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Criminology and Criminal Justice

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Curriculum and Course Descriptions

The Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 32-credit program. There are two tracks students can take:

  • Law Enforcement in the 21st Century
  • Justice Advocacy and Reform 

Core Courses (16 credits)

  • CRM 5010G - Police, Courts, and Corrections
  • CRM 5020G - Public Policy, Crime, and Criminal Justice
  • CRM 7001G - Advanced Research Methods & Evaluation
  • CRM 8900G - Capstone Seminar: Theoretical Application and the Professional Practice

Electives (16 credits)

Students select from the following course electives.

  • Forensic Behavioral Analysis
  • Criminal Justice Administration & Management
  • Civil Rights & Civil Liberties in the Era of Homeland Security
  • Privacy & Surveillance in Information Sharing Environment
  • Advanced Topics in Criminology 
  • Victimology
  • Juvenile Justice & the Legal Rights of Children
  • Prison, Incarceration, & the Treatment of Convicted Persons
  • Race, Ethnicity, & Social Control
  • Girls, Women, & Crime 

Course Descriptions

CRM5000G: Criminological Theory
Criminology is the scientific study of lawmaking, law breaking, and society’s response to law breaking. This foundational course is a comprehensive examination of the major theories of crime causation, including biological psychological, economic, and sociological perspectives on the etiology of crime, as well as the criminal justice system’s response to crime. This course will not only cover the major criminological theories (e.g., differential association, social bonding, anomie/strain, social disorganization), but also requires students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of theories based on empirical evidence and consider the effectiveness of the theories in addressing crime prevention and control.

CRM 5001G - Advanced Topics in Criminology
Criminology is the systematic study of the causation, patterns, and control of crime and criminal behavior in individuals, groups, organizations, cultures, and societies. Criminology fosters theoretical debates and ideas about lawmaking, law breaking, and the social consequences of both. Criminologists also offer suggestions for reducing crime and improving crime policies. In this class we focus on current issues within the field of criminology, including such topics as: interrogations and interviewing; investigations and evidence collection; ethics in policing; new social media and policing; the use of intelligence in post 9-11society; and careers in law enforcement. A goal of this class is to help students cultivate critical thinking and informed analysis about crime – its causes and the policies in place to deter or solve crime.

CRM 5002G - Forensic Behavioral Analysis
This course is designed to allow students to examine the development of individual criminality and criminal careers, the role of social group processes in criminal activity, varieties of criminal behavior including violent, sexual and predatory crime, mental disorders, psychopathy and crime, victims and victimization, offender profiling, and the broader topic of forensic criminal investigation. The course will also explore the contribution of psychology to our contemporary understanding of crime and the criminal justice processes through the application of psychological theory in the investigation of crime and the efficacy of the criminal justice system. Faculty consent.

CRM5003G: Victimology
Victimology is the scientific study of crime victims. As criminal justice professionals, it is essential to the administration of justice that we understand the causes and consequences of criminal victimization. This course provides a comprehensive examination of criminal victimization through a review of the history and current theories of victimology, as well as an in-depth analysis of research on crime victims and victimization trends. This course focuses on specific crimes types, the physical, psychological, and financial impact of crime on victims, the role victims play within the criminal justice system, and victim rights and services in the United States. We will discuss the practical applications of victim programs, including restitution, mediation, and compensation, as well as the influence of victimology on criminal justice policy.

CRM 5010G - Police, Courts, and Corrections
This foundational course will consider the origins, the evolution, and the continuing evolution of the component segments (law enforcement, the courts, and the corrections system) of the criminal justice system in the United States. The organicity and dynamism of the system of criminal justice will be deconstructed in a framework of critical analysis that will examine the history and the legacy of the oppression of underclass populations by this system and the ways in which the manifestations and remnants of that history inform contemporary criminal justice practice. Students will investigate and interrogate discrimination, racism, and the brutality directed toward “otherized” populations in our corrections system, in law enforcement, and in the courts in order to consider and propose meaningful change strategies that will alleviate systemic inequality and injustice.

CRM 5020G - Public Policy, Crime, and Criminal Justice
This foundational course is an in-depth analysis of historically significant and recent crime and criminal justice policies. We will examine how crime, the public perception of crime influence public policy in the United States. We will place particular emphasis on the role of media and political forces that shape the social response to crime.

CRM5030G: Criminal Justice Administration and Management
This course will provide students with an overview of various criminal justice organizations from the perspective of management and leadership. Students will be tasked with understanding the makeup of organizations, and how the mission drives the organization. The topics discussed will focus on budget preparations, grant writing, human resources, and professional development in the workplace. The final assessment will require students to prepare to apply for a senior level management position, including completing a mock oral board.

