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Coming Soon!  Earn your Master’s in Criminal Justice Policy Online at SIUE!

(We anticipate launch in January, 2017)

SIUE will offer an Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Policy. This unique online program targets the advanced study of criminal justice policy and practice, including analysis of controversial issues and possible future practices to working criminal justice professionals in the courts, corrections, and law enforcement areas. A strong foundation in theory and methods will be combined with innovative criminal justice initiatives and focus areas.  The program also offers real world experience with a capstone project option targeting the needs of the where the study currently works, and recognizes the value of such experience with the option of prior learning assessment.  Graduates of the online master’s program in criminal justice policy use their degree as a stepping stone to new careers or for advancement in professional positions that serve the criminal justice community and the public at large.


Applications are reviewed by an Admissions Committee composed of graduate faculty in criminal justice studies.  Admission is competitive and the committee will evaluate each applicant on the bases of the following:

•          Application letter (not more than 2 pages);

•          Undergraduate GPA (minimum 2.5 on 4.0 scale);

•          2 letters of recommendation (can both be from undergraduate faculty, or one can be from current worksite);

•          GPA in prior coursework in criminal justice or criminology;

•          Current or prior employment in criminal justice (optional);

•          Letter of recommendation from employer (optional);

•          GRE score (optional)

•          Writing Sample, if requested

The application letter should describe the student’s reasons for applying and expectations upon graduation.  It should include specific qualifications and a description of relevant professional experiences.


The two year program offers graduation in five consecutive semesters of classes. Each cohort would begin in the fall semester. Students are required to take 15 credits of required core credits, 15 credits of electives, and 6 thesis or capstone credit hours, for a total of 36 hours.

Required Courses

CJ 501 SEMINAR IN CRIME THEORY & POLICY   A critical survey of major theories dealing with crime and the reactions to it.

CJ 502 APPLIED RESEARCH IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE The goal of this course is the development of the analytical abilities of the student. The foundations of inquiry, the various approaches to the study of social phenomena, and several analytical techniques are presented, discussed, and practiced. Prerequisite: an undergraduate statistics course

CJ 513 STATISTICS Focuses on advanced statistical techniques used in criminal justice research with emphasis on interpreting results; multivariate techniques, particularly regression, are emphasized.  Includes theory and practical application to policy issues.

CJ 515 CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLANNING AND BUDGETING  Examination of public sector budgeting from the perspective of agency and departmental managers. Analysis of issues that are involved in planning, developing, tracking and implementing an agency or departmental budget.

CJ 517 POLICY ANALYSIS  A research and writing oriented seminar that will prepare students for conducting criminal justice policy analysis. Topics include the role of interest groups and organizational participants in the policy process, types of policies, and models of policy research. Examined are current criminal justice policies using analysis that considers the development, implementation, and evaluation of policy (i.e., what has occurred in policy, why, and at what benefits or costs).

CJ 598 CAPSTONE I AND II  The capstone project option is geared towards the working professional. The student would propose a policy, procedure, or program development that would benefit his/her home agency, while incorporating the knowledge learned in the Online Master’s program.

CJ 599 THESIS I AND II  Issue, theory or problem in criminal justice policy selected for a traditional research paper that is worthy of analysis, including discussion of findings and development of possible solutions in real world situations.

Elective Courses

Courses Limited to Graduate Students

CJ 505 SEMINAR IN CORRECTIONAL THEORY AND PRACTICE Critical analysis of history, development, implementation, and future of issues in correctional institutions and community corrections; emphasizes study of custody, care, and treatment of this population.

CJ 508 DISPARATE TREATMENT IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM Some populations experience the criminal justice system differently than others; women, minorities, LGBT population, and all are studied as offenders, victims, and criminal justice employees.

CJ 510 COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE Comparative analysis of world-wide responses to criminality.  Emphasizes roles that culture and politics play in reactions to crime and criminal offenders, and policies designed for both.

