May 26, 2019
The fields of public administration and criminal justice are closely connected. The MPA is a professional degree designed to prepare students for a variety of positions in public and nonprofit management and policy analysis, while criminal justice studies prepare graduates to work in organizations within the substantive policy area. The joint degree program prepares its graduates for overlapping careers in public, nonprofit, and private organizations that require both criminal justice and management knowledge. The dual degree also prepares students for research careers or advanced graduate studies. Students take the cores of both programs and choose electives that best suit their career and personal goals, completing both degrees in 54 hours versus the 72 hours it would take to complete each degree separately.
- 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 courses counted towards the degree.
- No more than 9 credit hours of independent study.
MCJ Core Courses (9 credit hours)
MPA Core Courses (15 credit hours)
Research Methods (3 credit hours)
PAD/CJ 5003 should not be taken in the first semester.
Students complete 18-24 credit hours of electives (number of hours depends on the need for internship/field study and choice of Capstone or Thesis). A minimum of 6 elective hours must be in Criminal Justice. Elective courses include a mixture of specialized criminal justice and/or public administration courses, workshops, and other formats. Students may choose to focus these elective hours around a particular area based on their interests and career goals. Where appropriate, students may include specialized courses offered by other departments and schools of the University, with prior written approval of the program director.
Internship / Field Study (3 credit hours)
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 Internship or CJ 6910 Field Study in Criminal Justice . The student’s need for internship / field study is determined by the MPA and MCJ program directors at the time of admission; each student is notified of this decision in his/her admission letter. A minimum of 240 hours of supervised work is required to earn 3 hours of credit. Students must have completed at least 9 credit hours of coursework to enroll in internship / field study. Students whose internship requirement is waived complete an additional elective in lieu of PAD 6910 / CJ 6910.
Culminating Experience: Capstone or Thesis
Dual MPA/MCJ students are required to complete either the Capstone Seminar or Master’s Thesis as their culminating experience.
In PAD 5361 / CJ 5361 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 Capstone Seminar requires 3 hours of credit and should be taken after all core courses have been completed with a grade of B- or better, and preferably during the final semester in the Dual MPA/MCJ program. Capstone Seminar is offered ONLY in the fall and spring semesters.
Students should complete the following steps no later than the semester prior to enrolling in PAD 5361 / CJ 5361 Capstone Seminar:
- Attend a Capstone Orientation hosted by the School of Public Affairs.
- Identify a partner agency for the Capstone project.
- Obtain an agreement from a UCCS faculty member to serve as a second reader on the Capstone project.
- Work with the faculty member serving as the Capstone second reader to draft a proposal and assess the need for IRB approval.
- If IRB approval is required, work with the Capstone Seminar instructor to submit an IRB proposal for review prior to the start of the semester in which they will enroll in the Capstone Seminar.
In PAD 6950 / CJ 6950 Master’s 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. The thesis requires 6 hours of credit that normally span two semesters. The thesis option is available to Dual MPA/MCJ students who have achieved an exceptional academic record and who wish to pursue independent research in greater depth than would normally be possible in Capstone Seminar. It is suited for students who intend to pursue a PhD degree or to enter a research or policy environment upon completion of the Dual MPA/MCJ program.
Minimum eligibility requirements for pursuing a thesis include:
- Matriculation in the Dual MPA/MCJ program.
- Successful completion of all core courses.
- Overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.
- Demonstrated ability to pursue research work, as evidenced by two submitted research papers developed in SPA courses or elsewhere.
- Preliminary identification of a thesis topic or area of interest.
- Agreement from a SPA faculty member to serve as the thesis committee chair along with two additional faculty members to serve on the thesis committee.
- Minor exceptions to the above criteria may be made in exceptional circumstances.
A student desiring to pursue the thesis option should meet with their academic advisor to establish eligibility under the above criteria. After establishing eligibility, the student should recruit three faculty members to serve on the student’s thesis committee – one to serve as the committee chair and two to serve on the committee – and then complete the thesis application form. Once complete, the thesis application form should be submitted to the MCJ Program Director and MPA Program Director for approval.