William C. Pizio, Criminal Justice Graduate Program Director
The M.S. in criminal justice program is ideal for criminal justice professionals seeking career advancement, as well as undergraduate students who plan to earn an advanced degree.
As the only criminal justice graduate program in the Triad, we offer a curriculum that is interdisciplinary, theoretically grounded, empirically rigorous and policy-oriented. The curriculum addresses ongoing problems and contemporary issues in criminal justice and emphasizes the transferrable skills afforded by the liberal arts tradition, including advanced critical thinking, written and verbal communication and research skills.
The program is unique because it focuses on both systems of criminal justice and the communities they serve. Graduates will be leaders committed to improving the criminal justice system and who embody Guilford’s seven Core Values, especially justice and integrity.
Program Benefits and Highlights
- Only criminal justice master’s degree program in the Triad
- Low faculty to student ratio
- Diverse faculty with backgrounds in law enforcement, law and corrections
- Flexible schedules with day & evening classes, including hybrid online courses
- Thesis option to prepare students for doctoral studies
- Problem-solving practicum (non-thesis option) that engages students with local criminal justice agencies for those planning careers in criminal justice and practitioners seeking career advancement
Guilford’s program is competitive; acceptance is not automatic even if the applicant does meet the department’s minimum admission requirements. The number of students accepted depends on the quality of applications, availability of financial aid, and adequate faculty supervision. Similar to Guilford’s undergraduate process, the graduate admissions decisions are made on a more wholistic basis.
- Admission Criteria
To be considered for admission, the applicant must:
- Possess a baccalaureate degree in a social or behavioral science from an accredited college or university.
- Have earned a grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in their most recent two years of undergraduate work.
- Achieve an acceptable score on the GRE examination.
Note: Applicants with five or more years of experience in the criminal justice system will not be required to take the GRE.
- Submit a statement of purpose.
- Submit a curriculum vitae.
- Submit two letters of recommendation that reflect the student’s ability to complete a graduate level program successfully.
- In addition to the above criteria, international students must also score 550 or higher on the TOEFL examination.
- Provisional Acceptance
Candidates, at the discretion of the program, may be accepted provisionally. Conditions of provisional acceptance will be at the discretion of the program but generally, a student who is accepted provisionally must maintain a 3.0 or higher grade point average for two program courses. If the student maintains a 3.0 or higher grade point average, they will achieve unconditional admission to the program. If the student does not achieve a 3.0 or high grade point average, they will not be eligible to continue in the program.
- Transfer and Non-matriculated Credits
Up to two graduate courses may be transferred from another accredited institution toward the degree. Any transfer credits must have received a B or better and all must be approved by the program. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the program.
Students may take up to two courses in the program prior to being formally accepted. Grades of B or better are required for the courses to apply toward the degree. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the program.
Non-matriculating students must complete the application, submit undergraduate transcripts, and pay the application fee in whole at time of application submission. Guilford does not require letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and GRE score for non-matriculating applicants.
- Application Deadlines
Applications for admission into the program will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Admission for the summer semester will not be considered.
- Non-Degree Admission
Individuals who have specific interests or professional needs, but who do not intend to pursue a master’s degree, may apply for admission as non-degree students. The Admissions Committee will review and make recommendations to the Program Director on all such applications. No registration will be allowed while such review is pending.
Non-degree students may take no more than 14 credits over a period no longer than two academic years. However, non-degree admission does not extend beyond a single semester, and students must apply for non-degree admission each semester in which they take classes.
- Undergraduate Students
Undergraduates who are not in the B.S./M.S. program may also register for up to two graduate courses. Graduate courses may also count as upper level electives (300 or 400 level) toward a student’s undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice. If a student who takes graduate courses as an undergraduate enrolls in the graduate program, the graduate courses taken will count toward their M.S. degree.
This is a graduate seminar focusing on the theories and schools of thought that underpin criminology as a field of study. The course provides a comprehensive overview of influential ideas and considers the social, historical and political factors that influenced their emergence, popularity and decline. An examination of competing and integrated models including religious perspectives; classical, positivist and neo-classical schools; biological and psychological explanations; developmental models; the ecological school; social structural theories; symbolic interaction; and critical perspectives may be included in this course. This course focuses on original works by key scholars as well as modern critiques of their ideas.
This course introduces students to the many different types of cybercrime. Students learn how to identify cybercriminal activity and learn how companies and law enforcement agencies are responding to the dangers these crimes present. This course will also address criminal law as it relates to computer network security, copyright infringement and private use of the computer.
