Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.)

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Program Objectives:

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the theoretical foundation of the study of crime and criminology based on research in the areas of law, public policy, and the philosophical origins of crime.
  • Examine the history of drugs in the U.S., the integral role of race in the creation of drug laws, the elaboration of the global trade in drugs, the U.S. drug control policies and the impact of the U.S. drug war on international relations.
  • Analyze the domestic and international threat of terrorism and the basic security issues surrounding terrorism today.
  • Evaluate strategies for refining law enforcement attitudes, behaviors, methods and tools for social advancement, community betterment and conflict reduction in relation to multicultural issues in law enforcement.
  • Examine theoretical perspectives with a view to understanding the relationships between various institutions and the administration of justice.
  • Express key concepts and theories related to criminal justice, in written form, utilizing prescribed essay criteria.
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Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.)

The Master of Science online degree program in Criminal Justice is designed to provide professionals with the theories, principles and best practices utilized in the criminal justice field.

The Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice is:

  • a self-paced learning program;
  • completed off-campus;
  • online learning format;
  • not structured in semesters, quarters or terms; and
  • designed to allow students to begin their online Criminal Justice studies at any time of the year.

**Military students and some employers require students to complete courses on a per term basis.  Please contact our Admissions Department for additional information.  

The Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice requires students to complete a total of 39 semester units comprised of the following:

  • 13 core courses

**Requirements are fulfilled through coursework completed at California Coast University and coursework completed at other recognized educational institutions.  Previously completed coursework will be evaluated to determine all applicable transfer credit.  

Prerequisites to Admission:

An applicant must have earned a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice; or, a Bachelor Degree in another field may be considered if the Admission Committee evaluation indicates that the applicant has the necessary foundation to succeed in the program.

    Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.) Core Courses

    Courses required are listed below. Please click on the course to read a description.

    plus-sign BAM 515 Organizational Behavior

    3 Semester Units

    This course provides students an in-depth review of available theory and research on the behavior, structure, and process of organizations. Formal organizations and their structure will be critically examined, and human motivations and their constructive application to oneself and others will be discussed. Applicable behavioral science theories will be explored and students will be able to effectively apply the relevant concepts to the management of organizations.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Assess how and why organizational behavior determines the effectiveness of an organization.
    • Analyze research areas of organizational behavior such as learning, motivation, leadership, group behavior and communication.
    • Evaluate the nature of power and organizational politics.
    • Consider the relationship between organizational design and an organization’s structure.
    • Critique the various theories and models that explain why and how people and groups behave as they do.

     

    plus-sign BAM 550 Leadership

    3 Semester Units

    This course focuses on leadership theories that seek to explain how traits, behaviors, or situational factors influence leadership style and effectiveness. Students will develop the competencies and skills to immediately start using these principles in their personal and professional lives. The course also explores the critical question of how well a leader is able to influence followers to achieve group objectives—this is what distinguishes effective from ineffective leaders.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Analyze classical and contemporary leadership theories.
    • Examine the importance of managerial leadership skills.
    • Differentiate transformational and transactional leadership.
    • Evaluate the relationships among negotiation and conflict, influencing tactics, power, and politics.
    • Examine the importance of ethical principles, personal and company values, and socially responsible leadership practices.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 501 Criminological Theory

    3 Semester Units

    Criminological theory examines crime and criminological theory by taking a direct approach to the question of why people commit crimes. It begins with an overview of the key elements of the study of crime and criminology including law, public policy, research literature and the philosophical origins of crime theories. These theories are then broken down to their basic elements and causal processes in order to be explored. The course further examines the practical implications and applications each theory has on the administration of justice and also looks at the future of crime theory by speculating whether or not new research designs, theories and paradigms are needed.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Examine the key elements of crime and criminology as it pertains to law, public policy and the origins of crime theories.
    • Analyze criminological theories to determine their causal processes.
    • Evaluate the implications of each criminological theory as it applies to the administration of justice.
    • Predict the future of crime theory by examining whether or not new theories are needed.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 510 Drugs, Justice and Society

    3 Semester Units

    Drugs, justice and society will review the dynamics of drugs (both legal and illegal) in American society while providing a look at historical law creation and current law enforcement.  In addition, this course incorporates the fields of sociology, criminology and public policy and provides a complete understanding of the issues surrounding drugs. Topics such as the history of drugs in the U.S., the integral role of race in the creation of drug laws, the elaboration of the global trade in drugs, the U.S. drug control policies and the impact of the U.S. drug war on international relations will be reviewed.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Rate how media sensationalism influences attitudes toward drugs and drug users.
    • Determine how drug use varies by age, gender, race/ethnicity and geographical location.
    • Assess the historical development of the drug control policy in the U.S.
    • Evaluate the purpose of drug control legislation.
    • Judge the type of controls created by the major pieces of drug legislation.
    • Estimate the effects drug and alcohol abuse have on an individual’s personal social functioning, health and well-being.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 530 Multicultural Issues in Law Enforcement

    3 Semester Units

    Multicultural issues in law enforcement are explored by examining the multitude of racial, ethnic and cultural issues related to law enforcement in society.  In addition, the course addresses strategies for refining law enforcement attitudes, behaviors, methods and tools for social advancement, community betterment and conflict reduction.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Evaluate demographic trends of various racial, ethnic and cultural groups in the United States.
    • Assess the responses of law enforcement agencies to these demographic trends.
    • Compare and contrast the characteristics of different racial, ethnic and cultural groups as they relate to law enforcement.
    • Distinguish the issues of multicultural law enforcement.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 545 Computer Crime

    3 Semester Units

    Computer crime surveys the nature and characteristics of the many dimensions of digital crime and digital terrorism, terms which have emerged and grown rapidly since the World Wide Web has become the basis for global information, business, and government transactions.

