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? If you have a successful undergraduate record with a GPA of 3.0 (either as the cumulative GPA or for the last 60 hours of relevant course work), you do not have to take the GRE. The exception is if you are seeking funding associated with scholarships or assistantships.

What kind of score on the GRE do I have to get if my undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0? There is no fixed minimum score needed on the GRE. The MACJ Program faculty are looking for evidence that you are likely to be successful in a graduate program. A strong undergraduate transcript–GPA over a 3.0–provides such evidence. A weak undergraduate transcript does not provide that evidence by itself.

When and where are classes offered? MACJ courses are offered in the evenings at the Asheville Center for Adult and Graduate Studies (Arden, NC) and 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.

How many nights a week does each class meet? Seated classes meet one night per week from
6:00 – 9:00 p.m., across the full semester.

I travel a lot. What happens if I miss a class? If you know ahead of time that you are going to be traveling, arrange to meet with your instructor before you travel. If you see that you are going to be missing several classes in a given semester, you should meet with the instructor to see whether he or she would advise that you not take the course in that particular semester.

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 to 2 years.

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. Many have tests which may be in-class or out-of-class, open-book or closed-book. 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.

Should I plan on taking the required courses in order and then take the electives? Through the assigning of prerequisites to course descriptions, we have attempted to provide a structure wherein students come to the classroom with the necessary foundation on which to build their knowledge base. Further, this foundation should prove successful in preparing students to succeed in subsequent course work.

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 or comprehensive exam track? Please refer to the information found in this document about the thesis and the comprehensive exams. You should consult with a faculty mentor about this matter, but only you should decide which track you will take.

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. This is why a full-time course load in graduate school nine credits, as opposed to 12 credits at the undergraduate level.