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Criminal Justice & Criminology

College of Arts & Sciences


Our On-Campus Graduate Option


The on-campus M.A. in Criminal Justice & Criminology is designed for students interested in expanding their knowledge of the criminal justice system and gaining the skills and tools required to become leaders in the field.  Our students come from a variety of academic backgrounds and feature varying levels of career experience.  Some enter the program immediately after completing their undergraduate degree, whereas others decide to continue their education while employed in careers such as policing, corrections and social services.  We have designed the program so that it has equal utility for all and hope that you will consider choosing us for your graduate education.

Please note that the online and on-campus graduate programs are considered to be separate offerings. Students are not permitted to take online classes if enrolled in the on-campus program.

 

Explore the tabs below to learn more about the program!


 

Our program seeks to prepare graduates for entry into justice-related occupations, advancement to upper-level positions, and/or continued study at the doctoral level by providing them with the tools necessary to conduct, review and implement the latest research in the field.

Students enrolled in the M.A. program come from a variety of academic backgrounds, ranging from criminal justice to the natural sciences. Though individuals with an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field will likely be better prepared initially, those from other disciplines tend to feature similar success rates.

Why ETSU?

Our graduate faculty members have extensive experience in research, teaching and practice. Several have held positions within the field, ranging from law enforcement to correctional counseling.  All are currently active in research projects that explore topics related to their interests and agendas. We strive to create opportunities for graduate students to become involved in these projects should the interest arise.

Graduates of the M.A. program have gone on to have great success in their chosen career path. Some have been employed in leadership positions with federal and state organizations. Others have chosen to remain within their communities and serve in law enforcement, corrections and other related fields. Many of our graduates choose to continue their studies at the doctoral level and currently serve as faculty members at universities and colleges across the country.

Questions?

We are happy that you are considering our program! Please explore the above tabs for additional information and do not hesitate to contact our Graduate Program Coordinator if you have questions.

Dustin Osborne

 

Dr. Dustin Osborne

Graduate Program Coordinator
Contact:
423-439-5604 / osbornedl@etsu.edu
Rogers-Stout 102-E

 

Applications to the program will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field from an accredited college or university
  2. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for all completed undergraduate coursework
  3. Submission of three letters of recommendation from individuals able to speak to the applicant's strengths and potential for graduate-level study
  4. A 3-5 page (double-spaced) narrative statement discussing the applicant's academic/career experiences, motivation for pursuing a graduate degree, and how the degree will aid in achieving their professional goals.

Individuals who do not meet the GPA requirements are still encouraged to apply, as all decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

 

We are currently in the process of revising our graduate curriculum. The below information applies to students who begin the program in Fall 2019 and later. Current students will complete the degree under the previous requirements.

Students are required to complete 33 hours of coursework if pursuing the thesis track and 36 hours of coursework if pursuing the comprehensive examination track.  Please see the info boxes below for an overview of these requirements.

Additional information regarding the Program of Study can be found by reviewing the current Graduate Catalog

Thesis Track

CJCR 5000: Criminological Theory

CJCR 5020: American Policing

CJCR 5031: American Corrections

CJCR 5040: Seminar in Courts

CJCR 5850: Research Design in Criminology

CJCR 5950: Quantitative Methods in Criminology

CJCR 5960: Thesis

The remaining 12 credit hours (four courses) will be comprised of elective courses chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor.

Exam Track

CJCR 5000: Criminological Theory

CJCR 5020: American Policing

CJCR 5031: American Corrections

CJCR 5040: Seminar in Courts

CJCR 5850: Research Design in Criminology

CJCR 5950: Quantitative Methods in Criminology

The remaining 18 credit hours (six courses) will be comprised of elective courses chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor.

Students have the option of choosing either a thesis or comprehensive examination as their culminating experience. This decision will be made in consultation with the graduate program coordinator by the end of their first year in the program.

Thesis

The thesis involves conducting original research on a topic of interest. It is geared toward those seeking to continue their studies at the doctoral level or who are interested in gaining experience in the research process.

Students, in conjunction with a committee of faculty members, choose a topic, develop research questions and acquire data that will allow them to answer those questions. They then present the results of this research in the form of a thesis manuscript.


