RIT Launches Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

One of the first to focus on locally based criminal policy analysis

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Jennifer Moon

RIT Professor John Klofas, second from right, and Rochester police chief David Moore, third from right, listen to a presentation during a meeting on city public safety initiatives held last year. Klofas’ collaboration with the city will be a component of research being conducted through RIT’s new Master’s Degree in criminal justice.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s new Master of Science degree in criminal justice provides research and education programs that will assist local communities in addressing issues related to gang activity, domestic violence, crime analysis and evaluation of public safety initiatives.

The degree program is one of the first to target local crime policy issues facing towns and municipalities all around the country. Students in the program will be required to conduct evaluation and analysis projects with local agencies while also taking a series of community based courses focusing on crime’s impact on economic development, community policing, youth intervention and crime prevention programming.

“Most criminal justice graduate degrees include solid research work but entail little interaction with local agencies and community organizations that are conducting criminal justice policy on the ground,” notes John Klofas, professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at RIT.

“By focusing on real-world problems in consultation with local actors, and with a focus on implementation, our students will be able to impact policy through their research and be more prepared to work in the field upon graduation.”

The graduate program builds on the department’s three decades of research and education work that has included significant partnerships with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Rochester City Police Department and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. Currently, Klofas directs the Center for Public Safety, a research collaboration with the City of Rochester that utilizes computer-based evaluation and analysis techniques to assess and improve the city’s current public safety and crime prevention initiatives.

“The Department of Criminal Justice has a long history of community-based research expertise and through our new graduate program we hope to offer additional support to criminal justice agencies throughout the nation while also helping to train our next generation of law enforcement managers, crime analysts and policy makers,” Klofas adds.

The master’s degree program was recently approved by the state of New York and will admit its first class of students this fall. For additional information about the program visit http://www.rit.edu/cla/criminaljustice/.