Meredith College has extended the application deadline to August 10 for the Master of Arts in criminal justice, the Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate, and the Criminal Justice and Substance Use Disorder Certificate.
All three programs launched in February 2020, right before COVID-19 emerged as a significant threat. Lori Brown, professor of sociology and criminology, said it is understandable that applicants may be concerned about committing to graduate school when times seem so uncertain.
“We are getting requests for more information about the program, and we want to give potential students more time to figure out how their fall, and possibly their children’s or employers’, plans will affect their lives,” said Brown. “Also, COVID is having a major impact on policing, courts, corrections, and private security. We don’t want that to limit the opportunity for students to enroll in the program.”
She noted that the fully-online programs are highly flexible, making it easier to incorporate into students’ lives, even when working from home and having more people around. In addition, all online course meetings will be recorded and archived to accommodate students whose work schedules may vary each week.
“We would like to encourage students to contact us with questions about how the program works and how courses may fit in their schedule,” said Brown.
Program Director Bianca Harris, who has more than 20 years of experience in the criminal justice field, agreed.
“It is important that we keep the lines of communication open,” she said. “If students want to connect with me to learn more about how the program works or how it can help their careers, I am available to have that conversation.”
The Need for Change
Harris and Brown worked together to develop the curriculum for the new programs, driven by a belief that the system is “broken.”
“The criminal justice system is saturated with an old mentality and belief that the culture, processes, procedures, and training that have ‘worked’ so far do not need to change,” said Harris. “A crucial pathway to change is found through conversations with practitioners, scholars, the community, and justice-involved people.”
She noted that through Meredith’s program, the conversation is not only held between individuals but also in the classroom via conferences, general educational pursuits, and specific course study.
“Change is needed and people who are shaped, influenced, educated, and encouraged to find new answers to old problems will assist in making it happen,” she said. “In a time that is uncertain and a bit scary, we believe now is a great opportunity for criminal justice professionals to expand their knowledge about the criminal justice world and be a part of the change.”
About the Programs
The Master of Arts in criminal justice is a 36-hour online graduate program. The program is flexible, allowing students to pursue the program at the pace that works best for them.
Graduate certificate options are the 18-hour Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate, for those interested in gaining more skills and knowledge to further their careers within the criminal justice sector, and the 12-hour Criminal Justice & Substance Use Disorder Certificate, which prepares criminal justice managers to more fully understand addiction and its effects on the field of criminal justice.
Meredith’s program is designed to provide both the academic knowledge and professional skills criminal justice professionals need. Content courses are taught by practitioners in the criminal justice field who have a solid research-based background and practical experience. The program also includes a focus on writing, an essential skill for the field of criminal justice, since a significant amount of policing involves writing reports and media messages, as well as keeping accurate, detailed, and clear field notes.
In addition to the fall application deadline extension, students can also apply by November 1 for spring enrollment, or April 1 for summer enrollment.
Learn more at meredith.edu/criminal-justice