Exam

The comprehensive examination, which can be taken after completion of 27 credit hours and all core course requirements, involves answering a series of written response questions based upon the material covered in the program. It is comprised of three sections: 

  1. General Knowledge
  2. Criminological Theory
  3. Research Design and Quantitative Methods

Each section requires responding to 2-3 questions in essay format (for a total of 6-9 questions). Students are given three hours per section, with the exam being administered over the course of two days. The exam is typically offered in March and October.

Our Department offers the following funding options for interested students:

GA Positions
Graduate Assistants work 20 hours per week during the academic year. In exchange, they receive a tuition waiver and monthly stipend to assist with living expenses. Job responsibilities vary, but typically involves assisting a professor with classroom instruction, grading and/or research. Some senior GA's (those having completed 18 credit hours) may be allowed the opportunity to teach their own course under the supervision of a professor.

TS Positions
Tuition Scholars work 8 hours per week during the academic year. In return they receive a tuition waiver (these positions do not come with a monthly stipend). Job responsibilities typically involve assisting Department faculty in advising undergraduate students regarding course registration and progress toward their degree.

Applying for Funding

Students interested in receiving funding in the form of a GA or TS position should contact Christine Ketelaar () for an application. We request that you submit the funding application and application for admission by the following deadlines:

March 1st for Fall Consideration

October 15th for Spring Consideration

Funding Decisions

Decisions are made by our faculty in the days following each of the above deadlines. They are based upon the applicant's undergraduate GPA and other relevant factors. Skype or telephone interviews may be requested in order to match the interests of those receiving funding with the most appropriate faculty member.

You will find answers to our most frequently asked questions below.

 

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  1. What can I do with an M.A. in Criminal Justice & Criminology?Answer
  2. What skills will I gain as a result of completing the program?Answer
  3. Can students take online coursework if enrolled in the on-ground program?Answer
  4. What types of courses will I be taking?Answer
  5. How long will it take to complete the program?Answer
  6. Will I have to write a thesis?Answer
  7. What is a comprehensive examination?Answer
  8. What are the requirements for admission?Answer
  9. What if I do not meet the minimum requirements established by the Department?Answer
  10. Does my undergraduate degree have to be in criminal justice or a related field?Answer
  11. When can I start the program?Answer
  12. Can students pursue the degree through part-time study?Answer
  13. What are the deadlines for applying?Answer
  14. How do I apply?Answer
  15. Does the Department offer funding for admitted students?Answer
  16. Can part-time students receive funding?Answer
  17. Is there a limit on how long I can receive funding?Answer
  18. Do GA and TS positions include a tuition waiver for courses taken during summer and winter terms?Answer
  19. What are the job responsibilities associated with GA and TS positions?Answer
  20. How do I apply for funding?Answer
  21. How are funding decisions made?Answer
  22. What if I do not receive funding through the Department?Answer
  23. What should I do if I have additional questions?Answer

What can I do with an M.A. in Criminal Justice & Criminology?
Graduates of our program have gone on to pursue a variety of careers. Some are employed with federal and state agencies, such as the Secret Service, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Others have pursued opportunities in local agencies. Many of our students continue their studies at the doctoral level, and serve as faculty members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

What skills will I gain as a result of completing the program?
Our program is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of the causes of crime and operations of the criminal justice system. Our primary focus is developing your ability to recognize the role of research in the field. You will leave the program with the tools required to conduct and evaluate research, as well as the ability to translate research into practice.

Can students take online coursework if enrolled in the on-ground program?
Our program does not allow on-ground students to take online course offerings. However, we do attempt to schedule our courses in the evening hours to make enrollment possible for working professionals. Most courses meet for approximately three hours once per week.

What types of courses will I be taking?
All students are required to take a series of six core courses that cover topics such as criminological theory, research methodology and statistical analysis. You are given some freedom in the courses that you will take to satisfy the elective requirements. We attempt to offer classes on a variety of topics so that each student can gear the program toward their interests and career goals.

How long will it take to complete the program?
Most full-time students complete the program in two years. Timelines vary for those pursuing part-time study. Depending upon the track selected (thesis or comprehensive exam), you will be required to complete 33-36 hours of graduate coursework.

