2022-2023 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
The 36-credit hour Master of Science degree in criminal justice at Grand Valley State University is designed to provide graduate students with the necessary education and practical skills to become natural leaders and academicians in the field. The programs mission is to develop highly ethical and capable leaders, specialists, and scholars, with an advanced and practical knowledge in criminology and criminal justice to prepare them for future work in their careers, classrooms, and/or communities. Our program also seeks to create a dynamic community of criminal justice professionals and scholars who will work in concert to critique, challenge, and advance the study and practice of criminal justice. Our faculty believe that professional education is best reinforced by concrete application of theoretical concepts. Graduate courses will provide students the opportunity to apply to their agencies or professional endeavors the skills, concepts, and knowledge acquired in the program. The result of this applied process is a bridge between theory and practice and between the classroom and the professional field.
The criminal justice curriculum encompasses applied concepts of ethics, political and social justice, historical analysis of institutions and policy, leadership and management, and theories and research. The curriculum also prepares students who plan to apply to a doctoral program with appropriate theoretical, research, analytical, and critical interpretation skills.
To develop highly ethical and capable leaders, specialists, and scholars, with an advanced and practical knowledge in criminology and criminal justice to prepare them for future work in their careers, classrooms, and/or communities.
To apply for the Master of Science degree in criminal justice, please note the following requirements:
- Undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale calculated from the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
- If applying for student admission into the SCJ undergraduate/graduate combined degree program, an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.25 on a 4.0 scale calculated from the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
- Three letters of recommendation (at least two from current or former professors).
- A personal statement/essay detailing academic preparation, background experiences and professional, educational, and career goals for entry into a master's program in criminal justice, and any special topic areas that you would like to pursue at the master's level.
- The Graduate Committee reserves the right to require additional information it deems appropriate, including GRE test scores and writing samples. The committee may also require applicants to appear for an oral interview. The decisions of the Graduate Committee are final.
- Students who have not earned a degree in criminal justice or criminology may be required to take undergraduate criminal justice courses at the discretion of the MCJ graduate program director. Approved courses such as introduction to criminal justice, criminology, research methods, and statistics are highly recommended.
- Applications for fall admission should be received by May first; winter admission applications should be received by November first.
Up to 12 hours of transfer credit may be applied to the degree program. Such credit must meet the requirements specified in the Transfer of Credit section of this catalog, be recommended as applicable to the degree program by a graduate faculty advisor, and be approved for transfer application by the MCJ graduate program director.
The program is offered in the DeVos Center, Pew Grand Rapids Campus, located in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.
Requirements for the M.S. in Criminal Justice
Students must complete a minimum of 36 graduate credit hours:
- 18 credit hours of core courses
- 12-15 credit hours of elective courses (12 credit hours if completing a thesis; 15 credit hours if completing the MCJ Capstone course)
- Three to six hours of culminating experience.
Core of required courses consists of 18 credit hours as follows:
- CJ 604 - Criminal Justice Policy and Program Evaluation (3 credits)
- CJ 606 - Research Methodology and Data Analysis (3 credits)
- CJ 607 - Criminology (3 credits)
- CJ 609 - Criminal Justice Systems (3 credits)
- CJ 610 - Race, Gender, and Class in the Criminal Justice System (3 credits)
- CJ 642 - Victimology (3 credits)
Choose from the following courses (15 credits if completing the capstone seminar (CJ 650) or 12 if completing the thesis (CJ 695)):
- CJ 600 - Qualitative Methodology (3 credits)
- CJ 619 - Legal Issues in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
- CJ 620 - Policing and Society (3 credits)
- CJ 621 - Corrections and Punishment (3 credits)
- CJ 622 - Juvenile Justice Systems and Issues (3 credits)
- CJ 640 - Graduate Internship (3 credits)
- CJ 680 - Special Topics in Criminal Justice and Legal Studies (1 to 4 credits)
- CJ 699 - Directed Readings (1 to 3 credits)
The Capstone Seminar option requires students to complete 33 hours of coursework. The three credit Capstone Seminar serves as a culminating experience within the graduate program in lieu of the six-credit-hour thesis option. Students must complete a minimum of 18 credits before registering for the Capstone course. This class should normally be taken in the student's final semester of study.
- CJ 650 - Master's Capstone in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
- CJ 695 - Criminal Justice Thesis (1 to 6 credits)