Text only version
2010 - 2011 Site Archive




Criminal Justice

8001. The American Criminal Justice System   (3 s.h.)

This is a broad survey course designed for students beginning graduate studies in criminal justice who lack background in the field or who seek to investigate the latest theoretical, programmatic, and policy issues. The class familiarizes students with historical milestones and shifts in criminal justice philosophy and practice. It reviews the operations of criminal justice agencies and assesses current practices in light of evidence on outcomes and other consequences. The course explores the significance of race, class, and gender in criminal justice processing, agencies, and programs. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply a range of methods and theoretical perspectives in analyzing and critiquing selected justice system practices and reform measures.

8101. Decision Making in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

This core course conceptualizes criminal justice as a series of interrelated decision stages. It examines organizational, legal, and research issues related to each decision stage.

8102. Research Methods in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

This core course assumes prior familiarity with basic methodology and statistics. It prepares students to conduct criminal justice research and evaluation. It covers topics of causality, reliability, validity, and quasi-experimental methods.

8104. Law and Social Order   (3 s.h.)

This core course examines moral, practical, legal, and constitutional limitations of law as a means of securing social order. Classes and readings are designed to promote critical analysis of primary (constitutions, statutes, cases) and secondary (legal, philosophical, social science literature) sources of law, with special focus on the role of the Supreme Court in balancing state vs. individual interests and on rules and standards by which the Court's discretion and decision making can be assessed.

8105. Fundamental Statistical Issues in Analysis of Criminal Justice Data   (3 s.h.)

This core course introduces criminal justice graduate students to simple and multiple regression analyses in criminal justice research. Extended treatment of the detection of non-normal data through the use of graphical and statistical techniques is offered. Statistical implications of highly non-normal data that are encountered in many areas of criminal justice are studied. The course clarifies relations between statistical assumptions, results, and use of results for decision-making purposes.

8106. Theories of Crime and Deviance   (3 s.h.)

The goal of the core course is to provide an appraisal of the foundations for understanding criminal behavior. Students read major current and classic works couched at different levels of analyses about the origins of criminal behavior, including not only violent and property crime but also delinquency, white collar crime, and regulatory violations.

8201. Court Processes and Administration   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on historical development, structure, and processes of the American criminal court system. It identifies key decision points in the criminal process (pretrial, charge, plea negotiations, sentencing,) and examines their impact on the work of the court. It studies the role of key figures (prosecutor, judge, defense attorney, defendant, victim) in the contemporary court setting. All discussions are set within a broad context of the inevitable conflict between personal liberty and community safety, and the contrasting goals of the "formal" criminal justice system versus the "informal" courtroom workgroup.

8202. Correctional Philosophy and Administration   (3 s.h.)

This course analyzes the theory, practices, and policies of the American correctional system, covering the nature and administration of both institutional and community sanctions and agencies. Students explore competing penal theories and review evidence on the effectiveness of correctional practices. The course investigates the historical development and evolution of imprisonment; trends in the use of confinement; and the effects of incarceration on offenders, families, and communities. Students analyze the characteristics of correctional populations and debate the causes and implications of race, class, and gender differences. The course identifies significant current issues and reviews the ethical, legal, and practical dimensions of proposals for reform.

8203. Issues in Law Enforcement   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on conceptual models of policing and how they affect operational priorities and resource decisions in law enforcement. Topics include community policing, problem-oriented policing, and intelligence-led policing, among others. This is a wide-ranging course that explores policing from an international perspective and through the lens of the varying contentious issues of the day.

8204. Policy and Practice in Juvenile Justice   (3 s.h.)

This course is designed to increase the student's understanding of the purposes, structure, and processes of this distinctly American invention: the juvenile justice system. Its recent development and current policy initiatives that are reshaping its role in our society are explored. Delinquent kids, the target of this system, are studied. The juvenile justice system is further explored in terms of its underlying aims, its historical foundations, and its sociopolitical contexts, explanations of delinquency, theories of child development, case law, legislation, changes now occurring with respect to its goals, and recent initiatives to increase dependency on scientific evidence of effectiveness. The goal is to seek to understand the system's limitations, contradictions, and strengths. At the same time, the role that research plays in shaping the policies and programs that constitute this system is examined.

