as part of an approved internship. Students must work 50 hours per credit, complete a reflection log, agency and student self-evaluation, and synthesis paper (nature and length determined in consultation with Internship Director). The degree also offers one-credit practicums with the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals Service. Students also have the option of completing an independent study project involving research, theory, or practice in criminal justice. Independent study projects are approved by Department Chair on a case-by-case basis.
Students have had internships and volunteer experiences in city, county, state, and federal agencies,including:
Students may also seek internship positions on their own and obtain approval through the Internship Director.