The M.S. in Law and Justice is designed to serve two distinct groups: (1) those in law and justice fields with professional experience, and (2) those without professional experience who aspire to law and justice careers, including research and data analysis.
The M.S. program focuses on the concept of empirical and research based practices in criminal justice, criminology, law, social justice, and public policy. Classes are designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of the mechanics of social science research and how research informs best practices in the field. Core classes in the program provide students with the detailed knowledge of social science methods of inquiry in Law and Justice where elective courses allow students understand how the science is applied to practice. During the culminating experience, students use social-scientific inquiry to address current issues and challenges in Law and Justice
Option A includes a comprehensive examination as the culminating experience and option B includes a thesis or research project as the culminating experience. Both options are 60 credits to complete. Option B is primarily designed for those interested in research or pursuing further graduate level work.
With the idea of accommodating a diverse group of students, the courses M.S. in Law and Justice program are typically delivered in person during the evenings or online.
Applicants should have the following:
- a bachelor’s degree related to the social sciences
- a statement of objectives and purpose that outlines how the M.S. in Law and Justice would apply to their future goals
- three letters of recommendation
- an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
- applicants may include a writing sample as a supplement to their application.
All materials for admission consideration should be submitted to the Central Washington School of Graduate Students and Research. Applications will be accepted in early January and review of applications will occur around mid-March. Applications after mid-March will be accepted and admission decisions after this point will be made on a rolling bases based on program capacity.
M.S. in Law and Justice: 4 +1 Option:
The Law and Justice Department’s 4 + 1 program is designed to allow students, who meet eligibility criteria, to enroll in select 500 level courses during their Senior year to allow them to potentially complete the M.S. in Law and Justice the following year. Ultimately, this allows students to complete their M.S. degree in Law and Justice in one year following completion of the bachelor’s degree.
In order to participate in the 4+1 program, students must:
- meet with the graduate director, or other designee of the department, to discuss planning and expectations in program.
- apply for admission to the M.S. in Law and Justice 4+1 program during the junior year.
- have completed LAJ 400, or an equivalent research methods course approved by the Law and Justice Department, with a B or higher prior to Fall of senior year when students would be taking graduate level courses.
- maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- have declared a major in Law and Justice, or a major another approved social science area.
NOTE: In compliance with CWU Graduate Courses taken during the senior year may not be applied towards the undergraduate degree - they must be reserved for graduate credit only.
Program Learner Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:
- Write in the language of the discipline, using the elements of style described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
- Describe, perform, and use data analyses for particular data sets.