Explore our MS in Criminal Justice Behavioral Sciences specialization
Explore the various theories and research that aim to answer the “why” behind criminal behavior. Coursework examines psychological issues that can spur acts of violent crime as well as the etiology of sexual offender behavior and sex offender typology and treatment.
- 48 quarter credits
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (25 cr.)
- Specialization (15 cr.)
- Capstone course (5 cr.)
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Foundations of Graduate Study
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as a scholar-practitioner and social change agent. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop a program of study and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence.
The Nature of Crime and Criminology
Students in this course are introduced to contemporary views and theories of maladaptive and criminal behavior. They examine a broad conceptualization of criminal behavior from an interdisciplinary perspective as well as theories and application of criminal profiling. Students also explore specific views of criminal behavior germane to groups, such as psychopaths, serial offenders, and sexually violent predators. At the end of this course, students will have an understanding of the theories and practices that are the foundations of the field of criminology.
Controversies in Criminal Justice
Justice is at the heart of the U.S. democratic system, yet opposing viewpoints surrounding and within the system often muddle interpretations of the law and the development of policies to promote and enforce justice. In this course, students examine events that have significantly changed how the legal system interprets the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Code, and the U.S. Patriot Act, for example, the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. They learn how social and historical changes have shifted perspectives and sparked debates on expanding the rights of government versus safeguarding personal civil rights and civil liberties. Through discussion with peers, assessment of contemporary articles, and examination of Supreme Course cases, students have the opportunity to reflect on and potentially broaden their own opinions and perspectives on current criminal justice affairs in regard to issues of law enforcement, public perception, policy development, and ethics.
Criminal Justice Research
Criminal justice encompasses many roles and responsibilities, including responding to victims, punishing or rehabilitating criminals, and developing laws and policies. To carry out these tasks effectively and responsibly, taking into account current trends and ethical considerations, criminal justice professionals need to understand underlying factors, such as the root causes of crime and the impact of crime on communities. In this course, students examine a range of research methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative methods, that professionals use to collect data and analyze trends in criminal justice. They examine models, metrics, and tools used to evaluate criminal justice programs and policies, and they assess the strengths and limitations of research methods. Students also learn about threats to the validity of data and consider the legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods.
Students in this course are provided with an in-depth analysis of the treatment of women and people of color as professionals, litigants, victims, and offenders in the criminal justice system. Students examine the systemic outcomes of the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, and gender for these groups as they relate to social justice and social inequality. Through critical examination of readings and data analysis, students learn about the complexity of the historical relationship between these groups and the U.S. criminal justice system and broader social context.
What is the relationship between victims and those who commit crimes against them, and how does the criminal justice system protect and respond to victims of crime? In this course, students have the opportunity to answer such questions through a comprehensive assessment of victimology, a relatively new discipline in the field of criminal justice. Students examine victim patterns and tendencies and learn how victims interact with the police and the legal system. They also examine how factors of class, race, and sexual orientation affect the perception of the victim by different constituents, including the public, the court system, and the media. Students assess and discuss the concept of primary and secondary victims and gain practical insight on a range of services and resources available to all types of victims.
Students in this course are provided with contemporary views, theories, and case-study analysis of maladaptive and criminal behavior, victimology, and victim-offender relationships. A broad conceptualization of criminal behavior, such as that woven from biological, sociological, and psychological perspectives is explored and evaluated. Theories of crime and the application of risk factors associated with criminal behavior are examined. Additionally, students will be exposed to specific offender groups, both violent and nonviolent, including psychopaths, serial and mass murderers, criminal paraphiliacs, arsonists, white-collar thieves, scam artists, domestic terrorists, and others.
Psychological Aspects of Violent Crime
Through this course, students explore the nature and extent of the psychological nexus of criminal homicide across various environments to include serial, mass, spree, workplace violence homicide, school shooter homicide, and child abduction homicide. Students will examine the theories and trends of these types of violent crime regarding offender and victim psychological and behavioral characteristics.
Sex Offender Behavior and Treatment
In this course, students explore the traits and behaviors of both deviant and criminal sex offenders. Legal issues raised in both criminal and civil cases that involve sex offenses will be discussed. Students analyze the empirical evidence behind various assessment tools and treatment plans for sex offenders. They evaluate the risk for future sexual offense behavior and whether the protection of society outweighs the loss of civil liberty experienced by civil commitment for sex offenders.
Capstone: Criminal Justice Ethics and Social Justice
Ethical behavior is an essential element of leadership. In this course, students examine the philosophy of ethics as well as responsibility and social justice—the basic tenets of public service. Through a combination of seminal texts and contemporary case studies, students explore the complex social, political, and ethical challenges leaders face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. Course topics focus upon ethics and social justice involving economic disparity, political power, and social privilege. Students analyze current social trends related to the ethical and social justice issues of a global community. Throughout the course, students assess emerging or persistent ethical and social justice issues and make recommendations for resolving specific dilemmas.
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Tuition and Fees
|Tuition||48 quarter credit hours||$518 per quarter hour||$24,864|
|Technology Fee||Per quarter||$165||$825|
*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 24 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
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