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Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

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SPA Justice,Law / Criminology
202-885-2948
Fax: 202-885-2907
jlc@american.edu
Ward, Room 270

Anna Castro,
Administrative Assistant

SPA Justice,Law / Criminology
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8043
The Master of Science in Justice, Law & Criminology
Preparing the next generation of policy makers, law enforcement agents, and experts in the field

The Master of Science in Justice, Law & Criminology

Preparing the next generation of policy makers, law enforcement agents, and experts in the field

Justice, Law and Criminology (MS)

Offered by the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology, School of Public Affairs, the MS in Justice, Law and Criminology is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the foundations and structure of institutions of justice and law. Students receive a thorough grounding in both empirical and theoretical approaches to public policy issues and take a concentration in either justice and public policy, law and society, jurisprudence and social thought, or terrorism and security policy.

The concentration in justice and public policy provides a theoretical grounding in criminology and coursework in criminal justice, including corrections and policing. This concentration prepares students for a variety of practitioner and research positions in criminal justice, or for advanced graduate work in criminology or criminal justice.

The concentration in jurisprudence and social thought emphasizes philosophical and comparative perspectives on law, providing students with an appreciation of the nature and structural foundations of law and a firm grounding in analytical thought. This concentration serves students who have a background in either the liberal arts or law and are interested in combining the two.

The concentration in law and society provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the role of law in society, including the theoretical foundations of law, the relationship between law and the social sciences, and broad issues of social justice. This concentration prepares students for positions in policy research and analysis or for advanced graduate work in law and society.

The concentration in terrorism and security policy focuses on issues of national security from the perspectives of criminology and criminal justice. This concentration prepares students for a variety of practitioner and research positions in the area of prevention and control of terrorism.

Admission to the Program

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of scholastic achievement in their last 60 credit hours of undergraduate work, test scores and two letters of recommendation.

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Foundation (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Research (6 credit hours)

Concentrations (21 credit hours)

Complete one of the following concentrations:

Jurisprudence and Social Thought (21 credit hours)

12 credit hours from the following:
Electives

Complete 9 credit hours from the following or from other approved JLC-XXX courses:

Justice and Public Policy (21 credit hours)

12 credit hours from the following:
Electives

Complete 9 credit hours from the following or from other approved JLC-XXX courses or approved courses from other departments:

Law and Society (21 credit hours)

12 credit hours from the following:
Electives

Complete 9 credit hours from the following or from other approved JLC-XXX courses:

Terrorism and Security Policy (21 credit hours)

12 credit hours from the following or from other approved courses:
Electives

Complete 9 credit hours from the following or from other approved JLC-XXX courses:

Justice, Law and Criminology (MS) and Juris Doctor (JD)

Admission to the Program

The program enables students to complete the JD and MS degrees in approximately four years. Students must apply to and be accepted by both the Washington College of Law and the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology. Admission to either the MS or JD program in no way implies that admission to both programs will be granted.

Students may apply to both programs simultaneously or begin either program separately and then apply to the other program. However, once the study of law has begun, no justice courses can be taken until one full year of full-time law study has been completed.

Admission criteria are the same as those for the MS in Justice, Law and Criminology. If application is made initially to the Washington College of Law (WCL), LSAT scores are accepted in place of GRE general scores and application materials submitted to the WCL are reviewed for admission to the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology.

Requirements

  • All requirements for the JD in the Washington College of Law
  • All requirements for the MS in Justice, Law and Criminology   
    • Students may apply 6 credit hours of justice courses to the JD degree and 6 credit hours of law courses to the MS in Justice, Law and Criminology. The law advisor must approve the justice courses and the justice advisor must approve the law courses in advance of taking the courses to be applied toward both degrees.

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Additional information

Read our new handbook (pdf) to learn more about our master of science program.

Learn more

SPA's Leading Program in Terrorism Studies

Washington, D.C., is the epicenter for the study of terrorism, and with the launch of a new graduate concentration within the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology (JLC), AU is grooming the next generation of policy makers, law enforcement agents, and homeland security experts.

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