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Metro State University is not currently accepting applications for the Criminal Justice MS Program

Criminal Justice (MS)

About The Program

Program note: The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is not accepting applications at this time; instead, we offer a 12 credit Focus Area of Study in Criminal Justice. 

While we presently do not offer our full Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree, the need to understand the criminal justice system, and how to transform it, has never been greater. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice now offers a 12 credit Focus Area of Study in Criminal Justice as part of the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees in Individualized Studies.  

Our graduate focus area in criminal justice is taught by our award-winning SCJ resident faculty and comprises the following coursework: 

  • CJS 625 Justice Transformation and Community Healing (4 credits). Offered fall semester 
  • CJS 615 Program and Policy Evaluation in the Criminal Justice System (2 credits) AND CJS 620 Reducing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising? (2 credits). Offered spring semester 
  • CJS 645 Leadership and Innovation in Criminal Justice (4 credits). Offered summer semester 

Students may also take CJS 660I Student Designed Independent Study to examine other criminal justice related topics. 

These courses can be taken in any order and are open to any Metro State graduate student as approved graduate elective credits.  

Students in Public and Nonprofit Leadership programs (e.g., MAPL, MNLM, MPA, MPNA) may be especially interested in these courses because they provide a unique opportunity to sample the criminal justice curriculum on your own terms. Explore timely and topical issues related to public safety policy, such as whether communities can reduce violence and ensure the health and security of their residents without depending on police.  

Students will demonstrate and improve critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills as they learn what works to reduce crime and achieve justice. 

How to enroll

Program eligibility requirements

Our Criminal Justice MS is presently not accepting applications. However, graduate-level classes in criminal justice are open to all graduate students at Metro State University. Students in Public and Nonprofit Leadership programs may be especially interested in these courses, but before registering, please check with your advisor to ensure that courses will qualify for directive elective credit.

Students wishing to complete the full 12-credit Focus Area of Study in Criminal Justice must be enrolled in either the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in Individualized Studies. Questions about those programs should be directed to the College of Individualized Studies' Graduate Program Co-directors, Dr. Richard Bohannon (richard.bohannon@metrostate.edu) or Dr. Gemma Punti (gemma.punti@metrostate.edu).

Courses and Requirements

SKIP TO COURSE REQUIREMENTS

To learn more about graduate education in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, please contact Dr. James Densley at james.densley@metrostate.edu.

Focus Area of Study in Criminal Justice (12 credits)

+ Offered as part of the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in Individualized Studies.

Students learn to read, understand, and conduct the types of program and policy evaluations that are typically used in criminal justice agencies. At the end of the course, the student will know the vocabulary, concepts, theories, and techniques related to program and policy evaluation well enough to implement their own evaluation projects. The student will participate in both designing and conducting actual program evaluations.

Full course description for Program and Policy Evaluation in the Criminal Justice System

This course examines different strategies to reduce crime used in communities, families, schools, labor markets, places, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. These strategies are critically examined in relation to social science theory and what the scientific evidence suggests about the effectiveness of crime prevention and intervention efforts. A key focus is whether communities can reduce violence and ensure the health and security of their residents without depending on police.

Full course description for Reducing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising?

This course takes a systemic, collaborative, and people-centered approach to justice, combining evidence-based and community stakeholder-driven practices that foster inclusion and authentic community building. This course raises awareness around mass incarceration, unfair sentencing practices, police violence, and the disparate impact of current justice practices across different communities. With an emphasis on community action, healing, and accountability, this course empowers students to think differently about public safety and create system change.

Full course description for Justice Transformation and Community Healing

The course explores past and future trends, challenges, and advancements in criminal justice/law enforcement leadership. Focusing on the stories and lessons learned by leaders throughout the private, nonprofit, and public sectors; while exploring issues of ethics, diversity, and changing demographics of leadership within the criminal justice/law enforcement profession.

Full course description for Leadership and Innovation in Criminal Justice

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for CJS 660I Student Designed Ind Study

Criminal Justice MS (32 credits)

Presently not accepting applications.

+ Core (18 credits)

Students learn to read, understand, and conduct the types of program and policy evaluations that are typically used in criminal justice agencies. At the end of the course, the student will know the vocabulary, concepts, theories, and techniques related to program and policy evaluation well enough to implement their own evaluation projects. The student will participate in both designing and conducting actual program evaluations.

Full course description for Program and Policy Evaluation in the Criminal Justice System

This course examines different strategies to reduce crime used in communities, families, schools, labor markets, places, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. These strategies are critically examined in relation to social science theory and what the scientific evidence suggests about the effectiveness of crime prevention and intervention efforts. A key focus is whether communities can reduce violence and ensure the health and security of their residents without depending on police.

Full course description for Reducing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising?

This course takes a systemic, collaborative, and people-centered approach to justice, combining evidence-based and community stakeholder-driven practices that foster inclusion and authentic community building. This course raises awareness around mass incarceration, unfair sentencing practices, police violence, and the disparate impact of current justice practices across different communities. With an emphasis on community action, healing, and accountability, this course empowers students to think differently about public safety and create system change.

