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Is This Program Right for Me?

I am a working adult. Is this the right program for me?
This program was designed with the working adult in mind. The program consists of web-enhanced courses with Saturday meetings. If you have further questions about program applicability to your current situation we recommend that you contact the program director, Dr. Deborah Eckberg at 763-657-3758 or deborah.eckberg@metrostate.edu.

General Questions

Who should enroll in this program?
Practitioners who work in a variety of agencies associated (directly or indirectly) with criminal justice. These can include, but are not limited to, the public, private, and non–profit sectors of law enforcement, corrections, and the courts.

What are the benefits of earning a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice?
Students who have a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice are well positioned to become leaders/administrators in their agency. Criminal justice administrators/leaders are agents of change and their decisions have far reaching implications for all members of society. Some criminal justice and law enforcement agencies require a Master's Degree for promotional opportunities. Leadership positions generally equate to a higher pay grade. Some students may seek to teach future criminal justice and law enforcement practitioners and a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice is generally the minimum requirement. Course work in this Master's program centers around becoming an ethical leader that has the tools to address many of the complex issues a professional will be facing now and in the future.

How many credits is the program?
The program consists of 32 credits; 24 are required and 8 are elective.

How long will this program take to complete?
The program can be completed in two full years if you take 2 classes per semester (Fall and Spring) plus take elective classes during Summer semesters. This does not include the prerequisite course, Introduction to Criminal Justice.

When does the program start?
New students are admitted to the program to start fall semester each year. You cannot start at any other time of the year.

What is the format of the MS in CJ program?
The program is designed as a hybrid, or limited seat–time, program. Core courses are a mixture of online and classroom learning. The classroom time has Saturday requirements. Core classes generally meet 9 a.m.–11:30 a.m. and 12:30–4:30 p.m. Classes are held every other Saturday throughout the semester. Elective courses are offered in various formats and schedules.

Are any classes offered online only?
All the core classes are offered hybrid format only. Elective credits can be taken online, on–campus, or hybrid.

Is this program a cohort?
No, it is not a cohort, however new students will only be admitted to begin fall semester. Students are permitted to start the program, take one or two semesters off, and resume their studies. Students who are not enrolled for three or more consecutive semesters must seek re-admission into the program.

Where are classes held?
Core classes are held at the award winning Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center (LECJEC) on the Brooklyn Park campus of Metropolitan State University. The address of the LECJEC is 9110 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445.

The School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (SLC) offices are located in the same building. The SLC office is open for business Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The main phone number for the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Education Center is 763–657–3700.

How much does the program cost?
Tuition and fees are set each year by the university. Current rates can be found on the tuition costs page. Hybrid or limited seat–time classes are considered on–campus for tuition purposes.

How does the program compare in cost to other graduate programs in the Twin Cities?
Based on the number of credits required for the MSCJ degree and the graduate tuition rate, Metropolitan State University's program is the best buy in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area.

Is financial aid available?
Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information please see the financial aid page.

How many credits do I need to take to qualify for financial aid?
A minimum of 4 graduate credit hours (course number >599) must be taken each semester if you are admitted as a graduate student. For more information, visit the financial aid application page.

Is financial aid available in the summer?
Summer financial aid consists of unused financial aid eligibility from the previous fall and spring terms. If you accepted all of your grants and/or loans for the fall and spring semesters preceding the summer term, your financial aid eligibility for the summer term may be limited to alternative loans. To find out if you are eligible for summer financial aid, in March before the summer term you plan to attend, complete the summer application that will be on the Financial Aid website for summer aid eligibility. After you submit the summer application, you will receive an email and letter from the Office of Student Financial Aid stating your summer eligibility. If you are awarded Federal Stafford loans in the summer, you must complete a new master promissory note to accept the summer loan funds. The Office of Student Financial Aid will not be able to determine your summer eligibility until you’ve completed the summer financial aid application and have registered for summer courses. For more information, visit the financial aid application page.

Is there parking available at the LECJEC?
Yes, there are parking lots in front of the building. Parking fees are automatically applied to your tuition bill when you register for courses.

Am I able to tour the LECJEC?
Please call ahead to make arrangements. Due to increased security in this building only faculty, staff, and students with school issued identification cards are permitted inside.

Do I have to buy my books through Metropolitan State's book store?
No, students are permitted to purchase books from anywhere so long as they have the books by the start of the first day of class.

What kind of technology is required?
Students will need to utilize Microsoft Office and the online course management software, Desire2Learn, to complete this program. Assignments are required to be submitted electronically. For students who do not have a personal computer with Microsoft Office and an internet connection, they will have access to computer labs on campus. Students are strongly encouraged to have their own personal computer and internet access.

What is Desire2Learn?
This is the course management software that will be utilized in your courses for the online component.

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Eligibility

I have a two year degree; can I apply to this program?
No, only those with a completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university are eligible for the Master’s program. However, you can apply for admission to the law enforcement or criminal justice bachelor’s degree program. See details about our undergraduate degree programs.

My degree is from another country. Am I eligible for this program?
Only if your transcript has been evaluated by a regionally accredited evaluation agency and approved by our Admissions Office.

