Department of Criminal Justice

College of Business and Public Management

508 Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Department of Criminal Justice
Dr. Brewster, Chairperson
Dr. Przemieniecki, Assistant Chairperson
Dr. Grugan, Graduate Coordinator

Programs of Study

The master of science in criminal justice program provides a high-quality, advanced education to both full-time and part-time students. The program is well-suited to working professionals and offers evening courses and selected online electives. Professors are all seasoned professionals in their field of expertise and offer practical as well as academic excellence in the classroom. The program also serves as the basis for those planning to pursue doctoral degrees.

While the department does not require a thesis, students may choose to write a thesis by enrolling in CRJ 610 and receiving three semester hours towards the M.S.

Program Goals

Criminal justice professionals, researchers, and academicians are in a unique position to contribute to society. It is incumbent upon these professionals to:

  • Become knowledgeable about the current issues and dilemmas and their complexities
  • Eschew trite and superficial approaches to issues in the discipline
  • Elevate and advance the discussions and debates
  • Contribute to the development of thoughtful, meaningful, productive proposals and ideas
  • Provide innovative solutions to the more perplexing issues in the field

To that end, the graduate program of the Department of Criminal Justice seeks to produce graduates who have developed:

  • A sophisticated working knowledge of the major components in the criminal justice system
  • Advanced-information literacy and research skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Acute critical-thinking skills that will effectively address the complex issues in a contemporary criminal justice system
  • An open, honest, and dedicated approach to identifying and solving society’s problems
  • Advanced skills in making sound ethical and moral judgments

Philadelphia Campus

The M.S. in Criminal Justice is also offered at the Philadelphia campus.

Curriculums for programs offered at the alternative PASSHE Center City satellite campus in Philadelphia are equivalent to those found on WCU’s main campus. With state-of-the-art classrooms, the Center City location serves the needs of degree completers and/or adult learners who are balancing work and family obligations.

Master's Programs in Criminal Justice

Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's

All applicants to one of West Chester University’s graduate programs will be held to the graduate admissions requirements. When applicable, additional requirements for admission into specific department program(s) may be listed below.

The department places special emphasis on the academic and professional goals statement found within the application.

All graduate students are held to the academic policies and procedures outlined in the graduate catalog. Students are encouraged to review departmental handbooks for program tips, suggested course sequences, and explanations of procedures. When applicable, additional policies for specific department programs may be listed below.

Degree Requirements

Prior to receiving the Master of Science in Criminal Justice, all candidates must:

  1. File an application for admission to candidacy with the Office of The Graduate School after completion of 12-15 graduate credits (form is available on the Graduate School website)
  2. Complete required courses with grades of B or better
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of course work with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 system)


Mary P. Brewster (1993)

Chairperson, Criminal Justice

B.A., St. Joseph's College; M.A., Fordham University; Ph.D., Rutgers University

Jana L. Nestlerode (1986)

B.A., Pennsylvania State University; J.D., Widener University

Associate Professors

Brian F. O'neill (1998)

B.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.S.W., Marywood College; Ph.D., City University of New York

Cassandra L. Reyes (2009)

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Jane M. Tucker (2011)

B.A., Valley Forge Christian College; M.S., West Chester University; Ph.D., Temple University

Assistant Professors

Sami Abdel-Salam (2013)

B.A., Drury University; M.S., University of Central Missouri; Ph.D., Temple University

Michael Edward Antonio (2013)

B.S., Ursinus College; M.A., University of Delaware; Ph.D., Northeastern University

Michele B. Bratina (2016)

B.S. Pennsylvania State University; M.A. University of Arkansas; Ph.D. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Shannon T. Grugan (2014)

Graduate Coordinator, Criminal Justice

Assistant Chairperson, Criminal Justice

B.A., DeSales University; M.S., West Chester University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., Rutgers University

Barbara A. Kauffman (1990)

B.S., Pennsylvania State University; J.D., Temple University School of Law

Chris J. Przemieniecki (2013)

B.A., Wright State University; M.S., Illinois State University; Ph.D., University of North Dakota


Albert L. Digiacomo (2014)

A.S., B.A., Temple University; M.S., St. Joseph's University


CRJ 500. Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. 3 Credits.

