Program Director

Dr. Christopher M. Bellas
1420 Cushwa Hall
(330) 941-2167

Program Description

The Master of Science in criminal justice at YSU provides professional education for criminal justice students. Criminal Justice faculty members are currently involved in research in police management theory, applied police management, correctional organization and treatment, crime statistics, and criminological theory. Students are encouraged to participate in this ongoing re­search.

Students considering a career in the field of criminal justice should be aware that many em­ployers and agencies may require applicants to meet certain preemployment qualifications. These may include, but are not limited to,

  • lack of a criminal record,
  • satisfactory background checks,
  • physical standards and conditions, and
  • emotional stability.

Regular Admission

To obtain regular admission, students must have a cumulative grade point average in undergraduate work of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) or a satisfactory standardized test score (30th percentile or higher on the GRE overall, or MAT group overall score) and undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher. If students meet these criteria but have undergraduate coursework deficiencies, they may be granted provisional admission.

Provisional Admission

A student with a cumulative GPA in undergraduate work below a 3.0 must have either of the following two criteria in order to obtain provisional admission:

  1. a satisfactory standardized test score (30th percentile or higher on the MAT, GRE, or GMAT)
  2. an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 30-40 hours of coursework. 

Upon admission to the criminal justice graduate program and selection of emphasis area, each student is guided by a committee of three faculty members. The student selects a graduate advisor in the area of concentration from the Criminal Justice faculty. This advisor serves as the chair of the student’s graduate committee. The student and advisor select the other two members of the committee, both of whom must be members of the graduate faculty and one of whom may come from a program other than Criminal Justice. This committee will assist the student as appropriate with the planning of the program, preparation and oral defense of the thesis, or the graduate paper and its defense in the case of the nonthesis option.

Academy Training and Life Experience

Opportunities are available through the Department of Criminal Justice and Consumer Sciences for students who do not have life experience or police academy training.

Admission Requirements

While an undergraduate degree in this discipline is not required for admission, a substan­tial background in the social sciences is preferred. Students lacking such preparation will, at the discretion of the department, be required to make up deficiencies. Each student must have com­pleted:

  • the equivalent of CRJS 1500 Introduction to Criminal Justice,
  • a course in criminology and/or crime and delinquency,
  • an introductory course in statistics, and
  • a research methodology course.

Students admitted with deficiencies in any of these requirements must remove them by completion of the second semester of graduate coursework.

Graduate Faculty

Christopher M. Bellas, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Criminology; criminal courts; jury decision-making; substantive and procedural law

John M. Hazy, Ph.D., Professor, Chair
Community/behavioral health (drugs and crime); methodology and assessment; life course and cultural issues; teaching effectiveness

Monica Merrill, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Criminology; victimization; inequalities

Christian C. Onwudiwe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Comparative criminal justice systems; international relations; corrections; restorative justice

Richard Lee Rogers, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Social problems and criminology; organizational and economic sociology; statistics and research methods; social history; Anglo-American religious movements; ecological analysis

Patricia Bergum Wagner, J.D., Associate Professor
Substantive criminal law; court structure; appellate practice

The graduate program in criminal justice adheres to the position that the administration of criminal justice is a continuous, integrated process from prevention of crime through completion of all legal intervention. The program is designed to provide society with individuals who have both a substantial awareness of the overall system and the essential competencies required to perform professional roles within it. To achieve this objective, the program broadens the student’s knowledge of the total criminal justice process and provides professional education so that its graduates may assume positions of leadership within the criminal justice system. The program also prepares students for doctoral studies in criminal justice or criminology.

Students seeking the M.S. degree in criminal justice may elect either a thesis or non-thesis op­tion. The Criminal Justice program will accept courses from other departments offering 5000- or 6000-level courses. Students should see the graduate coordinator when selecting these courses.