I am not yet a citizen, but will be eligible to apply for citizenship soon. Can I start this program before I am a US citizen?
Yes, you may attend this program.

What is the GPA requirement?
Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from the bachelor degree–granting institution. If the GPA is 2.99 or lower, students must complete an assessment exam.

Do I have to take the GRE?
No, if you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from the bachelor degree–granting institution you do not need to take any kind of assessment. Applicants to the Master of Science in Criminal Justice who have a cumulative GPA of 2.99 or less are required to take an assessment for inclusion in their application file. The assessment is offered free of charge and can be completed at Metropolitan State University. See the assessment page for more details. If you have already taken the GRE and have minimum scores of 450V, 550Q, and 4W, an official copy of your GRE score can be used in lieu of this assessment.

I don’t have two years of full–time experience; can I still apply?
This Master’s program is an applied program. It is designed for students who already have some direct experience working in the criminal justice system. It is important that students have experience working in a criminal justice agency. Those without two full years of professional experience may be admitted, depending on quality of experience, at the discretion of the Graduate Admissions Committee.

I have two years' experience in a criminal justice agency, but I currently am not working, can I apply?
Yes, you do not need to currently be working to have your experience qualify.

Is two years of volunteer experience acceptable for the two–year requirement?
It depends on what your volunteer experience includes.

Is two years of military experience acceptable for the two–year requirement?
It depends on what your military experience includes.

I am not sure if my experience is relevant enough for it to be considered experience; what should I do?
If you are unsure, submit your application and make your case for why you think your experience should be considered. Clearly spell out to the committee why your experience is relevant.

My degree is not from a regionally accredited university; can I still apply?
No, the requirement is that your degree come from a regionally accredited university.

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Prerequisites

Are there any prerequisites for the Master’s program?
Yes, a Bachelor’s degree (either a BS or a BA) from a regionally accredited college or university is required for admission to the program. You also need to have successfully completed Introduction to Criminal Justice.

How can I take the prerequisite?
Students who are accepted into the program may take Introduction to Criminal Justice from any regionally accredited university. Metropolitan State offers this class online during the summer semester prior to the start of the program.

Can I take the prerequisites in the fall semester in combination with other courses or does it have to be completed before the start of the program?
The prerequisite course must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall semester.

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Applying to the Program

When can I submit my application?
Priority deadline for application consideration is March 31, 2015. Applications will still be accepted after the priority deadline until the program reaches capacity. At that time, it will be announced on the web page that we are no longer accepting applications.

Where do I get an application for the MS program?
Download the online application.

Do I have to have transcripts sent from every school I have ever attended or just from the one where I earned my Bachelor's degree?
You only need to provide a transcript from the school that awarded your Bachelor's degree, unless the prerequisite course was taken at another school, in which case you will need to send that transcript. Furthermore, if you plan on transferring any graduate credits, you will also need to include an official copy of the transcript for consideration. Graduate courses have a 500 number or above.

If I am a graduate of Metropolitan State University, do I still have to send my transcript?
No, we have access to your transcript.

If I am a graduate of Metropolitan State University, do I still have to pay the application fee?
No, graduates of Metropolitan State have their application fee waived.

Can I apply before my Bachelor’s degree is completed?
Yes, so long as your Bachelor’s degree is completed by the spring term. Students accepted pending degree completion must verify degree completion before the program begins. Students graduating with their undergraduate degree in July or August will not be considered for admission.

How and when will I know if I have been accepted into the Master of Science Program?
Individuals will be notified of their acceptance no later than eight weeks following the application deadline.

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Coursework

How do I register for classes?
Students admitted into the program will receive detailed information regarding the registration process.

I have taken graduate courses at another school/in another state. Will they count towards this program?
It is possible they may apply. Students may request transfer of credits into the program by providing a copy of an official transcript, course description and syllabus along with a cover letter outlining how the classes apply to the program. Up to 12 credits may be transferred, but only 3 can be applied to a required course. A review of transfer eligibility will be made by the Program Director. The course work must have been taken from a regionally accredited university and an official transcript provided. The credits that are being requested for transfer must have been taken at the graduate level (a course number of at least 500 or higher). A course is eligible for transfer only if no degree was granted, a letter grade of B or better was earned in the course, and the course was taken within 5 years of admission. Students requesting transfer of non-criminal justice courses into the program must justify how they support career goals and supplement the core courses in the program.

I served in the military. Can I get credit for my experience?
Prior credit for military experience will not be given.

Can I start taking courses before being admitted to the program?
If the program is full, students who are not admitted will not be allowed to enroll in courses. However, if there are openings, students may register for a course as a non–degree seeking student.

Does the program require a thesis?
No, students are not required to do a thesis. However, students will be required to complete an in–depth final project that will take one of several forms, one of those forms being a thesis. The other options are Capstone projects such as developing a course to be taught, developing a program for a criminal justice agency, etc.

Does this program have a heavy emphasis in writing?
Yes, all classes will require a significant amount of academic writing. Students who do not have strong writing skills are encouraged to take some writing classes prior to beginning the program.



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