Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice is an interdisciplinary social science involving the study of crime and societal responses to it. The MACJ program emphasizes the application of theory and research to criminal justice policy and practice. We hope to instill in students a responsibility to integrate and evaluate conceptual and empirical contributions to the field of criminal justice. The mission of the criminal justice department is to produce graduates who approach their roles in the criminal justice field with knowledge, empiricism, innovation, humanism, and with a deep concern for justice issues faced by offenders, victims, citizens, and governmental and private agents affected by and charged with responding to crime. Graduates are prepared for positions and advancement as practitioners, administrators, victim advocates, and/or research analysts in law enforcement, courts, corrections, social service, and research agencies at the private, county, state, and federal levels. The MACJ program provides foundation for understanding organizational relations in criminal justice, the ability to critically analyze and evaluate criminal justice policy and practice, and the necessary skills to conduct methodologically sound research in specialized areas in criminology and criminal justice. The program is designed to accommodate professionals in the criminal justice field who desire graduate education for advancement purposes as well as students entering upon completion of their bachelor’s degree. The specific objectives of the criminal justice master’s program are to:
- Develop in students the knowledge, insight, critical thinking skills, values and ethical consciousness essential to becoming responsible practitioners, researchers, and leaders in criminal justice.
- Provide comprehensive, rigorous, analytic, focused study of crime and justice issues with emphasis on the application of theory and research in criminal justice to criminal justice initiatives, policies, and practices.
- Provide a strong foundation in criminology, research methods, statistics, organizational theory, criminal justice ethics, issues of diversity in criminal justice, and broad-based analysis of the criminal justice system with focus on law enforcement, the adjudication process, and corrections.
- Prepare students for positions and advancement in law enforcement, courts, corrections, social service, and research agencies in private, county, state, and federal agencies.
Degree-seeking applicants will be accepted into the program fall quarter only. Applicants for other quarters will be considered on a case by case basis or as non-matriculating students. Admission to the MACJ program is competitive and the file review is holistic. Applicants’ academic history, graduate exam performance, motivation, aptitude for graduate education, personal goals, and professional experiences will be considered.
Applicants are required to send the following documents for consideration:
- Completed Application for Graduate Admission and a non-refundable $55 application fee (waived for Seattle University alumni)
- Evidence of a four-year equivalent baccalaureate degree in criminal justice or related social, behavioral, or physical science from a regionally accredited academic institution. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in a field outside of these disciplines may be considered with 45 quarter (30 semester) credits of related course work or significant supervised work/volunteer experience as outlined on the MACJ Supplemental form.
- Minimum GPA of 3.00 as calculated from official transcripts of all post-secondary institutions attended in the last 90 quarter/60 semester credits of the bachelor’s degree, including any transfer credits earned during this time, and any post-baccalaureate course work. In special cases, those with less than a 3.00 GPA may be admitted with a probationary status based upon other criteria.
- Undergraduate introductory statistics course with a grade of C or above. Applicants who do not meet this criterion may be considered on a case by case basis for provisional admission.
- Statement of purpose (maximum 3 pages) discussing background, interests, and reasons for wanting to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice
- If the GPA for the applicant’s last 90 credits/60 semester credits is below 3.00, submit official scores for the Graduate Record Examination (G.R.E.). Only scores from the past five years will be accepted. No application for admission will be considered prior to receipt of official scores from Educational Testing Services.
- Three letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional references who have evaluated academic work/supervised their practical experience and are able to assess potential as a graduate student. Letters must be forwarded to graduate admissions in a sealed envelope with the recommender’s signature across the flap.
- Writing sample (for example, an undergraduate paper)
- Professional résumé or curriculum vita. Special consideration will be given to applicants with prior work, internship, or volunteer experience in the criminal justice system.
- If English is not the applicant’s native language, official English proficiency scores meeting the university’s entrance requirements must be submitted. See policy 2008-01 in Admissions Policies for details.
- Select candidates will be scheduled for an interview.
The MACJ with Specialization in Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation curriculum consists of 55 Credits: Eighteen 3-credit courses and one 1-credit course. Students will take ten foundation courses (28 credits), four specialization area courses (12 credits) and five elective courses (15 credits):
I. Foundation Courses
28 credits, including:
II. Specialization Area Courses
12 credits, including:
III. Elective Courses
Choose 15 credits from the following:
With no more than two courses from the following:
The courses below are joint undergraduate/graduate courses. Students may take up to two (6 credits) to fulfill MACJ elective course requirements.
Students who have previously taken CRJS 522 , CRJS 523 , CRJS 526 , CRJS 550 , CRJS 560 , or CRJS 565 at the undergraduate level as CRJS 422, 423, 426, 450, 460, or 465 may choose to apply the course(s) as MACJ electives (6 credits maximum–3 credits per course) but may not take additional joint courses OR may choose not to apply the course(s) and instead take up to 6 credits joint undergraduate/graduate courses not previously completed at the undergraduate level.
IV. Comprehensive Examination
Students have the option of taking the comprehensive exam OR completing a master’s thesis. The comprehensive examination may be taken as soon as the foundation courses and comprehensive exam readings are completed. The exam must be completed prior to the last quarter of the program. The exam includes questions based on the MACJ foundation curriculum and comprehensive examination reading list. A student may retake the comprehensive exam once. Students planning to take the comprehensive examination must make an appointment to do so with the criminal justice department chair. The comprehensive exam will be offered fall and spring quarters. Students retaking the examination will be required to answer questions only in areas not passed in the first exam.
V. Thesis Option
Students planning to go on to a PhD program or who are interested in completing an independent research project may select the thesis option in lieu of completing the comprehensive exam. Students wishing to pursue this option must obtain approval from the department chair by submitting a thesis proposal and identifying a thesis chair and committee. The thesis committee must include at least two criminal justice faculty members and one external member with expertise in an area relevant to the thesis topic. The proposal must include:
- Importance of research to the field of criminal justice
- Literature Review
Students completing the thesis must enroll in CRJS 599 (1-3 credits per quarter). Students may first register for thesis credit after completing the MACJ foundation courses and receiving departmental approval. A copy of the completed version of the thesis should be given to all members of the thesis committee. The thesis requires a formal defense which involves oral examination/response to questions by the thesis committee.
Minimum credits required for the degree: (55)