Program Description - MS in Criminal Justice
Program Director: Kimberly R. Freeman, PhD, MSW
Crime disrupts personal and community relationships, endangers public health and safety, and threatens the moral contours of everyday social life. Loma Linda University's mission "to make man whole" provides a powerful and much-needed context in which criminal justice can be addressed on the basis of healing and restoration. The principles of restorative justice elevate the dimensions of justice that:
- Promote the acceptance of responsibility,
- Promote the fulfillment of obligations,
- Embrace forgiveness and reconciliation, and
- Culminate in the restoration of personal and social relationships.
This multidisciplinary approach to deviance and the administration of justice takes into consideration the social, physical and spiritual well-being of victims, offenders, and communities--which provides a deeper understanding of crime and the struggle of the modern criminal justice system.
The purpose of the Criminal Justice Program is to prepare students to think critically, analytically, and creatively about the problems of crime and social control in the contemporary world. The program is designed to meet the diverse needs of criminal justice professionals. It will accomplish a number of objectives, including:
- To prepare students for careers in law enforcement, corrections, criminal justice administration, and planning.
- To provide students with a thorough knowledge of social science theory and of applying criminological theory and research to current problems in criminal justice.
- To provide students with a thorough knowledge of current issues in criminal justice; and of the importance of the relationship of criminal justice to other disciplines and professions, such as social work, psychology, medicine, dentistry, nursing, and public health.
- To prepare students for the application of various computer technologies to decision-making in the criminal justice system.
- To prepare students to conduct social research on crime and the effect of policies and programs on crime outcomes.
All students must complete a two-year program consisting of 48 quarter units of coursework. There are 26 units of foundation content required for all students, followed by one of the two concentrations:
Administration or Forensic Mental Health
Students opting for the policy, planning, and administration concentration will study public administration, the economic dimensions of social policy, organizational theory, program planning, and policy analysis as they relate to contemporary problems in criminal justice.
Forensic Mental Health
The forensic mental health concentration provides students with both global and domestic perspectives on violence, mental health, and drug and alcohol abuse issues. Both concentrations emphasize a thoughtful reflection about public philosophy and ethical issues in criminal justice that will provide students with a deeper understanding of the logic influencing policy, administration, and practice issues affecting the field.
This program follows the admission requirements of the School of Behavioral Health, including:
- Applicants must demonstrate satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For admission with regular status, satisfactory performance is defined as a minimum combined verbal and quantitative score of 1000, and an analytical writing score of 4.0. Students submitting lower scores may be considered for provisional status.
OR the applicant must demonstrate satisfactory performance on a critical essay examination (CEE) administered by the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology under the guidance of the School of Behavioral Health.
For admission with regular status, satisfactory performance for the CEE is defined as a minimum pass rate of 75 percent.
- Applicants must demonstrate satisfactory adherence with the minimum academic and professional compatibility criteria established by the program, which includes:
- A cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) (special consideration may be given to applicants with grade-point averages as low as 2.75 if the last part of their college work shows significant improvement).
- Evidence of professional compatibility, personal qualifications, and motivation to complete a graduate program by obtaining a passing score on the admissions interview with the department's Admissions Committee. Evaluation criteria for the interview include--
- verbal communication skills,
- critical-thinking ability
- values congruent with the criminal justice profession,
- appreciation of human diversity,
- evidence of reflective learning and ~comportment.
- Submission of a completed application, including--a personal statement, application fee, all college and/or university transcripts, and three letters of recommendation (one from an academic source and one from a work supervisor preferred).
The 48-unit curriculum for the MS degree in criminal justice provides the mix of academic, experiential, and research activities essential for MS degree students. Students must maintain a grade-point average of 3.0 (or a letter grade of B on a 4.0 scale); and meet the knowledge, skill, and professional performance competencies outlined by the program.
Students must also maintain a B- (2.7) or better in all required (core) courses and a minimum of a C (2.0) in all selective courses. Courses with grades falling below the standards set for required and selective courses must be repeated. Students are financially responsible for the cost of repeating courses when grades do not meet these minimum standards.
The two-year, 48-quarter unit program begins with 26 units of core coursework required for all students. Coursework during the first year of study is divided into three professional areas of study, which include: criminal justice; religion, philosophy, and ethics; and social research methods. At the end of the first year, students select their concentration area of policy, planning, and administration or forensic mental health--each requiring 6 units, plus 6 units of concentration-specific selectives.
To complete the program, the student has two options:
- Professional practica (9 professional units requiring 540 hours of integrated practicum and seminar) and 9 units of didactic selectives, or
- Six units of academic thesis and 4 units of didactic selectives.