Criminal Justice Master of science degree

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Overview

RIT’s criminal justice master’s degree fosters the creation of new knowledge through active research in agencies and the community. Students 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 students 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 students with a strong foundation in criminological, criminal justice theory, and social scientific research skills, thus enabling graduates to have successful careers 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.

Plan of study

A minimum of 30 semester credit hours is required for completion of the MS in criminal justice.

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 that they have equivalent skills for completion of the degree.

Industries


  • Legal and Law Enforcement

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Defense

  • Commercial Banking and Credit

  • Military

  • Politics

Typical Job Titles

Police Officer Correction Officer and Counselor
Probation Officer US Postal Inspector
Crime Analyst US Marshal
Border Patrol Officer Legal Assistant

Latest News

  • April 11, 2019

    Head-and-shoulders view of three male faculty members.

    RIT honors three as inaugural class of Distinguished Faculty

    RIT announced John Klofas, Bruce Smith and Josh Owen as its first class of Distinguished Faculty, leaders who have provided insights and solutions to today’s criminal justice issues, produced groundbreaking work in nanolithography and developed exciting industrial design innovations.

  • October 11, 2018

    Yellow "Crime Scene Do Not Cross" police tape stretching across black pavement.

    RIT research aims to cut Rochester gun violence

    With a grant from the New York State Health Foundation, RIT’s Center for Public Safety Initiatives will form a program to determine whether a victim of street crime was involved in a dispute, and whether that dispute could escalate with gun violence.

Curriculum

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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
CRIM-700
Professional 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.
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).
3
CRIM-702
Professional 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.
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.
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).
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.
3
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.
6
 
Electives
6
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

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

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
CRIM-700
Professional 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.
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).
3
CRIM-702
Professional 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.
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.
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).
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.
3
CRIM-775
Capstone in Criminal Justice
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.
3
 
Electives
9
Total Semester Credit Hours
30

Admission Requirements

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

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college. 
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit two writing samples, one of which is a personal statement.
  • Have completed a statistics course (students may be required to take a data analysis or a statistics course if not taken previously).
  • Submit two letters of recommendation. Letters should be from faculty members familiar with the applicant’s academic work.
  • Complete a personal interview.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 88 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

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