8205. Aggression and Violence   (3 s.h.)

Students learn about different types of violence in the United States, including homicide, assault, robbery, family violence, youth violence, drug-related violence, and gun-related violence. A three-part, interdisciplinary perspective guides this inquiry: (1) examination of patterns and trends; (2) examination of correlates and causes, including biological, psychological, and sociological theories; and (3) investigation of different policy responses to violence. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to do two things: critically discuss major explanations that have been offered for different kinds of violent behavior, and critically evaluate policies for preventing and controlling specific types of violence.

8221. Qualitative Approaches to Research   (3 s.h.)

This course provides an introduction to different paradigms, approaches, and skills that constitute part of a very broad field of qualitative research. This course is designed to be highly interactive. All members of the class play an active role in leading discussions, sharing knowledge and experiences, and voicing concerns and questions. Students conduct exercises for "stretching" their skills of observation, interviewing, and data analysis, as well as gain experience in reviewing and critiquing published research. Finally, some of the more complex issues surrounding the ethics of research with human subjects are examined.

8222. Simulation Modeling   (3 s.h.)

Social organization involves complicated systems, such as organizations, institutions, and families — and their component parts. The components of systems frequently interact in a complex fashion.   Simulation models offer a useful approach to understanding this complexity. Simulation models allow for the creation of theoretically informed representations of complex dynamic systems. These representations can be used to conduct virtual experiments with the goal of strengthening theories and developing better designs for empirical research. The course covers different types of simulation modeling, but focuses on applications of agent-based modeling. Students gain experience developing conceptual models and programming simple simulation models. 


8223. Risk, Prediction and Classification   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on issues surrounding prediction and classification in criminal justice. Different perspectives on risk and danger, risk assessment models, the possibilities of accurate predictions, and the implications (practical, social, ethical) of prediction and classification in criminal justice are examined. These include career criminal models and their repercussions in criminal justice policy; the role of risk assessment instruments in community corrections, inmate classification, and release; and others. In addition to these practical applications, the implications of the increasing salience of the notion of “risk” in public and policy discourse are considered.

8224. Drugs, Crime and Justice   (3 s.h.)

This advanced graduate course considers the problems of drug abuse, crime, and the justice system’s response to drug-related crime. A multidisciplinary perspective is used to analytically and critically explore these issues from social, legal, political, public health, enforcement, and criminological perspectives. Specific topics covered include theoretical explanations for drug abuse, drug legalization and decriminalization, drugs and violence, treatment alternatives to incarceration, public health effects, and mandatory sentencing laws for drug offenders. Readings, papers, and in-class discussions and formal debates are used to further students’ understanding of the connections between drug abuse and crime, effective criminal justice responses to drug-related crime, and drug policies.


8225. Rehabilitation, Reentry and Recidivism   (3 s.h.)

Numerous prison- and community-based approaches have been developed in recent years to help ex-offenders successfully reintegrate into the community. Promising in-prison approaches include comprehensive risk/needs assessment, drug treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, vocational and basic education, prison industries, and prerelease planning. Community-based approaches include a wide range of options that provide reintegration assistance and linkages to community social services. This course examines theoretical models of rehabilitation (e.g., principles of effective correctional intervention) and recidivism (e.g., life course and reintegration perspectives), including related research. It also investigates current re-entry initiatives at the national, state, and local levels.

8231. Environmental Justice   (3 s.h.)

By land, by sea, and by air, communities across America confront environmental problems, many of these arising from the commission of environmental crimes, and in response to which citizens and communities seek environmental justice. This course addresses structural issues in environmental justice and environmental crimes, environmental victimization, and the role of compliance in resolving issues of environmental justice.

8232. Geographic Perspectives on Crime   (3 s.h.)

Spatial distribution of crime and criminals is examined in relation to the geographic processes that influence this distribution. This course involves half seminar and half lab work. Seminars include the structure of geographic information and spatial analysis techniques, alongside spatial theories of crime and how these theories can explain crime patterns. Lab work instructs students in the use of GIS to map and analyze crime events, from the national level down to the city level. The GIS/crime mapping component assumes no prior knowledge of GIS, uses the latest ArcGIS software, and concentrates on crime in the City of Philadelphia.

8233. Communities and Crime   (3 s.h.)

This course addresses the connections between features of community and crime, fear, and disorder at various levels of analysis, ranging from the community to the street block. It covers varying theoretical perspectives on these connections, with the aim of educating students in the relative strengths and weakness of these various perspectives. Students learn to apply these various perspectives and tools to case studies and actual locations.