CJ 525 SEMINAR IN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT Examines death penalty policies both throughout the U.S. and globally, the equality of administration, and deterrent issues.

CJ 526 GEOSPATIAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE Provides the conceptual knowledge and practical skills to design and implement GIS based analysis of community crime problems.

CJ 527 CYBERCRIME Examines spatial analysis and crime mapping. Introduction to the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map and analyze crime patterns.

CJ 528 CIVIL LIABILITY  Critical analysis of civil liability in courts, corrections, and law enforcement. Emphasizes defenses to civil litigation and risk management, administrative and supervisory liability, and personnel issues and liability. Identifies new directions in civil litigation.

CJ 529 HUMAN TRAFFICKING An analysis of the various forms of domestic and international human trafficking, as well as the legal and social measures being taken to identify and protect survivors while punishing offenders.

CJ 535 SEMINAR IN JUVENILE JUSTICE An analysis of the policy issues concerning juvenile justice and youth crime. Emphasis will be put on the scope and nature of youth crime and the young offender, as well as juvenile justice procedures, programs and institutional roles

CJ 536 ORGANIZED CRIME Examines the historical and theoretical overview of organized crime. Topics covered will include the structure of organized crime, the businesses associated with traditional and nontraditional organized crime groups, state and federal laws, and policies regarding organized crime.

CJ 538 CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION Explores the fundamental components of interviewing and investigations. Covers investigative practices in apprehending suspects and preparing criminal cases. Includes an in-depth examination of the science and art of criminal investigations, and gathering and analyzing evidence.

CJ 590 SPECIAL TOPICS Topics not included in regular course offerings. No, because this is where I think we would use the PLA component, and we limited that to 3 hours – that’s my memory anyway….

CJ 596 READINGS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY Supervised reading or projects in selected areas of criminal justice. May be repeated for up to 6 hours. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor.

Undergraduate Courses Open to Graduate Students

CJ 408 CRITICAL ISSUES IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.  Examination and analysis of issues in policing including training and socialization, management and organization, deviance, minority recruitment, community-based policing, and use of force.

CJ 410 JUDICIAL PROCESS IN CRIMINAL CASES Analysis of federal and Illinois criminal court systems; jurisdictions and source of law; stakeholders’roles and criminal court procedures, including appellate practice.

CJ 410 UNITED STATES DRUG POLICY Examines historical and contemporary drug use and policy efforts, including secondary problems affilitated with drugs, the War on Drugs and its impact, nationally and internationally.

CJ 464 MENTAL HEALTH AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM Explores treatment of mentally ill defendants by police, courts, and corrections.  Insanity defense, trial competency, guardianship, civil commitment, and court diversion initiatives such as mental health courts.

CJ 465 THEORIES OF A JUST SOCIETY Examines various constructions of the jus society and the functions of government.  Students consider the role of law and its relationshop to justice for citizens.

Because the 400 level electives are already being offered in the physical classroom at SIUE, students can choose take the 400 level elective classes on campus or take the 500 level electives online. All of the required courses will be online. With this format, students can customize their graduate degree to an entire online program or a hybrid program allowing for some physical classroom time.  We will be in compliance with the Graduate School’s requirement of the number of hours which must be at the 500 level.

Exit Requirements:  The 6 hour capstone project or thesis project culminates in one of the following two exit alternatives: 

1. The capstone project option is geared towards the working professional. The student proposes a policy, procedure, or program development that would benefit his/her home agency, while incorporating the knowledge learned in the Online Master’s program. This proposal would need to be approved by a committee composed of three faculty members. Once the capstone project is completed, the student records and uploads a presentation to BlackBoard collaborate or similar software in use at the time, and then the presentation would be placed on streaming server. The committee of three faculty members would then be able to view the presentation in the capstone course.

2.  The thesis project option is envisioned to be a traditional research paper. A committee of three faculty members must approve the topic. The final thesis must be uploaded and defended to the committee of three faculty members online via Skype or other appropriate technology.

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