Core Courses (12-15 hours)
Applied Police Correction Management
Law and Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice Public Policy Seminar
Criminal Justice Studies, Practices, and Theories
Advanced Criminology
Research and Statistics in Health and Human Services *CRJS 6942 or both CRJS 6940 and 6945
Statistical Techniques in Health and Human Services
Graduate Paper/Project (2 hours) or Thesis (6 hours)
Graduate Paper
Research and Thesis
Electives (21-12 hours)

Thesis Option

A minimum of 30 semester hours is required in this option, of which up to six hours may be thesis. No more than nine semester hours may be below the 6900 level.

Non-Thesis Option

A minimum of 35 semester hours is required of which no more than 12 semester hours may be below the 6900 level. The non-thesis option will require a major graduate research paper or graduate project worth two credits and an oral exam (defense) upon its completion.

Learning Outcomes

SLO1: Students will demonstrate knowledge on how to evaluate programs, policies, theories, and research related to the Criminal Justice system.

SLO2: Students will demonstrate knowledge on how to use key Criminal Justice concepts to administrate programs and lead others.

SLO3: Students will demonstrate knowledge on how to perform their own research related to the Criminal Justice system.

Graduate Courses

CRJS 5802    Corrections Law and Liability    3 s.h.

Analysis and examination of legal mandates and restrictions affecting the field of corrections. History of the development of offender rights, current issues surrounding offender rights, and future concerns in this area. Jail and prison standards, accreditation standards, case law, and liability concerns.
Prereq.: CRJS 3702 or CRJS 3719.

CRJS 5825    Criminal Procedures and Constitutional Issues    3 s.h.

Constitutional foundations of the American criminal justice process with special emphasis on recent Supreme Court decisions. Legal and practical applications of the laws of arrest, criminal procedure, search and seizure, court structures, and federal civil rights.
Prereq.: CRJS 3719 and must be a criminal justice major or have permission of chairperson.

CRJS 5831    Violence in America    3 s.h.

Analysis of violence in America including official and unofficial statistics, types and levels of violence, research findings, and profiles of offenders. Case analysis of domestic violence, juvenile violence, gangs, and other forms of violence.
Prereq.: CRJS 3735.

CRJS 5840    Critical Incidents and Homeland Security    3 s.h.

This course provides an overview of emergency planning at all stages from the initial development of an emergency plan to the management of crisis situations to the evaluation of the response. The course culminates in the creation of an emergency preparedness plan for jurisdiction or agency of the student’s choosing, and the student is encouraged to select a situation consist with present work or long-term career plans.
Prereq.: CRJS 1500, PHLT 1531, OR graduate student status.

CRJS 5841    Terrorism and Countersurveillance    3 s.h.

The course provides an introduction to terrorism and counter-terrorism techniques. Generally, the course material is divided into two parts. First, the course offers a description of terrorist and anti-government groups. Topics covered include the background and history of terrorist and anti-government groups as well as the tactics of these groups. Second, the course takes the perspective of homeland security and law enforcement agencies proactively counteracting the threats to public safety that they groups may pose.
Prereq.: CRJS 1500, PHLT 1531, OR graduate student status.

CRJS 5865    Gathering and Using Information in Criminal Justice    3 s.h.

Specialized communication skills to prepare criminal justice practitioners in information-gathering techniques, written presentation techniques, verbal and nonverbal communication skills within constitutional guidelines.

CRJS 5872    Drugs and Crime    3 s.h.

This course will cover the drug-crime connection. In doing so, a wide variety of topics will be highlighted from a history of criminal justice policies on various drugs to ways to prevent and treat substance abuse. The three learning objectives (LO) that will be pursued in this course are: 1) explain the context of the criminal justice approaches to specific types of drugs; 2) apply criminal justice (CJ) theories on drug use and abuse; and 3) analyze and assess drug-control policies and criminal justice intervention/management strategies. These three course objectives relate to the overall CJ degree learning outcomes in fostering critical thinking relative to CJ policies, literature review development, and the inter-relationships within the CJ system.

CRJS 5875    Juvenile Justice System    3 s.h.

In-depth analysis of the specialized agencies and procedures developed to deal with problems of juveniles from a historical and philosophical perspective. Consideration of the juvenile court, community-based programs, institutionalization.
Prereq.: Senior standing.

