Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs provide additional details about the Merrimack College Police Academy.

Background and General Information

What are the benefits and unique aspects of the Merrimack College Police Academy?

The Merrimack College Police Academy (MCPA) enables you to earn police training certification and a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice, The Merrimack College Police Department sponsors you to attend our state certified training academy, unlike other police academies which require that you first be hired or sponsored by a police department. Having an academy training certification prior to actually being hired will allow you to have preference over other candidates who may not have training. Having a graduate degree when applying to police departments may allow for an increase in salary and make you more marketable.


Can I really get a master’s degree and police training certification in just one year?

Absolutely! Our academy and graduate curriculum are specifically designed to enable you to complete your master’s degree and earn police training certification in one year. 

If the one year track isn’t right for you, students are also welcome to begin, or even finish their Master’s degree in year 1 and participate in the academy in year 2.


What police training certification will this academy provide me?

Our academy is a Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) authorized full-time academy in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Upon successful completion, you will be certified to work full-time for any municipal law enforcement agency, as well as the MBTA Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police, and college and university police departments.


Is this academy “easier” than other municipal police academies in Massachusetts?

No, it is not. Our academy is structured and run exactly the same as other police academies in the Commonwealth. The curriculum is identical to other academies and all rules and procedures will follow MPTC guidelines and requirements.

Who are the academy instructors?

Recruits are taught by instructors who are certified by the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC). Many of our instructors are highly regarded law enforcement professionals with decades of policing experience.


How did the Merrimack College Police Academy get developed?

Over the course of two years, Dr. Alicia Girgenti-Malone and Sgt. Raymond Mooney (ret.) developed a proposal for submission to the Municipal Police Training Committee with the full support of Merrimack College. The MPTC granted approval of this program.


Program Structure and Curriculum

What does the academy curriculum look like?

As a student recruit, you will be required to take part in the police training curriculum featuring 800 hours of training topics. Topics include criminal law, constitutional law, motor vehicle law, firearms training, emergency vehicle operations, water safety, just to name a few.


When does the academy operate?

The academy operates from September to May, and Graduate courses run from May to the following May. You will attend the academy Monday through Friday from early morning to late afternoon. Daily physical training begins in the morning followed by classroom learning and other practical training exercises. Attendance each day is mandatory.


When will I take graduate classes?

Your graduate classes are in the evening on the Merrimack College campus. Each course meets once a week. As a recruit, you will attend the academy during the day and then go to your graduate classes at night. Academy staff and college faculty will assist academy recruits in the graduate course advising process. 


Can I go through the academy as a part-time graduate student?

Yes, students are allowed to complete their Master’s part-time. You can earn your Master’s in two years and participate in the academy during your second year. However, participation in the academy is a full-time commitment and attendance is required.

Is there physical training every day during the academy?

You are required to participate in daily physical training exercises which includes running long distances and other physical activities.

Will I shoot a firearm?

Yes. You will participate in firearms training and certification with a pistol and rifle. This training includes shooting live rounds in a controlled training environment from each weapon.

Will I participate in an emergency vehicle driving course?

Yes. You will attend EVOC (emergency vehicle operations course) training and certification. There is a classroom and live driving portion of EVOC training.

Will there be exams in the academy?

Yes. You are required to take and pass all examinations administered by the academy. Examinations will test the knowledge on various topics related to the academy curriculum.

Will I receive help with career placement?

Yes. Our academy staff and college faculty prepare you for the entire police hiring process in Massachusetts. Career events and advising will be available to all academy recruits. It is our goal to be able to make sure you have all the tools you need to be hired soon after finishing the academy training.


Admission and Requirements

What are the requirements to be admitted into the police academy?

You must be a US citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree and have a 3.0 GPA in order to be eligible for the Police Academy program. All prospective academy recruits must go through the normal graduate degree program admission requirements with some added components. If you are admitted into the Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program, you must then submit to a criminal background check, comprehensive medical examination, verification of health insurance, panel interview, and successful passage of a physical fitness examination. Successful completion of all required components will result in admittance into the academy.


What are the physical fitness entrance requirements?

All prospective student recruits must successfully pass the academy’s two physical fitness examinations prior to starting the academy.

The first is a physical abilities test or “PAT” which is a required assessment that tests the physical ability of a prospective recruit. The “PAT” is timed and all recruits must pass each portion of the test which includes an obstacle course, trigger pull, separation event, and dummy drag. 

The second required physical fitness examination is a basic fitness test. All tests are timed and include push-ups, sit-ups, 1.5-mile run, and 300-meter run.


What if I fail the physical fitness entrance requirements?

You must pass all physical fitness requirements in order to enter the academy. Retesting for physical fitness or ability examinations may only be offered in certain circumstances at the discretion of academy administration, but all applicants must pass prior to the start date of the academy. If you do not pass the entrance exam, you are welcome to continue in the Master’s program and attempt the entrance exam again the following year.


Are recruits required to live on campus for the duration of the academy?

No. You are not required to live on campus at any time during the academy and can commute freely from any location. Merrimack offers assistance in finding off-campus housing if you need it.

Do I need to remain in the graduate program every semester to stay in the police academy?

Yes. You must remain active and in good standing in the graduate degree program every semester, or have already completed the Merrimack Master’s degree. This includes taking the required master’s degree courses while attending the academy. If you do not maintain the required grades or drop out of the master’s degree program, you will be dismissed from the academy as well. There are no exceptions.


What if I am dismissed, fail, or drop out of the police academy?

If you leave the police academy for any reason, including failing academy assessments, being dismissed due to medical or disciplinary issues, or voluntarily dropping out, you are still welcome and encouraged to remain in the master’s degree program as a graduate student.

What equipment will I need? Will I be provided a list?

As a student recruit, you will be provided a list of required equipment including uniforms. The academy works with a police supply store in the area for student recruits to purchase the needed equipment and uniforms. The program provides equipment such as bullet proof vests, ammunition, firearm equipment, etc. The approximate cost of equipment, which is utilized on the job, is $1,600.00.

When do I need to wear my academy uniform and duty gear?

You are required to wear your uniform and duty gear at all academy training sessions unless otherwise directed by academy staff. You will change into athletic clothing for daily physical training sessions. You may wear civilian clothing to your graduate classes at night.

Equipment, Costs and Scholarships

How much will this cost me?

The 32-credit master’s degree tuition cost for the 2022-2023 school year is $28,576 ($893) per credit. You are also required to pay a police academy fee of $4,500 and are responsible for purchasing the required academy equipment (approximately $1600). Note these costs are subject to change, and you should always refer to the Graduate Tuition and Fees page for the most up-to-date information.

Are scholarships available to help with tuition costs?

Scholarships are available based on merit and need and are applied to tuition expenses. If admitted to the Merrimack College Police Academy you are automatically considered for a Dean scholarship, which can cover up to 25% of tuition. A separate application is not required. Notification of scholarship awards is done at the time of notification of admittance.

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