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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2016-2017

Program Info

Last Updated 2016-02-15

Criminal Justice MS



Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:

Introduction

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Master of Science in Criminal Justice requires 36 credit hours, including 21 credit hours of core courses, 6 credit hours of restricted electives, and 9 credit hours of general electives. A final comprehensive examination and exit survey is required of all students completing the Criminal Justice Master’s program. This requirement will be completed online in students’ last semester. Residency requirements stipulate that each student must complete at least 21 credit hours in criminal justice coursework at UCF (limiting the amount of courses that can be transferred from other institutions).

Students must achieve a grade of "B" (3.0) or higher in every course listed under core requirements. Students must also maintain a plan of study and graduate status GPA of 3.0 or higher and can only graduate with a graduate status GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program offers students an in-depth exploration of the complex and changing world of criminal justice. The program emphasizes criminal justice research, theory, policy and organizational administration. The historical, political, economic, and philosophical forces shaping crime and punishment in the United States are examined. Students also learn valuable qualitative and quantitative research and computer skills. The program is designed to prepare future  criminal justice organizational leaders to be consumers of research and to equip them to summarize and present organizational information.

Minimum Hours Required for MS —36 Credit Hours

Students must complete 36 hours of course work with at least a 3.0 overall grade point average and in their course work of study. Internal program policies prohibit the substitution of additional course work into the plan of study due to poor academic performance. Further, university guidelines stipulate that 50 percent (or 18 hours) of their 36-hour plan of study must consist of classes taken at the 6000 level or higher. Students are encouraged to meet with a program adviser (or their graduate director) before enrolling in courses. With the approval of the graduate director, senior scholars, post-baccalaureate students, or students enrolled in a CJ graduate certificate may request to apply up to 12 credit hours of criminal justice graduate course work (taken at UCF) toward the Master of Science degree. However, transfer work at the graduate level from other universities is limited to 9 credit hours. Only courses where the student earned a grade of “B” or above will be accepted for transfer regardless of source as long as it was earned from an accredited university or college. Courses over seven years old will not count towards the degree.

Students should also be aware that department rules prohibit the counting of more than 6 credit hours of special courses in their plan of study. This includes seminars (CCJ 5931 or CCJ 5934), Study Abroad (CCJ 5957), Criminal Justice Practicum (CCJ 6946), and Independent Study (CCJ 6908). Seminar (CCJ 5931 and CCJ 5934) topics cannot be repeated for program credit.

Curriculum

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice requires 36 credit hours, including 21 credit hours of core courses, 6 credit hours of restricted electives, 9 credit hours of general electives, and a final written examination within the Proseminar or capstone course.

Required Courses—21 Credit Hours

Core—18 Credit Hours

  • CCJ 5015 The Nature of Crime (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 5456 The Administration of Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6704 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6106 Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6118 Criminal Justice Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6719 Translational Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)

Capstone—3 Credit Hours

The Proseminar in Criminal Justice serves as the capstone experience for the program and the culminating learning experience.

  • CJE 6718 Proseminar in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)

Students must achieve a grade of "B" (3.0) or higher in every course listed under core requirements and in the capstone course (CJE 6718).

Elective Courses—15 Credit Hours

The combined total of Restricted and Unrestricted 5000 level electives may not exceed 12 credit hours.

Restricted—6 Credit Hours

Select two from the following courses.

  • CJC 5020 Foundations of Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 5021 Foundations of Law Enforcement (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6020 Juvenile Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6568 Law and Social Control (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6520 American Criminal Courts (3 credit hours)

Unrestricted—9 Credit Hours

  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Students should consult with the Criminal Justice adviser for approval of general electives outside of the Criminal Justice program prior to enrolling. Criminal Justice courses at the 5000 or 6000 level, not used toward core or restricted electives, are pre-approved general electives.


Track Curriculum: Public Administration MPA Dual Degree

The dual degree track (Master of Criminal Justice / Master of Public Administration) consists of 51 credit hours. Each student completes a core of 11 courses (33 credit hours), two research methods and statistics courses (6 credit hours), two electives (6 credit hours), and a capstone experience of two courses (6 credit hours).

