Criminal Justice

200 Ruby Jones Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Prof. Nestlerode, Chairperson
Dr. Brewster, Graduate Coordinator

Professors [top]

Dr. Brewster, Coordinator
Dr. Antonio, Graduate Coordinator

Associate Professor

Brian O'Neill, Ph.D., City University of New York

Assistant Professors

Sami Abdel-Salam, Ph.D., Temple University
Michael Antonio, Ph.D., Northeastern University
Jennifer C. Gibbs, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Barbara Kauffman, J.D., Temple University
Chris J. Przemieniecki, Ph.D., University of North Dakota
Cassandra L. Reyes, Ph.D., Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Jane M. Tucker, Ph.D., Temple University

Programs of Study [top]

The master of science in criminal justice program provides a high-quality, advanced education to both full-time and part-time students. The program is well-suited to working professionals and offers evening courses and selected online electives. Professors are all seasoned professionals in their field of expertise and offer practical as well as academic excellence in the classroom. The program also serves as the basis for those planning to pursue doctoral degrees.

While the department does not require a thesis, students may choose to write a thesis by enrolling in CRJ 610 and receiving three semester hours towards the M.S.

Program Goals

Criminal justice professionals, researchers, and academicians are in a unique position to contribute to society. It is incumbent upon these professionals to

  • become knowledgeable about the current issues and dilemmas and their complexities;
  • eschew trite and superficial approaches to issues in the discipline;
  • elevate and advance the discussions and debates;
  • contribute to the development of thoughtful, meaningful, productive proposals and ideas; and
  • provide innovative solutions to the more perplexing issues in the field.

To that end, the graduate program of the Department of Criminal Justice seeks to produce graduates who have developed

  • a sophisticated working knowledge of the major components in the criminal justice system;
  • advanced-information literacy and research skills;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • acute critical-thinking skills that will effectively address the complex issues in a contemporary criminal justice system;
  • an open, honest, and dedicated approach to identifying and solving society’s problems; and
  • advanced skills in making sound ethical and moral judgments.

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to a graduate degree program at West Chester University, applicants must submit scores from the MAT. The department places special emphasis on the academic and professional goals statement found within the application.

Degree Requirements

Prior to receiving the master of science degree in criminal justice, all candidates must

  1. file an application for admission to candidacy with the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education after completion of 12-15 graduate credits,
  2. complete required courses with grades of B or better, and
  3. complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 system).

Master of Science in Criminal Justice [top]

Curriculum (30 semester hours)

  1. Required (15 semester hours)
    CRJ 505, 507, 508, 509, and 600
  2. Optional thesis (3 semester hours)
  3. Electives (12-15 semester hours)
    Chosen from among the following:
    CRJ 500, 503, 506, 515, 522, 524, 525, 526, 528, 530, 535, 545, 546, 555, 560, 565, 566, 570, 575, 580, 582, 590, 599

Course Descriptions [top]

Criminal Justice
Symbol: CRJ

500 Comparative Criminal Justice Systems (3) This course examines criminal justice systems worldwide, focusing primarily on the relationships between the police, courts, and corrections, and the society these subsystems serve. The primary focus will be on the four legal traditions: the common law, civil law, socialist, and Islamic systems of law and social control. Descriptive material on selected countries will be analyzed and compared. Although the major emphasis will be on the substantive content of assigned readings, some attention will be given to research methodology. This course focuses largely on criminal justice components and thematic issues common among nations worldwide and provides insight into the various methods employed by those nations in administering criminal justice.

503 Criminal Behavior and the Law (3) This course is designed to help the student understand behavior by comparing criminal with normal behavior. A survey course, it reviews types of abnormal behavior and mental disorders, methods of diagnosis, and treatment and resolution of interpersonal conflicts. Also included is an understanding of criminal behavior as it applies to abnormality.

505 Criminological Theory (3) This course is a survey of the historical and contemporary attempts to explain the phenomena of crime and criminal behavior from the perspectives of sociology, psychology, economics, biology, and law. Emphasis will be placed on contemporary theories and the analysis of evidence supportive of various theoretical positions.

506 Advanced Leadership and Management (3) This course offers graduate students insight and understanding into the strategies and skills necessary to become outstanding supervisors and leaders. The course content provides students an opportunity to develop personally and professionally through exploration of theory, application of theory to practice, and skill development related to leadership concepts. Students will practice skill sets in a classroom setting and receive immediate feedback, allowing for discussion.

507 Criminal Justice System: Contemporary Ethical Issues (3) This course will provide the graduate student with an overview of the major components of the criminal justice system (i.e., law enforcement, courts, and corrections), with an emphasis on the ethical issues presented within each.

508 Research Design and Analysis (3) This course is intended to introduce the graduate student to the process of social research. It discusses research concepts such as problem identification, data collection, data analysis, hypothesis testing, and the development of conclusions and recommendations.

509 Criminal Jurisprudence (3) This course examines the complex concepts and principles of criminal law and procedure. The foundations of these disciplines will be initially reviewed, followed by a more comprehensive and incisive analysis and investigation of the difficult issues which have evolved through decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Supreme Court jurisprudence is examined and contrasted with the jurisprudence of the Pennsylvania courts.

515 Crime Mapping and Analysis (3) This course examines the process of electronically mapping crime distribution and other spatially defined data with a focus on crime analysis and social service information over time regarding the relevant demographic and social environment. The goal is to teach law enforcement and related social service personnel how to create, manage, map, and analyze data within the spatial context of the relevant community.

