The School of Public Affairs offers a dual degree in Public Administration and Criminal Justice. The dual degree program prepares its graduates for overlapping careers in public, nonprofit, and private organizations that require both criminal justice and management knowledge. It also prepares individuals for leadership or research careers in justice agencies. Students pursuing the dual degree program must apply separately and be admitted to each of the programs. It is possible for students currently admitted to one program to apply after admission to the other. The MPA and MCJ Directors serve as advisors for this program. Interested applicants should contact one of the directors prior to making an application.
- A minimum of 54 credit hours of appropriate graduate study, including a minimum of 9 core hours in criminal justice, 15 core hours in public administration, and 3 hours of research methods. The remaining courses for the degree may be under the criminal justice or public administration heading or under another discipline, with prior written approval of the program director.
- A grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4-point scale) or better is required for degree candidacy.
- Grades of B- or better in all required courses. Credit will not be counted for any course in which a student earns a grade of C- or lower.
- No more than six credit hours of independent study.
MCJ Core Courses (9 credit hours)
- CJ 5001 - Criminal Justice Systems, Policy and Practice
- CJ 5002 - Criminological Theory
- CJ 5005 - Law and Society
MPA Core Courses (15 credit hours)
- PAD 5001 - Introduction to Public Administration and Public Service
- PAD 5002 - Organizational Management and Behavior
- PAD 5004 - Economics and Public Finance
- PAD 5005 - The Policy Process and Democracy
- PAD 5006 - Ethics and Leadership
Research Methods (3 credit hours)
Students must complete 18 - 24 semester hours of electives. Elective courses include a mixture of specialized criminal justice and/or public administration courses, workshops, and other formats. Students may choose to use these elective hours to build an area of concentration designed to meet individual needs. Where appropriate, students may include specialized courses offered by other departments and schools of the University, with prior written approval of the program director.
Field Study in Public Administration or Criminal Justice
Students who have not had at least one year of professional experience in a criminal justice or public service organization are required to complete either PAD 6910 Field Study in Public Administration or CJ 6910 Field Study in Criminal Justice. A minimum of 240 hours of supervised work is required to earn three hours of credit. Students must have completed at least twelve hours of coursework to enroll in Field Study.
Capstone Requirements: Capstone or Thesis
All Dual MPA/MCJ students, except those pursuing the thesis option, are required to complete PAD 5361 Capstone Seminar or CJ 5361 Capstone Seminar, in which they conduct, write, and present a client-based project. The Capstone Seminar is taken during the last semester of the student’s degree program. All core courses must be completed with a grade of B- or better before taking the Capstone Seminar.
In the Capstone Seminar, students work with a client in a criminal justice or public service/nonprofit agency to identify a problem and then, using the knowledge and skills they have gained in the program, carry out a project and write a paper to address the problem. The principle of the course is that it provides students with an opportunity to integrate what they have learned and apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world problem. Further, it provides the faculty with an opportunity to judge the student’s ability to perform such work.
The thesis option is available for Dual MPA/MCJ students who are interested in undertaking a research project, pursuing careers in research, or entering the Ph.D. program. Students must select a thesis advisor from the faculty to oversee their work. The thesis requires six semester hours of credit that normally spans two semesters. Thesis students conduct a comprehensive review of the theoretical and research literature in the subject area of their thesis and collect original data or analyze existing data in new ways.
Minimum eligibility requirements for pursuing a thesis include:
- Matriculation in the Dual MPA/MCJ program.
- Successful completion of all core courses and a minimum of 18 semester hours earned in approved public administration and/or criminal justice elective courses.
- Overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.
- Demonstrated ability to pursue empirically-based work, as evidenced by two submitted research papers developed in MPA or MCJ courses.
- Preliminary identification of a thesis topic or area of interest.
- Agreement of at least two MPA or MCJ faculty members to serve on a three-person thesis committee (one serving as thesis advisor).
- The submission of a thesis prospectus developed under the supervision of a faculty advisor and approval of this document by the thesis committee.
A student wishing to undertake the thesis option applies formally through her/his faculty academic advisor, first, to establish eligibility with respect to the above criteria, and second, to identify appropriate faculty members to serve on the student’s three-person thesis committee. The thesis committee will consist of two full-time MPA or MCJ faculty members, one of whom will serve as the thesis advisor and chair. The third member of the committee may be selected from any full-time or part-time member of the SPA faculty. (NOTE: Although the formal procedures entail application through the academic advisor, the student is encouraged to make informal contacts with appropriate subject-matter faculty to determine interest and availability.) Before the student is allowed to enroll for thesis credit, the thesis committee must formally approve a written thesis prospectus or proposal, which includes a thesis plan, a preliminary literature review, problem statement, and a timetable for completion. Upon approval of the prospectus, the student will be allowed to enroll in PAD 6950 Master’s Thesis or CJ 6950 Master’s Thesis.