CRM6003G: Girls, Women, & Crime
This course explores research and literature from criminology and criminal justice, social history, sociology, feminist legal theory, and popular culture to address issues of girls, women, crime, and both informal and formal methods of social control. Girls’ and women’s experiences with crime and social control can be understood only within the context of cultural definitions of femininity. This course will also examine the intersections of gender, age, race, socioeconomic status, mental illness, disability, and sexuality and how these statuses interact within the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The theoretical perspective known as intersectionality recognizes that people are placed at interlocking disadvantages and advantages due to where they are located in the social structural hierarchy, all of which in turn affect experiences and outcomes in justice systems.

CRM 6010G - Prison, Incarceration, and the Treatment of Convicted Persons
Mass incarceration affects more people than ever, yet the realities of incarceration are unknown to most people. This course looks at prisons and jails in terms of daily life, operations, social hierarchies, and social interactions. We will study both historical and contemporary accounts of life in prisons and jails in an attempt to understand the experience of incarcerated individuals, but also the relationship between penal institutions and the larger culture. We will pay particular attention to the political debates surrounding incarceration and the treatment of inmates.

CRM 6020G - Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Era of Homeland Security
This course will consider the implications of the increase in the use of surveillance and other information gathering technologies by agents of the government (local, state, and federal), in the evolving quest to ensure “homeland security.” Enhanced technologies that enable the widespread and unprecedented collection of information on individuals and groups that threaten the protections of the Constitution as they relate to civil rights and civil liberties will be examined. Also, the increased militarization of domestic law enforcement that is facilitated by federal government grant and military equipment redistribution programs will be explored and investigated.

CRM6500G: Graduate Internship and Field Placement
Internships and field placements give graduate students the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills and confidence to thrive in a professional criminal justice agency or organization. By integrating theory, research, policy, and practice, a graduate internship will prepare students for their future career by exposing them to meaningful work experiences and enhancing their leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Graduate students will be required to participate in both real-world field experiences and an academic component supervised by a member of the Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty. In addition, graduate students must also produce a final paper that integrates their field experiences with theory, research, and criminal justice policy and present their work to faculty and fellow students at the conclusion of their field placement.

CRM 7001G - Advanced Research Methods & Evaluation
This course focuses on the research designs most often used in evaluating the effectiveness of criminal justice policies and programs. Emphasis will be placed on experimental and quasi-experimental designs, questionnaire and scale development, and data collection methods in applied settings. Applications to police, courts, corrections, and crime prevention programs will be examined. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to successfully design and execute evaluations in a variety of criminal justice agencies.

CRM 7003G - Race, Ethnicity, and Social Control
This course examines the historical and contemporary connections between race, ethnicity, and social control (both formal and informal). The politics and culture surrounding race and ethnicity are fundamental to the criminal justice system in the United States and elsewhere. In this course, we will explore how racial inequality is connected to the legislative process, patterns of punishment, and public attitudes toward crime control. In the age of mass incarceration, we will consider the ways that understandings of crime and criminal justice not only respond to inequality, but also help perpetuate it.

CRM 7004G - Juvenile Justice and the Legal Rights of Children
This course examines the historical development, philosophy, and evolution of the juvenile justice system in the U.S. Emphasis will be placed on police practices, intervention, diversion, adjudication, and the detention of juveniles. The nature and extent of delinquency and status offenses, as well as the legal rights of children within the justice system will be discussed. Theory, research, and key contemporary policy issues will be analyzed and recommendations for reform developed.

CRM8000G: Graduate Directed Study
Qualified graduate students may, with the approval of the program director, enroll in a directed study that fulfills the requirements of a course in the program. The course will be tailored specifically to the interest of the student. The student will be responsible for completion of in-depth work sufficient to warrant the credits assigned. The project will involve the completion of a literature review, research proposal, and presentation. Students may take a variety of different approaches to the completion of this individualized project, including an empirical study related to crime, a justice policy analysis, or a needs assessment of a criminal justice program. This directed study may prepare students for the capstone seminar.

CRM 8900G - Capstone Seminar: Theoretical Application and the Professional Practice
This capstone course will be the final course in the eight-course graduate curriculum sequence. This course offers students an opportunity to integrate knowledge of criminological theory and criminal justice policy with the research skills gained while working toward completion of the graduate degree. Students will undertake an original research project that will relate directly to their intended area of engagement in the professional practice. Students will investigate theoretical foundations and analyze their applications to a particular discipline in the criminal justice profession. Successful completion of this course requires students to submit a manuscript length paper and participate in the graduate research colloquium or another forum for public dissemination.

Take it to the next level - the graduate level - at Merrimack.