One of the Top 20 Best Schools
Loyola University – New Orleans
By: Stephenie Slahor
There are many excellent university programs in criminal justice, but Loyola University New Orleans has been ranked in the top 20 in the U.S. by “The Best Schools” by placing 11th among the nation’s online criminal-justice degree programs. The award is based on curriculum quality, courses offered, faculty, and proven success. The judges considered over 70 online Master’s degree programs in criminal justice.
Loyola University New Orleans is a private, not-for-profit Catholic institution emphasizing the Jesuit traditions of education, but the university is open to students of all faiths. In the early-1700s, the early arrivals to New Orleans included Jesuit priests who eventually established what would become Loyola University New Orleans. In keeping with the Jesuit tradition, students are called to the fullest possible development of human qualities and talents, critical thinking, and disciplined studies.
Loyola University New Orleans currently offers three specializations within the criminal justice department: Forensic Science Administration, Justice Administration, and Cyber Forensics Investigation and Administration. Students begin with foundation coursework in crime and organizational theory and practice, crisis management and media relations, budget analysis, organizational performance, data analysis and decision-making, and ethics in administration of justice.
The Forensic Science Administration Master’s degree specialization hones the skills for directing forensic investigations. Operations, management, communication, budget and management are emphasized. Fact-finding skills are the traits emphasized in this program, which leads to the development of a competent forensics team and upper-level management of such a team.
Coursework explores such topics as the requirements and challenges involving forensic laboratories, accreditation, certification, budgeting, case law and legislation, ethics, media relations, and quality assurance. Courses include forensic science from the crime scene to the courtroom, crime lab management, quality assurance, current topics, and two elective courses.
The Justice Administration Master’s degree program focuses on public law enforcement including organizational structure, leadership, fiscal management, personnel and resources development, and technological methodologies. The program provides a foundation in complexities of crime prevention, data and intelligence gathering, resource management, and collaboration between the public and private sectors. It is particularly designed for students seeking to advance in the public sector, or who plan to transition to related careers in the private sector.
Coursework topics include leadership effectiveness, fiscal and resource management and accountability, surveillance, intelligence, privacy, forensics, inter-agency collaboration, and public-private partnerships. Studies culminate with planning and advanced study in justice administration, bureau pathology, or special topics in justice administration. Coursework includes a survey of justice administration, bureau pathology, special topics, advanced analytics, and two elective courses.
The Master’s degree specialization program in Forensic Science is in response to the need for well-educated computer security professionals. The program focuses on the legal, administrative and management aspects of cybercrime. Curricular studies are in administration, cyber/computer forensics investigation, identity theft, espionage, cyber warfare, and the impacts of such problems upon the public and private sectors.
The curriculum not only includes investigation tools and crime lab analyses, but also cases in point to enhance and augment the knowledge needed for police crime labs, private security, and other aspects of cyber forensics. The emphasis is on advanced management skills for monitoring key network traffic operations, analyzing evidence, using the scientific method for digital crime investigation, surveillance, data collection, management systems, and topics within national security, financial services and liability.
Loyola University New Orleans developed the program particularly to eliminate the need to outsource cybercrime investigations, and to help meet the need for increasing numbers of managers who have insight into the internal and external actions and legal investigation methods that prevent, defend against, and solve cyber crime. The curriculum includes courses in cyber and surveillance law and governance, forensic management of digital evidence, cybercrime, digital law enforcement, and three elective courses.
All the Master’s degree criminal-justice specialization programs explore predictive policing methodologies such as using data analyses to track trends, anticipate crime, prevent crime, and respond to crime more effectively. Applications to the programs are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. Four sessions are offered each year, with each session running 11 weeks. Students may enter a program in January, April, July or October.
The Master’s degree programs in criminal justice require 36 credit hours. For most students working full-time, enrollment is for 6 credit hours or 2 courses per 11-week session. The programs are completely online, with no requirement to attend at the campus. Tuition in the criminal-justice administration Master’s degree programs currently runs $818 per credit hour. Financial aid programs are available in the form of loans or grants.