522 Corporate and Financial Crime (3) This course facilitates the study of complex and significant areas of economic crime, better known as "white-collar crime." Examples of these types of crimes include insider trading, fraud against the government, corruption of public funds by elected or appointed officials, bid rigging, and unethical industry practices such as "off-labeling" of pharmaceuticals. Basic statutory laws, including the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, will be reviewed.

524 Juvenile Law (3) This course will bring together the leading cases that have reached the Supreme Court, as well as other important federal and state court decisions relating to the juvenile justice process.

525 Retorative Justice (3) This course examines the use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system and its impact on the victim and victim's family, offender, and community at the adult and juvenile level. The history and philosophy of punishment will be explored, as well as a critique and overview of contemporary models of restorative justice.

526 Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement (3) This course examines current policing strategies and political issues that have developed as a result of those strategies. It also will explore the future of policing in America and will present several interdisciplinary approaches to new theoretical perspectives.

528 Advances in Law Enforcement Technology (3) This course will present, identify, and discuss major trends and cutting-edge initiatives in law enforcement technology, as well as address the latest technology in the lab and in the field. Potential problems with new technologies will be examined, including constitutional issues, public policy implications, and difficulties of implementation.

530 Advanced Interviewing Skills for the Criminal Justice Professional (3) This course describes, explains, and teaches the techniques used by experienced interviewers based upon the sciences of human communication and interaction. The course defines the more clinical interview by mental health professionals and distinguishes it from the investigative interview as an analytical crime-solving tool.

545 Criminal Profiling (3) This course explains the art and science of criminal profiling used as an investigative technique to identify offenders' demographic, personality, and behavioral characteristics. The course defines the differences between clinical profiling by mental health professionals and profiling as an analytical investigative tool.

546 Addiction (3) This course explores the history and extent of alcohol and other drugs of abuse and the relationship to crime. The current criminal justice response will be analyzed, as will past efforts at crime control. This course will provide students with the factual, theoretical, and philosophical information necessary to understand the multifaceted dimensions of drug abuse and addiction, as well as a rational approach to address the problem.

555 Topical Seminar in Criminal Justice (3) This course will provide an intensive examination of a selected area of study in the field of criminal justice. Topics will be announced at the time of offering. This course may be taken more than once when different topics are presented.

560 Applied Legal Studies (3) This course presumes a sophisticated working knowledge of criminal law and procedure (successful completion of CRJ 509). The course will examine selected factual accounts of criminal law and process. Through critical examination and analysis of these cases, the student will be able to understand the practical realities of the criminal justice system, and to compare theory and philosophy with practice.

565 Victimology: Theory, Research, and Practice (3) This course analyzes historical and contemporary issues in victimology and victim services. The course covers the historical and modern-day roles of victims in criminal justice, victimization trends and patterns, theories of victimization, current research findings related to crime victims, legal rights of victims, and available victim services.

566 Contemporary Issues in Corrections (3) This course analyzes contemporary issues regarding corrections. Such issues will include the privatization of corrections, diversion, restorative justice, treatment of the mentally ill, sentencing disparity, the politics of corrections, the incarceration of youth, the death penalty, prison overcrowding, inmate rights, the media and corrections, and the use of technology in corrections.

570 Gender, Crime, and Justice (3) This course examines the impact gender has on the criminal justice system by exploring of the victimization of women and the culture that supports it. It will also address the unique issues of women as criminals, as prisoners, and as workers in the criminal justice system.

575 Bioterrorism, Bio-crises, and Public Health (3) This course addresses the protection of the public's health and that of workers, such as first responders, from biological agents that cause disease and/or death. Students will learn scientific concepts, issues, and techniques currently used in disaster mitigation, and response for bio-crises such as disease outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, as well as bioterrorism emergencies. Students will synthesize this information to effectively evaluate, communicate, and reduce risk. Students will manage scenarios to enhance leadership skills. As available, a service-learning research project will be incorporated.

580 Cyber Crime (3) This course addresses the evolution of criminal activity using Internet technology. Areas of study will include cyber terrorism, cyber stalking, espionage, information warfare, electronic fraud, "phishing," systems interference, and other virtual crimes.

582 Controversial Criminal Jurisprudence (3) This course presumes a sophisticated working knowledge of criminal law and procedure (successful completion of CRJ 509). It provides an in-depth analysis of the Supreme Court's historical and contemporary approach to the most controversial issues of criminal law and procedure. The perspectives and arguments will be examined through the study and analysis of U.S. Supreme Court cases.

599 Independent Studies in Criminal Justice (1-3) This course will entail research projects, reports, and readings in criminal justice. Approval of the department chairperson is required.

600 Proseminar (3) This capstone course requires the successful completion of a significant empirical research study. It builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in CRJ 508, as well as the general concepts learned in other graduate CRJ courses. The student is required to present the study’s findings in a scholarly paper and an oral presentation. PREREQ: A grade of B or better in CRJ 508 and approval of the graduate coordinator.

610 Thesis (3) Bound and shelved in the library, the thesis represents the student's ability to plan, organize, and direct a research effort designed to discover, develop, or verify knowledge. Students must have a B or better in PSY 501 or PSY 502. Only for those students taking the thesis track.