M.S. Criminal Justice
Forensic Science Specialization
Combine hands-on learning with academic tradition to prepare for a future in law enforcement.
The School of Education & Social Services offers several competitive, quality graduate degree programs, and the online M.S. in criminal justice with a forensic science specialization is no exception.
Through up-to-date, hands-on instruction, you will gain the practitioner's experience to assist with criminal justice agency operations during incidents in which forensic science is a factor.
Saint Leo University's criminal justice program director, Dr. Robert J. Diemer, has nearly 30 years of varied investigative experience, and is known across Florida and, increasingly, among national law enforcement at local, state, and federal agency levels. Dr. Diemer has served as a Deputy Sheriff, State Coordinator for the Florida Sheriff’s Association Statewide Task Force, and Chief of Investigations for the Florida Department of Environmental Protections Division of Law Enforcement. Dr. Diemer was also responsible for managing and coordinating the operations of the Florida Department of Environmental Protections Environmental Terrorism Response Team.
Forensic science specialization courses explore:
- The history of forensic science and criminalistics
- Recognition, protection, documentation and collection of physical evidence
- Laboratory analysis of physical evidence
- Courtroom acceptance of new forensic technologies
- Forensic and medicolegal death investigation
- Crime scene investigation and management
You will also achieve a broad background in the field through general M.S. in criminal justice courses including those that address:
- Ethical and legal issues in criminal justice administration
- Public policy-making, evaluation and implementation
- Leadership, management and supervision
- Offender treatment methodology
- Human resources issues and innovations
- Hostage negations
- Information resource systems and technologies
- Fiscal resource management for short and long-term planning
- Personnel law
- Major trends and conditions in the future of criminal justice
One of the leading military colleges in the United States, Saint Leo University has been educating criminal justice professionals for more than three decades. In the Catholic spirit, we base our criminal justice model on a steadfast moral consciousness that recognizes the dignity, value, and gifts of all people.
In order to earn the degree with the concentration in forensic science, a student must successfully complete the five courses in criminal justice, as well as four courses in forensic science, and two electives.
Criminal Justice Core (18 credits)
- Course Name
CRJ 530 Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice Administration 3
This course examines the ethical issues relevant to the administration of criminal justice. The origins of ethical standards, the effect of these standards on the administration of justice, and issues of ethical leadership will be addressed. Emphasis will be placed on the integration of ethics into criminal justice policy making and the establishment of defined values as a means of agency direction and activity.
CRJ 550 Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Administration 3
This course is an overview of the legal issues commonly facing managers in criminal justice agencies. Particular emphasis is placed on public employment law, including the hiring, promoting, disciplining, and discharging of employees; fair employment practices; and agency and administrator civil liability. Both state and federal statutory and case law will be examined.
CRJ 560 Public Policy Making in Criminal Justice 3
This course is designed to increase the knowledge of the student about policy development in criminal justice. Of specific concern will be problem identification and the movement of an idea or issue into public policy, with special emphasis on the participants in the criminal justice policy-making process. Course content will include indicators of problems that cause concern in criminal justice and elevate that problem to such a level that public policy making is required, strategic management of criminal justice policy, and the role of the criminal justice executive as an agent of change.
CRJ 565 Leadership Applications in Criminal Justice 3
Contemporary literature holds that "managers do things right; leaders do the right thing." This course will offer an analysis of the most effective theories of organizational leadership, with a focus on their appropriate applications within criminal justice. Of critical importance will be the identification and discussion of those critical leadership skills necessary to advance a criminal justice agency.
CRJ 590 Applied Project in Criminal Justice Administration 6
This course is designed to be a capstone project in which the student will use all the skills, attitudes, and knowledge acquired from the program curriculum to address an important problem or launch a program initiative related to the administration of criminal justice. The objective of this course is primarily outcomes assessment for the Graduate Program. For successful completion of this course and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree requirements, students must demonstrate both a mastery of the curriculum content and an articulated ability to apply what has been learned to professional endeavors. The curriculum guide to be developed for this course will contain a grading rubric to ensure systematic evaluations of students' levels of mastery.
Prerequisites: CRJ 530, CRJ 550, CRJ 560, CRJ 565, and six electives
Forensic Science Courses (12 credits)
- Course Name
CRJ 545 Introduction to Forensic Science 3
This course will serve as an introduction to the disciplines most recognized in the field of forensic science and how they apply to the criminal justice practitioner/administrator. This course is designed to offer information on the history of forensic science and "criminalistics" as well as the current technologies available today, including the procedures and methods of laboratory analysis. Methods to be covered include the recognition, protection, documentation, and collection of physical evidence; laboratory analysis of such physical evidence; and courtroom acceptance of new forensic technologies.
CRJ 546 Advanced Forensic Science 3
This course will review the forensic science disciplines covered in CRJ 545 and introduce the student to the scientific techniques used in processing evidence found at investigations and scenes. This course is designed to allow the student to complete hands-on exercises in the forensic disciplines most commonly used in today's criminal justice environment.