Will I have to write a thesis?
The program allows students to select from one of two tracks. The thesis track requires that students conceptualize and conduct a research project that culminates in a written manuscript detailing their work. This track is ideal for individuals seeking to continue their studies at the doctoral level or whom wish to gain valuable experience in the research process. The comprehensive examination track does not require a thesis project. Students pursuing this track will take additional elective courses and must successfully pass a comprehensive examination toward the end of their program.

What is a comprehensive examination?
The comprehensive examination covers topics that have been discussed in all of the courses that the student has taken while enrolled in the program. It includes three separate sections: (1) general knowledge, (2) research methods and quantitative analysis, and (3) criminological theory. The examination is designed to test student comprehension of these areas and requires those taking it to show sufficient depth/breadth of knowledge.

What are the requirements for admission?
We are currently in the process of revising our requirements for admission.  Please click on the admissions tab above for more information on current and future requirements.

What if I do not meet the minimum requirements established by the Department?
Individuals who do not meet the minimum requirements may still be admitted to the program. Each application is reviewed by our admissions committee on a case-by-case basis.

Does my undergraduate degree have to be in criminal justice or a related field?
We welcome applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds. The majority of our students do hold undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and/or criminology. However, others have come to us from disciplines such as sociology, political science, psychology and the natural sciences. Though the learning curve may be steep initially, these students tend to feature similar rates of success. Accepted students who lack undergraduate coursework in criminological theory, research methods and/or quantitative analysis may be required to take one or more undergraduate courses prior to enrolling in graduate classes that cover similar topics. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis.

When can I start the program?
Students may apply to begin the M.A. in either the fall or spring semesters. Unfortunately, the structure of our program does not allow for summer starting dates.

Can students pursue the degree through part-time study?
Our program allows for both full-time and part-time study. Full-time students take a minimum of three courses per semester. Please be aware that all requirements for the degree must be completed within six years of the date that you enroll in your first graduate course if you are considering the part-time option.

What are the deadlines for applying?
The School of Graduate Studies has established separate deadlines for international applicants. International students interested in beginning the program in the fall semester must submit the application and all required materials by April 29th. For spring admissions, the deadline is September 29th. Domestic applicants should adhere to the following deadlines: August 1st for fall admission and December 1st for spring admission.

How do I apply?
You can complete the application online by visiting the School of Graduate Studies website or clicking on the apply now link on our graduate programs landing page.

Does the Department offer funding for admitted students?
We are pleased to offer funding in the form of graduate assistantships (GA) and tuition scholar (TS) positions. These spots are limited and availability varies. Tuition is waived for students who hold a GA or TS position, though they are still required to pay University fees. In addition, those employed in a GA position are provided with a stipend (paid in eight monthly installments) to assist with living expenses. The amount of this stipend is set each year by the University.

Can part-time students receive funding?
Both GA and TS positions are restricted to students enrolled in full-time study (a minimum of nine credit hours per semester).

Is there a limit on how long I can receive funding?
Students who secure a GA or TS position may receive funding for a total of four semesters (two years) of study. Those who do not complete the degree within this time frame will be responsible for the costs of tuition for all coursework remaining to be completed.

Do GA and TS positions include a tuition waiver for courses taken during summer and winter terms?
Unfortunately, the tuition waiver applies only to courses taken in the fall and spring academic terms.

What are the job responsibilities associated with GA and TS positions?
GAs typically work with a faculty member and are tasked with assisting them in course instruction and/or research projects. TSs are primarily involved in academic advising for undergraduate students, though they may also be asked to assist faculty members from time to time. GAs are required to work 20 hours per week and TSs work eight (8) hours.

How do I apply for funding?
Applicants interested in securing funding through the Department should contact Christine Ketelaar (ketelaar@etsu.edu) for additional information and an application. This application is separate from the requirements for admission to the program. We advise that those wishing to receive funding complete both the application for admission and the application for funding by the following deadlines: March 1st for fall admission and October 15th for spring admission.

How are funding decisions made?
Funding spots are competitive, with decisions being based upon availability, undergraduate GPA and other relevant factors.

What if I do not receive funding through the Department?
Students who do not receive funding through the Department are encouraged to seek out opportunities in other departments across campus. An updated list of available GA/TS positions can be found here.

What should I do if I have additional questions?
We are happy to answer any questions that you have.  Please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Dustin Osborne, at osbornedl@etsu.edu or (423) 439-5604.

 

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