University of Alabama at Birmingham Criminal Justice

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University of Alabama at Birmingham Criminal Justice

The criminal justice graduate program requires study in the overall discipline, with intensive focus on the areas of criminal justice policy, criminal justice administration, research methods and statistics, and criminological theory. Beyond a core set of required courses, the program features a  Thesis Track (Plan I) designed for students interested in pursuing a doctorate in criminal justice or criminology, and a Non-Thesis Track (Plan II) designed for students interested in pursuing entry- or advanced-level positions in a criminal justice or related agency setting.  Students selecting the Plan I option are required to complete a Thesis project under a faculty adviser, while students selecting the Plan II track are required to complete a Demonstration Project and are strongly encouraged to complete a field placement (Internship).

Each year, students are admitted to the M.S.C.J. program for the fall term. The application deadline for receipt of all admission materials by the Graduate School is July 1 each year. Students may be admitted to the M.S.C.J. program “in good standing” provided they meet all minimum admission criteria established by the Graduate School and the program, which include having taken an introductory-level statistics course and an introductory-level research methods course in which a grade of “B” or better was earned.  Most students admitted to the program have earned a cumulative undergraduate grade point of average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and earned a combined score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of 300 or higher.  Students who otherwise meet minimum admission criteria but who have not taken both the statistics and the research methods courses may be admitted to the M.S.C.J. program on a “contingency” basis. Students so admitted will not be allowed to register for graduate coursework until the contingencies are removed. Students meeting the minimum requirements for admission including taking the statistics and research methods courses but who lack a substantive background in criminal justice may be admitted to the M.S.C.J. program on a “contingency” basis, but will be required to take remedial coursework before they will be allowed to register for any graduate courses.

The recommended course sequence for the Plan I MSCJ degree is:

Semester 1 (Fall): JS 600, JS 601, JS 606

Semester 2 (Spring): JS 583, JS 605, Elective 1

Semester 3 (Fall): JS 603, JS 604, JS 699

Semester 4 (Spring): JS 699, Elective 2

The recommended course sequence for the Plan II MSCJ degree is:

Semester 1 (Fall): JS 600, JS 601, JS 606

Semester 2 (Spring): JS 583, JS 605, Elective 1

Semester 3 (Fall): JS 603, JS 604, Elective 2

Semester 4 (Spring): JS 697/JS 698, Elective 3 (recommendedJS 693/JS 696), Elective 4

M.S.C.J. Online

Students who wish to take courses on line may complete all or part of the MSCJ completely on line. There is no “on line degree,” it is the same degree regardless of how the courses are taken. Students may take some courses in class and some on line, or may complete the MSCJ completely on line.

The Online MSCJ Degree is designed to mirror the in-class Non-Thesis Plan II degree. Students enrolled in the online degree are required to take the same courses as the Plan II degree — but the courses may taken 100% online. The degree is structured so that students can graduate in 4 semesters (fall, spring, summer, fall) by taking 9 hours each semester.

Students are required to complete a Demonstration Project (JS 697) to display their mastery of the core courses. Specifically, students will complete a research paper that shows they can synthesize a body of literature, create a research question, use appropriate research methods to evaluate the question, and discuss implications (both theory and policy) of the findings. Students are required to work with a faculty member to oversee the project. In their second semester, students will be required to write a brief proposal discussing their topic and potential sources of data. After completing this proposal, they will send it to the Program Director who will then assign a faculty chair based on best fit with the topic. Students can request to work with faculty members, but this does not guarantee they will be assigned to that faculty member. Once a chair is determined, the faculty chair and student will work together until the chair deems the project acceptable.

Under special circumstances, and with permission from the Program Director, students may be allowed to complete a Thesis through the online MSCJ program. In such cases, the student will take 6 hours of Thesis in place of one elective and the Demonstration Project.

The recommended course sequence for the on line MSCJ degree is:

Semester 1 (Fall): JS 600, JS 601, JS 606

Semester 2 (Spring): JS 583, JS 605, Elective 1

Semester 3 (Summer): JS 603, JS 604, Elective 2

Semester 4 (Fall): JS 697/JS 698, Elective 3, Elective 4

Financial Aid

Students who are admitted to the M.S.C.J. program “in good standing” are eligible to receive department-based financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships or scholarships that are awarded on a competitive basis. Students are typically notified of such awards in early June of each year for the following fall.

Additional Information

Deadline for Entry Term(s): Fall
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office: July 1
Number of Evaluation Forms Required: Three
Entrance Tests GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)

Contact Information

For detailed information contact Dr. Heith Copes, Department of Justice Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1201 University Boulevard Office Building, Suite 210, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-4562.
Telephone: 205-934-2069
E-mail jhcopes@uab.edu
Web http://www.uab.edu/cas/justice-sciences/

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