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Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ)


MCJ 6005 - Innovative Leadership in the 21st Century - 3 credits

This course examines current methods of leadership and administration in criminal justice organizations with a focus on problem-solving and innovation. The goals of criminal justice organizations are examined from historical, theoretical and practical perspectives with an emphasis on effective models of leadership and reflective practice Through introspection, students will explore their individual approaches to interpersonal communication, leadership and decision making. Through case studies, students will cover various topics including: leadership development, problem-oriented policy and practice, the functions of a public service organization, methods for decision making, and innovation in strategy, and vision and planning.


MCJ 6010 - Innovative Justice Administration - 3 credits

Recognizing that leaders and administrators of criminal justice agencies must be cognizant of larger societal issues, this course examines contemporary public administration and law issues within the macro-political environment in which justice administrators must lead their organizations. The course will examine the most promising, unique and innovative procedures in the administration of justice, centering on both evidence-based analysis, and problem solving around traditionally intractable issues.


MCJ 6015 - Methods of Inquiry in Criminal Justice - 3 credits

This course examines how to conduct criminal justice research and how to be better consumers of criminal justice research and other types of information relative to the needs of agencies. The relationship between theory, research, problem solving, and policy is examined, leading students to develop an understanding of the differences between quantitative and qualitative research while exploring various methodological designs. Problems and errors associated with sampling, analysis of data, interpretation of results, and research limitations are presented. Important issues in criminal justice research are discussed including ethics, confidentiality, and vulnerable populations.


MCJ 6020 - Criminology: Theory and Application - 3 credits

Theories of criminology are examined from historical, empirical, and policy perspectives. Using the major criminological theories which explore crime and its’ etiology, students will explore and deconstruct the strengths and weaknesses of both historical and modern theories, with special attention to the role of theory in policy-making and problem solving. Individual, structural, and social process theories are examined, with special attention to risk and protective factors in inhibiting or promoting crime.


MCJ 6025 - Criminal Justice Data Analysis - 3 credits

This course provides students with an understanding of how criminal justice research is conducted and how one systematically evaluates quantitative research reported in the criminal justice literature. Traditional data analysis, including the topical areas of measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability, sampling distributions, and univariate and multivariate techniques for hypothesis testing are examined. Students learn how to select appropriate statistical tests and how to properly interpret results. Utilizing analysis software such as SPSS or MS Excel, students perform analysis on a variety of criminal justice data.


MCJ 6040 - Capstone Project I: Foundation - 3 credits

This course will serve as the entrance to the capstone group project. Students will form groups and work with the program’s project coordinator to identify a department, agency, program, or organization to partner with. The partnership will lead to a research proposal that focuses on innovative problem solving in a contemporary issue in criminal justice. In class, groups will be expected to develop an extensive and appropriate literature review, construct a research proposal, and submit materials to the Institutional Review Board. Students will be graded on their individual contributions.


MCJ 6045 - Capstone Project II: Implementation - 3 credits

In this course, students will begin to implement the research plan developed in MCJ 6040. Groups will continue to work with the department, agency, program, or organization partnership formed in the previous course as they carry out their research plan and collect data. Students will be graded on their individual contributions. Students selecting the thesis or internship option are not required to take this course.


MCJ 6080 - Elective: Special Topics, Research Writing Intensive - 3 credits

This course will present a “deep dive” on a relevant contemporary criminal justice topic with a special focus on strengthening research writing. Working through the specific topic, students will learn to write a comprehensive literature review, using scholarly sources. There will be a special focus on developing information literacy and organizing extant research materials in writing. Connections to the cohort’s collaborative project may be prioritized in the selection of topics.


MCJ 6090 - MCJ Graduate Internship - 3 credits

Graduate students with no previous work experience in a criminal justice setting may request a placement in a criminal justice or community service setting and supervision by a graduate faculty member. Approval of MACJ Director is required.


MCJ 6350 - Trauma-Informed Work and Restoration in the Justice System - 3 credits

This course will take a trauma-informed approach to work within the criminal justice field, focusing on the potential for restorative processes and outcomes. This work includes those who come into contact with the justice system (the overlapping groups of people who create harm and those who experience it), as well as professionals who work within the justice system. This course will explore the impact of interpersonal and structural trauma in the justice system, exploring trauma-informed care through a multi-disciplinary lens. Students will examine the intersections between trauma and mental illness. Importantly, this course will centralize restorative justice principles as a method of addressing harms created through trauma. There will be a particular focus on how the justice system can facilitate programming to promote healing and resiliency both in direct services and through policy considerations. Empirical research on programming will be discussed.


MCJ 7000 - Capstone Project III: Culmination - 4 credits

Serving as a final capstone assessment instrument, students will complete the research plan developed in MCJ 6040 and MCJ 6045. Specifically, the data collected in the previous course will be analyzed to reach a conclusion and develop comprehensive, innovative, ethical, and evidence-based recommendations. Each group will create a white paper that will be collected into a cohort-wide report. In addition, groups will present their findings during a poster session that includes students, faculty, stakeholders, and community members. Students will be graded on their individual contributions. Students approved for the thesis option are not required to complete MCJ 7000.


MCJ 7100 - Independent Study - 1 to 3 credits

Allows students to pursue particular research interest that is not normally a part of the MCJ curriculum or a part of the Capstone Seminar I or II. Working individually with a graduate faculty mentor, MCJ 7100 could involve either directed reading or independent research. Approval of MACJ Director required.


MCJ 7500 - Master’s Thesis I: Thesis Foundation and Prospectus - 3 credits

In this first of two sequential courses, the thesis student will integrate knowledge and understanding developed in the core curriculum to prepare a thorough and analytic research prospectus on an appropriate thesis project topic. The prospectus will include a literature review, a compilation of resources and databases to be used in the research, a detailed research methodology, and an appropriate bibliography. The research project will be completed in Master’s Thesis II. Approval of MACJ Director is required.


MCJ 7600 - Master’s Thesis II: Thesis and Defense - 4 credits

The student will complete the thesis project begun in Master’s Thesis I by initiating the individual research project, gathering data, sorting and identifying key variables, and integrating their findings within the context of the criminal justice theory and literature. The student critically analyzes the data and draws summary conclusions, prepares a written thesis and publicly defends their findings in an open forum. After successfully defending the thesis, the written thesis is bound and catalogued in the Levin Library for public use. Successful completion of MCJ 7500 and the approval of MACJ Director are required.