Skip to main content
Jump to Footer

M.S. in Criminal Justice Course Descriptions

CRJ 501: Legal Trends & Issues
Explores in detail current trends and issues in law as they relate to the operation and management of the criminal and juvenile justice systems.  The goal of this course is to provide students a comprehensive body of information and an examination/analysis of theories, practices, and current trends and issues in law as they relate to criminal justice organizations and operations.

CRJ 520: Leadership in Criminal Justice
This course studies the complex nature of criminal justice organizations from both a systems and a bureaucratic perspective.  Students will survey contemporary management trends and issues, with special attention focused on how evolving technological, social, political, and economic factors influence criminal justice administration theory and practice.

CRJ 560: Advanced Criminological Theory
Examines etiology of criminal behavior including the process of becoming a criminal, patterns of criminal behavior, and social and individual consequences of crime and delinquency.  The purpose of this course is the establishment of a working understanding of the history of theories of criminal and delinquent behavior.  Emphasis will be placed on issues such as the theory/research interaction; theory dissection and construction; and biological, psychological, and sociological approaches to criminality.

CRJ 571: Contemporary Issues in Corrections
This course focuses on the current issues facing corrections in contemporary American society. In this course, we will first critically examine the various theories underlining corrections and correctional policy. Then, we will take a critical look at the history of corrections in the United States. Last, we turn to several current issues facing corrections: racial/economic inequality and mass incarceration; prison violence, treatment, and rehabilitation; women in prison; punitive sentencing; juveniles, the elderly, and the mentally ill in prison; and prisoner reentry and recidivism.

CRJ 572: Advanced Studies in Policing
This course focuses on research, theory, and applications of the causes and consequences of modern police behavior.  Specific focus will be placed on the historical role that police have played in society as well as the structure and functioning of police agencies and the consequences of that functioning.  Topics to be covered include police history, the social and political contexts of the police, police strategies and tactics, police accountability and legitimacy, and conducting research on the police and their place in modern society.

CRJ 573: Seminar in Victimology
The course traces the history of victimology from early victim-centric justice to the prevailing model of government-centered prosecutions. Within this framework, we will explore the causes, consequences of offense-specific victimizations, and societal responses. We look at theory to explain variations in risk across persons, relationships, lifestyles, and domains. The course focuses attention on victim typologies, series or repeat victimizations, competing theoretical frameworks, and current research. This emerging field captures how law, its creation and application, is reflected in advances in measuring victimization, social movements inspiring victims’ rights, and case law upholding equal protection under the law. The course traces legal reforms that protect victims and to include them as key stakeholders in a system of justice dedicated to restorative and reintegrated approaches.

CRJ 574: Seminar in Social Justice
This elective, graduate course focuses on social justice issues (primarily in America). Social justice can be defined as the act of "... promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity." Social justice is generally equated with notions of equality.  The scope of this course is as broad as the idea(s) of social justice itself and as complex as notions of equality. We will begin with a foundational exploration into social justice concepts, issues, and policy remedies—thereby developing the necessary analytical tools and information to assess inequality and injustice and address historical and contemporary issues.

CRJ 575: Mental Health & the Administration of Justice
Explores mental illness and the intersection of the mental health and criminal justice systems in the United States, particularly as a result of the deinstitutionalization movement which has resulted in the shifting of individuals with mental illness from hospitals into community-based correctional facilities and programs.

CRJ 576: Anatomy of Violence
The purpose of this course is to examine the nature of violent and sexual victimization.  The focus on violence will cover various perspectives, including those of victims, offenders, and individuals close to victims/offenders.  In addition, students will be introduced to concepts and theories that attempt to explain the causes and effects of violent behavior.  The goal of this course to not only teach students about the types and frequency of violent behaviors, but also to encourage them to seek an answer to the question “why do human beings commit violence?”

CRJ 577:  Intimate Partner and Family Violence
This course will provide students with an overview of the theoretical paradigms examining the definitions of, causes of, ramifications of, and interventions for intimate partner and family violence.  More specifically, we will (1) examine the nature and extent of intimate partner and family violence; (2) take an in-depth look at the perpetrators and victims of IPV; (3) examine theories to gain a better understanding of why these forms of violence take place; (4) examine the criminal justice response to intimate partner and family violence; and (5) examine some of the larger cultural contexts within which the varieties of abuse occur. This course recognizes that a disproportionate number of the victims are women, but that a strict feminist analysis needs to be modified to recognize abuse in same sex relationships and a growing literature on female offenders.

CRJ 580: Seminar in Juvenile Justice & Delinquency
This course studies the historical development of juvenile justice practices and the handling of delinquents and status offenders from early to modern times.  Students will survey contemporary juvenile justice issues, ranging from applied and evidence-based practice, to correctional quackery, broken windows probation, and juvenile sentencing.

CRJ 590: Seminar in Policy Analysis
Analysis of the process by which policy decisions in criminal justice are derived and implemented and their consequence on the criminal justice system.  The goal of this course is to provide students a comprehensive body of information and examination/analysis of theories, practices, and key issues involved in criminal justice policy analysis, formulation and implementation.

CRJ 593: Independent Study
This course provides the opportunity for the student to pursue in-depth study on a topic or issue of personal interest under the direction and guidance of a department faculty member.  The goal of the course is to provide students the opportunity to embrace a comprehensive body of information through the examination/analysis of theories, practices, and/or key issues involved in the management of criminal justice organizations and operations. 

CRJ 595: Practicum I
This capstone course requires students to demonstrate their mastery of the program’s learning objectives through their ability to successfully review and analyze issues in criminal justice.  Utilizing the principles and concepts as presented in the core and elective courses of the CRJ curriculum, students prepare a scholarly paper proposal which thoroughly reviews and analyzes the extant body of research in regard to a contemporary criminal justice issues and proposes a research methodology to further examine the issue.

CRJ 600: Advanced Research Methods
Studies contemporary empirical research methods and their application in the field of criminal justice, including research design, research ethics, theories of sampling, construction of data files, data collection strategies, and analysis of findings.  The goal of this course is to provide students with the foundational knowledge of research methods and technologies; to become more informed consumers of academic research and adept at quantitative reasoning, and better equipped to implement and evaluate evidence-based practices.

CRJ 610: Quantitative Analysis
Examines the relationship and application of statistical techniques to theory building, concept construction, computer analysis of quantitative data applied to criminal justice, the logic of data analysis, and fundamentals of statistical procedures commonly used in criminological research.  Students also learn to critique empirical research.

Contact the Criminal Justice Department 321 Shippen Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1558 Fax: (717) 477-4087