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Navigated to Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ) Grad Program.



The mission of the Curry College Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ) program is to provide students with the intellectual and pragmatic skills needed to become effective leaders, reflective practitioners, and ethical administrators of criminal justice agencies.

The MACJ program and curriculum outcomes are designed to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills criminal justice practitioners need to effectively address contemporary societal problems with innovative, ethical, and evidenced-based solutions.

The program is geared toward practitioners in law enforcement, the courts, corrections, and other criminal justice organizations seeking advancement to leadership positions, as well as college graduates eager to pursue or advance a career in the criminal justice field. The MACJ program provides students with the necessary skills to be effective and innovative criminal justice leaders and with the abilities to collaborate with communities, criminal justice agencies, and other organizations to address complex criminal justice problems.

Program Rationale

As the 21st century unfolds, the criminal justice community has increasingly recognized the importance of pursuing formal higher education to complement the training provided by the professional academies. By drawing upon advanced education to support the development of a more sophisticated set of analytical and problem solving skills the educated criminal justice practitioner is better prepared to address the inherent challenges of leading criminal justice agencies working with increasingly diverse communities. The development of problem-solving skills requires an educational experience that emphasizes reflective, creative, and critical thinking.

In the criminal justice field, effective leaders must balance not only efficiency and effectiveness but they also deal with a complex social world recognizing important social values such as equality and justice. Curry’s MACJ program recognizes these real world challenges and prepares leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to develop, implement, and evaluate effective solutions that are also just, sustainable, and progressive. Our program emphasizes evidenced-based applications intended to build and strengthen cultures of integrity within criminal justice organizations and the larger communities where they are nested— values in action.

Four Cornerstones

Graduates of the Curry College Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program develop applied skills and gain an in-depth understanding in the four program cornerstones: Public Administration, Ethical Leadership, Problem-solving, and Innovation.

  • Public Administration: Students will define and integrate theoretical and practical issues related to organizational development and behavior and build management skills in the areas of communication, collaboration supervision, planning, and evaluation

  • Ethical Leadership: Students will develop the skills needed to be an ethical leader in a criminal justice organization, including personal assessment, reflective practice and critical thinking, conflict resolution, and understanding the community dynamics that are affected by the solutions implemented by the criminal justice system. Ethical leadership is aimed towards what works for the common good—framing justice with a social lens

  • Problem-solving: Students will develop the ability to address problems facing criminal justice organizations though the integration of criminological and social theory with research and evidence-based analysis to assess how data and other types of information can be translated into effective and ethical policies and programs

  • Innovation: Students will develop the ability to think critically and creatively using evidence-based analysis to address problems through novel and ethical solutions that can be evaluated through different frames of reference. In today’s dynamic world of criminal justice, technology plays an increasingly important role in developing, implementing, and evaluating innovative solutions

Grades and Academic Standing

The minimum passing grade in each course is a B-. A grade of C+ or lower in any course is cause for academic review. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 to remain in good academic standing. Academic review will take place if the GPA falls below a 3.0. Students must also maintain a satisfactory rate of progress measured by cumulative attempted credits. A student is making satisfactory progress when at least 67% of attempted credits have been completed with a passing grade. The complete Graduate Academic Standing policy can be found in the Graduate Studies Policies section of this Catalog.

Enrollment and Application for Admission

The cohort program has rolling admissions. Prospective students should submit their application by August 1 to enroll in September. The specific admissions requirements for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice are outlined on the Graduate Programs website. Application forms for the program are available at both campus locations or may be downloaded from the Graduate Programs website at:

Cohort Enrollment Policy

Curry College’s MACJ is a cohort program with classes held one evening during the week. The academic year is comprised of three semesters made up of two, 8-week terms each semester.