8234. Criminal Victimization and Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

This course explores the problem of victimization (general vs. criminal), the types of victims (direct vs. indirect, individual vs. collective, etc.), and the harms involved (financial vs. physical vs. mental). It also examines the fairness and efficacy of a wide variety of preventive, remedial, extra-legal, and legal (civil, criminal) responses by society and by the criminal justice system. Emphasis is on data sets and research studies shedding light on the levels, correlates, dynamics, and consequences of major forms of victimization as a basis for critical analysis of victimization theory and existing and potential laws, policies, programs, practices, and technologies for reducing its incidence and impact.

8235. Criminal Justice Organizations: Structure, Process and Change   (3 s.h.)

Criminal justice organizations share many characteristics with other organizations, but they also differ in important ways. For one thing, criminal justice organizations are public bureaucracies; they typically are not concerned with a financial bottom line. Their aims have to do with public safety, controlling criminals, and managing large populations of incarcerated individuals. The criminal justice system comprises a complex network of agencies and organizations that often pursue very different goals. Consequently, one reality of these organizations that needs to be explored is how they work together to achieve common goals. The course examines both criminal justice systems and criminal justice organizations from both a structural perspective and a behavioral perspective. The main purpose in examining criminal justice organizations is to understand how they work so that, when it is desirable, they can be changed, both in the way they relate to each other and the way they relate to the larger society. Emphasis is placed on the manner in which criminal justice systems and their environments are changing, and the importance of capitalizing on those changes. Leadership and entrepreneurial thinking are emphasized as are structural approaches that foster development.

8237. Program Planning and Evaluation in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

Program evaluation is the systematic acquisition and assessment of information to provide useful feedback about a program. In other words, program evaluation facilitates improvements in program performance and outcomes. Evaluation also enables policy makers and funding agencies to make decisions about continued support of a program or program replication. Students develop the capacity to offer useful feedback. They gain thorough knowledge of the methods of program evaluation, from the point of framing the goals of the evaluation to communicating findings. Topics include program evaluation, logic models and theories of change, formative and summative evaluations, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, data sources and data collection, data analysis and interpretation, reporting findings, the utilization of results, and synthesizing findings across evaluation studies.

8302. Advanced Methodological Issues in Criminal Justice Research   (3 s.h.)

This course engages students in hands-on activities allowing them to learn how to conduct and evaluate different types of research approaches commonly used in criminal justice. It assumes a solid grounding in graduate-level research methods and strong multivariate quantitative skills. These "learning by doing" activities, ideally organized around a single topic and conducted for a specific client, are complemented by high-level discussions of and readings about key ongoing philosophical, pragmatic, and policy-related research issues, and how those issues apply to and play out in the fields of criminal justice and criminology.

8305. Advanced Statistical Issues in Criminal Justice Data   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on multivariate statistical techniques particularly important in criminal justice research questions. It may cover multilevel modeling or other techniques important to the discipline such as time series, clustering, and automatic interaction detection.

8310. Special Topics Seminar   (3 s.h.)

Special topics in criminal justice research are examined.

8320. Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy   (3 s.h.)

Special topics in current criminal justice policy are explored.

8330. Seminar in Advanced Criminal Justice Research Topics   (3 s.h.)

Advanced topics in criminal justice and criminological research are explored.

9082. Independent Study   (3 s.h.)
Prerequisite: Prior permission of instructor.

This course permits individualized study of a specific topic in consultation with a faculty member. It is not intended as a substitute for any required course.

9083. Directed Readings   (1-9 s.h.)

9982. Research Seminar in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

This course fulfills part of the research requirements for the student working toward completion of the Ph.D. It involves advanced reading and research in areas agreed upon by the Ph.D. student and professor. It also includes group and individual meetings. The aim is an advanced research paper by the student that may focus on an area related to the proposed doctoral research.

9991. Directed Research   (1-9 s.h.)

9994. Preliminary Examination Preparation   (1-6 s.h.)

9996. Thesis Research   (1-6 s.h.)

9998. Pre-Dissertation Research   (1-6 s.h.)

9999. Doctoral Dissertation Research   (1-6 s.h.)



Updated 6.30.11