The criminal justice master’s program at MSU provides students with analytic skills, an interdisciplinary knowledge base, and both classroom and practical understanding of the settings where correctional, law enforcement and security policies are implemented.
The program integrates theory and application through case materials and classroom guest speakers, as well as internship opportunities.
Individuals who wish to pursue a career in criminal justice research and teaching will have a strong foundation for advanced graduate studies based on the program's combined emphasis on research, critical issues and interdisciplinary theory.
The School of Criminal Justice was established in 1935 as an academic program providing courses for those seeking careers in law enforcement. Graduate studies in the School of Criminal Justice began in 1956 with the Masters of Science degree, followed by the Interdisciplinary Doctoral program in 1968 and the Doctorate in Criminal Justice in 2001. In 1970, the School's name was changed from the School of Police Administration and Public Safety to the School of Criminal Justice to reflect the new emphasis on the entire system of justice in the United States.
Housed in the College of Social Science, the School of Criminal Justice has evolved to provide exemplary undergraduate and graduate programs in which students and faculty apply the theories and methods of science to understanding and solving critical policy issues in both the criminal justice and private security fields.
For further information regarding graduate programs, contact Melissa Christle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 353-7133.
Applications for the Criminal Justice Masters program are screened for fall and spring semester entry. All application material must be received before February 1 for consideration for the following Fall semester, and by September 1 for consideration for the following Spring semester. Applicants are typically notified of admission decisions within 6-8 weeks of the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please send all application material to the following address:
Criminal Justice Masters Program
Michigan State University
655 Auditorium Road, Room 560
East Lansing, MI 48824
Application material includes:
- Application for Graduate Study at Michigan State University. May
from the Graduate School or submitted online.
The major code for the criminal justice master’s program is
4318. A check or money order for the application fee, payable to
Michigan State University, must accompany the application if it
is not submitted online.
- Departmental application. May be submitted online.
- Graduate Assistantship resume. May be downloaded here.
- ONE set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities
attended (a transcript of work at MSU is not required). Please do
not request .pdf or electronic versions of your transcripts, as
they will not be accepted by the Office of Admissions if you are
offered admission. Applicants must have or be near completion of
their bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- GRE general exam scores from a test taken within the last five
years. The GRE exam is waived for candidates with a cumulative undergraduate
GPA of 3.2 or higher or for applicants with a completed graduate
degree. Please note that your overall GPA will be determined by
combining the credits and quality points earned throughout your
undergraduate studies. You can find test preparation material and
information about test dates at www.gre.com.
Please note when scheduling your exam that it may take 4-6 weeks
for your scores to be forwarded to the university and this department.
The institution code for MSU is 1465. Admission requires scores
at the 50th percentile or higher.
While the GRE is not a requirement for those whose GPA is over 3.2, GRE scores are one of the many factors that is taken into account when funding decisions are made.
- A personal statement of your academic and professional goals.
This should include information about your motivation to study criminal
justice, a description of relevant research and/or work experience
and any other information about yourself that you would like the
admissions committee to know. The Application for Graduate Study
has fields for an academic statement and a personal statement, and
you may either submit your statements there or type "submitted
to department" in the fields and mail or email a single essay
to the program office at 560 Baker Hall or email@example.com.
- Three letters of recommendation from people who can comment on
your ability to perform graduate work. At least two letters must
be from tenure-track faculty from your undergraduate or graduate
institution. Please use the
Recommendation for Admission form found in the Application for
Graduate Study at Michigan State University. The form should be
included with all letters of recommendation.
- International students must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, exam scores. Students from countries where the primary language is English may have the TOEFL requirement waived with the approval of the department, college, and Graduate School. Please contact the graduate secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine whether the requirement may be waived. When sending TOEFL scores, please use institution code 1465.
Please note while a criminal justice undergraduate degree is not required for admission to the program, applicants must have a background of education and occupational experience appropriate to the successful pursuit of graduate work in the School of Criminal Justice. Applicants that aren’t sufficiently prepared for graduate studies in criminal justice may be required to complete collateral coursework or pursue individualized study.
A limited number of applicants who do not satisfy the school's regular admission requirements may be admitted on a provisional basis. The decision to grant provisional admission is based on the student's potential contributions to the field of criminal justice, and is offered at the discretion of the department. A student may be enrolled on a provisional basis for only two semesters and must be admitted on a regular basis to be considered a degree candidate.
Questions? Please contact Melissa Christle at email@example.com or (517) 353-7133.
