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Criminology and Criminal Justice

Geoffrey P. Alpert, Chair
Kathy R. Smiling, Director of Academic Programs

Geoffrey P. Alpert, Ph.D., Washington State University, 1975
Andrew J. Chishom, Ed.D., University of Georgia, 1975
Pamela K. Lattimore, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1987

Associate Professors
Robert Brame, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1997
J. Mitchell Miller, Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 1996
Reid H. Montgomery Jr., Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1974

Assistant Professors
John D. Burrow, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1998, J.D., University of Wisconsin, 2001
Angela R. Gover, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2000
Robert Kaminski, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2002
Barbara A. Koons-Witt, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2000
John M. MacDonald, Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1999
William V. Pelfrey Jr., Ph.D., Temple University, 2001


The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers a program leading to the degree of Master of Arts degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice* and coordinates the Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies. Faculty research and teaching interests span a wide variety of crime- and criminal justice-related topics, including policing, courts, corrections, legal studies, macro- and microlevel criminological theory, drug policy, victimization, and program evaluation.


Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. An undergraduate major in criminology, criminal justice, or a related social science is desirable. In addition to meeting all admission requirements of the University's Graduate School, applicants must submit scores obtained on the Graduate Record Examination (general test only) and a written statement outlining academic and/or professional objectives. Admission to the program is competitive and is based primarily upon the following criteria: 1) undergraduate academic performance (expected minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale), 2) GRE scores (expected minimum score of 1000 points on the quantitative and verbal sections of the general test), 3) the strength of two letters of recommendation, and 4) the department graduate committee's assessment of students' interests and objectives. Criteria 1 and 2 should be viewed as general guidelines and not absolute requirements for admission to the program.

Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies

The 18-hour Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies is for graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels and for post-baccalaureate students who choose not to pursue a degree program but want broad competency in the field with opportunities for areas of special interest. This interdisciplinary program is coordinated in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and involves faculty and courses from multiple academic departments.

Degree Requirements and Regulations

Requirements for the M.A. degree in criminology and criminal justice include*:

1. fifteen hours of core courses, each of which must be completed with a grade of B or better: CRJU 701, 703, 704, 705, and 741.
2. electives: 9 hours of courses with no more than two courses (6 credit hours) below the 700 level and no more than two courses outside the department.
3. comprehensive examination: each student must successfully complete the general comprehensive examination, which will test students' knowledge of major philosophical, scientific, theoretical, and policy issues related to criminology and criminal justice. Students who fail the exam will be permitted to retake it one time.
4. thesis: students must complete a 6 credit hour thesis. Successful completion of the thesis will require an oral defense before the student's thesis committee.
5. Students who accumulate more than 6 hours of graduate credit below the grade of B will not be permitted to continue the program. No course may be repeated more than one time.
6. core courses may not be audited. Other courses may be audited, but students must remember that audited courses cannot be repeated for credit.
7. students may transfer up to 6 credit hours from other programs and/or institutions provided they meet departmental requirements. Transfer credits may not be applied to core courses.

*Note: Degree name and requirements changes pending Board of Trustees and S.C. Commission on Higher Education approval.

J.D./M.A. Joint Degree Program

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, in cooperation with the University of South Carolina School of Law, offers a combined degree program which permits a student to obtain both the Juris Doctor and the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degrees in approximately four years. Through the combined program, the total course load may be reduced by as many as 15 credit hours from that required if the two degrees were earned separately, since 6 hours of electives toward the M.A. degree may be taken in law courses and 9 hours of electives toward the J.D. may be earned in the M.A. program.

Prior to obtaining admission to the combined degree program, a student must be admitted to both the School of Law and the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Upon admission to the combined degree program, the student will be assigned courses to be elected in both programs.

Graduate Certificate in Drug and Addiction Studies (18 hours)

Fifty percent of all courses taken have to be at the 700 level or higher.

CRJU 542 Drugs and Society
One of the following is required:
SOWK 758 Family Dynamics of Substance Abuse
PSYC503 Psychology of Drug Use and Effects
HPEB 540 Drug Education

One of the following is required:
For students interested in counseling:
EDCE 510 Introduction to Counseling
EDCE 721 Techniques of Counseling
For students interested in research or prevention:
HPEB 742 Alcohol, Drugs, and Public Health Policy

Additional Electives:
An additional 6 credit hours in electives will also be required.

Internship or practicum is required for all students and may be arranged through any of the participating disciplines. Examples of internships include appointments with local agencies involved with drug issues. Through practicums, students work closely with a faculty member or an active research project.