Students enroll in two consecutive 8-week courses each semester– Fall Semester (Term I and Term II); Spring Semester (Term III and Term IV); and Summer Semester (Term I and Term II). Students entering the Curry MACJ commit to continuous enrollment in a “cohort” format. Program pedagogy is designed for optimal learning through the cohort experience. Therefore, once enrolled changing cohorts is not an option, except for extraordinary reasons. Extraordinary reasons, for example, are documented health or family emergencies. Students will not be allowed to delay their program or shift cohorts for issues such as management of their reimbursement funds or short-term work related pressures. Students who request to delay continuous enrollment in their cohort must make a formal request in writing to the Director of the MACJ Program. The request must include documentation of the ‘extraordinary’ reason for changing the cohort sequence. The Director and/or the Assistant Vice President may request further information. Decisions are made by the Director of the MACJ Program, with final approval or rejection by the Assistant Vice President of Continuing and Graduate Studies. All decisions are final.

Graduate Student Code of Conduct:

The MACJ program is committed to promoting ethical standards within the field of criminal justice, and as such, it holds the students to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. The MACJ program is grounded in four cornerstones: Ethical Leadership, Innovation, Problem Solving, and Public Administration. The Academic Honesty statement is detailed in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of this Catalog and the MACJ Student Handbook, and due process for potential violations is detailed in that section. In addition, for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct, including any disruptive, intimidating, or hostile behavior in the learning environment toward students or faculty, a team shall be convened to investigate such allegations. This team shall include the Co- Director(s), at least one MACJ-involved faculty and the Assistant Vice President of Continuing Education and Graduate Studies (or his/her designee). This team reserves the right to place students on academic probation or to administratively dismiss any student who is found in violation of the Code of Conduct.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is required at all classes. Due to the intensity of the eight-week schedule, if you have more than one absence of an on-campus class meeting, you may be asked to withdraw from the course.

The Curriculum

The accelerated, 31-credit Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program consists of ten courses and may be completed in less than two years. The curriculum sequence begins by developing a foundation of knowledge in the four program cornerstones: public administration, ethical leadership, problem-solving, and innovation.

Students complete the entire program over ten, eight-week terms beginning with the course, Leadership in the 21st Century, followed by Social Policy and the Administration of Justice, Criminology: Theory and Application, Methods of Inquiry in Criminal Justice, and Criminal Justice Data Analysis. These five MACJ courses provide the intellectual and practical foundation necessary to complete the subsequent coursework. The MACJ program coursework culminates in a Capstone course, Innovation in the Administration of Justice, which requires students to complete a substantive group project addressing a contemporary criminal justice problem through the application of an innovative, applied research and problem-solving approach.

Thesis Option

Students interested in pursuing an advanced graduate degree (Ph.D. or C.A.G.S.) beyond graduation will have the option of completing two independent courses over two traditional semesters. The student develops an in-depth concept paper for review and approval by the MACJ Director and a professor with expertise in the selected topic. The thesis option is contingent on high academic performance in the program, the viability of the thesis proposal, and the ability to complete the thesis over two sequential semesters. Students work closely with a professor who serves as a mentor throughout the duration of the thesis. Thesis students complete all courses except MCJ 6045 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice: Analysis and Application (or MCJ 6040, depending upon scheduling and timing of the student thesis and group project) and MCJ 7000 Innovation in the Administration of Justice, which are replaced by MCJ 7500 Master’s Thesis I: Thesis Foundation and Prospectus (3 credits) and MCJ 7600 Master’s Thesis II: Thesis and Defense (4 credits). Specific scheduling will be worked out with the mentor professor and the MACJ Director (see course descriptions in the following section).

Internship Option

For students seeking career entry into a criminal justice agency, MCJ 6090: MCJ Graduate Internship (3 credits) is available as an elective course in place of MCJ 6040: Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice or MCJ 6045: Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice: Analysis and Application, or MCJ 6080, Elective, Special Topics, Research Writing Intensive, with the approval of the MACJ Director.

Program Curriculum (31 credits)


MCJ 6005 Innovative Leadership in the 21st Century

MCJ 6010 Innovative Social Policy and the Administration of Justice


MCJ 6020 Criminology: Theory and Applications

MCJ 6080 Research Writing Intensive


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

MCJ 6015 Methods of Inquiry in Criminal Justice


MCJ 6025 Criminal Justice Data Analysis

MCJ 6040 Capstone Project I: Foundation


MCJ 6045 Capstone Project II: Implementation

MCJ 7000 Capstone Project III: Culmination