Criminal Justice

RWU’s interdisciplinary Criminal Justice program combines courses in policing, corrections and procedure with studies in the social sciences to introduce you to the theory and practice of criminal law and the moral complexity of the criminal justice system. Along with internships and the guidance of our faculty of experienced practitioners, you’ll be prepared for careers such as law enforcement, counseling and probation or to advance into graduate study or law school.

Overview & Curriculum

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The Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice program (36 credit hours) prepares graduates to formulate justice system policy and serve effectively as administrators to United States justice system agencies. The master’s program permits students to explore the fields of Criminology, examining the nature and causes of crime, and Justice System Management, which focuses on modern administrative theory, legal issues in personnel administration, and the management of criminal justice agencies. Students must complete a series of core courses, which provide a solid foundation in modern justice system theory and practice. By the time students have completed the core requirements, they must choose one of two tracks: Thesis or Non-Thesis. This choice will impact the number of electives they take and whether they enroll to take the Comprehensive Examination or Thesis hours. Students may enroll either on a full-time or part-time basis in these degree programs.

Course Requirements for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice

(All courses are three credits unless otherwise indicated)

CJS501Criminal Justice System Overview
CJS503Survey of Research Methods
CJS505Legal Issues in the U.S. Justice System
CJS509Crime and Public Policy
CJS511Criminological Theory
CJS513Analysis of Criminal Justice Data
CJS605Thesis (Up to 6 credits)

CJS electives (4-6 courses)

Non-Thesis Option:

CJS501Criminal Justice System Overview
CJS503Survey of Research Methods
CJS505Legal Issues in the U.S. Justice System
CJS509Crime and Public Policy
CJS511Criminological Theory
CJS513Analysis of Criminal Justice Data

CJS Electives (6 courses)

Joint Master of Science in Criminal Justice/ Juris Doctor

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Offered with the RWU School of Law. 

Drawing on the strengths of the Roger Williams University School of Law as well as the School of Justice Studies, RWU offers a concentrated joint degree program for students interested in criminal justice. The dual degree program allows matriculated students to complete the Juris Doctor (JD) and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) in an accelerated period of study. To earn the degree students must complete 78 credits at the School of Law and 24 credits in the School of Justice Studies. The School of Law and the School of Justice Studies will each accept 12 transfer credits from the other. The effect of these credit transfers between the School of Law and the School of Justice Studies reduces the overall time needed to complete both degrees from four and a half years to three and a half years, assuming full-time study.

Application Process for the M.S. Criminal Justice/J.D. Dual Degree Program

  1. Apply to and be accepted to the J.D. program in the School of Law and adhere to the J.D. application instructions and requirements including application and testing deadlines.
  2. After beginning your studies in the J.D. program, complete the graduate application to be considered for the Criminal Justice program as a dual degree student. You should indicate the M.S. Criminal Justice/J.D. dual degree program as your intended program on the Graduate Application.
  3. If you are accepted to the Criminal Justice program, you may begin your Criminal Justice coursework only after completing your first year of J.D. studies. If you begin Criminal Justice coursework prior to starting the J.D. program, you may not be eligible for the benefits of the shared coursework of the dual degree. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at 401-254-6200 or gradadmit@rwu.edu with questions.
 
Course Requirements for the M.S. Criminal Justice/J.D. Dual Degree Program
 
Students participating in the M.S. Criminal Justice / J.D. Dual Degree program complete eight courses in the M.S. program:
 
CJS 501 Criminal Justice System Overview
CJS 503 Survey of Research Methods
CJS 505 Legal Issues in the U.S. Justice System
CJS 509 Crime and Public Policy
CJS 511 Criminological Theory
CJS 513 Analysis of Criminal Justice Data
CJS elective
CJS elective

    The following four School of Law courses transfer to the School of Justice Studies to fulfill remaining M.S. Criminal Justice degree requirements:

    1. LAW 623 Criminal Law
    2. LAW 627 Criminal Procedure - Investigation
    3. LAW 682 Criminal Procedure - Adjudication
    4. A LAW elective from one of the following: LAW 631 Administrative Law, LAW 681 Advanced Evidence, LAW 860 Criminal Defense Clinic, LSM 890 Seminar in Domestic Violence

    The following four M.S. Criminal Justice courses transfer to the School of Law to fulfill J.D. program requirements:

    1. CJS 503 Survey of Research Methods
    2. CJS 509 Crime and Public Policy
    3. CJS 511 Criminological Theory
    4. CJS 513 Analysis of Criminal Justice Data

    B.S./M.S. Criminal Justice 4+1 - RWU

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    Earn your M.S. in Criminal Justice in just one year.