This course examines criminal justice systems worldwide, focusing primarily on the relationships between the police, courts, corrections and the society these subsystems serve. The primary focus will be on the four legal traditions: common law, civil law, socialist, and Islamic systems of law and social control. Descriptive material on selected countries will be analyzed and compared.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 500 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 503. Criminal Behavior and the Law. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to help the student understand behavior by comparing criminal with normal behavior. A survey course, it reviews types of abnormal behavior and mental disorders, methods of diagnosis, and treatment and resolution of internal personal conflicts. Also included is an understanding of criminal behavior as it applies to abnormality.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 503 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

CRJ 505. Criminological Theory. 3 Credits.

This course is a survey of the historical and contemporary attempts to explain the phenomena of crime and criminal behavior from the perspectives of sociology, psychology, economics, biology, and law. Emphasis will be placed on contemporary theories and the analysis of evidence supportive of various theoretical positions.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 505 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 506. Leadership/Management Strategies for CRJ Professionals. 3 Credits.

This course offers graduate students insight and understanding into the strategies and skills necessary to become outstanding supervisors and leaders. The course content provides students with the opportunity to develop personally and professionally through exploration of theory, application of theory to practice and skill development related to leadership concepts. Students will have the opportunity to practice skill sets in a classroom setting and receive immediate feedback.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 506 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 507. CRJ System: Contemporary Ethical Issues. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to identify and examine ethical issues among practitioners and students in the criminal justice field. Such issues include the discretionary power of arrest, the use of deadly force, the decision to prosecute, participation in plea bargaining, representation of the guilty, and the imposition of punishment.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 507 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

CRJ 508. Research Design & Data Analysis. 3 Credits.

This course is intended to introduce the graduate student to the process of social research. It discusses research concepts such as problem identification, data collection, data analysis, hypothesis testing, and the development of conclusions and recommendations.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 508 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 509. Criminal Jurisprudence. 3 Credits.

This course examines the complex concepts and principles of criminal law and procedure. The foundations of these disciplines will be initially reviewed, followed by a more comprehensive and incisive analysis and investigation of the difficult issues which have evolved through decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Supreme Court jurisprudence is examined and contrasted with the jurisprudence of the Pennsylvania courts.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 509 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

CRJ 515. Crime Mapping and Analysis. 3 Credits.

This course is an examination of the process of electronically mapping the distribution of crime and other spatially defined data. The focus is on the distribution and analysis of crime and social services information over time relative to the relevant demographic and social environment. The goal is to teach law enforcement and related social service personnel how to create, map and analyze data within the spatial context of the relevant community.

CRJ 522. Corporate and Financial Crime. 3 Credits.

This course facilitates the study of complex and significant areas of economic crime, better known as "white collar crime". Examples of these types of crimes include: insider trading, fraud against the government, corruption of public funds be elected or appointed officials, bid rigging, and unethical industry practices such as "off-labeling" of pharmaceuticals. Basic statutory laws, including the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, will be reviewed.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 522 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 524. Juvenile Law. 3 Credits.

This course will bring together the leading cases that have reached the Supreme Court, as well as other important federal and state court decisions relating to the juvenile justice process.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 524 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 525. Restorative Justice. 3 Credits.

This course will examine the use of restorative justice in the criminal justice system. The impact of restorative justice approaches on victim and family of victim, offender and community will be examined at the adult and juvenile level. In addition, the history and philosophy of punishment will be explored. A critique and overview of contemporary models of restorative justice will also be undertaken.

CRJ 526. Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to examine current policing strategies and political issues that have developed as a result of those strategies. It also will explore the future of policing in America and will present several interdisciplinary approaches to new theoretical perspectives.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 526 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 528. Advances in Law Enforcement Technology. 3 Credits.

This course will present, identify and discuss major trends and cutting edge initiatives in law enforcement technology. The course will address the latest technology in two aspects: in the lab and in the field. Potential problems with new technologies will be examined, including constitutional issues, public policy implications, and difficulties of implementation.

CRJ 530. Advanced Interviewing Skills for CRJ Professionals. 3 Credits.

This course describes, explains, and teaches the techniques used by experienced interviewers based upon the sciences of human communication and interaction. This course defines the more clinical interview by mental health professionals and distinguishes it from the investigative interview as an analytical crime-solving tool.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 530 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring.

