Criminal Justice

Degree Offered: M.S.C.J.
Director: J. Heith Copes, Ph.D.
Phone: (205) 934-2069
E-mail: jhcopes@uab.edu
Website: http://www.uab.edu/justice-sciences/

Prospective students should use this checklist to obtain specific admissions requirements on how to apply to Graduate School.

Program Information

The criminal justice graduate program requires study in the overall discipline, with intensive focus on the areas of criminal justice policy, criminal justice administration, research methods and statistics, and criminological theory. Beyond a core set of required courses, the program features a  Thesis Track (Plan I) designed for students interested in pursuing a doctorate in criminal justice or criminology, and a Non-Thesis Track (Plan II) designed for students interested in pursuing entry- or advanced-level positions in a criminal justice or related agency setting.  Students selecting the Plan I option are required to complete a Thesis project under a faculty adviser, while students selecting the Plan II track are required to complete a Demonstration Project and are strongly encouraged to complete a field placement (Internship).

Each year, students are admitted to the M.S.C.J. program for the fall term. The application deadline for receipt of all admission materials by the Graduate School is July 1 each year. Students may be admitted to the M.S.C.J. program "in good standing" provided they meet all minimum admission criteria established by the Graduate School and the program, which include having taken an introductory-level statistics course and an introductory-level research methods course in which a grade of "B" or better was earned.  Most students admitted to the program have earned a cumulative undergraduate grade point of average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale and earned a combined score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of 300 or higher.  Students who otherwise meet minimum admission criteria but who have not taken both the statistics and the research methods courses may be admitted to the M.S.C.J. program on a "contingency" basis. Students so admitted will not be allowed to register for graduate coursework until the contingencies are removed. Students meeting the minimum requirements for admission including taking the statistics and research methods courses but who lack a substantive background in criminal justice may be admitted to the M.S.C.J. program on a "contingency" basis, but will be required to take remedial coursework before they will be allowed to register for any graduate courses.

Financial Aid

Students who are admitted to the M.S.C.J. program "in good standing" are eligible to receive department-based financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships or scholarships that are awarded on a competitive basis. Students are typically notified of such awards in early June of each year for the following fall.

Additional Information

Deadline for Entry Term(s): Fall
Deadline for All Application Materials to be in the Graduate School Office: July 1
Number of Evaluation Forms Required: Three
Entrance Tests GRE (TOEFL and TWE also required for international applicants whose native language is not English.)

Contact Information

For detailed information contact Dr. Heith Copes, Department of Justice Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1201 University Boulevard Office Building, Suite 210, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-4562.
Telephone: 205-934-2069
E-mail jhcopes@uab.edu
Web http://www.uab.edu/cas/justice-sciences/

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Plan 1 - 30 hours with Thesis1

RequirementsHours
JS 583Patterns in Crime3
JS 600Pro-Seminar in Criminal Justice3
JS 601Seminar in Criminological Theory3
JS 604Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy3
JS 605Seminar in Research Design3
JS 606Seminar in Data Analysis3
JS 699Thesis Research6
Electives (JS 500+ level courses or substitute approved by a graduate program director)6
Total Hours30
1

 Students can take up to 6 hours of independent study (JS 695) and/or up to 9 hours of directed non-thesis research (JS 698)

Plan II - 36 hours

RequirementsHours
JS 583Patterns in Crime3
JS 600Pro-Seminar in Criminal Justice3
JS 601Seminar in Criminological Theory3
JS 603Seminar in Criminal Justice Administration3
JS 604Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy3
JS 605Seminar in Research Design3
JS 606Seminar in Data Analysis3
JS 697Graduate Plan II Research Project3
Electives (JS 500+ level courses or substitute approved by a graduate program director)12
Total Hours36

Requirements for a Dual Degree - Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Public Administration

RequirementsHours
JS 583Patterns in Crime3
JS 600Pro-Seminar in Criminal Justice3
JS 601Seminar in Criminological Theory3
JS 604Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy3
JS 605Seminar in Research Design3
JS 606Seminar in Data Analysis3
JS 696Graduate Internship in Criminal Justice3
Electives (500 level or above) 19
Total Hours30
1

 Other courses at 500 level or above may apply with JS Grad Director approval, except courses in MPA that are required for the MPA.