CJ 801 Crime Causation, Prevention and Control (3 credits)
Theories of crime causation. Translation of theory to policy. Spring
CJ 802 Proseminar in Law Enforcement Intelligence Operations (3) Available beginning Spring 2014
Law enforcement intelligence as an analytic tool for case development and resource allocation. Historical, ethical, legal, and operational issues affecting current practice. Fall and Spring online
CJ 803 Foundations in Homeland Security (3) Available beginning Spring 2014
Definition of terrorism and terrorist groups. Fundamental principles of emergency management and homeland security. Historical perspectives and modern threats. Public health and environmental protections. Private sector role and impacts. Security vs. civil liberties. Science technology and research issues. Fall and Spring online
CJ 805 Survey in Forensic Science (3)
Scientific analysis of physical evidence. The course will cover four major aspects of physical evidence using real criminal and civil cases: generation of physical evidence by criminal activity, collection and preservation of physical evidence, analysis of physical evidence by forensic science laboratory and presentation of scientific expert testimony in court. Open only to forensic science majors. Fall
CJ 809 Issues in Criminal Justice (2-4)
Special issues in criminal justice research and management. Fall, Spring, Summer
CJ 810 Proseminar in Criminal Justice (3)
Survey of classical and recent literature in criminal justice. Trends and issues that transcend the components of the criminal justice system. Fall
CJ 811 Design and Analysis in Criminal Justice Research (3)
Scientific methods in criminal justice research. Design of research, principles of data collection and analysis, interpretation of research findings and ethical concerns. Computer use in data analysis. Fall
CJ 812 Criminal Justice Management Seminar (3)
Organization theory and behavior for the criminal justice agency. Organization and policy planning, budgeting, forecasting, human resource management and project implementation. Fall
CJ 814 Seminar in Advanced Management Topics (3)
Critical study of selected areas of criminal justice management such as organization design and analysis, policy implementation, resource allocation, benefit systems and interorganizational networks. Fall of odd years
CJ 815 Proseminar in Criminal Investigations (3)
Research on the criminal justice process. Investigation and role of evidence in the administration of justice. Ethical issues. Spring
CJ 817 Law and Forensic Science (2)
Covers the legal aspects of forensic science including the adjudicative process, admissibility of scientific evidence, laboratory reports, hearsay, relevant case materials and expert testimony. Open only to forensic science majors. Spring
CJ 819 Forensic Analysis of Drugs and Alcohol (3)
Techniques and processes in analysis of physical evidence including spectroscopy, chromatography, microscopy. Emphasis on controlled substances. Open only to forensic science majors. Fall
CJ 820 Forensic Chemistry and Microscopic Evidence (3)
Analysis of trace evidence including hairs and fibers, paints and coatings, explosives and fire residues, glass and soil. Open only to forensic science majors. Spring
CJ 821 Food Protection and Defense (3)
Food systems and criminal justice approaches to prepare for and solve issues relating to food safety and defense. Online course. Interdepartmental course - students will enroll in VM 821. Fall and Spring
CJ 822 Comparative Criminal Justice (3)
Globalization, crime causation, measurement, and control in comparative and cross-national contexts. Nature of policing, courts, and corrections in select countries. Online course. Spring of even years
CJ 823 Globalization of Crime (3)
International crimes and organized crime. Trafficking in women, children, and body parts. Related problems such as firearm violence, money laundering, and corruption that transcend national boundaries. Online course. Fall of even years
CJ 824 Forensic Serology (3)
Lectures and laboratory exercises in the identification of body fluids of forensic interest, including blood, semen, and saliva. Sources of false positive and negative results will also be examined. Open only to forensic science majors. Fall
CJ 825 DNA Profiling (3)
Lectures and laboratory exercises in DNA profiling. Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analysis of blood, semen, hair, saliva, and other tissues of forensic interest. Open only to forensic science majors. Spring
CJ 829 National and Global Trends in Court Planning (3)
Emerging judicial trends. Stakeholder expectations. Impact on judicial branch planning. Regional, national, and global trends that frame strategic issues, planning, actions, and leadership. Spring
CJ 830 Foundations of Police Studies (3)
Police practice. The police role, socialization, discretion, strategies, deviance. Spring
CJ 835 Managing Police Operations (3)
Issues and practices in police management. Management philosophy and personnel management. Spring of odd years
CJ 836 Assessment of Police Policies and Operations (3)
Recent policy-related research and its application to the deployment of human resources. Spring of even years
CJ 837 Counterterrorism and Intelligence (3)
Meanings and concept of terrorism. Nature of both domestic and international terrorist threats. Integration of intelligence and terrorism to understand counterterrorism concepts. Online course. Fall
CJ 838 Terrorism (3)
Overview of terrorism, both domestic and international. Examination of the causes and motives that drive terrorists, their methods of operation, and the impact of terrorism on the United States and abroad. Online course. Spring and Summer
CJ 839 Analytic Thinking and Intelligence (3)
Analytic processes, tools, applications and contemporary issues as applied to the intelligence function. Online course. Fall
CJ 840 Anti-Counterfeit Strategy and Product Protection (3)
Theory and applied techniques for anti-counterfeit strategies and product protection for food and consumer products. Online course. Interdepartmental course - students will enroll in VM 840. Summer
