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Criminal Justice master’s program curriculum

The Criminal Justice master’s program curriculum is comprised of an orientation and 12 graduate-credit courses, each with its own comprehensive learning guide. Hands-on activities and research projects challenge you to explore real-world issues using information gleaned from the texts, independent research, and outside sources.

Semester 1

MJ600 - Orientation  

This non-credit orientation is a foundation-building experience that introduces and refreshes the skills necessary for success in your Graduate Certificate Program. You'll learn how to navigate ProQuest, Ashworth College's online library, and review the distinguishing characteristics of academic journals and other publications. Internet research skills are polished enabling you to identify credible and unbiased Web sites for your research. Emphasis is placed on submission requirements, project structures, and writing formats used throughout your coursework, and APA writing style. The final portion of this course provides you the opportunity to research and explore the various career fields in the world of Criminal Justice.

MJ601 - Survey of Criminal Justice  

This course presents an advanced overview of the organization and operation of the criminal justice system in the United States. The purpose and function of the system in apprehending offenders, the prosecution of offenders, and the punishment of offenders is reviewed. Other important criminal justice issues, such as theories of criminal behavior, measurement of crime and assessment of crime statistics, trends in criminal behavior, management of criminal behavior in the United States, and special topics such as juvenile delinquency, comparative criminology, technology and crime, and terrorism are also covered.
Credit Hours: 3

MJ650 - Criminal Law and Procedure  

In this course, current critical issues in criminal law and procedure are addressed. Emphasis is placed on the significance of recent judicial decisions to criminal law and procedure. The principles of criminal law and procedure are examined, including the general principles of substantive criminal law, due process requirements, punishments, criminal responsibility, and the procedural requirements for judicial processing of criminal offenders.
Credit Hours: 3

MJ620 - Criminology  

Criminology is a study in the causation of criminal behavior. The basic question addressed is "What causes criminality?" The history of criminological thought is examined. Among the topics explored are various schools of thought about criminal behavior, the biological roots of criminal behavior, and the three main types of theories of criminal behavior. This course also addresses criminal statistics and the methods that criminologists use in conducting research. Discussions of crimes against the person, crimes against property, white-collar crimes, organized crimes, and drug crimes are included.
Credit Hours: 3

MJ675 - Investigating Difference  

Investigating Difference is an introduction to the broader field of comparative criminology. Comparative criminology seeks to expand our knowledge of crime and criminality by contrasting and comparing the theory and practice of criminology and criminal justice between various cultures and societies and among the various subgroups within societies. In any society, it is imperative to have a basic knowledge of how geography, population, and history interact with the cultural values held in that society and to understand how this combination affects behavior patterns in business, crime, leisure, politics, and other life activities of that society.
Credit Hours: 3

Semester 2

MJ665 - Survey Research: Victims and the Community  

This course provides a practical introduction to survey research. Survey research will be covered in the order in which a survey is conducted: survey plan, design, instrumentation, data collection, processing, interpretation, and survey reporting. Research methods in the criminal justice environment are explored. A survey research project, focusing on victims of crime or communities and crime, is assigned.
Credit Hours: 3

MJ661 - Organizational Management  

This course provides a theoretical and practical overview of management theories and their application to the workplace dynamics of individuals, teams, and intra- and inter-organizational relationships within the criminal justice system. Insight into the unique and difficult issues facing law enforcement leaders and the move from the traditional police department to “community policing” are presented.
Credit Hours: 3

MJ652 - Corporate Crime  

This course examines historical and contemporary issues in criminological theory. Particular emphasis is placed on white-collar crime theory and corporate crime. Social perceptions of white-collar crimes and punishment of white-collar offenses are examined. The influence of corporate power on the political economy and how this relationship impacts the regulation of business are addressed. Discussions of the causes and responses to white-collar crimes will be analyzed at three sociological levels: societal (cultural), organizational, and institutional. In the vast area of wrongdoings covered by the definition of white-collar crimes, crimes committed by corporations will be examined.
Credit Hours: 3

MS645 - Workplace Security  

This course provides an overview of the workplace security function, combining both physical and information security in great detail. The corporate security manager’s role and responsibilities in maintaining a safe working environment are examined. Among the topics covered are: corporate threats and vulnerabilities, workplace violence, security strategies and functions, leadership, ethics, premises liability. A discussion of the technological trends in workplace security is included. A mythical corporation is used to clarify the application methods presented.
Credit Hours: 3

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Program description

The purpose of the Masters of Science in Criminal Justice program is to provide a learning experience that students can readily transfer into everyday practice in their criminal justice careers. Performance competency (skill- and knowledge-developing projects) and affective development (value-challenging experiences) are emphasized. Projects focus on enhancing the following skills: Internet, primary, and secondary research; software (MSWord, Excel, PowerPoint, and Project Management); creative; decision making; project and people management; analytical; synthesis; integrative; conceptual; and communication. The program is designed to provide a high degree of specialization within the area of criminal justice, with an in-depth understanding of advanced concepts, knowledge and skills.

Program objectives

Graduates of the Masters of Science in Criminal Justice program will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Examine the emerging challenges that are transforming the criminal justice landscape.
  2. Utilize an expanded criminal justice vocabulary by exploring the core and specialty areas of criminal justice.
  3. Examine the major sources of criminal justice statistics, and the various agencies, actors, and operational components of the criminal justice system in the United States.
  4. Develop an integrated view of the fundamental concepts, and analyze the current issues, trends, and limitations of criminal law and procedures.
  5. Apply sociological theory to the study of crime, criminal behavior, and social development processes.
  6. Analyze the relationship between criminal behavior and social forces of culture, society, region, neighborhood, and enclaves within neighborhoods.
  7. Design primary survey research and write a research proposal.
  8. Analyze workplace behaviors, processes, and systems in a criminal justice setting utilizing current management theories, and recommend actions needed to ensure effective and efficient workplace behaviors to achieve desired organizational outcomes.
  9. Examine the different types of corporate crime and defend various positions on penalties and punishments, consumer and corporate fraud, regulation, and enforcement.
  10. Analyze the threats, vulnerabilities, and needs of the contemporary workplace, and develop contingency plans and policies to control internal and external corporate risks.
  11. Analyze homeland security issues relating to terrorism activity in the future of law enforcement.
  12. Apply theoretical frameworks to ethical and legal issues relevant to policies, practices, and management behaviors in the criminal justice system.
  13. Explain the considerations that are implicit in the forging of criminal justice policies within a democratic society.
  14. Identify current trends in the area of corrections, policing, criminal justice, and criminology, and develop, plan, and implement innovative solutions to crime problems.

Aiming to become an executive crime fighter?

A Criminal Justice Master's Degree is top-level education to support high-level career aspirations. Ashworth College provides career tools to help your new skills shine whether you're looking for a boost with your current employer, tackling a field that's totally new, or creating your own thing. They're available to you whenever you need them–even after graduation. Visit our Career Services page to learn more.

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