Dec 08, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Criminal Justice, M.S.

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Program Overview

The  Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program is a 30-credit hour online program designed to equips students with leadership roles in criminal justice agencies. The program is perfect for students who work full time in state and federal agencies such as law enforcement, probation and parole officers, and organizations (e.g., National White Collar Crime Center, Fusion Center). Some students enter the graduate program immediately following the completion of a baccalaureate degree, while others come back after being out of school for many years. This creates a diverse cohort of motivated individuals who support and assist one another through interactive online education.

The MS in CJ program focuses on the criminal justice system, its organizational components and processes, as well as its legal and public policy contexts. The core curriculum includes instruction in criminal law and policy, police and correctional systems organization, the administration of justice and the judiciary, and public attitudes regarding a wide range of criminal justice issues. The program provides students with advanced theoretical, legal, and methodological training for applied, research, teaching, management and administrative careers in local, state, and federal agencies. The faculty bring a broad range of personal experiences from working in federal and state agencies and have strong ties to local, state and national personnel and organizations.

For more information, vist the program website.

Program Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate and compare theories and data in the criminal justice field as they apply to knowledge and comprehension of the causes, consequences and responses to crime and how these relate to the community and other disciplines, including ethical, professional, and sociopolitical implications.

  2. Students will use written argument, oral presentation, program evaluation and original research approaches to demonstrate the ability to apply theories, evidence based research, and legal doctrines to provide critical commentary and solutions to problems and controversies in the fields of criminology and criminal justice.

  3. Students will create work products reflective of an ability to apply knowledge and comprehension in the criminal justice field through current employment, internships, and future job opportunities. These work products will illustrate proficiency in written and/or oral communication and defense of criminal justice concepts.

Admission and Program Requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements to a master’s program at Fairmont State students applying to the master’s program in criminal justice must meet the following requirements:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

  • Grade point average of 3.00 or higher - includes all transcripts from all previous degrees and matriculation.

  • Completion of undergraduate research methods and statistics courses with a grade of C or higher.

  • Complete a writing 5-10 page writing sample that includes:

    • Why the applicant is interested in earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree,

    • What the applicant’s career and field experiences have been thus far, and

    • What the applicant believes to be the most important issue in criminal justice today. This paper needs to be submitted in APA format and the last section should include peer reviewed resources from empirical/scholarly literature. The writing sample has replaced the use of the GRE for the criminal justice program; GRE scores are not required for admission to the MS in CJ program.

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation - at least one of which must be from someone unaffiliated with Fairmont State (e.g. current or former work supervisors, those who can speak to your character and ability to manage graduate level study).

  • Provisional Admission may be granted for students who do not meet a portion of the admission requirements. Continuation in a program of study for provisionally admitted students will be determined based on performance in the first 9 credit hours. Provisionally admitted students must hold a minimum grade point average of 3.0 with no grade lower than “B” in any graduate course. Provisionally admitted students may not have a grade of “I” or “W” in the first 9 credit hours.

Students whose writing sample is not deemed to be at the appropriate level for graduate work (in terms of depth, breadth, grammar, and formatting) may be provisionally admitted; however, they will be required to complete a writing module prior to beginning graduate courses.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Thesis Track - Professional Research Project
    The Thesis Track is recommended for those considering doctoral studies or interested in independent research programs
    Required Courses 18 hrs.
    Elective Courses 6 hrs.
    Thesis I and Thesis II 6 hrs.
  2. Capstone Track - Comprehensive Exams
    The Capstone Track is recommended for those in applied settings.
    Required Courses 18 hrs.
    Elective Courses 9 hrs.
    Capstone 3hrs.

Program of Study

Thesis Track- Professional Research Project

Capstone Track- Comprehensive Exams

Contact Information:

Dr. Christopher Kast
Dean/Graduate Program Director, College of Liberal Arts
Phone: (304) 367-4236


Dr. Jeri Kirby
Criminal Justice Program Coordinator
Phone: (304) 367-4676


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