Required Courses—45 Credit Hours

Core—33 Credit Hours

  • CCJ 5015 The Nature of Crime (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 5456 The Administration of Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6106 Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6118 Criminal Justice Organizations (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6035 Public Administration in the Policy Process (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6037 Public Organization Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6053 Public Administrators in the Governance Process (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6207 Public Financial Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6227 Public Budgeting (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6335 Strategic Planning and Management (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6417 Human Resource Management (3 credit hours)

Research Methods/Statistics—6 Credit Hours

Select one PAD course and one CCJ course:

  • PAD 6700 Research Methods in Public Administration (3 credit hours) or CCJ 6704 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • PAD 6701 Analytic Techniques for Public Administration (3 credit hours) or CCJ 6706 Quantitative Methods and Computer Utilization in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)

Capstone—6 Credit Hours

  • PAD 6062 Advanced Concepts and Applications in Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 6718 Proseminar in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)

Electives—6 Credit Hours

Select two of the following courses:

  • CJC 5020 Foundations of Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 5021 Foundations of Law Enforcement (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6020 Juvenile Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6568 Law and Social Control (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6520 American Criminal Courts (3 credit hours)

Additional Program Requirements

Students must achieve a grade of "B" or higher in every CCJ course and a grade of "B-" or higher in every PAD course in the required courses, including the Capstone courses. Students must maintain a program of study and graduate status GPA of 3.0 or higher and can only graduate with a graduate status GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Timeline for Completion

Graduate students have seven years from the original date of admission to complete a graduate program.  No course older than seven years at the time of graduation may be used in the Plan of Study to fulfill degree requirements.  This includes transfer work and applies to students who have been re-admitted or received a Special Leave of Absence.

Course Schedule

Below is an example of a two-year course schedule for the MSCJ.  This serves to give students a general idea of how they may progress through the program.  Student's individual course schedules will be determined by the courses offered in the given semesters. 

First Semester  

Course Prefix & NumberCourse NameCourse TypeCredit Hours
CCJ 5015Nature of CrimeCore3
CCJ 5456Administration of JusticeCore3
CXX 5/6XXXRestricted Elective IRestricted Elective3

Second Semester 

Course Prefix & Number    Course NameCourse TypeCredit Hours
CCJ 6704Research MethodsCore3
CCJ 6106Policy AnalysisCore3
CXX 5/6XXXRestricted Elective IIElective3

Third Semester  

Course Prefix & NumberCourse NameCourse TypeCredit Hours
CCJ 6118Criminal Justice OrganizationsCore3
CCJ 6719Translational Criminal JusticeCore3
CXX 5/6XXXGeneral Elective IElective

3

Fourth Semester 

Course Prefix & NumberCourse NameCourse TypeCredit Hours
CJE 6718ProSeminar in Criminal JusticeCore3
CXX 5/6XXXGeneral Elective IIElective3
CXX 6XXXGeneral Elective IIIElective3
   36 total


Examination Requirements

Comprehensive Examination

 A final exit examination and survey are required of all students completing the Criminal Justice Master’s program. This requirement will be completed online in students’ last semester.

Culminating Experience

Independent Learning

Independent learning is demonstrated throughout the curriculum through the process of inquiry and dialogue. Tangible projects such as research projects, scholarly papers, internships, practicum, and presentations at professional conferences also contribute to the self development of our students. 

Graduate Research

UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to (1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, (2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and (3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. Students are responsible for being informed of rules, regulations and policies pertaining to research. Below are some general policies and resources.

Research Policies and Ethics Information: UCF's Office of Research & Commercialization ensures the UCF community complies with local, state and federal regulations that relate to research. For polices including required Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval when conducting research involving human subjects (e.g. surveys), animal research, conflict of interest and general responsible conduct of research, please see their website: www.research.ucf.edu > Compliance.

UCF’s Patent and Invention Policy: In most cases, UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. The graduate student as inventor will according to this policy share in the proceeds of the invention. Please see the current UCF Graduate Catalog for details: www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu > Policies > General Graduate Policies.

