Bulletin 2021-2022

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Minor in Criminal Justice

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If a minor is required in your degree program, at least 9 (lower and/or upper-division) hours of courses in the minor must be completed at the University.

Requirements For A Minor In Criminal Justice

The minor in Criminal Justice requires 18 semester hours, including CJ 105, plus 15 semester hours of criminal justice electives, including 6 hours at the 200-400 level, and 9 hours at the 300-400 level.  CJ 105 is a prerequisite to most other CJ courses, and a minimum grade of C in CJ 105 is required for the CJ minor.

Criminal Justice Minor Credit Hours
Requirements: 18
CJ 105 3 hrs  
200/300/400 level CJ Electives 6 hrs  
300/400 Level CJ Electives 9 hrs  

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice website

Undergraduate Studies

The courses offered in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice are designed to achieve three important objectives:

  1. To provide a broad and comprehensive education with exceptional social science training---promoting critical thinking, analytic, oral communication, and writing skills.  
  2. To help students advance toward professional careers in a diversity of fields including law enforcement; education; government; law; corrections; public policy; business; journalism; NGOs and non-profits; and more.
  3. To prepare students to be leaders in their communities and to seize meaningful opportunities to effect positive changes locally, nationally, and globally.

Criminal Justice

The curriculum in Criminal Justice provides students interested in law enforcement, criminal law, corrections, and the criminal court system with a broad educational background emphasizing social science and the University's general education skills of critical thinking, writing, communication, and analysis. Students in the department acquire knowledge of the criminal justice field. The program addresses issues relating to the entire criminal justice system, from the nature of crime and delinquency to society's varied responses to crime. Such a focus includes the organization and operation of each of the components in the field.

Political Science

Political Science is a broad discipline that includes  studies of governments, politics, and policies. Political scientists may focus on political behavior, decision making, processes, institutions, and public policies. Inquiry in political science addresses the domestic and international policies of the United States and all other countries and regions. Political scientists study the political values, attachments, and activities of people, individually and in groups. Political science examines both what preferences people share and how they differ according to their personal attributes and positions in the economy and society. Political science also studies how people regard and trust each other as well as their leaders and governments. 

First Year Experience Requirement

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

Technological Competency Requirement

Research Methods (PSC 310 (W)/CJ 310 (W)) will satisfy the technology competency requirement for both political science and criminal justice majors.  Enrollment in PSC 310 (W) or CJ 310 (W) is required for both political science and criminal justice majors.

Departmental Honors

The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice offers an opportunity for students in Political Science or Criminal Justice who are not in the University's Honors College to graduate with departmental honors. In order to graduate with departmental honors, the student needs to have at least a 3.50 grade point average (overall and in the major) and maintain that average upon graduation. In addition, the student must complete a two-semester departmental honors thesis project with a faculty mentor and a committee.

Graduate Studies in Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration degree (MPA) curriculum in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is a professional degree program designed principally for present and future administrators, officers in government, other public related organizations, not for profit agencies, and agencies that interact with governmental institutions and funding. It is a broad discipline, open to qualified students after completion of their undergraduate degree. 

Students entering the program come from varied academic and vocational backgrounds. Accordingly, no specific undergraduate major is required for admission to the MPA Program. However, certain course prerequisites must be satisfied prior to enrollment in any of the required core courses of the curriculum.

Requirements For Admission to the MPA Program

Students are admitted each semester. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission).

Regular Admission to the MPA Program

  1. Students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on all undergraduate work (on a 4-point scale) or a GPA of 2.75 over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  2. Students must have taken PSC 130 Intro to US Government or its equivalent prior to taking core MPA courses.  A minimum grade of C for this course is required.  Students may be admitted to the program without having taken PSC 130, provided they enroll in the course in their first year.
  3. Students are encouraged to apply in the fall semester, but are admitted each semester.