CRJS 6910    Law and Criminal Justice    3 s.h.

An historical analysis of criminal law as a social control. An overview of substantive criminal law and criminal procedural law in the United States.

CRJS 6915    Advanced Criminology    3 s.h.

A comprehensive analysis of the causes of crime from an interdisciplinary perspective. Major criminological theories are considered in light of contemporary empirical research.
Prereq.: CRJS 3735 or equivalent or permission of the Graduate Coordinator.

CRJS 6920    Criminal Justice Studies, Practices, and Theories    3 s.h.

A critical analysis of the field of criminal justice studies including crime statistics, crime causation, the criminal justice process, and the agencies involved.
Prereq.: CRJS 1500.

CRJS 6925    Administration and Management Theory    3 s.h.

Administration and management theory as applied to criminal justice agencies. Includes the functions of the executive, the nature of authority and leadership, organizational communication, and theories of employee motivation.

CRJS 6940    Statistical Techniques in Health and Human Services    3 s.h.

A consideration of the courses of statistical information in the human resource systems and the limits of such data, with primary emphasis upon multivariate statistics and their application to the field.

CRJS 6942    Research and Statistics in Health and Human Services    3 s.h.

A consolidated statistical and research course in human services to design and use qualitative and quantitative research, use and interpret descriptive and inferential statistics, and evaluate the research of others.

CRJS 6945    Research Methods in Health and Human Services    3 s.h.

An analysis of the design and execution of both quantitative and qualitative research in the human services, and the development of research designs most useful to human services research problems.

CRJS 6950    Selected Topics in Criminal Justice    3 s.h.

Addresses specific topics relating to the crime problem and the criminal justice process. The topics may vary from semester to semester and will be announced prior to enrollment. This course is repeatable provided it is on different topics.

CRJS 6950A    Selected Topics Seminar in Criminal Justice Criminal Justice Leadership and Seminar    3 s.h.

Addresses specific topics relating to the crime problem and the criminal justice process. The topics may vary from semester to semester and will be announced prior to enrollment. This course is repeatable provided it is on different topics.

CRJS 6955    Independent Study    3 s.h.

Study under the personal supervision of a faculty member with the approval of the graduate director. May be repeated once.

CRJS 6957    Readings in Criminal Justice    1-4 s.h.

Extensive reading assignments in the student's interest area under the supervision of a graduate faculty member. May be repeated for no more than a total of six semester hours.
Prereq.: Approval of graduate director.

CRJS 6960    Program Planning and Evaluation    3 s.h.

A systematic review and evaluation of human services programs with special attention to the posting of questions in context; questions relating to the selections of design, method, and process of summative evaluation; and assessing the effectiveness of programs.

CRJS 6975    Applied Police Correction Management    3 s.h.

Systematic examinations of the principles and practices of criminal justice organizations and the historical contexts of their implementation. Readings emphasize best practices, legal standards, and interdisciplinary cooperation affecting law enforcement and corrections, especially as they affect financial management, human resources, community relations, homeland security, and the treatment of vulnerable populations.

CRJS 6985    Grant Writing    3 s.h.

Insight into the methods, strategies, and techniques of grant writing, with emphasis on the proposal components and exploration of funding sources. Each student will exhibit competence in planning, developing, and evaluating a proposal as well as creating a draft of a grant proposal based on an actual Request for Proposals.

CRJS 6990    Criminal Justice Public Policy Seminar    3 s.h.

Types of policy and how policies are formulated are covered. The evaluation of policy, with attention to what constitutes good public policy. Special attention is given to the impact of crime control policies, particularly crime legislation and current laws.

CRJS 6995    Criminal Justice Practicum    3-6 s.h.

Supervised experience in an applied criminal justice setting. Permit required.
Prereq.: Majority of core and track courses completed and the recommendation of student's committee and approval by graduate director.

CRJS 6998    Graduate Paper    2 s.h.

Graduate-level research and a comparable paper under the supervision of the student's major professor. 2 s.h.

CRJS 6999    Research and Thesis    1-6 s.h.