Criminal Justice Master of science degree

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In this dynamic criminal justice master's degree, you'll develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills as you engage in applied research that contributes to the creation and dissemination of criminal justice knowledge and policy analysis.


100%

Outcome Rate of RIT Graduates


Overview

RIT’s criminal justice master’s degree fosters the creation of new knowledge through active research in agencies and the community. You will learn and apply problem-solving skills rooted in areas of individual interest with an emphasis on applied research. The degree enables graduates to enter successful careers in criminal justice agencies, policy analysis, or pursue further education in a criminal justice doctoral program.

The MS degree in criminal justice emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to urban studies with a focus on public safety. The program stresses training in policy analysis and practice, particularly as it is relevant to community and urban issues.

The program builds on a foundation of locally relevant policy research by providing you with the critical skills to carry out such work and the experience to assure success in employment or in pursuit of further graduate studies. The program provides you with a strong foundation in criminological, criminal justice theory, and social scientific research skills, enabling you to have a successful career in the policy analysis arena or to be prepared to pursue advanced study beyond the master's degree.

Recent graduates have entered careers in prosecutorial investigation, criminal justice program evaluation, and crime analysis. Many have also pursued doctoral degrees.

Students applying to the program should have a strong undergraduate foundation in criminology and research methods. Students that do not possess these skills may be required to complete additional undergraduate course work (e.g., Criminology, Theories of Crime, and Research Methods) or demonstrate equivalent skills for completion of the degree.

Typical Job Titles

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Curriculum for Criminal Justice MS

Criminal Justice (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CRIM-700
Pro-Seminar In Criminal Justice Theory
In this pro-seminar, students examine the theoretical foundation of criminal justice. This course integrates studies of criminal justice systems, enforcement organizations, judicial decision-making, courtroom communities and correctional systems by focusing on the study of governmental social control premised on punishment or blameworthiness. It examines the underlying causes and patterns of official responses to behavior that may be labeled criminal, and the structures, policies, and practices of criminal justice. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Fall).
3
CRIM-701
Statistics
The purpose of this course is to provide students with training in quantitative analysis of social science data. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of techniques, the ability to recognize the appropriate selection of techniques, and the ability to use those statistical measures and interpret their results. Students will gain experience with inferential statistics through the level of commonly used multivariate analyses. The prerequisite for this course will be a strong undergraduate foundation in statistical analysis. With the consent of their adviser and the graduate coordinator, qualified students may substitute more specialized statistics courses or courses in such areas as geographical information systems (GIS). (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Fall).
3
CRIM-702
Pro-Seminar in Research Methods
This seminar will focus on the principles and techniques of research with a special focus on evaluation research. The course will cover research conceptualization and design, development of appropriate measures, collection and analysis of data using a wide range of methods. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the research process as well as the policy implications and consequences of research and evaluation. Students will also begin to develop a thesis research proposal. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Fall).
3
CRIM-703
Advanced Criminology
This course will provide students with a detailed understanding of the theories that have guided criminological research and policy. Subject matter will cover the major influences in criminology: the classical school, the Chicago School, strain theories, socialization, and learning theories, and conflict theories, among others. The prerequisite for this course will be a strong undergraduate foundation in theories of crime and criminality. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Spring).
3
CRIM-704
Crime, Justice and Community
This course provides an overview of the role of communities in crime and criminal justice. The course begins by preparing a foundation in community theory. Students will gain an understanding of the critical dimensions and attributes which define community. The course will emphasize how these critical community dimensions are related to both crime and criminal justice. The course will involve an examination of community-based theory and research, with a special emphasis on the criminology of place and how crime and justice patterns are embedded in particular social structures and cultures. We will discuss the extent to which structural characteristics (e.g., poverty, residential mobility, etc.) and social processes (e.g., social capital, collective efficacy, etc.) are related to crime and disorder. The course will also examine the potential that exists within criminal justice to intervene in communities to reduce crime and disorder and build community in the process. Central to this will be a discussion of co-production (i.e., the intersection between formal and informal social control). (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Spring).
3
CRIM-705
Interventions and Change in Criminal Justice
This course will focus on theory and research regarding the effectiveness of broad anti-crime strategies and specific intervention efforts at the local, state, national and international level. Theoretical explanations of crime and ideological orientations towards crime will be linked with the crime control and prevention strategies associated with those perspectives. Each strategy of crime control/prevention (including deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and community crime prevention) will be assessed in terms of research findings on its effectiveness. Detailed attention will be given to prevention/control strategies aimed at both juvenile and adult offenders. Programs will also be examined in the broader context of the ideology and philosophy of justice. Students will become familiar with the state of the art in crime and justice related interventions by studying the theory, practice and evaluation of contemporary crime and justice interventions. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Spring).
3
 
