Where once police work and corrections were the two primary forms of work in law enforcement, the criminal justice field has expanded into methodologies for crime prevention, investigative forensic, crisis management, homeland security, and cyber security.
Higher education is keeping pace with the increasing demands on personnel learning these new or improved specializations within criminal justice. One university meeting those expanding needs is the University of Maryland University College. The university offers a varied selection of criminal justice programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and an array of certificate programs of interest to those seeking specializations in particular areas of law enforcement and security.
Whether undergraduate, graduate or certificate, each of the university’s programs begins with foundation, basic theory and contemporary processes in the various fields, but progresses to practical prevention and response solutions and techniques.
The university’s undergraduate criminal justice program covers the personnel, institutions and processes of law enforcement in both theory and practice in order to assist students pursuing further study or entry/promotion in criminal justice work. Upper division courses at the undergraduate level include study in criminology, information technology, application software, morals and ethics in criminal justice, statistics, security management, administration of corrections facilities, and investigation.
The graduate program also emphasizes skill development, but includes study in leadership, management, and cross-agency collaboration. The typical course of study includes organizational theory, inter-cultural communication and leadership, financial decision-making, statistics for managers, perspectives and analysis in criminal justice, and legal aspects and ethics of the criminal justice system.
The university offers a varied certificate program in such criminal justice specializations as intelligence, fraud investigation, and terrorism prevention and response. Certificate programs generally require approximately 18 credit hours. The graduate level certificate programs include study in research and library skills, analysis of the criminal justice system, law enforcement management, administration of correctional Institutions, and security management.
The university also offers a certificate program in homeland security management that consists of study in research skills, concepts in homeland security, physical security measures, business continuity, policy, ethics, and legal aspects of homeland security. Another certificate program focuses on information assurance with courses and seminar study in research skills, computer security, software assurance, network and Internet security, intrusion detection and protection, cryptology, data protection, and computer forensics.
A certificate program in intelligence management consists of study in research, intelligence collection and analysis, and espionage and counterintelligence. Cyber security certificate specializations are offered in three areas: foundations, policy, and technology. Each includes study in such areas as legal aspects, ethics, policy, monitoring, auditing, intrusion detection, and intrusion prevention.
Certificate program tuition fees depend on the particular program, but most certificates are within the range of approximately $5400 to $12,500. Lower tuition is usually available to Maryland residents, and to military personnel. In the degree programs, undergraduate tuition per credit hour is $244 for Maryland residents, $450 for non-residents, and $299 for military personnel. Graduate tuition per credit hour is $458 Maryland residents, $659 non-residents, and $458 military personnel.
Besides fixed tuition and fee costs, there are indirect and variable costs for such items as books, computers, loan fees, etc, depending on the particular academic program. Eligibility for tuition assistance is based on enrollment in a degree or qualified certificate program, possession of a high school diploma or GED certificate and a valid Social Security number, and demonstrated financial need. In addition, students seeking financial assistance cannot be in default or owe a refund on any Title IV aid program from any source.
The university’s undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs are all offered in a flexible format that can be tailored to the individual student’s needs. Courses are offered entirely online, on evenings and weekends, or in a hybrid format with both on-site meetings and online study. The university is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Stephenie Slahor, Ph.D., J.D., writes in the fields of law enforcement and security. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.