The recommended course sequence for the Plan I MSCJ degree is:

Semester 1 (Fall): JS 600, JS 601, JS 606

Semester 2 (Spring): JS 583, JS 605, Elective 1

Semester 3 (Fall): JS 603, JS 604, JS 699

Semester 4 (Spring): JS 699, Elective 2

The recommended course sequence for the Plan II MSCJ degree is:

Semester 1 (Fall): JS 600, JS 601, JS 606

Semester 2 (Spring): JS 583, JS 605, Elective 1

Semester 3 (Fall): JS 603, JS 604, Elective 2

Semester 4 (Spring): JS 697/JS 698, Elective 3 (recommendedJS 693/JS 696), Elective 4

MSCJ Online

Students who wish to take courses on line may complete all or part of the MSCJ completely on line. There is no "on line degree," it is the same degree regardless of how the courses are taken. Students may take some courses in class and some on line, or may complete the MSCJ completely on line.

The Online MSCJ Degree is designed to mirror the in-class Non-Thesis Plan II degree. Students enrolled in the online degree are required to take the same courses as the Plan II degree — but the courses may taken 100% online. The degree is structured so that students can graduate in 4 semesters (fall, spring, summer, fall) by taking 9 hours each semester.

Students are required to complete a Demonstration Project (JS 697) to display their mastery of the core courses. Specifically, students will complete a research paper that shows they can synthesize a body of literature, create a research question, use appropriate research methods to evaluate the question, and discuss implications (both theory and policy) of the findings. Students are required to work with a faculty member to oversee the project. In their second semester, students will be required to write a brief proposal discussing their topic and potential sources of data. After completing this proposal, they will send it to the Program Director who will then assign a faculty chair based on best fit with the topic. Students can request to work with faculty members, but this does not guarantee they will be assigned to that faculty member. Once a chair is determined, the faculty chair and student will work together until the chair deems the project acceptable.

Under special circumstances, and with permission from the Program Director, students may be allowed to complete a Thesis through the online MSCJ program. In such cases, the student will take 6 hours of Thesis in place of one elective and the Demonstration Project.

The recommended course sequence for the on line MSCJ degree is:

Semester 1 (Fall): JS 600, JS 601, JS 606

Semester 2 (Spring): JS 583, JS 605, Elective 1

Semester 3 (Summer): JS 603, JS 604, Elective 2

Semester 4 (Fall): JS 697/JS 698, Elective 3, Elective 4

Courses

JS 500. Drugs and Society. 3 Hours.

This course teaches students the pharmacological effects and different categories of drugs. Different theories of drug use are discussed as well as the historical development of drug laws including different methods of regulating drug use. Various harms associated with drug use are discussed as well as the consequences of drug prohibition.

JS 502. Introduction to Computer Forensics. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the use of analytical and investigative techniques in criminal or civil litigation to identify, collect, examine and preserve evidence/information magnetically stored or encoded.

JS 503. Restorative Justice. 3 Hours.

Introduction to, and analysis of, movement in criminal justice to institutionalize peaceful approaches to harm, problem-solving and violations of legal and human rights. Includes discussion of specific programs, critical evaluation of these programs, and analysis of future directions of the movement.

JS 504. Serial Killers. 3 Hours.

Examination of the psychology and sociology of serial killers; case studies and agency responses to these offenders.

JS 507. Special Topics in Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

In-depth analysis of substantive topic in criminal justice or criminology including contemporary issues, ethics, historical review, or related topics. Varies by semester and by Instructor. May be repeated twice for credit.

JS 508. Juvenile Delinquency. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the nature, scope, and causes of illegal behavior by juveniles, and societal responses to that behavior.

