Department of Criminal Justice
Dr. Keith Callis, Dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Dr. Gary Metts, Interim Chairperson of the Department and Director of the Criminal Justice Graduate Program
Dr. Marc Embler, Dr. Jacqueline Fish, Mr. Alan Fix, MCJ, Dr. Richard Inscore, MALS, Chief Bruce Owens, MPA
Offices are located in the Faculty Suites, Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers the Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
Purpose and Objectives
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree is designed to provide an advanced understanding of the nature of crime and society’s reaction to it, as well as an understanding of the various components of the criminal justice system. The nonthesis program of study is designed to enhance professional development for those currently working in the field while providing advanced skills and knowledge to those seeking employment in the field. The thesis program of study provides the basis for further advanced study in the field. Reflected in the programs of study is a commitment to the highest ethical, intellectual and social values.
- To enhance the problem-solving and decision-making skills of students;
- To enhance students’ management, interpersonal, oral and written communication skills;
- To develop a comprehensive knowledge base of the subject matter.
Programs of Study
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice consists of one of two degree tracks, a thesis track and a nonthesis track. Required in the thesis track are a minimum of thirty-three (33) hours of credit which are as follows: eighteen (18) hours of core courses, nine (9) hours of criminal justice elective coursework, a thesis which requires a minimum of six (6) hours, and successful completion of the comprehensive exam. Required in the nonthesis track are thirty-six (36) hours, of which eighteen (18) hours are core courses and eighteen (18) hours are criminal justice electives. Further, students who lack the minimum of nine (9) hours in criminal justice at the undergraduate level required for admission, must complete thirty-six (36) hours of credit in the thesis track, while those completing the nonthesis track must complete thirty-nine (39) hours by taking CRIM 590 - Directed Readings in Criminal Justice .
Levels of Instruction
- Graduate courses are numbered at the 500 and 600 level and may include online, blended and traditional classroom delivery.
- Graduate students must perform at a substantially higher level of academic rigor to receive graduate credits. This higher performance involves additional practical and/or research activities approved and supervised by the assigned faculty member. Special examination procedures will be utilized for graduate students enrolled in such courses.
Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Thesis Track)
Master of Science in Criminal Justice (Non Thesis Track)
Admissions Process and Requirements of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Students accepted into the Criminal Justice Master’s program must meet the requirements for regular or provisional admission.Provisional students are classified as follows: nondegree, undergraduate, and international. The following admission requirements apply to all candidates:
Regular admission requires that the student has met ALL of the following requirements:
- The applicant has submitted a completed Application for Admission to the Office of Enrollment Services with the required fee payment.
- The applicant has taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), PRAXIS, Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), or other graduate school entry examinations within the last five years, and the scores have been received by the Office of Enrollment Services.* An undergraduate GPA of 3.5 may be substituted for the graduate school entry examination.
- After preliminary review of the application and submission of all required documents, an applicant may be requested to complete an evaluative admission interview conducted by the Director of the Criminal Justice Graduate Program. This interview may be completed either in person or by telephone, and will assist in evaluation of the applicant’s level of maturity, interpersonal skills, career focus, motivation and discussion on thesis or non-thesis track studies.
- The student has earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited senior institution.
- The student has provided official transcripts from ALL institutions where undergraduate or graduate courses have been taken.
- The student has provided two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the student’s work or academic record. Recommendations from family members are NOT acceptable.
- The student has provided a personal letter of work experience no more than 500 words outlining his or her academic and career goals.
No single criterion will be decisive. Each item will be considered in relation to the applicant’s total qualifications. Although Charleston Southern University has preferred levels for such criteria, each application is evaluated on an individual basis.
*The testing requirement may be waived if previous graduate level courses have been taken or the undergraduate degree conferral date has been more than 10 years. Decisions to waive this requirement will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Director of the Criminal Justice Graduate Program.
Provisional admission may be granted to a student who has a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution but has not met all requirements for regular admission. Requirements for provisional admission are as follows:
- Provisional admission can be given only upon the specific recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice once the appropriate documents have been received by the Office of Enrollment Services.
- A student may take a MAXIMUM of nine graduate hours in the Criminal Justice Master’s program under provisional or nondegree admission. Once the student has taken nine graduate hours, no further graduate coursework may be undertaken until the student has met the following criteria:
- The student must have a completed admissions file in the Office of Enrollment Services.
- The student must show a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on the first nine (9) credit hours of graduate course work at Charleston Southern University.
- The Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice must recommend the student for regular admission.
- If provisional status is based on the student not having the required nine hours in Criminal Justice at the baccalaureate level, the student will be required to pass, with a “B” or better, Directed Reading in Criminal Justice (CRIM 590 ) before completing the first nine hours of Masters coursework. The student’s status will be re-evaluated on the basis of criteria A, B, and C above.
Note: Financial Aid is not available to students under Provisional Admission.
Nondegree Graduate Student
Admission as a nondegree graduate student may be granted when the student has earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution but does not desire to work toward a graduate degree or is enrolled in another university and desires that credit for courses taken at CSU be transferred to the graduate school in which the student is seeking a degree. Financial Aid is not available to nondegree students.
