The Criminal Justice Program offers an integrated B.S./M.A. program that is designed to allow academically superior baccalaureate students enrolled in the Criminal Justice major to obtain both the B.S. and the M.A. degrees in Criminal Justice within five years of study. The first two years of undergraduate coursework typically include the University General Education requirements and lower-level courses. In the third year, students typically take upper-division coursework in Criminal Justice and define areas of interest. The fourth year involves graduate-level Criminal Justice coursework including required courses in Criminal Justice Theory and Policy (CRIMJ 500; CRIMJ 502), as well as coursework in a student-designed nine credit concentration. The fifth and final year of the program typically consists of graduate coursework in Criminal Justice including Advanced Research Methods and Statistics in Criminal Justice (CRIMJ 501; CRIMJ 503), completion of the concentration, and identification of an original research project that will culminate in a thesis (six credits of CRIMJ 600) or a master’s paper (3 credits of CRIMJ 594).
By encouraging greater depth and focus in the course of study beginning in the third undergraduate year, this program will help the student more clearly define his/her area of interest and expertise in the field of criminal justice. As a result, long-range academic planning for exceptional students pursuing doctoral degrees or other professional goals after leaving Penn State will be greatly enhanced. For most students, the total time required to reach completion of the higher degree will be shortened by about a year. The student will have earlier contact with the rigors of graduate study and with Graduate Faculty. The resources of the Graduate School are accessible to students accepted into the IUG program. Students in their third and fourth year of study with IUG status benefit from their association with graduate students whose level of work parallel their own.
For the IUG Criminal Justice B.S./M.A. degree, a minimum of 120 credits are required for the B.S. and 30 credits for the M.A. Twelve credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level, in consultation with the adviser, can apply to both the B.S. and M.A. degrees. A minimum of 50% of the double-counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.
If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.A. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.