JS 511. Juvenile Justice System. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the evolution and operation of specialized agencies and procedures to address juvenile law-breaking, including emerging problems and solutions.

JS 512. Juvenile Law. 3 Hours.

Review and analysis of emerging statutory and case law in American juvenile justice.

JS 513. The Legal Profession. 3 Hours.

Weekly seminars conducted by accomplished practitioners in civil litigation, criminal prosecution, criminal defense, labor and employment law, products liability, domestic relations, military justice, environmental, indigent legal aid, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques.

JS 515. Investigating Online Crimes. 3 Hours.

Introduction to cyber investigative techniques, involving focused analysis of email and websites; Examination of legal process and preparing evidence in cyber crime cases. (Also CS591).
Prerequisites: JS 502 [Min Grade: C]

JS 524. Serial Killers in Cross-National Settings. 3 Hours.

Examines serial homicide in cross-national settings including offender disorders; crime scene analysis; significance of victims; and offender classification process.

JS 530. Ethics and Computer Forensics. 3 Hours.

Overview of different systems of ethics; the role of ethics in computer forensics, cybercrime investigation, and information security; examination of ethical issues facing professionals involved in computer forensics, cybercrime investigation, and information security.

JS 537. CyberCrime and Forensics. 3 Hours.

Overview of all aspects of media forensics including analysis of character encoding, file formats, and digital media; examination of disk acquisition and duplication techniques and application of these techniques in criminal investigation scenarios.

JS 540. White Collar and Corporate Crime. 3 Hours.

Introduction to, and analysis of, illegal/deviant behavior occurring in organizational settings, including crimes committed by and against complex organizations.

JS 542. Race, Crime, Gender and Social Policy. 3 Hours.

Examination of how the subordinate status of minority groups (African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Women) affects interaction with the justice system as offenders, victims, and professionals.

JS 543. Women and the Criminal Justice System. 3 Hours.

Evaluation of the changing role of women in the justice system as victims, offenders and professionals.

JS 544. Law and Society. 3 Hours.

Examination of how law is used to facilitate or regard social change, social control, and social conflict in society.

JS 545. Juvenile Corrections. 3 Hours.

Examination of historical and contemporary efforts to reduce juvenile delinquency with particular attention to innovative programs and evaluation of their effectiveness.

JS 550. Questioned Death Investigation. 3 Hours.

Examination of forensic pathology as used in local medical examiners’ offices.

JS 560. Violence: An American Tradition. 3 Hours.

The course examines violence as an American tradition. Although the class examines historical acts of violence as catalysts for social change, the emphasis will be on destructive or negative violence, -- criminal violence. The class examines many different acts of violence in society as well as policies and prevention strategies.

JS 566. Spatial Analyses & Crime Mapping. 3 Hours.

This skills-based class will introduce students to the application of geographic information systems (GIS) to crime-related topics and issues.

JS 583. Patterns in Crime. 3 Hours.

Examination of the major correlates of crime and criminality,including age, race, sex, and socio-economic status, examination of major sources of information from which data on crime correlates are gathered.

JS 592. Study Away in Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

Affords students the opportunity engage in academic study outside of the U.S. to examine substantive topics in crime and justice. Students spend time at a destination point, where they engage with students and faculty members in classroom and research settings at partner post-secondary institutions, experience immersion in foreign culture, and engage in comparative analysis of policies and programs relating to crime and justice.

JS 600. Pro-Seminar in Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

Critical analysis of formal and informal processing of offenders by criminal justice agencies, including police, courts, and corrections; effectiveness and future directions.

JS 601. Seminar in Criminological Theory. 3 Hours.

Classic and contemporary theoretical explanations of crime and criminality.

JS 603. Seminar in Criminal Justice Administration. 3 Hours.

Theories of organizational structure, motivation, and management applied to criminal justice agencies.

JS 604. Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy. 3 Hours.

Origins, formulation, implementation, and evaluation of criminal justice policy; classic and contemporary examples of policy innovations.

