Program Director

Dr. Christopher Bellas
2149 Cushwa Hall
(330) 941-2167

cmbellas@ysu.edu

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 faculty of the Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. 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 department 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 Forensic 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 CJFS 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

Susan Ann Clutter, M.F.S., Associate Professor
Crime scene investigation; blood spatter interpretation; forensic toxicology; fingerprint development at fire scenes

Gordon G. Frissora, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Policing; criminal justice information systems; artificial intelligence and criminal justice; music and community involvement

John M. Hazy, Ph.D., Professor, Chair
Community health; life course issues; teaching effectiveness

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

Christian C. Onwudiwe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

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

Robert E. Wardle, M.S., Associate Professor
Forensic science education; forensic chemistry; drug analysis; ethics in forensic science; investigation of the "CSI Effect"; fingerprint science

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 nonthesis op­tion. The Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences will accept courses from other departments offering 5000- or 6000-level courses. Students should see their graduate advisor or graduate coordinator when selecting these courses.

COURSE TITLE S.H.
Study in the general substantive areas of criminal justice, met by completing the graduate core of:
CJFS 6910Law and Criminal Justice3
CJFS 6920Criminal Justice Studies, Practices, and Theories3
CJFS 6925Administration and Management Theory3
CJFS 6942Research and Statistics in Health and Human Services3
CJFS 6970Applied Police Management3
Any departure from this requires prior approval of the student’s committee and graduate coordinator.
CJFS 6980Managing Correctional Operations3
Study in courses outside the core
Graudate Research Paper2
Oral Exam (defense)

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 nonthesis option will require a major graduate research paper worth two credits and an oral exam (defense) upon its completion.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to assess the professional criminal justice literature.
  2. Students will employ key criminal justice concepts to administrate programs and lead others.
  3. Students will be able to assess legal situations that relate to the CJ system.
  4. Students will be able to assess programs and public policies that relate to the CJ system.

Graduate Courses

CJFS 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.: CJFS 3702 or approval of instructor.

CJFS 5814    Practice and Ethics in Forensic Science    3 s.h.

Overview of the forensic science discipline as it relates to the criminal justice system including discussion of legal aspects, constitutional considerations, expert testimony, the role of the expert witness, and ethical standards and dilemmas. Also includes discussion of current events and the evolution and future of the forensic sciences.
Prereq.: CJFS 3714 and CJFS 3714L.
Gen Ed: Capstone.

CJFS 5820    Advanced Legal Research    3 s.h.

Advanced techniques in conducting legal research using standard reference tools as well as automated on-line services and the Internet. Analysis of findings of legal issues related to criminal justice, report and memoranda writing utilizing the Harvard University System of Citations, legal forms and terminology.
Prereq.: CJFS 3720 or approval of instructor.

CJFS 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.: CJFS 3719 and must be a criminal justice major or have permission of chairperson.

CJFS 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.: CJFS 3735.

CJFS 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.
Prereq.: CJFS 3712 or CJFS 3765.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 5892    Comparative and International Criminal Justice Systems    3 s.h.

An examination of how countries' criminal justice systems are shaped and molded by elements of culture, religion, and political ideology of the area. Emphasis will be placed on comparing and contrasting the selected countries' criminal justice systems with those found in the United States of America.
Prereq.: Senior standing or permission of the chair.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 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.: CJFS 2630.

CJFS 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.: CJUS 1500 Introduction to Criminal Justice.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 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.
Prereq.: CJFS 6942 or permission of instructor.

CJFS 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.
Prereq.: CJFS 3710 and CJFS 3712 or permission of instructor.

CJFS 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.
Prereq.: CJFS 6942 or permission of the instructor.

CJFS 6950    Selected Topics Seminar 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.

CJFS 6950H    Selected Topics Seminar in Criminal Justice Critical Incidents and Homeland Security    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.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 6970    Applied Police Management    3 s.h.

Systematic examination of the principles and practices related to the management of police organizations. Examples will reflect problems of the urban and suburban environments, relationships with political entities, and internal control.

CJFS 6971    Human Resources in Policing    3 s.h.

Evaluation of police personnel systems, employment qualifications, psychiatric screening, polygraph examination, minority recruitment, and police cadet systems, personnel costs, educational requirements, lateral entry, mandated state minimum training standards, and federal involvement in police manpower.

CJFS 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 the affect financial management, human resources, community relations, homeland security, and the treatment of vulnerable populations.
Prereq.: CJFS 6925.

CJFS 6980    Managing Correctional Operations    3 s.h.

Historical review of corrections in the United States. Modern theories of correctional administration and organization in both facilities and community settings. Special focus on financial operations, contagious illnesses, security, staff management, corruption, programming, architecture, hostage situations, and community concerns.

CJFS 6981    Correctional Case Management    3 s.h.

Case management, presentencing investigation, classification, and risk assessment. Analysis of theories of rehabilitation as applied in corrections. Special focus on training, recreation, health care and mental health services, religious programs, and specials needs offenders, including sexual and drug offenders.

CJFS 6985    Grant Writing    3 s.h.

Insite 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.
Prereq.: CJFS 6940, CJFS 6945, and CJFS 6975 or permission of instructor.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 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.

CJFS 6998    Graduate Paper    2 s.h.

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

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

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