Criminal Justice (MS)

Criminal Justice (MS)

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The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS) is an intensive graduate‐level program that is designed for students who want to pursue further studies beyond the bachelor degree and prepare candidates for the doctoral degree.

The program is designed to accomplish the following educational objectives:

  • Enhance the student's competence in the content, theories, principles, and methods of criminal justice.
  • Prepare  students  for  administrative  and  management  positions  in federal, state and local criminal justice agencies.
  • Prepare students for entry‐level positions requiring graduate degrees, such as federal probation, parole and law enforcement agencies.
  • Prepare students for academic study beyond the master's degree.
  • Provide a resource for federal, state and local criminal justice agencies in need of administrative assistance in policy analysis, development and program evaluation.
Why UTRGV?

  • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
  • Accredited, cutting edge degree program
  • Experienced, dedicated faculty
  • Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
  • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement

Admission Requirements

Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. There is no application fee.

Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to gradapps@utrgv.edu or mailed to:

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The Graduate College
Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

 
*Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

Review and submit all Program Requirements:

  • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester credit hours. If applicant does not meet the minimum undergraduate GPA, but has a GPA range from 2.75 to 2.99, GRE general test with minimum scores of 146 Verbal, 150 Quantitative, and 3.5 Analytical are required for conditional admission. GRE test scores are valid for 5 years.
  • Submission of three letters of recommendation from university/ college professors who can assess the applicants’ abilities to pursue graduate study. In exceptional cases (where an applicant has not attended school for a long period of time, say five years), a non‐ academic referee, such as a captain and above in the US Armed Forces or law enforcement; a federal or state judge; a senior barrister/attorney‐at‐law; or a Senior Federal, State/County/Local Public Service Officer above the rank of a supervisor; or other similar position may be considered.
  • Submission of a 500‐1000 letter of intent detailing why the student is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Criminal Justice.

Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

  • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
  • Certified English translation of educational records.

Additional requirements for international applicants:

  • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
  • Certified English translation of educational records.
  • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
  • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.

UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

  • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

Program Contact

Traditional Seated Program Format:

Program Coordinator: Dr. Marika Dawkins

Phone: (956) 665-3708

Office: Edinburg Campus, ELABN Room 307

E-Mail: marika.dawkins@utrgv.edu

 

Accelerated Online Program Format:

Program Coordinator: Dr. Gordon Crews

Phone: (956) 665-2135

Office: Edinburg Campus, ELABN Room 305

E-Mail: gordon.crews@utrgv.edu

Deadlines

Deadlines:

Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review.  Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.

*Note: This program admits applicants on a year round basis.

Tuition Estimate

Residency Per 3-Credit Hour Course Semester (9-Credit Hours) Total Estimated Cost
Texas Resident $1,481.39 $3,894.17 $17,776.68
Non-Resident/International $2,708.39 $7,575.17 $32,500.68


*We estimate that tuition and fees will closely approximate the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change. Please note that the rates above are estimated for on-campus students and those enrolled in 16-week online programs. The rate is different for Accelerated Online Programs (AOP). Visit the tuition and fees page for detailed information.

Course Requirements

The Master of Science degree in criminal justice requires the successful completion of 30 graduate semester hours, plus a thesis or a research project; or in lieu six (6) additional graduate semester hours of coursework. All graduating students will take an exit exam prior to graduating.
Students are expected to make satisfactory progress in the program. Students must maintain an overall 3.0 grade point average at all times. Any student who receives two Cs in the core will be terminated from the program, while receiving two Cs in the electives or one C in an elective and one C in a core course will result in the student being placed on academic probation.

Required Courses 18-21
CRIJ 6301: Theories of Criminal Justice* 3
CRIJ 6302: Advanced Criminology* 3
CRIJ 6303: Policing in a Democracy 3
CRIJ 6304: Criminal Procedure 3
CRIJ 6305: Correctional Theories and Issues 3
CRIJ 6306: Criminal Justice Policy Analysis 3
CRIJ 6307: Criminal Justice Organizations: Theory and Behavior 3
CRIJ 6308: Criminal Justice Research Methods* 3
CRIJ 6309: Criminal Justice Research Methods and Statistics* 3
*These courses must be included in the 18-21 hours
 
Criminal Justice Electives 9-18
CRIJ 6310: Theories of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice 3
CRIJ 6311: World Criminal Justice Systems and International Crimes 3
CRIJ 6315: Victimology 3
CRIJ 6316: Environmental Crime and Justice 3
CRIJ 6318: Law in Culture and Society 3
CRIJ 6319: Women, Law, and Justice 3
CRIJ 6322: Terrorism 3
CRIJ 6323: Advance Restorative and Community Justice 3
CRIJ 6325: Social Justice and Human Rights 3
CRIJ 6331: Independent Study (Repeated once if new topic) 3
CRIJ 6333: Selected Topics (Repeated once if new topic) 3
 