CRJ 545. Criminal Profiling. 3 Credits.

This course describes and explains the art and science of criminal profiling used as an investigative technique to identify the demographic, personality and behavioral characteristics of offenders. The course defines the differences between clinical profiling by mental health professionals and profiling as an analytical investigative tool.

CRJ 546. Addiction. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to explore the history and extent of alcohol and other drugs of abuse and the relationship to crime. The current criminal justice response will be analyzed as will past efforts at crime control. This course will provide students with the factual, theoretical and philosophical information necessary to understand the multifaceted dimensions of drug abuse and addiction and a rational approach to address the problem.

CRJ 555. Topical Seminar in Criminal Justice. 3 Credits.

This course will provide an intensive examination of a selected area of study in the field of criminal justice. Topics will be announced at the time of offering. This course may be taken more than once when different topics are presented.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 555 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Distance education offering may be available.
Repeatable for Credit.

CRJ 560. Applied Legal Studies. 3 Credits.

The course will examine selected factual accounts of criminal law and process. Through critical examination and analysis of these cases, the student will be able to understand the practical realities of the criminal justice system, and to compare theory and philosophy with practice.
Distance education offering may be available.
Typically offered in Fall.

CRJ 565. Victimology: Theory, Research and Practice. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to analyze historical and contemporary issues in the areas of victimology and victim services. The course will cover the historical and modern-day roles of victims in criminal justice, victimization trends and patterns, theories of victimization, current research findings related to crime victims, legal rights of victims, and available victim services.
Distance education offering may be available.

CRJ 566. Contemporary Issues In Corrections. 3 Credits.

This course is designed to analyze contemporary issues in the area of corrections. Such issues will include the privatization of corrections, diversion, restorative justice, treatment of the mentally ill, sentencing disparity, the politics of corrections, the incarceration of youth, the death penalty, prison overcrowding, inmate rights, the media and corrections, and the use of technology in corrections.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 566 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Distance education offering may be available.

CRJ 570. Gender, Crime and Justice. 3 Credits.

This course will examine the impact gender has on various aspects of the criminal justice system. The course will offer an exploration of the victimization of women, and the culture that supports it. It will also address the unique issues of women as criminals, women as prisoners, and women as workers in the criminal justice system.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 570 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 575. Bioterrorism, Bio-Crises & Public Health. 3 Credits.

This course addresses the protection of the public's health and that of workers such as first responders from biological agents that cause disease and/or death. Students will learn scientific concepts, issues and techniques currently used in disaster mitigation and response for vio-crises such as disease outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics as well as bioterrorism emergencies. Students will manage scenarios to enhance leadership skills. As available, a service learning research project will be incorporated.

CRJ 580. Cyber Crime. 3 Credits.

This course addresses the evolution of criminal activity conducted using internet technology. Areas of study will include cyber terrorism, cyber stalking, espionage, information warfare, electronic fraud, "phishing", systems interference and other virtual crimes.

CRJ 582. Controversial Criminal Jurisprudence. 3 Credits.

This course presumes a sophisticated working knowledge of criminal law and procedure (successful completion of CRJ 509). It provides an in-depth analysis of the Supreme Court's historical and contemporary approach to the most controversial issues of criminal law and procedure. The perspectives and arguments will be examined through the study and analysis of U.S. Supreme Court cases.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 582 requires a prerequisite of CRJ 509 and admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.

CRJ 599. Independent Studies in Criminal Justice. 1-3 Credits.

This course will entail research projects, reports, and readings in criminal justice.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 599 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.
Consent: Permission of the Department required to add.
Repeatable for Credit.

CRJ 600. Proseminar. 3 Credits.

This capstone course requires the successful completion of a significant empirical research study. It builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in CRJ 508, as well as the general concepts learned in other graduate CRJ courses. The student is required to present the study's findings in a scholarly paper and an oral presentation.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 600 requires a prerequisite of a B or better in CRJ 508.

CRJ 610. Thesis. 3 Credits.

Bound and shelved in the library, the thesis represents the student's ability to plan, organize, and direct a research effort designed to discover, develop, or verify knowledge. Only for those students taking the thesis track.
Pre / Co requisites: CRJ 610 requires admission into the Criminal Justice Master's Program.