Financial Assistance

Applicants requesting graduate assistantships and fellowships should contact the department. Applicants requesting all other types of financial assistance should apply to the director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

Course Descriptions (CRJU)

  • 524 -- Victimology. (3) The scientific study of crime victims and public policy responses to victims' plights.
  • 531 -- Alternatives to Incarceration. (3) A survey of the correctional alternatives to imprisonment, including probation, parole, and various community servie programs. The research evidence on the various alternatives and the role of the community and citizens in the correctional process.
  • 532 -- Violence in American Society. (3) Historical overview of violence in American society. An examination of the theoretical causes and preventive strategies for acts of violence. Both individual and collective violence are studied.
  • 542 -- Drugs and Crime. (3) A survey of the relationship between substance abuse and criminal offending. The historical and contemporary criminal justice system responses to illegal substances.
  • 543 -- Criminal Justice and Mental Health. (3) An overview of the interface between the mental health sciences and the criminal justice field.
  • 545 -- Crime Prevention and Private Security. (3) Crime prevention strategies and their relationship to private sectors of law enforcement.
  • 554 -- Women and Crime. {=WOST 554} (3) Impact of gender-based relations on crime and the criminal justice system.
  • 562 -- Citizen Involvement in Criminal Justice. (3) Citizen involvement programs including crime prevention, dispute-resolution centers, and use of volunteers.
  • 563 -- Race, Crime, and Criminal Justice. (3) An historical overview of the intersection between issues of race, crime, and justice. The impact of the criminal justice system on minority groups.
  • 582 -- Computer Applications in Criminal Justice. (3) Computing, database systems, and software applications in research and professional practice.
  • 585 -- Crime and Public Policy. (3) Public policy responses to crime, their formation, and their impact on both crime and criminal justice systems.
  • 591 -- Selected Topics in Criminal Justice. (3) A seminar for advanced students. Individual topics to be announced with suffix and title. May be repeated once with the consent of the advisor.
  • 701 -- Survey of Criminal Justice. (3) Classical and recent literature in criminal justice. Trends and issues that transcend criminal justice.
  • 702 -- Law and Justice. (3) The social construction of law and justice.
  • 703 -- Research Methods in Criminal Justice. (3) (Prereq: STAT 201) Scientific methods in criminal justice research to include methods of design, data collection, and interpretation of research findings.
  • 704 -- Organization and Management in Criminal Justice. {=GINT 756} (3) Management strategies and selected analytic tools for the administration of criminal justice agencies.
  • 705 -- Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice. (3) (Prereq: CRJU 703) Descriptive and inferential statistics and the use of computers in criminal justice.
  • 711 -- Police Practices and Problems. (3) Historical and contemporary role of the police, societal expectations, resource allocation, police policies, and the effectiveness of various police strategies in controlling crime.
  • 712 -- Police Administration and Management. (3) Principles of leadership and management applied to law enforcement.
  • 731 -- Corrections. (3) Historical development of corrections, trends, and changes in the field of corrections and rehabilitation.
  • 732 -- Correctional Policy. (3) Policy development, implementation, and evaluation in corrections.
  • 741 -- Criminology. (3) The major theories of the etiology of criminal behavior, including biological, environmental, and other causative factors.
  • 743 -- Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Child Abuse and Neglect. {=EDCE 769, HPRE 769, NURS 726 SOWK 769} (3) Current knowledge about child abuse and neglect, including typologies, etiology, effects, and current practice interventions.
  • 751 -- Prevention and Treatment of Delinquency. (3) Theories and methodologies for the organization of delinquency prevention and control programs. Emphasis on the role of the program evaluation.
  • 752 -- Juvenile Justice. {=SOWK 763} (3) Historical evolution of the juvenile justice system.
  • 753 -- Seminar on Juvenile Justice Problems and Issues. (3) Research and discussion of current and emerging problems and issues in juvenile justice.
  • 761 -- Foundations of Criminal Justice Education. (3) An examination of the historic and philosophic origins of American criminal justice education. Provides a basis for understanding the diversity of programs in this field. Parallels with other professional programs in higher education which provide insight into current issues.
  • 762 -- Continuing Professional Development. (3) Examination of the role of lifelong learning in the professions with an emphasis on criminal justice.
  • 766 -- Law-Related Education. (3) Survey of philosophy, goals, methods, implementation, and future prospects for law-related education in grades K-12.
  • 767 -- Law-Related Education Curriculum Development. (3) (Prereq: CRJU 766) Detailed study of current curriculum materials and methods for developing new materials.
  • 791 -- Selected Topics in Criminal Justice. (3) Seminar for advanced students. Topics of current importance, such as drugs, judicial reform, or crime prevention. (May be repeated for credit up to 6 semester hours with consent of advisor.)
  • 792 -- Directed Study in Criminal Justice. (3) Independent study for advanced students, under faculty supervision. (May be repeated for credit up to 6 semester hours with consent of advisor.)
  • 794 -- Internship in Criminal Justice. (3) Placement in a criminal justice agency under faculty supervision.
  • 799 -- Thesis Research: Thesis Preparation. (1-9)