This course addresses crimes relating to environmental damage. Topics will include criminal and civil laws relating to local and federal standards of pollution or other environmental harm. This course will examine the relationship between corporate entities and the social, political and medical concerns of society-at-large.
This course is multidisciplinary overview of key institutions, processes, and policy issues regarding crime and justice and the role law can play in resolving arising conflicts. Readings and discussion will include traditional criminal justice institutions and processes; the role of private sector and community organizations in crime control; law and justice policy in a federal system; crime prevention and institutional responses to crime; emerging cross-national issues in crime, law and policy.
This course provides students with a human-rights’ framework and cross-cultural understanding of violence against women, minorities, and the economically deprived and examines efforts across societies to translate this knowledge into effective policy.
This course provides an overview of factors shaping crime policy. The concept of crime, the use of law to promote social control policies, policy responses related to crime control and the efficacy of those policies will be examined. Addresses conceptualizations of the modern state and the use of state power and how these concepts have affected the development of public policy.
Beginning with the enlightenment and classical philosophers, students will examine historical and current trends in punishment and social control theory and practice. This course also addresses social control and punishment in latemodernity. Topics will include the philosophical issues associated with criminal punishment, particularly the moral justification for punishment. The relationship between theories of punishment and theories of the state, theories of ethics, theories of law and broader philosophical issues such as free will versus determinism.
This course will examine the social organization in correctional institutions. The focus of this course is to inquire into the nature, organization, and aims of the penal system and its effect on groups it deals with. This course will also examine inmate classification methods and institution security classification.
This course examines the origin, nature, and operation of various correctional institutions and practices. The focus of the course varies by semester; topics include institutional corrections, community corrections, intermediate sanctions, legal aspects of corrections, the death penalty and philosophical theories of punishment. This course will also examine the interaction of groups within institutions, the need for solitary confinement and institutions designed specifically for inmates presenting high-security risks.
This course serves as an introduction to the philosophical analysis of law and its role in society. The course considers questions such as what is law, how is relied upon to control behavior and resolve conflicts. This course also considers whether it is a moral obligation to obey the law and examines the relationship between morality and the law.
This course examines constitutional standards and operation of the criminal justice system, to include: police practices, bail, decision to prosecute, scope of prosecution, grand jury proceedings, preliminary hearings, right to counsel, right to speedy trial, plea bargaining, discovery and disclosure, jury trial, trial by newspaper, double jeopardy and post-trial proceedings.
This course reviews functions and practices of prosecutors, with special reference to an analysis of the interrelationships among charging, conviction, and sentencing, and in relation to the functions of police and probation staff. This course provides an overview of court goals, functions and potential for system reform.
The focus of this course is to address issues that may not be addressed in other policing courses, such as Policing Theory and Police Administration. This course is designed to address in a scholarly manner policing issues that are of particular concern to police and the public. Topics that may be addressed include: police leadership, ethics/professional standards/internal affairs, policies and procedures, training, information and communication management, recruitment/ retention/diversity in policing, officer mental health/suicide prevention, regional consolidation of police agencies or functions, gangs, guns, drugs, police response to victims, and/or new/ emerging policing models (evidence-based policing, for example).
This course analyzes of the strategies and programs utilized in modern police work. Previous research studies and contemporary methods for assessing the effectiveness of police practices are examined. This course includes an examination of theoretical, historical, and comparative perspectives on policing and a critical analysis of the function of police in modern society.
This course examines major U.S. police and law enforcement systems and issues. The focus of the course may be either the role of police in society, police-community relations, and special problems in policing, or management and policy issues such as police organization, federalism, police effectiveness, police discretion and use of force, and police accountability.
This class will explore the prevalence, causes of police use of force, and its relationship to police culture. Police subculture will also be examined as its own phenomena. Review and remedies for excessive use of force along with a comparative view of force usage in Japan will also be addressed in a seminar discussion type format.
This orients students to a field of study that examines criminal justice and crime control apparatus. This course includes a review of the assumptions, theories, research, and normative orientations that underlie and drive criminal justice thinking and practice.
This course is the first half of a two-part sequence intended to help students develop the skills necessary to design, critique and execute social science research. Through readings and discussion, the students will develop necessary skills to develop an original research project.
This course will focus on program planning and evaluation, and other responsibilities executives, managers, and planning and oversight agencies may have. The student will be responsible for contacting a criminal justice agency for the purposes of addressing a current problem identified by the agency.
Examines crime and synthesizes the body of theory and research examining community level effects on crime/crime control. This course will also examine the effect of crime and crime control on the community.