Graduate program (MS) Goals and Objectives
- Upon completion of the program, students will be able to understand the relevant body of disciplinary knowledge, while concurrently the appropriate skills essential for future success in the broad field of criminal justice, whether in law enforcement, probation, corrections or administration, applying social justice perspectives to the examination of criminal justice policies.
- Upon completion of the program, students will have developed additional and/or enhanced skills for purposes of career advancement or improved job performance.
Goals and Objectives (from Graduate Student Handbook, last updated 2018-2019)
Goal 1. To meet state and regional needs by providing graduate students with a relevant body of disciplinary knowledge skills necessary for future success in the broad field of criminal justice.
- To provide students with a comprehensive and relevant criminal justice education that includes an understanding of crime causation, the nature of criminal behavior, societal responses to crime, the effects of public policy and developing trends in the field. As such, the curriculum is intended to be aligned with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s standards for criminal justice programs;
- To emphasize the development of communication skills within the curriculum – skills required by criminal justice employers;
- To facilitate successful completion of the graduate program in criminal justice by clearly articulating program requirements.
Goal 2. To provide opportunities for enhancing the knowledge and skills of regional criminal justice professionals for purposes of career advancement.
- To emphasize the existence and importance of diversity in criminal justice issues and in the workplace; sensitizing students to how class, race, gender, ethnicity and other categories of diversity impacts crime and justice in America;
- To require critical thinking and other higher order cognitive skills appropriate for graduate-level study in course requirements. Beyond the understanding of the essentials of criminal justice education, graduate students will utilize cognitive skills that are in keeping with graduate-level learning. More specifically, learning on the graduate level requires the development and use of critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills require reflective habits of thought, the ability to support one’s conclusions and evaluation of the perspectives of others. Evaluation requires the competent use of scholarly evidence and the proficient testing of the accuracy of various knowledge claims;
- To require the exercise of written and oral communication skills in course requirements so that students might develop and improve writing and speaking skills;
- To emphasize, where appropriate, the applied aspects of course materials, including the use of information technology and scientific methodologies, and problem-solving activities;
- To require the development of research skills. These include the comprehension of professional and technical studies and reports, in both qualitative and quantitative formats; proficiency in conducting systematic digital and textual searches; and, in the context of some course requirements, developing competencies in the evaluation of evidence and claims.
Goal 3. To provide a solid academic foundation for the pursuit of doctoral-level work in criminal justice or other professional degree programs.
- To augment the fundamental disciplinary knowledge in criminal justice with more advanced study and more challenging methods of examination necessary and appropriate for education beyond the undergraduate level;
- To routinely incorporate into course assignments critical and analytical thinking assignments, the assessment of competing perspectives, analysis, synthesis and evaluation in order to facilitate conceptual learning;
- To develop effective written and oral communication skills that are important in criminal justice careers and for successful performance in doctoral or other professional degree programs;
- To offer challenging courses with increasing complexity of course constructs, theories and other scientific applications (i.e., CRJU 557 Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice or CRJU 525 Comparative Crime and Justice or CRJU 546 Class, Race, Gender, and Crime);
- To provide opportunities for supervised independent research through such course vehicles such as CRJU 503 Directed Study or in the various research seminars in the program (i.e. CRJU 542 Research Seminar in Corrections; CRJU 597 Research Seminar in Criminal Justice).
Goal 4. The Criminal Justice Programs seek to contribute to a more informed public which will enhance public dialogue on complex and critical criminal justice issues.
- To regularly host public forums and/or conferences that focus on criminal justice issues where the public has a vested interest.