    Course Objectives

     

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Analyze the current issues, trends, and problems in digital crime and digital terrorism.
    • Distinguish between computer crime, criminal hacking, and noncriminal hacking.
    • Examine the evolution of digital crime from rogue individuals to sophisticated criminal organizations engaged in the illegal activity.
    • Evaluate how computer technologies and the increasing use of the Internet have affected identity and fraud crimes.

     

     

    plus-sign BCJ 562 Police Administration and Management

    3 Semester Units

    Police administration and management explores a historical and contemporary point of view, from both the managerial and organizational role of the police in American society.

    Course Objectives

     

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Compare the relationships and inter-dependency between the major components of the law enforcement community as each of the nation’s police agencies attempt to provide services to their respective jurisdictions as efficiently and effectively as possible in a post-9/11 environment.
    • Judge the major managerial issues faced by American police departments.
    • Assess the wide variety of services offered by law enforcement.
    • Evaluate key terminology related to police management.

     

     

    plus-sign BCJ 563 Criminal Justice Policy

    3 Semester Units

    Criminal justice policy is investigated and applied directly to crime and criminal justice. For this, the course examines each of the various actors in the public policy process at the federal, state and local level. By the end of the course, students will be able to evaluate the justification, logic and evidence for specific crime policies as well as analyze the factors that influence policymaking, including the development of programs and policies.

    Course Objectives

     

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Analyze the relationship between criminal justice and public policy.
    • Examine the various steps by which a crime issue becomes a criminal justice policy.
    • Differentiate the adult criminal justice system from the juvenile justice system.
    • Assess the public policy process, using the community policing movement and the “100,000 Cops” initiative as an example.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 565 Deviant Behavior

    3 Semester Units

    Deviant behavior is explored and understood from key sociological perspectives and theories. The text provides real-world examples of deviance throughout to encourage critical thinking about deviant behavior and its impact.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Assess the importance of social norms and the classification of deviant behavior.
    • Evaluate the role that individuals in society play when creating deviance.
    • Judge the various extensions and criticisms of anomie theory.
    • Assess the role of group and subcultural components in producing excessive drinking and alcoholism.
    • Distinguish the differences between structural and processual theories of deviance.
    • Identify the three reasons why stigma is associated with mental disorders.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 575 Terrorism and Homeland Security

    3 Semester Units

    This course provides a theoretical and conceptual framework that enables students to understand how terrorism arises and how it functions. The most sophisticated theories by the best terrorist analysts in the world are discussed, while still focusing on the domestic and international threat of terrorism and the basic security issues surrounding terrorism today.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Assess the four major types of modern terrorism.
    • Differentiate between terrorist and criminal behavior.
    • Estimate the reasons why terrorists and counterterrorists need to justify violence.
    • Examine the nature of nationalistic and ethnic separatist terrorism.
    • Analyze the various aspects of the jihadist movement in the United States.
    • Determine the agencies responsible for homeland security and describe their functions.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 582 Correctional Counseling

    3 Semester Units

    This course offers a strong practitioner orientation, enabling students to become proficient in providing basic correctional counseling services to the offender population. This course provides basic information on underlying theoretical perspectives among a variety of counseling approaches and addresses the details of the counseling and treatment process itself, explaining exactly how correctional counseling is done in the field.

    Course Objectives

    • Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    • Compare and contrast the various means of training and supervision associated with correctional counseling.
    • Examine the stages of supervision and treatment planning process.
    • Analyze the basic rights of offenders who may be engaged in the correctional counseling process.
    • Examine the topics that should be covered when delivering culturally competent interventions to offenders.

     

    plus-sign GRM 597 The Research Process

    3 Semester Units

    This is a required course for Master’s Degree students to develop an understanding of various research methods. The course provides guidance in planning research strategy, documentation of research data and design of a defensible study. It also explores and analyzes examples of research from many different disciplines, development and use of computer-aided research and writing skills and logical argumentation techniques in stating and defending research data.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate competencies comparable to those achieved within traditional institutions of higher learning that require resident instruction and evaluation.
    • Exhibit a broad comprehension of research methodologies utilized in the social sciences, health sciences, government, business, and other related fields.
    • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate the knowledge acquired in this subject area and apply it in practical situations.

     

    plus-sign BCJ 599 Criminal Justice Administration: Capstone

    3 Semester Units

    Criminal Justice Administration: Capstone examines administrative issues and practices for all three branches: police, courts and corrections. Students will demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge acquired across the master's program to address the practical aspects of justice administration.  In addition, the course will examine technological advances, future trends, and issues faced by the courts and justice system today.

    Course Objectives

     

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Examine administrative principles as they apply to criminal justice agencies.
    • Analyze the major conceptions of justice and the ways these conceptions affect the manner in which social and legal systems are constituted.
    • Examine theoretical perspectives with a view to understanding the relationships between various institutions and the administration of justice.
    • Analyze the development of various criminal justice agency policies and procedures from a multicultural perspective.

     

     

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