Full course description for Justice Transformation and Community Healing

The course explores past and future trends, challenges, and advancements in criminal justice/law enforcement leadership. Focusing on the stories and lessons learned by leaders throughout the private, nonprofit, and public sectors; while exploring issues of ethics, diversity, and changing demographics of leadership within the criminal justice/law enforcement profession.

Full course description for Leadership and Innovation in Criminal Justice

+ Capstone (6 credits)

The course is the continuation of CJS 680 and the culmination of the Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Students work independently with faculty to complete their individualized teaching, applied, or thesis project. Competence Statement Students will understand the interaction between theory and practice in the criminal justice system to the extent that they will be able to identify problems in need of solutions and propose research projects that address these problems. Students will determine and make progress towards their final project for their masters degree. Students can chose from 3 options: 1. Thesis 2. Applied Project 3. Teaching Preparation

Full course description for Praxis Seminar II

+ Directed Electives (12 credits)

Choose from this list:

This course focuses on the problems criminal justice professionals encounter in their duties as managers/supervisors regarding managing of human resources with a focus on: policy development; labor/management issues; labor laws; budgeting issues and concerns; supervising the difficult employee; internal discipline, recruitment, training, and retention issues; and working with minority issues and cultural differences.

Full course description for Managing Human Resources in Criminal Justice

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for CJS 660I Student Designed Ind Study

This course focuses on justice system responses to victim and offender special populations, including: women; children; the elderly; LGBTQ+ people; immigrants; and people with disabilities (physical, developmental, behavioral, and sensory). This course teaches critical incident stress management for first responders and crisis intervention, de-escalation, and other skills necessary to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use.

Full course description for Crisis Response, Mental Illness, and Working with Special Populations

This course examines the social and psychological dynamics associated with families in crisis and the police role in providing assistance in crisis situations. This course reviews best practices working with victims of crime, including family members, juveniles, and vulnerable adults and the ethical conflicts associated to working with diverse communities. The course also serves as partial fulfillment of state required learning objectives for eligibility to become a licensed peace officer in Minnesota.

Full course description for Advanced Police Communications

This course examines the dynamics of police culture and how it influences police officers' behavior. It explores the complex interactions between police culture and issues relating to integrity for police managers. The underlying values of the police culture are examined as challenges for police supervisors developing integrity within law enforcement agencies. Issues connected to loyalty, racism, professionalism and use of force are focused on as they relate to integrity within police agencies.

Full course description for Police Culture

Using both a theoretical and practical framework, students will identify a critical issue facing law enforcement. The student will research the critical issues, identifying alternatives and solutions. This course is a student designed research project to meet the special needs of the students, their agency, and/or the law enforcement profession.

Full course description for Applied Police Research

This course focuses on behavior in organizations as influenced by individual differences, group processes and interactions, and organizational processes. Skills and abilities essential for effective management in changing organizational contexts are emphasized. Topics examined include motivation, diversity, group development team building, power and politics, leadership, job design and organizational culture.

Full course description for Organizational Behavior and Leadership

This course introduces MPNA, MPA, MNLM, and other Metro State graduate students who are interested in public service to the theories and best practices of leading and managing public service organizations. This course will adapt the study of leadership and organizations to the unique obligations, functions, processes, and public values and societal outcomes that govern the decisions of the government and nonprofit sectors. Public service is the result of the work of local, state, and federal government; regional compacts or special districts; tribal governments; nonprofit organizations and social enterprises; partnerships between government and business; and international linkages (that are necessary for solving global problems likes pandemics and climate change) . The public service perspective is evident when government and civil society collectively marshal efforts to respond to human-made (9-11 Terrorist Attacks, Aurora, Colorado Theater Mass Shooting) and natural (Hurricane…

Full course description for Leading Public Service Organizations

Public Ethics and the Common Good brings together into one course the four essential elements of ethical organizational management: development of a code of ethics and standards of professional conduct, instituting systematic training and enforcement on ethical expectations, ethical leadership to incorporate these expectations into the lived culture of the organization, and commitment to corporate responsibility for the common good that meets the demands of procedural and distributive justice.

Full course description for Public Ethics and the Common Good

Strategic human resource management includes the following major components, with specific attention to the unique environment and challenges facing public and nonprofit professionals: a strategic perspective that connects HR management with the organization's mission; labor relations; compensation; benefits management; recruitment and selection; performance management; and an additional focus on organizational/program/project management to align the organization's human resources with overall organization goals and priorities.

Full course description for Strategic Human Resources Management: Public and Nonprofit

MAPL 662 is an elective course in the Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) Program. This class prepares advocates to understand the extent to which courts - or more precisely the issues confronting our legal system -- drive policy and social change. Students will develop practical skills to seek legal remedies for their constituencies, and strategies for knowing when to choose the courts instead of the legislative process.

Full course description for The Legal System and Public Policy