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M.S. in Criminal Justice

Program Description

The Master’s program in Criminal Justice is designed to meet the graduate educational needs of practitioners and students pursuing careers in criminal justice, in both the public and private sectors. While the 30-credit curriculum requires degree candidates to take four core courses, the student selects the remainder. This arrangement allows individuals to create unique plans of graduate study that are compatible with their interests and career objectives in the field of criminal justice. The program is flexible enough to allow students to concentrate on the theoretical and methodological knowledge needed to pursue a degree beyond the master’s or to focus on the management skills necessary to succeed as upper-level decision makers.

Course offerings and scheduling are conveniently arranged to accommodate the needs of both full-time and part-time students. Courses are offered at Main Campus and Philadelphia Police Academy (Northeast Philadelphia). Courses are offered in the evenings, on Saturdays, and online.

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Students applying for admission to the Criminal Justice program must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) above 3.00 for full admission. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.00 will be considered for admission on a provisional basis. Such applicants may be required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores as a condition for admission. Students admitted on a provisional basis must take CRJ 570 Professional Writing for Law Enforcement AND CRJ 550 Research Methods and Analysis the first time they are offered. Such students may also be required to take prerequisite courses offered through the College of Professional and Liberal Studies. If required, prerequisite courses must be completed prior to enrolling in any graduate courses including those indicated above. Students must achieve a grade of at least B in all courses while in a provisional status. At the conclusion of the above, the student’s application will be reviewed for a full admissions decision.

Applicants should submit or have sent to the Office of Graduate Operations the following:

  • a completed Saint Joseph’s University graduate application.
  • official sealed transcript(s) of undergraduate/graduate coursework. If you are a SJU graduate the Office of Graduate Operations will obtain your SJU transcripts for you.
  • a current resume
  • two letters of recommendation (professional) from at least two faculty or employers appraising the candidate’s promise and capacity for graduate study, reflecting, from a professional’s point of view, the candidate’s ability to pursue a rigorous, independent course of study at the graduate level.
  • a personal statement outlining the candidate’s professional goals and educational objectives for the program, including the applicant’s rationale for program choice and professional study.
  • $35 application fee – waived if attended an Open House or an SJU graduate.
  • if Bachelors degree is not in Criminal Justice of a closely related field, you may be required to take CRJ 656 Criminal Justice System.

Admission is on a rolling basis and applications will be considered at any time throughout the year. There is a five year time limit on completion of degree programs based on date of enrollment in the first course. Students applying for the Post Master’s Certificate Program will be asked to schedule an interview with the program director prior to an admission decision being made.

Applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship must complete the above application process and submit a letter directly to Dr. Raquel Bergen, Department Chair of Sociology, by March 1 prior to the fall semester for which they are applying for admission. Students who are awarded assistantships are required to be enrolled in the program on a full-time basis (3 courses per semester) and to work with their assigned faculty member(s) 20 hours per week. Additional employment outside the university is not permitted while the student holds an assistantship. Assistantships are awarded for one academic year of fall/spring. Successful applicants may subsequently reapply for a second year. In such cases, the selection decision will be based on the student’s original undergraduate grade point average and credentials.

Academic Dismissal

Students enrolled in the Master’s degree program in Criminal Justice who receive a grade of F in two of their courses or who receive a grade below B in three of their courses will be dropped from the degree program regardless of how many credits they have completed in the program.

Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credits is the minimum requirement for the degree regardless of concentration. All students must satisfactorily complete the following core courses at Saint Joseph’s University:

CRJ 550

Research Methods and Analysis or

CRJ 575

Advanced Research Methods and Analysis

CRJ 560

Criminological Theory

CRJ 565

Ethics and Criminal Justice

CRJ 570

Professional Writing for Law Enforcement

Remaining coursework should be chosen to facilitate the student’s individual professional growth.

All Graduate Assistants and students, who intend to do a thesis, and those who have a recent and substantial undergraduate preparation in research methods, will be required to take CRJ 575 Advanced Research Methods and Analysis in lieu of CRJ 550.