JS 605. Seminar in Research Design. 3 Hours.

Quantitative methods of empirical research emphasizing criminal justice/criminological applications; current research methodologies relating to analysis of issues involving crime and criminal justice.

JS 606. Seminar in Data Analysis. 3 Hours.

Bivariate and multivariate analyses and intepretation of results from substantive research.

JS 675. Law Evidence and Procedure. 3 Hours.

Overview and examination of the legal aspects of physical evidence, including rules of evidence, procedural rules, and the role of expert witnesses.

JS 688. Special Topics in Criminal Justice. 3 Hours.

JS 693. Graduate Practitioner Internship in Criminal Justice. 1-6 Hour.

Internship specifically arranged for pracitioners internship credit for the criminal justice major.

JS 694. Graduate Distance Internship in Criminal Justice. 1-6 Hour.

Internship with agency that is occurring more than 100 miles from Birmingham.

JS 695. Graduate Independent Study (Non-Thesis). 1-6 Hour.

Independent study in a substantive area of interest under the direction of a faculty member.

JS 696. Graduate Internship in Criminal Justice. 1-6 Hour.

Field experience in criminal justice agency setting. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours credit.

JS 697. Graduate Plan II Research Project. 1-6 Hour.

Independent study in a student's substantive area of interest under the direction of a faculty member.

JS 698. Directed Research (Non-Thesis). 1-6 Hour.

Independent study in a student's substantive area of interest under the direction of a faculty member.

JS 699. Thesis Research. 1-6 Hour.

Admission to candidacy and successful defense of thesis proposal.
Prerequisites: GAC M

Faculty

Copes, J. Heith, Professor and Director, Master of Science in Criminal Justice Program, 2001, B.S. (Southwestern Louisiana), M.A., Ph.D., (Tennessee), Qualitative Methods, Criminal Decision Making, Visual Criminology
Earwood, Martha, Teaching Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice & Internship Coordinator, 2003, B.S., M.S. (Georgia State), Corrections, Victimology, Restorative Justice, Experiential Learning.
Gardner, Elizabeth A., Associate Professor and Director, Master of Science in Forensic Science Program, 2007, B.S. (Penn State), PhD. (Michigan State), Drug Chemistry, Legal Highs, Gun Powder Residue, Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, Pharmaceutical Spam
Griffin, O. Hayden, Associate Professor of Justice Sciences, 2013, J.D. (University of Richmond), Ph.D. (University of Florida), Corrections, Policy, Drugs and Society, Law and Society
Lim, Hyeyoung, Assistant Professor and Honors Program Director, 2013, Ph.D. (Sam Houston State), Police Use of Force, Police Decision Making, Quantitative Methods, Program and Policy Evaluation
Linville, Jason G., Teaching Assistant Professor, 2004, B.S. (Ohio), M.S., Ph.D. (UAB), Forensic Biology, Entomology, Forensic Science Education
McGrath, Shelly A., Assistant Professor of Justice Sciences, 2008, B.S. (St. Mary’s), M.S. (Ball State), Ph.D. (Southern Illinois), Quantitative Methods, Crime Mapping, Violence
Morgan, Kathryn, Associate Professor of Justice Sciences; Director of African American Studies, 1991, B.S., M.A. (Texas Woman’s), Ph.D. (Florida State), Corrections, Criminological Theory, Minorities, Violence
Philips, James, Adjunct Instructor , Criminal Law, Evidence, and Procedure; White Collar and Corporate Crime; Cybercrime
Walker, Jeffery, Professor and Chair, 2015, PhD (Sam Houston), MA (Arkansas - Little Rock), BS (Arkansas)
Warner, Gary, Instructor and Director of Research in Computer Forensics, 2007, B.S. (UAB), Digital Forensics, Cybercrime and Security
Wheeler, Anne P., Teaching Assistant Professor, 2012, J.D. (Harvard), Criminal Law, Procedure and Evidence, Law and Society, Litigation Skills and Strategies, Professional Ethics