Criminal Justice Master Degree Program Student

Your Academic Experience

While pursuing your Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Security degree, you will be required to take 21 semester hours of core courses and 15 semester hours of electives. Read through the course descriptions below to gain a better understanding of the program.

More details such as the curriculum and academic regulations can be found in the UB Catalog.

Course Descriptions

Program Core Requirements (with Concentrations)

These courses are specific to the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Security degree program.

This course analyzes research strategies and methods for research in criminal justice and human security. It provides a detailed review of quantitative and qualitative methods, including record reviews, official data, subject surveys, and ethnographic interviews and participant observation. It focuses on the links between theories and methods, research design, sampling, measurement, data collection, and ethical concerns of protecting human subjects.  Students are required to write a research proposal, including objectives, background and methodology.
Credits: 3

This course is primarily designed to familiarize students conceptually and substantively with history, concepts, legal documents, and global policy processes related to human rights, humanitarian affairs, international peace and security, and other aspects of human security.  Emphasis will be placed the use of legal means, and in conjunction with national and international criminal justice systems. Writing assignments will be designed to develop the ability to communicate cutting-edge human-security related research outside academic circles. Students will also be encouraged to think about how to develop research designs in important areas of human security and justice.
Credits: 3

The course examines the interrelationships between law, crime, and public policy.  Constitutional law affecting the criminal justice system will be surveyed from the perspectives of both legal principles and public policy.  Students will research in-depth a relevant issue in constitutional law.
Credits: 3

This course invites graduates to understand and anticipate the challenges faced by those who have assumed leadership roles within law enforcement agencies. The course takes into consideration leadership styles, approaches to management, decision-making methodologies, dispute resolution, multicultural management, crisis management and interpersonal communication.
Credits: 3

The internship allows students to apply the skills that they have developed in the program in a particular setting for a minimum of two months. The student internship may be with a governmental, non-governmental, or intergovernmental organization demonstrably relevant to the student’s study in the Criminal Justice and Human Security (M.A.) degree program. Domestic students are strongly encouraged to do their internship overseas or in a setting in the United States that demonstrably enables them to work effectively within an intercultural setting.*
Credits: 3

*Note: The internship aims to be both an enriching and attainable experience. We will work with students to ensure that they can successfully partake in an internship that suits their particular goals and current employment status. We encourage students to speak with an admissions counselor to learn more. Contact the Office of Admissions at or call (203) 576-4552.

The tutorial is offered at the completion of the internship of students in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Security. The tutorial invites students to reflect on the internship experience based on the student’s experiences prior to and during the tutorial and calls for a broader descriptive reflection on the mission of and lessons learned from the law enforcement agency, law office or related intergovernmental or non-governmental organization where the student has interned. The Tutorial is designed to allow students to reflect systematically through presenting on the internship experience and learning to characterize their life and academic experiences in a professional manner through a refinement of speaking skills, a demonstrated capacity to characterize both the internship and the student’s own skill set in a professional manner, anticipating the instructor’s and fellow students’ questions and responding to them with coherence and alacrity. The tutorial also prepares students for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Human Security program’s comprehensive exam that includes both an oral and a written component. As a part of the tutorial, students also assemble a portfolio of all of the significant work that they have completed during the program and a written reflection on that work. Some parts of the work of the tutorial will be done independently of the classroom experience. Students are welcome to meet with the instructor as they progress in preparations and they are strongly encouraged to do so.
Prerequisites: Student must have completed 24 credits in the program including the internship.

Credits: 3

The thesis represents the culmination of the MA in Criminal Justice and Human Security class. It demonstrates competency in the major as well as the track in which the student has chosen to specialize. The Thesis requires identifying a theme or topic selected by the student in consultation with the thesis adviser and this is followed by detailed research on the topic and the analysis of findings in the form of substantial written work. This is normally done within the confines of the student’s final semester of study in the program.  Students also have the option of a project demonstrating competency (PDC), which includes key papers from the student’s graduate study. In creating a PDC, students’ papers must be revised and refined to reflect thesis-level work. They should be contextualized through a separate detailed text that includes a literature review and explains both the significance of previous papers in the PDC and the ways in which they correlate.
Credits: 3

Elective Courses

Select five electives that appeal to your area of interest.

This course examines theories about and sources of conflict (resource allocation and shortage; ideological, religious, and cultural disagreement; power distribution; perceptions of security; etc.) to set the stage for conflict analysis and negotiation. In conflict analysis, the impact of cultural-linguistic systems on agreements and disagreements is examined. Culturally sensitive strategies of negotiation, conflict resolution, and mediation also are examined and practiced.
Credits: 3

This course discusses the major theories of norms, deviance, and criminal behavior across major cultural spheres and history.
Credits: 3

This course is designed to familiarize students with the history and practice of international criminal law, from the groundbreaking post-World War II tribunals of Nuremberg and Tokyo, the ad hoc tribunals, and the International Criminal Court.  General principles and specific rules of law will be examined, with a particular emphasis on the linkage between law and policy objectives. Writing assignments will be designed to develop legal reasoning and argument, as well as articulate policy goals. Students will also be encouraged to think about how to develop research designs in the field of international criminal law.
Credits: 3

The course has four main sections. First, we begin by reviewing how criminal procedure relates to desired standards of democracy and the rule of law. Taking a topic approach organized according to the chronological phases of the criminal process, we examine five distinct stages of this process: (1) investigation, (2) arrest, search, and seizure, and (3) interrogation, (4) pre-trial court procedures, and (5) the trial itself. In each phase, students first examine criminal procedure principles and practices in the U.S., and then examine these principles and practices in 12 other countries, including England, France, Germany, and Italy from Europe; Russia (exemplifying the post-Soviet world), Israel (illustrating a “security state”), Egypt and South Africa representing Africa, and Argentina and Mexico representing Latin America. Third, we turn our attention to reform movements abroad, with particular attention to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) and Latin America, including recent reforms in Chile and ongoing reforms in Colombia and Mexico. This section highlights the origins of these reform movements and the assessment of the effects of reform. Finally, drawing on the insights gathered from the comparative analysis above, we return to the U.S. to examine how best practices identified elsewhere compare with current practices here at home.
Credits: 3

This course introduces new threats to human security, reviewing the behaviors, methodologies and the roles that individual and global actors apply in the commission and the prevention of cyber-based crime and acts of terror.
Credits: 3

This course is an examination of two transnational criminal enterprises, the smuggling of drugs and weapons, and trafficking of persons that draw on similar criminal groups methods, and motives.  It covers analytic approaches to studying the topics; the role of organized and other forms of crime to each; how agents operate in specific geographic contexts; and how state and non-state actors are responding to the smuggling and trafficking of persons.  The class examines the rise of the phenomenon, the role of conflicts in illicit trade and the actors who facilitate this trade and the policies that are needed to address it.
Credits: 3

This course is designed to provide students a broad overview of criminal justice policies, both domestic and comparative. It examines the goals and values underlying justice policy, the social construction of crime problems and the process of policy development.   Includes readings and discussion on: law and justice policy in a federal system; crime prevention and institutional responses to crime; emerging cross-national issues in crime, law, and policy.
Credits: 3



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