Other/Outside Electives 0-6
 
Capstone Requirement
Research Project 6
CRIJ 7302: Applied Research Project I 3
CRIJ 7303: Applied Research Project II 3
Exit Survey
 
Thesis 6
CRIJ 7300: Thesis I 3
CRIJ 7301: Thesis II 3
Exit Survey
 
Non-Thesis
Exit Exam
Exit Survey
 
Total graduate hours for degree: 36
 
Course Descriptions

CRIJ 6301: Theories of Criminal Justice              [3‐0]

Historical overview of the philosophies and theories of justice that have impacted the American mind, the Constitution, and criminal law; federal and state criminal justice systems, and the processing of the accused and the convicted leading to correctional placement and punishment; critical examination of the criminal justice system in the context of justice needs and reforms.

CRIJ 6302: Advanced Criminology              [3‐0]

A comprehensive overview of the classical and contemporary theories in criminology; theory construction and testing; the nature of criminological research; the impact of ideology, politics and social structure on criminological thought; extent, volume, distribution, types and trends of crime in America.

CRIJ 6303: Policing in a Democracy              [3‐0]

The democratic foundation of law enforcement in America with focus on issues and challenges confronting federal, state and local police; social resistance to police authority; the course will cover such police issues as legitimacy; lawfulness; role conflict; interagency and international relationships.

CRIJ 6304: Criminal Procedure              [3‐0]

Functions and powers of the courts and court‐ related entities at the federal state and local level; case disposition by plea bargaining and trial; criminal trial and post‐conviction procedures; federal and state constitutional rights and liberties in the criminal context including landmark court decisions; how the US judicial system is impacted by international law and conventions.

CRIJ 6305: Correctional Theories and Issues              [3‐0]

Theories and purposes of correction, punishment, and rehabilitation; seriousness of crime, punishment, and sentencing; issues and challenges confronting the federal, state, and local institutions; making corrections work; planning and reorganizing the correctional system for the 21st century.

CRIJ 6306: Criminal Justice Policy Analysis              [3‐0]

Dynamics and politics of public policymaking and policy analysis, application, evaluation, and improvement in criminal justice; defining criminal justice issues for policy‐making; the policy‐making process; understanding and becoming sensitive to political and sectional interests, and justice needs; examination of current issues in criminal justice, with a focus on policy‐making and application.

CRIJ 6307: Criminal Justice Organizations: Theory and Behavior              [3‐0]

Organizational theories that apply to the management of criminal justice organizations; current management practices in law enforcement agencies, courts and correctional institutions; introducing innovations in criminal justice organizations by creating appropriate management and leadership styles, and organizational cultures.

CRIJ 6308: Criminal Justice Research Methods              [3‐0]

Basic qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques; research ethics; identifying variables; research design, structuring criminal justice inquiry; participant observation/ethnography; overview of basic statistics; introduction to SPSS; writing the research paper. Should be taken in sequence, before CRIJ 6309.

CRIJ 6309: Criminal Justice Research

Methods and Statistics             [3‐0]

Advanced criminal justice research and statistics; probability sampling and hypothesis testing; parametric and non‐parametric statistical techniques; multivariate statistics; experiment and quasi‐experiment; survey research; survey research project and paper involving data collections, entry, and analysis using SPSS; use of data from documentary and historical records; evaluative and predictive research.

Prerequisite: CRIJ 6308.

CRIJ 6310: Theories of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice              [3‐0]

The incidence, volume, extent, distribution, types, trends in juvenile crime; theories that explain individual and group forms of juvenile delinquency as they relate to individual, family, school, community, and societal causes; an overview of juvenile cases and matters; victimization of juveniles and protective services available for them; correctional institutions, punishment, and rehabilitation programs for juveniles; critical evaluation of current practices in juvenile corrections; needed changes in the juvenile correctional system to rehabilitate offenders and help prevent juvenile delinquency.

CRIJ 6311: World Criminal Justice Systems and International Crimes              [3‐0]

Historical evolution of the major world legal systems; their social foundations and philosophies; overview of the four major legal systems of the world and their hybrids; evolving convergences and divergences in the legal systems; social change and emerging justice views; international crimes including terrorism, organized crime; genocide; civil wars and refugees; the global drug problems, smuggling; human trafficking and human rights issues; the Interpol, Europol; the UNO, international courts – the World Court and other International Courts; Amnesty International and other human rights watchdog groups, NGO’s.

