New online criminal justice master’s degree aimed at professionals in field

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State is offering a new master’s degree intended to help criminal justice professionals in jobs such as police, the courts, corrections and government advance in their careers.

Applications are being accepted now for the master of professional studies in criminal justice policy and administration, a 30-credit program being offered online through Penn State World Campus and taught by faculty from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts and the Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs. Courses will begin in fall 2018.

Don Hummer, associate professor of criminal justice and co-chair of the program, said offering the program online makes getting an advanced degree feasible for working professionals.

“The criminal justice system is 24/7, 365 days a year,” he said. “Many people working in the field haven’t been able to find the time to work on getting an advanced degree. This platform is really going to be attractive to those individuals.”

Jeffery T. Ulmer, program chair and associate head of Penn State’s Department of Sociology and Criminology, said the program reflects the evolution of criminal justice into a more evidence-based field. Data is helping corrections professionals analyze risk assessment and prevent recidivism, he said, and police departments are using data to determine where to deploy officers and target patrols.

“This is going on across the country,” he said. “Criminal justice is more and more tied up with evidence-based program and policy development, and that’s what we’re trying to deliver.”

The new program also emphasizes organizational administration and courses in law and ethics.

In addition to criminal justice professionals, the program is also appropriate for students who have completed their bachelor’s degree and are just entering the workforce, Ulmer said.

The involvement of both the Harrisburg School of Public Affairs and the College of the Liberal Arts will be a great plus for students, Hummer said. “They’re going to have access to instructors from a lot of different backgrounds.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about the new master’s degree.

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Last Updated January 25, 2018