Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About the MACJ Program

Must I take the GRE?  No, the GRE is not required for this Program.

When and where are classes offered? MACJ courses are all offered online.

How often is each course offered? Core courses are scheduled once every year. Elective courses are scheduled at most once a year, some are scheduled once every three semesters, and some are scheduled once every two years.

Is financial assistance available to students? Financial Aid assistance is available for graduate students in the form of loans. Students who qualify may also consider applying for the Blackwell Scholarship, which is a competitive scholarship for incoming students based on GPA (3.0) and financial need.

I travel a lot. What happens if it appears I will get behind in my courses? If you know ahead of time that you are going to be traveling, communicate with the instructor to see if arrangements can be made for missed work.  However, as this is a totally online program, all effort should be meet course requirements when away from home.

How many courses should I take in a semester? People who work full-time typically take one or two courses a semester. Students who work part-time typically take three courses a semester.

If I am a full-time student, how long will it take? Full-time students typically take 9 credits per semester and complete the program within 18 months (includes one course in a summer semester).

If I am a part-time student, how long will it take to finish the program? We encourage part-time students to take three to five courses per year, including summers. At this rate a student will take three to five years to complete the program. Taking one course per semester and no summer courses will mean six years to completion.

Who teaches the courses? Our regular, full-time criminal justice faculty members teach almost all our courses. We also invite well-prepared, practicing professionals to teach courses when regular faculty are not available to teach a particular course.

What about papers and tests, etc. in the courses? Most courses require extensive papers, often more than one.  The process of testing varies considerably from course to course, but you can be certain, and with very few exceptions, that all MACJ courses will require critical, thoughtful, quality writing.

Do you give credit for life experience? Mars Hill University does not give graduate credit for life experience.

How many credits are required for the program? The program requires 30 credit hours which includes doing either a thesis or non-thesis track.

What happens if I fail the comprehensive exams? Students who fail the comprehensive exams will be given a second opportunity. Only, however, the section of the exam that the student failed (e.g., theory/methods or organization and management/public policy and criminal justice) will need to be re-taken.

If I change my mind about re-taking the comprehensive exams if I fail the first time around, can I change my mind, and complete a thesis instead? Yes, you can do that in close consultation with your faculty advisor and the Chair of Criminal Justice. Please note, however, that your time to graduation will be extended to allow adequate time for the development, completion, and defense of the thesis project.

Should I take the thesis, CJ580, or comprehensive exam option? You should consult with a faculty mentor about this matter, but only you should decide which track you will take. Further, this decision should be considered based on whether you intend to pursue the Ph.D. in criminal justice and the overall expectations of those programs to which you plan on applying.

How is a graduate course different from an undergraduate course?  Graduate courses are more extensive in nature, covering much more material than is covered in the typical undergraduate course. On the average, you can expect to at least double the amount of reading and writing in the graduate classroom, and faculty expect much more out of students when it comes to coming class prepared to discuss the course materials. Therefore, a full-time course load in graduate school is 9 credits, as opposed to 12 credits at the undergraduate level.