Financial Support

The Department of Criminal Justice makes every effort to support funding for graduate research assistants and graduate assistants.  The department evaluates students for Fall Graduate Assistantships in early spring of every year. Those students that have applied for the spring, summer and fall of the upcoming academic year by January 15th will be considered for department Graduate Assistantship positions.

Applicants must submit the following documents to be considered: Official transcripts reflecting minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE scores (regardless of track), statement of goals, resume, and letters of recommendation. These applications are evaluated by the Graduate Committee as part of this very competitive process, and offers are made in the spring.

Graduate Student Associations

LAE Criminal Justice Pre-Professional Fraternity

Lambda Alpha Epsilon invites all Criminal Justice undergraduate and graduate students interested in criminal justice to become members.  Participate in ride-alongs, jail tours, UCF Career Fairs, criminal justice crime-scene competitions and volunteer events (such as SWAT roundup).  Everyone is welcome to become a member.  Learn more about exciting career opportunities in criminal justice by joining our national pre-professional criminal justice fraternity. 

APS Criminal Justice Honor Society 

Students interested in the Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society can visit the website www.alphaphisigma.org or contact cjhonors@gmail.com for more information.  Benefits include access to job opportunities, association with other like-minded serious criminal justice students, involvement in a nationally recognized professional organization, and exposure to a wide range of criminal justice related activities outside of the academic environment.  Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum of 3.4 GPA in both Criminal Justice courses and overall courses, on a 4.0 scale.  Students must have completed a minimum of four courses within the criminal justice curriculum.

Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF’s graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students’ personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, please visit www.gsa.ucf.edu 

Professional Development

The career opportunities for graduates in criminal justice are unlimited. Graduates can become police, correctional or probation officers, administrators, police chiefs, crime analysts, private security administrators, superintendents, sheriffs, attorneys, program directors or elected officials.

The outlook for students entering law enforcement or the correctional fields is expected to be good. Although the level of government spending influences the employment in these areas, the recent support of more professionals in these areas is a trend that is expected to continue. The need to replace currently employed professionals who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force, coupled with rising employment demand, should generate thousands of job openings each year. With experience and additional education, qualified professionals may advance to supervisory, administrative or counseling positions.

In addition to speaking with an adviser, any of the books listed below might help students decide on a career in criminal justice:

DeLucia, Robert C. and Thomas J. Doyle. (1998). Career Planning in Criminal Justice, Cincinnati, OH: Anderson.
Harr, J. S., & Hess, M. (2009). Careers in Criminal Justice and related fields: From internship to promotion, Wadsworth.  368 pages.
Justice Research Association. (2000). Your Criminal Justice Career, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 
Stephens, W. R. (2001). Careers in Criminal Justice, Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

For more information please see the UCF Career Services website at www.career.ucf.edu.

Job Search

Many occupations today require college-educated individuals who can write and speak well, solve problems, learn new information quickly and work well with others on a team. This means that college graduates use their education in a wide variety of fields, and your future career may relate as much to your personal career interests, work values and transferable skills as your specific academic major.

Criminal Justice focus on the effective implementation of law, as well as the relationship of laws to the safety and protection of life and property.  Study in law enforcement concentrates on the implementation of laws aimed at ensuring the peaceful cooperation, and the security and safety of human lives and property. Some possible career choices include:

  • Border Patrol Officer
  • Correction Officer 
  • Rehabilitation Councilor 
  • Community Relations Officer 
  • Immigration Agent 
  • US Customs Agent 
  • Case Worker 
  • Parole/Probation Officer 
  • Crime Scene Investigator
  • Crime Analyst
  • Criminal Investigator or Detective
  • Drug Enforcement Officer 
  • Police Officer 
  • Forensic Science Specialist 
  • FBI Agent 
  • US Marshall 
  • Secret Service Agent 
  • Juvenile Probation Officer 
  • Private Investigator 
  • Risk Management Investigator or Manager

For additional information please contact the Department of Criminal Justice at 407-823-2603        .

For a list of job opportunities please see our website at www.cohpa.ucf.edu/crim.jus/joblinks.shtml.

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