    RWU undergraduates in criminal justice, psychology, and related majors may participate in a special 4+1 M.S. Criminal Justice program. 

    How does it work? 

    You’ll begin the M.S. Criminal Justice program by taking one graduate course in each semester during your senior year at RWU. Each course will count for both undergraduate and graduate credit, subject to advisor approval. Once you graduate, you will complete six credits of online coursework in the summer and then complete the remainder of your studies on campus at RWU in the fall and spring.

    Curriculum

    Senior Fall
    1 Required Course (e.g., CJS 501 Criminal Justice System Overview)

    Senior Spring
    1 Required Course (e.g., CJS 509 Crime and Public Policy)

    Summer (Online)
    1 Required Course
    1 Required or Elective Course

    Fall (12 credits)
    2 Required Courses (e.g., CJS503 Survey of Research Methods; CJS505 Legal Issues in the United States)
    2 Approved Electives         

    Spring (12 credits)
    2 Required Courses (e.g., CJS511 Criminological Theory; CJS513 Analysis of Criminal Justice Data)
    2 Approved Electives      
     

    How to Apply

    The preferred application deadline for consideration is March 1st in the second semester of the junior year at RWU.

    To apply, please submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Admission:

    1. Completed application form online at grad.rwu.edu/apply
    2. Letter of Intent (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in the Criminal Justice program, career goals, and how you can positively contribute to the graduate program at Roger Williams University
    3. Two (2) letters of recommendation from professional sources or academic faculty attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school
    4. Please note that your academic transcripts will be obtained by the Office of Graduate Admission from the University Registrar. Do not request your transcripts. 

    Your letter of intent and letters of recommendation may be emailed directly to us at gradadmit@rwu.edu. Emailed letters of recommendation must come directly from your recommenders.

    Upcoming Events

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    Open Houses

    Meet us on campus in Bristol, RI, and hear about admission and financial aid, meet the faculty, tour the campus, and more.

    Saturday, January 11, 2020
    10:00am - 1:00pm
    Register

    Virtual Information Sessions

    Short on time or just want to learn more about us from the comfort of your home, school, or office? Join us for a Virtual Information Session.

    Thursday, November 14, 2019
    5:30pm - 6:15pm ET Register

    Monday, December 9, 2019
    5:00pm - 6:00pm ET Register

    Thursday, December 12, 2019
    12:30pm - 1:15pm ET Register

    Thursday, January 7, 2020
    12:30pm - 1:15pm ET Register

    Tuesday, January 21, 2020
    5:30pm - 6:30pm ET Register

    Please visit http://grad.rwu.edu/events for current information.

    A headshot of Sean Varano

    Community Researcher

    Sean Varano Professor
    Criminal Justice

    Sean Varano considers himself a community researcher, and for good reason. He has years of experience developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based approaches to crime and public health programs in the local community.

    Read full story
    Application Requirements

    To be considered for admission to the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program, applicants must hold an earned Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university. To apply, submit the following:

    1. Completed online application form accompanied by the $50 application fee
    2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
    3. Letter of Intent (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in Criminal Justice, relevant past experiences and career goals
    4. Two letters of recommendation attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school
    5. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results

    Note: Applicants with an overall GPA below 3.00 (B) are strongly encouraged to take either the GRE or MAT. Applicants for the Joint M.S./J.D. must apply separately to the School of Law, and must submit an LSAT score.

    The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is not required for admission. International applicants should also read additional requirements for non-U.S. residents.

    Where appropriate, documents should be submitted online through the applicant portal or via email to gradadmit@rwu.edu. Any official documents that must be mailed (i.e. transcripts) should be sent directly to:

    Office of Graduate Admission
    1 Old Ferry Rd.
    Bristol, RI 02809

    Have questions about the application process? Visit the How to Apply page from the Office of Graduate Admission.

    Preferred Application Deadlines

    August 1 for Fall
    January 1 for Spring
    May 1 for Summer