Electives
6
Second Year
CRIM-800
Thesis in Criminal Justice
The master's thesis in criminal justice involves independent research on an approved topic judged by a faculty committee and under the supervision of one faculty member. The thesis requires students to develop, design and complete an original research project; orally defend the thesis before the thesis committee and the public; and submit a bound copy to the library. Students will meet weekly with their thesis chair. (Prerequisites: CRIM-700 and CRIM-701 and CRIM-702 and CRIM-703 and CRIM-704 and CRIM-705 or equivalent courses.) Thesis (Fall, Spring, Summer).
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

Criminal Justice (project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CRIM-700
Pro-Seminar In Criminal Justice Theory
In this pro-seminar, students examine the theoretical foundation of criminal justice. This course integrates studies of criminal justice systems, enforcement organizations, judicial decision-making, courtroom communities and correctional systems by focusing on the study of governmental social control premised on punishment or blameworthiness. It examines the underlying causes and patterns of official responses to behavior that may be labeled criminal, and the structures, policies, and practices of criminal justice. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Fall).
3
CRIM-701
Statistics
The purpose of this course is to provide students with training in quantitative analysis of social science data. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of techniques, the ability to recognize the appropriate selection of techniques, and the ability to use those statistical measures and interpret their results. Students will gain experience with inferential statistics through the level of commonly used multivariate analyses. The prerequisite for this course will be a strong undergraduate foundation in statistical analysis. With the consent of their adviser and the graduate coordinator, qualified students may substitute more specialized statistics courses or courses in such areas as geographical information systems (GIS). (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Fall).
3
CRIM-702
Pro-Seminar in Research Methods
This seminar will focus on the principles and techniques of research with a special focus on evaluation research. The course will cover research conceptualization and design, development of appropriate measures, collection and analysis of data using a wide range of methods. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the research process as well as the policy implications and consequences of research and evaluation. Students will also begin to develop a thesis research proposal. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Fall).
3
CRIM-703
Advanced Criminology
This course will provide students with a detailed understanding of the theories that have guided criminological research and policy. Subject matter will cover the major influences in criminology: the classical school, the Chicago School, strain theories, socialization, and learning theories, and conflict theories, among others. The prerequisite for this course will be a strong undergraduate foundation in theories of crime and criminality. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Spring).
3
CRIM-704
Crime, Justice, and Community
This course provides an overview of the role of communities in crime and criminal justice. The course begins by preparing a foundation in community theory. Students will gain an understanding of the critical dimensions and attributes which define community. The course will emphasize how these critical community dimensions are related to both crime and criminal justice. The course will involve an examination of community-based theory and research, with a special emphasis on the criminology of place and how crime and justice patterns are embedded in particular social structures and cultures. We will discuss the extent to which structural characteristics (e.g., poverty, residential mobility, etc.) and social processes (e.g., social capital, collective efficacy, etc.) are related to crime and disorder. The course will also examine the potential that exists within criminal justice to intervene in communities to reduce crime and disorder and build community in the process. Central to this will be a discussion of co-production (i.e., the intersection between formal and informal social control). (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Spring).
3
CRIM-705
Interventions and Change in Criminal Justice
This course will focus on theory and research regarding the effectiveness of broad anti-crime strategies and specific intervention efforts at the local, state, national and international level. Theoretical explanations of crime and ideological orientations towards crime will be linked with the crime control and prevention strategies associated with those perspectives. Each strategy of crime control/prevention (including deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and community crime prevention) will be assessed in terms of research findings on its effectiveness. Detailed attention will be given to prevention/control strategies aimed at both juvenile and adult offenders. Programs will also be examined in the broader context of the ideology and philosophy of justice. Students will become familiar with the state of the art in crime and justice related interventions by studying the theory, practice and evaluation of contemporary crime and justice interventions. (CRIM-MS) Seminar (Spring).
3
 
