Our Online Graduate Option
The field of criminal justice is increasingly reliant on innovative and data-driven strategies to address crime, its causes, and the treatment of offenders. The online M.A. in Criminal Justice and Criminology is designed to provide both current practitioners and those seeking to enter the field with the tools and knowledge necessary to understand, develop, and implement these strategies through applied coursework and mentorship by an experienced and supportive faculty. Flexible scheduling and the ability to satisfy all requirements via distance learning allows individuals to complete the degree on their own timeline and effectively balance educational, professional and personal commitments.
Applications for Fall 2020 are currently being accepted!
Please note that the online and on-campus graduate programs are considered to be separate offerings. Students are not permitted to take on-campus classes if enrolled in the online program.
Our program strives to meet the needs of working professionals and those seeking to enter the field who are unable (due to geography or other commitments) to attend classes in a campus setting. It is applied in focus, with all courses highlighting the tools and knowledge that you need to become leaders in fields such as policing, corrections, and legal services. It is structured so that you can complete coursework at a pace that works best for you, with both full-time and part-time options available.
- All courses and requirements completed 100% online
- Full-time and part-time options available, with full-time students being able to complete the program in as few as 20 months
- No GRE or thesis required
- Total cost (including all required materials) less than $20,000
We have designed the program to overcome many of the limitations associated with other online options in the field. Please explore the following to learn more about what sets us apart.
Some online programs combine on-ground and online students in order to ease faculty workload. This means that both groups of students are placed in the same course, with instructors either recording on-ground class meetings or requiring online students to log in to these meetings at specific times. Our program is structured so that online students are grouped into their own cohorts, with all courses being conducted wholly online. Furthermore, they provide students with flexibility in terms of when they log in to the course site and complete assigned work.
Online graduate degrees in criminal justice tend to take one of two approaches: Offering traditional coursework in an online setting, or focusing solely on practice. Traditional coursework tends to be geared toward individuals seeking to pursue doctoral-level education or interested in working for research organizations. Practice-based coursework focuses solely on issues associated with human resources, administration, and organizational leadership. Our faculty believe that a single-orientation fails to provide students with the knowledge and tools that they need to succeed. We have taken steps to ensure that our curriculum provides the best of both worlds. Core courses in criminological theory, research methodology and quantitative analysis will be offered with an emphasis on their utility to practitioners and the role that each plays in developing evidence-based practices. Elective courses will focus on topics such as crime analysis, organizational leadership, and criminal justice administration, all topics common to practice-based programs.
Admission decisions are based upon the following requirements:
- Completion of an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field from an accredited college or university
- A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for all completed undergraduate coursework
- Submission of three letters of recommendation from individuals able to speak to the applicant's strengths and potential for graduate-level study
- 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.
Students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements are still encouraged to apply, as all decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Our admissions committee will take into account performance over the last two years of undergraduate study and work history when making these decisions.
All students will complete a series of six core courses:
- 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
Additional information regarding the Program of Study can be found by reviewing the current Graduate Catalog.
Students are given freedom to choose remaining coursework based upon their interests and career goals. Elective offerings vary, but include options such as:
- Organizational Theory and Leadership
- Criminal Justice Policy
- Criminal Justice Administration
- Crime Analysis
- Crime Prevention and Environmental Design
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Juvenile Justice
- Sex Offenders
Students are required to complete a total of six elective courses (in addition to the required core courses).
We have designed our course offering schedule to allow students to complete the degree in as few as 20 months if enrolled full-time. Our tentative schedule is below.
CJCR 5010: Seminar in Courts
CJCR 5850: Research Design in Criminology
Elective: Juvenile Justice
Elective: Crime and Public Policy
CJCR 5950: Quantitative Methods in Criminology
CJCR 5000: Criminological Theory
Elective: Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System
Elective: Crime Prevention and Environmental Design
CJCR 5020: American Policing
CJCR 5021: American Corrections
Elective: Organizational Theory and Leadership
Elective: Crime Scene Investigation
Elective: Program Planning and Evaluation
In addition to core and elective courses, students complete a comprehensive examination in order to fulfill requirements for a culminating experience. The exam is designed to allow students to apply the knowledge and skills that they have gained from the covered coursework.
