Graduate programs in corrections prepare students to work in a variety of criminal justice administration positions. Both certificate and master's programs are available, with some master's programs offering degrees in related fields, such as sociology or criminal justice, with concentrations in corrections.
Corrections Graduate Program Information
Depending on the nature of the program, graduate work in corrections involves the completion of 15 to 36 credit hours, and some programs offer classes online. In addition to courses like those outlined below, students may have the opportunity to study related disciplines like public administration and management.
Criminal Justice Management
Since these programs often prepare students for administrative or leadership positions in criminal justice organizations, they include courses in the management and operations of agencies in the field. These classes may focus on concerns related to human resource management and organizational behavior. Alternatively, they may cover financial management issues, including strategic planning, budgeting, auditing, and working with funding sources.
Corrections Theory and Methods
Graduate programs in this field include courses that examine the foundational underpinnings of corrections practice in the United States. These classes examine philosophical perspectives on corrections and methods of treating criminal offenders based on research and evidence. Alternatively, they may examine research methods used in the field to gather evidence to shape policy. Depending on the overall focus of the program, the courses may incorporate theories from related fields like sociology.
Corrections Policy Analysis
Students in these programs examine policies related to criminal justice and their impact on corrections systems. These classes emphasize methods of conducting research and evaluating empirical evidence, and procedures for forming and implementing criminal justice policies are usually covered. Students often use case studies to hone their program evaluation skills.
Special Topics in Corrections
Due to the evolving nature of the field, graduate programs in corrections usually include classes focused on special topics of interest. These courses often examine contemporary issues in corrections, such as popular alternatives to incarceration. Merits and drawbacks to innovative approaches to corrections are examined. These classes may be presented in seminar format, and specific topics may vary depending on current trends and interests.
Law and Ethics in Criminal Justice
Corrections graduate students can expect their program to address legal and ethical considerations pertinent to the criminal justice field. Classes in this area may cover employment laws relevant to the management of criminal justice organizations. Alternatively, they may examine laws' roles in shaping and governing public behavior. Additionally, they often examine ethical foundations of criminal justice policies and ethical considerations faced by corrections administrators.
Corrections Graduate Program Admissions
Students applying to certificate or master's degree programs should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students often have undergraduate majors in sociology, political science, psychology, or related fields, and some programs require prior coursework in behavioral sciences. Additionally, some require a minimum 3.0 GPA in at least part of an applicant's undergraduate career. Additional application materials may include a statement of goals, a writing sample, and letters of recommendation.
Graduate programs in corrections are available at both the certificate and master's levels. Students can expect coursework covering a range of criminal justice issues, including policy, methods, and ethics relevant to the field.