Electives
6
Second Year
CRIM-775
Criminal Justice Capstone
The criminal justice capstone involves guided research on a topic approved by the instructor. The capstone requires students to develop, design and complete an original research project. Satisfactory completion involves the execution of a substantial research paper and includes a public oral presentation. Project 3 (Fall, Spring).
3
 
Elective
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

Criminal Justice Graduate Electives

CRIM-660
Project Based Learning in Criminal Justice
This course engages students in research that builds on problem identification and analysis in criminal justice. Topics may include exploration of community issues and views on justice, health and medical approaches to crime problems, practitioner orientations and practices relative to specific issues in criminal justice, and applications of new techniques, such as data science, to contemporary problems. Students will apply theoretical frameworks towards understanding the scope and nature of the problem in the form of working papers. The class culminates in a final project which will involve analysis and evaluation research components addressing the underlying problem/issue/program in consultation with the instructor. (Restricted to students in CRIM-BS/MS or CRIM-MS programs.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
CRIM-706
Current Issues in CJ
This course provides an examination of current issues in criminal justice with an emphasis on the application of evaluation, management, theory and ethics to analysis of criminal justice policy, The goal is to engage students in discussion of current issues with their peers and with experts in the field. (CRIM-MS) Seminar 3 (Fall).
CRIM-711
Directed Readings in Criminal Justice
This course will be tailored to individual students’ research interests as they explore areas of inquiry that may become topics for their thesis research. An emphasis will be placed on building a theoretically informed research question via existing literature and research in criminal justice and other disciplines (economics, psychology, sociology, and so on). Parallel to that effort, students will work to identify locally relevant research questions, potential research designs, and possible projects and/or agencies with whom which to conduct this research. (CRIM-MS) Seminar 3 (Fall).
CRIM-712
Crime And Media
This course is designed to analyze and critique the mainstream media’s coverage of criminal justice issues, and to study how that coverage impacts society at large. The course will scrutinize, compare and contrast crime coverage of different eras, and will also discuss how that coverage is changing today with around-the-clock media outlets and ubiquitous social media. Among the issues studied will be the impact of crime coverage on public policy; the impact of televised trials; the editorial decisions made daily in newsrooms across America about the placement and priority of crime news; the trademarks that can catapult a crime story into local, regional or even national prominence; and the occasional alliances between law enforcement and media. (CRIM-MS) Seminar 3 (Biannual).

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in criminal justice, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete an online graduate application. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for information on application deadlines, entry terms, and more.
  • Submit copies of official transcript(s) (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, including any transfer credit earned.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or US equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Recommended minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required. Refer to Application Instructions and Requirements for additional information.
  • Not all programs require the submission of scores from entrance exams (GMAT or GRE). Please refer to the Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements page for more information.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives. Refer to Application Instructions and Requirements for additional information.
  • Have completed a statistics course (students may be required to take a data analysis or a statistics course if not taken previously).
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. Students below the minimum requirement may be considered for conditional admission. Refer to Graduate Admission Deadlines and Requirements for additional information on English requirements. International applicants may be considered for an English test requirement waiver. Refer to Additional Requirements for International Applicants to review waiver eligibility.

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