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School of Adult and Graduate Education

Master of Science in Crime Science

A 36-credit, interdisciplinary graduate degree in a cutting-edge field

Cedar Crest College is committed to providing students with ground-breaking opportunities to earn degrees that will transform their lives and make a difference in the world. That’s why we’ve launched the Master of Science in Crime Science, the first graduate program of its kind in the nation.

Building on the strength of our undergraduate programs in Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Psychology, the Master’s in Crime Science takes an interdisciplinary approach to crime prevention and detection that differs from most system-centered criminal justice degree programs. The goal of the program is to create more effective practitioners by teaching skill-centered concepts that can be used professionally. Ultimately, Crime Science aims to teach practitioners, policy-makers and community activists how to collectively and collaboratively manage resources in a way that effectively prevents criminal behavior, or, alternatively, more quickly solves the crime that does occur.

This graduate program can be a natural next step to an advanced degree for individuals from a wide array of professional and academic backgrounds. The program may be of particular interest to prospective students who hold a bachelor’s degree and are employed, or seeking employment, in law enforcement, court and corrections professions, as well as those who work in client-based services such as drug rehabilitation, foster care and mental health organizations.

Program Delivery

This 36-credit graduate degree is a weekend-centered program designed to be more accessible to the working professional. It can be completed in as few as 18 months.

The skill-based curriculum – which covers environmental criminology, forensic science, and forensic psychology – is comprised of 30 credits assigned to 1-, 2-, and 3-credit learning modules delivered mostly in hybrid format, with 6-credits dedicated to the capstone project. Each module is designed to teach the practitioner a skill that can be directly applied to the professional setting. The capstone project is an application exercise where students must apply what they have learned and create, evaluate, or re-design a criminal justice program, intervention, community initiative, or policy position.

The dates, times and content of the modules are published in advance so that schedules can be managed more effectively. Much, if not all, of what is taught is directly applicable to any criminal justice-related organizations, so professionals in those fields may be able to receive training credit and release time.

This graduate program may also be completed as a 4+1 program for students in the traditional undergraduate women’s college. Learn more about 4+1 programs here.

Admission Requirements

  • A minimum of 1-year, full-time work experience in a program-related field– We require work experience because of the practitioner-centered nature of this program. Unlike some academically-centered programs where the goal is to expose students to system concepts, our program is intended to enhance the skills of practicing professionals. The application-centered focus requires that a student understand the unique dynamics of the workplace.   
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the student’s undergraduate field of study – If the student does not have a 3.0 in his or her undergraduate program, an interview with the Program Director is required for consideration.
  • Background check – the background check will be waived for any applicant already employed in the criminal justice, forensic, or social work systems. Any applicant not employed in one of those fields must submit a criminal background check and child abuse clearance form. A criminal history would not exclude a candidate unless the conviction was for a sex or weapons offense. This is necessary because those convictions would seriously inhibit the applicant’s ability to find work in the criminal justice, forensic, or social work fields.
  • Letters of recommendation – All students must submit two letters of recommendation. Letters must either be from criminal justice practitioners or an academic representative.

Pathways to Professional Excellence

You may be eligible for a discount on tuition if your employer is a partner in our Pathways to Professional Excellence program. Learn more about the Pathways to Professional Excellence program here.