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  • Shana Maier, PhD

    • Associate Professor, Director of MCJ program
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 334
    • tel: 610-499-4651
    • fax: 610-499-4603
  • Gertrude (Trudy) Depew

    • Administrative Assistant to MCJ program
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 226
    • tel: 610-499-4365

Curriculum, Master in Criminal Justice

Program Highlight

 student speaking with Chester police officers at career fair

Criminal Justice Career Fair

The MCJ is a career-oriented program. Each year the department hosts a large career fair to help put students in touch with potential employers and so they can talk directly with professionals working in the field. View a Flickr gallery.

The master of arts (MA) in criminal justice includes a core curriculum that emphasizes criminological theory, the relation of law to the criminal justice system, research and data analysis, and criminal justice organizations.

Students tailor the remainder of the degree to their needs and interests by choosing electives from Widener’s extensive offerings.

After the completion of coursework, students have the option of writing a thesis or taking a series of comprehensive exams.

  • If completing a thesis, a student works under the supervision of a full-time faculty advisor, conducts the required research, and prepares a manuscript that can be submitted for publication in a selected journal. 
  • Students who elect to complete comprehensive exams take on-campus assessments in theory, research methods, and a third specialized area selected by the student and based on his/her elective courses.

Sample Courses

View a selection of courses students may take as a criminal justice graduate student.

CJ 501 Nature of Crime and Delinquency

This course provides an overview of the nature and scope of delinquency and crime through a comprehensive survey of criminological theory using original sources. Major emphasis is given to the evaluation of existing theory and its relationship to criminal justice policy and practice.

CJ 603 White Collar Crime

This seminar focuses on forms of criminal deviance that are committed by individuals in their official capacities in the work place. Various forms of such deviance are discussed, as are the theoretical perspectives proposed to explain them, beginning with the seminal work of Edwin Sutherland and moving to the more current focus on social opportunity and the “pressure” for success.

CJ 610 Ethics in the Criminal Justice System

This seminar addresses various aspects and approaches to the practice and study of ethics in the criminal justice system. Topics include philosophical approaches to crime and punishment, as well as the responsibilities, moral quandaries, and ethical dilemmas faced by those involved in the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, legal professionals, and correctional officers.

CJ 613 Restorative Justice: Theory and Practice

This course explores the model of restorative justice, a newer movement that differs from the traditional criminal justice model. In recent years, there has been a movement toward greater attention by the criminal justice system to include victims and members of the community. Unlike a traditional criminal justice approach, which has the goal to punish offenders, the restorative justice approach strives to repair the harm done to victims and encourages victims and community members to have a voice in the justice process. With restorative justice, offenders are held accountable for their actions and the goal is to restore them to be law-abiding members of the community.

CJ 614 Cybercrime

The ever-growing advances of technology have resulted in the increase in the commission of cybercrimes, or crimes that involve a computer, any computer technology, or the Internet.  This course will review the history of cyber crime, types of cyber crime, laws that pertain to cyber crime, and efforts by state and U.S. federal law enforcement to combat cyber crime.  The role of and investigations by computer forensic experts will also be explored.  

CJ 617 Domestic Terrorism

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive study of domestic terrorism in the United States, past, present and future.  Lectures, presentations, discussions and readings will enable the student to think critically about the factors, which cause individuals to join domestic terrorism groups and how the federal government and law enforcement has confronted this ongoing threat.  Lastly, the course explores the future of domestic terrorism groups in America. 

For more information about courses and requirements for the MCJ degree, please refer to page 8 in our course catalog.