CJ 845 Environmental Risk Perception and Decision Making (3)
Theoretical underpinnings of individual decision-making and risk perception processes. Case studies of the interplay of risk perception and decision-making in an environmental and or criminological context. Spring of odd years
CJ 846 Corporate Environmental Crime and Risk (3)
Theoretical accounts and multiple interventions relevant to corporate environmental crime and risk. Use of “Smart Regulation” principles to design interventions to match specific problems. Spring of even years
CJ 847 Global Risks, Conservation and Criminology (3)
Theories, actors, characteristics and legal instruments associated with risk, conservation, and criminology related to globalization. Current case studies in criminological conservation. Fall
CJ 860 Historical Foundations/Contemporary Frameworks in Judicial Administration (3)
Foundations in the legal and historical evolution of courts. Contemporary methods, practices, and theories of court administration, including purposes and responsibilities of courts, rule of law, caseflow management, and court governance and leadership models.Fall
CJ 861 Budget Planning and Resource Allocation for Court Performance (3)
Financial resources for courts and court systems. Resource acquisition and allocation strategies, output and outcome measurement for expenditure assessment, efficient and effective resource management, techniques for budget presentation in the public-sector context, alternative budget planning and justification formats, audit formats, revenue enhancement sources and strategies. Summer
CJ 862 Workforce Planning and Management in the Courts (3)
Workforce planning and management in the judicial branch. Selections and forms of employment, including elected and appointed judges and other judicial officers, at-will employees, civil servants, contractual labor and services. Succession planning, methods of employee development, coaching, mentoring, and continuing education. Summer
CJ 863 Courthouse Planning: Space, Technology, Security, and Disaster Recovery (3)
Planning for building or remodeling of courthouse and courtroom facilities. Requirements for federal and state courts. Safe public space, efficient workflow, technology infrastructure for electronic courts, security, and disaster planning and recovery. Summer
CJ 864 Elements of Essential Court Operations (3)
Court management infrastructure systems. Contemporary developments in problem-solving courts. Methods for measuring court inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Constitutional mandates, judicial branch independence and interdependence, transparency, and accountability. Spring
CJ 865 Adult Corrections (3)
Traditional and contemporary adult correctional practices. Social, political, economic and organizational factors affecting correctional policies. Fall of odd years
CJ 866 Adult and Juvenile Corrections Programs (3)
Adult and juvenile crime prevention and correctional programs. Applying research findings to management issues. Fall of even years
CJ 873 Legal Issues in Criminal Justice (3)
Law as an instrument of social control. Legal limitations on criminal justice institutions and policies. Spring of even years
CJ 885 Security Management (3)
The organization and management of security operations in business, industry and government. Fall
CJ 886 Security Administration (3)
Administrative and quantitative techniques for security operations. Statistical and financial statements analysis. Operations research and computer techniques. Spring
CJ 887 Quantitative Methods in CJ Research (3)
Descriptive and inferential statistics and computer use in criminal justice research. Spring
CJ 890 Independent Study (3)
Individual research and writing under faculty supervision. Fall, Spring, Summer
CJ 894 Practicum (1-6)
Observation, study, and work in selected criminal justice agencies. Participation in domestic and foreign criminal justice systems. Fall, Spring, Summer
CJ 896 Policy Analysis under Conditions of Change (3)
Methods of policy analysis in criminal justice settings. Policy analysis for the formulation, adoption, and implementation of changes. Spring
CJ 899 Masters Thesis Research (1-6)
Fall, Spring, Summer
CJ 901 Seminar in Contemporary Theory and CJ Research (3)
Theoretical perspectives and issues in criminal justice and criminology theory. Fall
CJ 904 Criminal Justice Organizations and Processes (3)
Theoretical perspectives on organizations and processes in criminal justice. Evaluation of organizational performance in justice agencies. Spring
CJ 905 Law and Society (3)
Theoretical perspectives on law. Impact of law on society and the criminal justice system. Fall
CJ 906 Advanced Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research (3)
Applications of quantitative techniques to criminal justice data. Use of multiple regression and SPSS technology. Fall
CJ 907 Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice Data Analysis (3)
Advanced quantitative analysis techniques for criminal justice data (may be repeated for credit). Spring
CJ 908 Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice (3)
Intenstive study of one subfield of criminal justice. Critical evaluation of the literature (may be repeated for credit). Spring of odd years
To obtain a master’s in criminal justice, a student must complete a minimum of 30 credits of course work and research as follows:
|CJ 801 Crime Causation, Prevention and Control|
|CJ 810 Proseminar in Criminal Justice|
|CJ 811 Design and Analysis in Criminal Justice Research|
|CJ 812 Criminal Justice Management Seminar|
|CJ 887 Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research|
|Two 800-level criminal justice courses*|
|CJ 899 Masters Thesis Research|
|Electives approved by an academic advisor|
|CJ 896 Policy Analysis|
|Electives approved by an academic advisor|
* No more than 3 hours of Independent Study (CJ 890) will be allowed. Internship credit (CJ 894) will not count toward this requirement.