The comprehensive examination is designed to allow students to apply the knowledge and skills that they have gained from coursework to address hypothetical real-world scenarios.
Students are eligible to take the exam following completion of 27 credit hours (9 classes) and all core course requirements. Typically, this means taking the exam during the last semester of study.
The exam is administered in take-home format, with students being provided ample time to respond to the questions presented to them.
Students register for the exam during the first week of the semester in which they wish to take it, with exam packets (containing questions and instructions) being delivered approximately two weeks after the registration period ends.
Exams are graded by a committee of faculty members who assess responses based upon content, organization and other relevant criteria. Submitted exams are assigned to this committee by the Graduate Coordinator, who will take steps to remove all identifying information in order to ensure a "blind review" process.
Once all members of the committee have submitted their evaluation, the Graduate Coordinator will contact the student to discuss their results.
Our program is the most affordable graduate degree offered by the University. Tuition is $550 per credit hour*, allowing individuals to complete the degree (36 hours in total) for less than $20,000. All students (including out-of-state and international) are eligible for this rate. No additional fees are required.
In addition, the tuition rate is guaranteed for a period of three years. This means that any university-wide tuition increases will not apply to students in our program for their first three years of study.
*Please note that the $550 per hour rate is the final cost after tuition waivers have been applied to your account. All admitted students will receive these waivers. Applicants should also be aware that recent changes to federal regulations require students to be registered for at least two courses (6 hours) per term in order to be eiligible to receive federal financial aid (including direct student loans). Please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator if you have any questions about this policy.
Unlike most other graduate programs in the field, we do not require students to pay out of pocket for course materials. All books and software are provided by the University at no additional cost.
Students are mailed the required textbook(s) prior to the beginning of each course. Software licenses are sent via an email link (with instructions).
- Why should I pursue a graduate degree in criminal justice and criminology?Answer
- What separates ETSU’s program from other options?Answer
- What are the requirements for admission?Answer
- What if I do not meet the minimum requirements established by the Department?Answer
- Does my undergraduate degree have to be in criminal justice?Answer
- How long will it take to complete the program?Answer
- When can I begin the program?Answer
- What are the deadlines for applying?Answer
- How do I start my application?Answer
- What types of courses will I be taking?Answer
- How will courses be delivered?Answer
- Will it be difficult to balance coursework with my other obligations (e.g., employment)?Answer
- What computer and technology requirements are required?Answer
- Will I have to write a thesis?Answer
- What is the structure of the comprehensive examination?Answer
- Will my diploma state that I earned the degree online?Answer
- Do I need to travel to ETSU’s campus at any point during the program?Answer
- Are any scholarships available?Answer
- Are online students allowed to apply for GA and TS position?Answer
- Does the Department accept transfer credits?Answer
- What should I do if I have additional questions about the program and application process?Answer
Our Department has offered an on-campus M.A. program for many years and is proud of the fact that our graduates have gone on to feature great success in their chosen career fields. The online option is modeled after this program and strives to provide you with the same high-quality education that our on-campus students receive. Our faculty are all full-time (which is not always the case in many online programs) and have extensive experience in both practice and teaching.
In addition, we have structured our program and courses in a way that overcomes many of the concerns that online students have. Courses are equivalent to what you would experience in an on-campus setting, our faculty provide quality communication and feedback, and we have taken every step to ensure that you are able to work through the program at a pace that fits your schedule.
You can complete your application online by visiting https://etsuapply.force.com/app/.
The page also contains a link to a step-by-step guide for navigating the application process. Please do not hesitate to contact our graduate program coordinator (Dr. Dustin Osborne, firstname.lastname@example.org, (423) 439-5604) if you have any questions or issues.
We are happy that you are considering our program! Please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator for more information.
Dr. Dustin Osborne