- Regulations Governing Nondegree Graduate Students: A nondegree student must present a transcript demonstrating an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Even though a nondegree graduate student has been admitted to the university, the student has not been admitted to any department or to any degree program. No more than nine (9) credit hours earned while classified as a nondegree graduate student will be accepted toward a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree at Charleston Southern University. A student must, therefore, gain regular admission to the program before completing more than nine (9) credit hours of study for additional hours to be counted toward a master’s degree. Regular admission is based on criteria A, B, and C above.
Transfer and Nontraditional Credit
Graduate credits accepted for transfer from other accredited institutions must be completed within the (6) year period allowed for a master’s degree. Only coursework completed with a grade of “B” or better will be considered for transfer credit. Only nine (9) hours are accepted as transfer credit, a maximum of six (6) hours in either the core or elective criminal justice courses. The student must provide catalog descriptions of the courses to be considered for transfer credit to the Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice for approval. A student desiring to take a graduate course at another regionally accredited institution must secure permission to do so in advance from the Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice and the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Police officers who are certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy (Class One) and are currently employed with municipal, county, or state agencies are eligible to apply for three (3) hours of elective graduate credit. The student is required to submit documentation and application to the Registrar’s Office for approval within two semesters of enrolling as a regular degree seeking Master of Criminal Justice student at Charleston Southern University. Federal law enforcement officers may also be eligible to apply for Nontraditional Credit. The Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice will review completed documentation with the Registrar’s Office to determine eligibility on a case by case basis.
Each student admitted to the program is assigned an academic advisor. Prior to registration, the advisor will discuss with students the upcoming course offerings and determine the program of study. Graduate students are eligible to complete online registration once this advising conference is completed. The conference may be in person or via the internet or telephone to facilitate advising for students who are not in the Charleston area. Graduate students are provided with a course checklist and are responsible for degree progress checks with their advisor.
The student must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA. To graduate, the student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Furthermore, thesis-track students must have passed the Comprehensive Exams and successfully defended the thesis.
Probation and Suspension
A student is automatically placed on probation if the student’s GPA falls below a 3.0. If the GPA is not raised to 3.0 upon completion of the next full semester (fall or spring) in which the student attempts coursework, the student shall be suspended from the program and may reapply for admission one year from the date of suspension. The GPA is calculated only on graduate work completed at CSU.
Whenever three (3) grades below a “B” are earned, the student shall be suspended from the program. A suspended student may reapply for admission one year from the date of suspension. To receive credit for core courses, students must earn the grade of “B” or better in each core course. Any student who is suspended from the program may appeal to the Admissions Committee of the Graduate Council.
If a student earns a grade of “F” in any core course, (1) that course must be retaken at Charleston Southern University, (2) a grade of “B” or better must be earned upon completion of the retaken course, and (3) a student may take courses in addition to the failed course at the time the failed course is retaken.
If a student earns a grade of “F” in any elective course that is not offered again within two regular semesters of the term in which the F was earned, the student must apply to repeat this course as an Independent Study and is responsible for the additional costs of an Independent Study. Such requests must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice one semester in advance. The course must be retaken at Charleston Southern University and a grade of “B” or better must be earned upon completion of the Independent Study. A student may take courses in addition to the Independent Study.
After earning one “F,” regardless of the GPA, the student is notified that he/she is on academic probation and that a subsequent grade below a “B” shall result in expulsion from the program.
- The graduate student is responsible for all course work including electronic submissions and requirements.
- The student is obligated to attend classes regularly and punctually. The fourth absence will result in a grade of “FA” (Failure for Absence) for fall and spring semesters. Maymester and summer session courses will be adjusted accordingly.
- The student is expected to complete all assignments in a timely manner and will adhere to both classroom and online submission deadlines established in course syllabi.
- In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the student is responsible for contacting faculty members promptly.
The MSCJ student must have completed the program with an overall 3.0 GPA in the Criminal Justice core and elective work. Students must apply for graduation according to the deadline date for each term see the Academic Calendar . A graduation fee applies for all graduates.
Comprehensive Examinations (CRIM 700 )
Students completing the thesis track must successfully pass written comprehensive examinations in all core areas. The exams may not be taken until the student has successfully completed all core course requirements for the degree. Exams are administered only in the fall and spring semesters. The comprehensive examinations may be attempted only twice. Failure to complete any part of the exams will result in a grade of “NR” (Not Recorded), and the student has one final attempt to complete the exams. Upon the completion of all core courses, the thesis track student has one academic year to successfully complete the comprehensive exam.
If a student attempts the comprehensive examinations twice without passing, the student will be expelled from the program. Additional information regarding the comprehensive examination is available from the Director of Graduate Studies in Criminal Justice and the Master’s in Criminal Justice Graduate Student’s Handbook.
Validation of Credit
All credits earned at Charleston Southern University or accepted by transfer will remain valid if the master’s degree is completed within six (6) calendar years from the time the student registers for the first course that applies toward the degree.