CRIJ 6315: Victimology              [3‐0]

Patterns of crime and victimization, especially as they relate to homicide, assault, rape, robbery, and hate crimes. Crime and victimization in domestic, known, and stranger contexts. Distribution of crime and victimization in terms of demographic characteristics (age, gender, class, and ethnicity), and geographical areas (national, regional, city, and other community contexts). Offender‐victim interaction; theories of victimization; prevention of victimization.

CRIJ 6316: Environmental Crime and Justice              [3‐0]

Examines environmental problems, crimes, and justice; bodily and property harms and crimes from local, regional, and global environmental problems; point source and non‐point source pollution; structural violence; environmental victimology; governmental and non‐ governmental responses; environmental laws and regulations; environmental justice and racism, at risk populations (poor, minorities, women, working men); anti‐environmental backlash to regulations and laws.

CRIJ 6318: Law in Culture and Society              [3‐0]

Differing conceptions of law and justice; law as a cultural institution reflecting the cultural values and ideals of society; law as an instrument of social change; law as an oppressive and liberating instrument; the cultural foundations of law and their operation in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, capitalistic, socialistic, and simple, emerging and modern societies; examination of how laws function in societies and their consequence for conformity and violation.

CRIJ 6319: Women, Law, and Justice [3‐0]

An overview of laws of subordination and liberation in American history; patriarchy and gender inequality; legal and social barriers to justice and equality of women; overcoming gender inequalities through changes in law, social attitudes, and incorporation of males to women’s progress; enabling males and females to respect each other by creating a nonviolent ethos.

CRIJ 6322: Terrorism              [3‐0]

Causes and forms of terrorism at the domestic and international levels; political, economic, religious, social and national differences among people and their implications for terrorism; a review of major terrorist incidents and groups; their underpinning means and what can be done to contain terrorism.

CRIJ 6323: Advanced Restorative and Community Justice  [3‐0]

Provide an advanced explanation of principals and ideas of restorative and community justice. Topics may include rebuilding communities and creating community sentiments of doing justice in the community; and peace making; restorative and community justice efforts to reduce crime.

CRIJ 6325: Social Justice and Human Rights              [3‐0]

An inquiry into the “criminal justice” and “social justice” nexus; creating a “good” and “just” society reducing crime and promoting justice, and social well‐being; understanding of crime and justice issues in the context of political, economic, socio‐cultural, and legal changes for creating a good and just society to guide social action to control crime and promote justice.

CRIJ 6331: Independent Study              [3‐0]

Supervised intensive readings under the supervision of a graduate faculty member in the faculty members’ specialty and/or areas of interest related to the student’s program. Students may opt under this to study in‐depth theoretical/empirical readings in a substantive area not normally covered in standard courses. Writing intensive assessment of the central issues and emerging trends in criminal justice provides an opportunity for students to pursue research and/or participate with graduate faculty in research for potential publication and presentation at professional conferences. May be repeated once if new topic.

CRIJ 6333: Selected Topics              [3‐0]

Under the supervision of graduate faculty, the student will pursue a study of contemporary issues in crime and criminal justice, including, but not limited to the area(s) of faculty specialization. May be repeated twice if new topic.

CRIJ 7300: Master’s Thesis I              [3‐0]

The student is required to begin an individual research project under the direction and supervision of a graduate thesis committee.

Prerequisite: Approval of Graduate Program Director.

CRIJ 7301: Master’s Thesis II              [3‐0]

The student is required to complete and publicly defend the thesis under the direction and supervision of a graduate thesis committee. Passing or failing will be by a majority of the thesis committee members examining the candidate.

Prerequisite: Approval of Graduate Program Director. Consult with the UTRGV Graduate Office and/or a Catalogue for defense deadlines and other pertinent information.

CRIJ 7302: Applied Master’s Research Project I              [3‐0]

The student is required to begin an individual research project under the direction and supervision of a graduate AMRP committee.

Prerequisite: Approval of Graduate Program Director.

CRIJ 7303: Applied Master’s Research Project II              [3‐0]

The student is required to complete and publicly defend the project under the direction and supervision of a graduate AMRP committee. Passing or failing will be by a majority of the AMRP committee members examining the candidate.

Prerequisite: Approval of Graduate Program Director. Consult with the UTRGV Graduate Office and or Catalogue for AMRP defense deadlines and other pertinent information.

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