The Masters programme in criminal justice offered by the University of Cincinnati at Ohio began in 1978 and had its first graduate in 1981. Edward Latessa, professor and director of this programme says, "We have been ranked third by the US News and World Reports. Moreover, we have been accorded first place in ter ms of research productivity in several published studies. Our faculty is of international reckoning and they follow an evidence-based approach to criminal and juvenile justice. Our students are exposed to the latest in research and are taught to apply that research to practical situations."
Latessa informs that their students are often employed as research assistants in either The Center for Criminal Justice Research, The Policing Institute or The Corrections Institute.
"While other graduate programmes offer mere research opportunities to their students, we go a step further and offer our students the opportunity to work with criminal justice agencies," he explains.
"We work with the federal, state and local governments and with the private sector and professional organisations to promote effective intervention and an assessment of adult and juvenile offenders. We also provide technical assistance, staff training, distance learning and research and development. Finally, students have the option of either taking a comprehensive exam at the end of their course or complete a 'demonstration' project under the supervision of a faculty committee," adds Latessa.
Incidentally, the University of Cincinnati also offers this Masters programme in criminal justice in the online format. "Though it is ranked third by US News and World Reports, in terms of the whole programme it is only one of three universities to offer a full-fledged online programme as well," says Latessa.
This online programme, at one level, has also been offered so that students with varying economic backgrounds can avail of it. "There is a substantial cost saving element to the online programme. While the tuition fees for the routine classroom programme is $23,985 per-year, the tuition fees for the online programme for the same duration is only $13,023," informs Latessa.
There is a wide range of topics and courses covered in the programme that include crime prevention, corrections, policing, criminology, criminal justice system, juvenile justice, research and statistic, correctional rehabilitation and offender behaviour, to name but a few. "Due to US visa regulations, international studying in the US must follow the full-time track," says Latessa. "However, international students following the online mode can study part-time or full-time in their home country," he adds.
Talking about the job avenues that one can explore after pursuing this course Latessa says, "The Master of Science in Criminal Justice has been successfully used by students both as an entry-level degree to middle-management careers and as an avenue for advancement for persons already employed in some phase of the criminal justice system. Additionally, graduate training is becoming increasingly important in the field of criminal justice. Agencies are equating professionalism with higher educational training, and for many careers now, the MS in Criminal Justice has become the minimum qualification for employment or advancement. To cite specifics, our alumni are currently employed in positions such as chiefs of police, probation and parole administrators and officers, wardens, counsellors in prisons and residential programmes, research analysts, drug enforcement agents and college professors."
So are there any specific initiatives that are being undertaken by the university to translate research findings into tangible outcomes?
"The faculty members are engaged in a number of projects that are translating findings into tangible outcomes. For example, the UC Police Institute has worked with the Cincinnati Police Department to develop the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence. This initiative has been internationally recognised as an effective approach to target and reduce violence. Representatives from several foreign countries including, South Australia, Scotland, England, Turkey, Iraq, Ireland and Wales have visited our researchers. In addition, our correctional researchers have undertaken training on offender and correctional programme assessment in Scotland, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica," sums up Latessa.