The oldest Mercyhurst University graduate program, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) program was created in 1978 under the assumption that criminal justice is a true profession dedicated to serving society and preserving the basic rights and freedoms of all people. The M.S. in CJA provides both current and prospective practitioners with the administrative and management preparation to further their careers and to move into leadership positions within criminal justice and social service organizations. This graduate program is offered completely online, making it available to anyone around the world and ensuring you'll have access to Mercyhurst’s experienced faculty, cutting-edge coursework and other dynamic learning experiences no matter where you are. Additionally, scheduling flexibility and full- and part-time options allow you to earn your master’s without disrupting your career.
The master’s degree program begins with core management courses designed to develop a broad overview of governmental management, organizational dynamics, professional ethics and research competency. Students will then use elective course work in line with their interests to complete the degree requirements and prepare them for advanced work in the field of their choice. Current undergraduate students at Mercyhurst University may be able to begin working on their master's degree early. Learn more about CJA's 4+1 Program, which allows MU undergrads earn two degrees in five years, saving both time and money!
Those looking for a quicker path to a graduate credential should consider the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration, a 4-course, 12-credit program.
Operating on a semester calendar, students may begin in either the fall or spring semester, and have the option of attending either full- or part-time.
WHY STUDY CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION?
Criminal justice is a rapidly expanding field of academic study. Many government agencies are requiring advanced academic preparation for those in supervisory positions at criminal justice and social service agencies. The CJA program is designed to broaden the perspective of criminal justice practitioners, to equip practitioners with the administrative skills, and to prepare students for further graduate work and scholarship. The program is designed for:
• Students who wish to obtain a terminal master’s degree as a credential required for entry into some criminal justice professions
• Those employed in the criminal justice system who wish to expand job-related knowledge
• Those who seek to teach at the community college level
• Students who wish to obtain a master’s degree before entering a doctoral program
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration is a 30 credit program. Students may write a thesis or they may complete two additional elective courses in lieu of the thesis. For more information on these courses, please Download the Graduate Course Catalog.
Core Courses (18 credits)
CJA 501 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
CJA 502 Organizational and Human Behavior
CJA 506 Professional Ethics
CJA 604 Criminal Justice Planning and Evaluation
CJA 622 Advanced Research and Analysis or CJA 605 Government Management
CJA 621 Advanced Criminology or AOJ 511 Historical and Comparative Criminal Justice
Elective Courses (12 credits—choose 4 from the following)
CJA 503 Issues in Correctional Administration
CJA 511 Historical and Comparative Criminal Justice
CJA 515 Organized and White Collar Crime
CJA 519 Victimology
CJA 520 Issues in Criminal Justice
CJA 532 Public Law and Public Administration
CJA 550 Politics of Crime
CJA 595 Women and Crime
CJA 610 Law and Society
CJA 616 Issues in Juvenile Justice
CJA 620 Forensic Science
CJA 621 Advanced Criminology
CJA 625 Theories in Corrections and Criminal Justice
CJA 628 Seminar: Crime Analysis
CJA 630 Policy, Politics, Community Coalitions in Criminal Justice Administration
CJA 631 Political Crime and Terrorism
CJA 634 Seminar: Criminology and Crime Policy
CJA 637 Seminar: Special Topics in Juvenile and Criminal Justice
CJA 650 Supervised Justice Administration Readings
CJA 675 Justice Administration Thesis
** Students who elect a six-credit thesis take only two criminal justice electives. The thesis substitutes for the third and fourth elective courses.
To earn a master's degree in Criminal Justice Administration, a student must:
Our alumni have administrative positions in various criminal justice and social service agencies. A sampling of positions held by our alumni includes:
The CJA graduate program is comprised of a diverse group of adult students. Our program is comprised of students who are continuing their education directly from their undergraduate programs as well as students who are professionals working in the field working toward their graduate degree. We have students who earned undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and others who have undergraduate degrees in related fields (e.g., social work, intelligence studies, psychology, sociology). Our students bring with them diverse experiences from all aspects of the criminal justice system (e.g., policing, courts, corrections, drug/alcohol counselors, juvenile treatment specialists, victim advocates). Some of our students are from the Erie area while other students moved to Erie to pursue their degree.
Prospective applicants for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration must fulfill the following admission requirements. At the discretion of the director of the criminal justice administration graduate program, acceptance may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admission requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the director.
Completed application packets are reviewed and the admissions decision is based on the “whole student profile.” Strong emphasis is placed on the applicant’s reading, writing and research skills.
Maria L. Garase, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Phone: (814) 824-3675
Candace SchifferAssociate director, graduate admissions
Phone : (814) 824-3384
Academic coordinator, graduate admissions
Phone: (814) 824-2297
Should you have any questions regarding this program, the admissions process, graduate financial aid or to set up a campus tour, please contact us via the information below:
Office of Graduate & Continuing Education
501 East 38th St
Erie, PA 16546
Phone: (814) 824-3351