CRJ 547 Forensic and Medicolegal Death Investigation 3
This course will review the various forensic science disciplines that collectively represent the field of forensics known as forensic medicolegal death investigation. It will explore the complex relationship between law enforcement (the investigator) and the technical and often mysterious world of the medical professional (the pathologist and medical examiner). The course will survey investigative techniques currently having significant impact upon death investigation from a variety of perspectives, both legal and medical. These perspectives will include such areas as post mortem investigations by pathologists and on the scene investigations by the medical examiner, all determinative of how the law enforcement investigations will proceed. The course is designed to introduce the student to various specialized areas of medicolegal aspects of death investigation, such as childhood death. An additional purpose of this course is to expand the student's exposure and understanding of the various death scene situations that they may encounter from both a law enforcement perspective and a medical perspective when there may not be trained medical examiners available on the scene. Students will be introduced to the scientific and investigative techniques utilized in processing evidence and information found in death cases that are discovered and retrieved during autopsy, toxicology studies, anthropological opinions, and various other forensic disciplines.
CRJ 548 Crime Scene Investigation and Management 3
This course will introduce the student to the forensic techniques utilized in crime scene investigations (CSI), and the processing and retrieval of trace evidence such as DNA and other items of evidentiary value. Additionally, the course will introduce the student to accepted methodologies employed in contemporary crime scene management. Students will also explore and become familiar with commonly accepted forensic techniques, contemporary specialized techniques, and judicial expectations and requirements demanded by the judicial process relative to the admittance of evidence collected by forensic crime scene investigators.
Elective Courses (Choose Two) (6 credits)
CRJ 500 Special Topics 3
This course will focus on special topics that would be of educational interest for students in the graduate program. Topics for this course will vary and, if popular, will be submitted as a permanent addition to the program.
CRJ 501 Terrorism in Israel 3
This course provides a comprehensive overview of international and domestic terrorism, arising from either religious or secular roots. It will examine the historical and philosophical underpinnings of terrorism in general, and specifically in Israel. Terrorist organizations in Israel will be studied, and a special emphasis will be placed on that government's preventive and investigative techniques in dealing with terrorist attacks. In addition, the student will be exposed to the rationale used by terrorist groups in an attempt to justify their attacks on Israel.
CRJ 502 Hostage Negotiations Phase I & II 3
This course is designed to engage students in essential intellectual and practical questions relating to the study and practice of hostage negotiations and their impact of law enforcement. The students will participate in group activities that allow them to understand the positive and negative effects of hostage negotiations. The intent of such a course is to provide students with an understanding of the crisis team structure, the dynamics of negotiations, the value of using trained police negotiators as opposed to other civilians in the workforce, the psychology in hostage negotiations, the team concept behind negotiations, communicating with people in crisis, dealing with the media, negotiator stress, and practical role plays.
CRJ 503 Preventing Terrorist Attacks 3
This course provides a comprehensive overview of international and domestic terrorism, arising from either religious or secular roots. It will examine the historical and philosophical underpinnings of terrorism in general, and identified terrorist organizations in particular. The course will examine exploitable weaknesses of terrorists; terrorist typology; human factors as applied to terrorists; modus vivendi of terrorists; conspiratorial association theorems; weaknesses of terrorist groups; and proactive measures in support of terrorist investigations. The course will address current efforts in counter-terrorism, with special emphasis on the federal and state responses. As a Criminal Justice course, this study will consist of a hybrid of historical information and political information, and current, relevant information on counter-terrorism objectives and methods.
CRJ 520 Contemporary Issues in Community Corrections 3
Underlying the community corrections movement has been an attempt to reduce the over-reliance on the use of incarceration by providing less serious offenders with community-based program alternatives. Proponents of community corrections argue that these alternatives are more humane, more cost effective, and generally more successful approaches to corrections than traditional incarceration. Some community-based correctional programs operate on tradition instead of empirically based-research on effective practices. The focus of this class will be to look outside the box, debunking common assumptions, and challenging students to look deeper into existing community-based programs to determine effective practices based upon sound research methodology.
CRJ 521 Offender Treatment Methodology 3
This course examines the "evidence-based practice" of the methodology of offender treatment and the evaluation of programs relevant to the administration of corrections and community-based programs. Emphasis is placed on risk assessment, treatment methodology, types of offender issues, and evaluation of treatment options.
CRJ 525 Criminal Justice Policy Research and Evaluation 3
This course will involve advanced exercises in assessing empirical research relevant to criminal justice policy making, the acquisition of sufficient research methodology skills and knowledge to assess the quality of such studies, and practice in the application of empirical findings to agency policies and procedures. Included in this course will be the principles and techniques of program evaluation and applications through focused case studies.
CRJ 526 Research Methods in Criminal Justice I 3
This course will expose the graduate student to the more common techniques and concepts used in criminal justice research and evaluation as these are applied to policy, procedures, practices, and programs. With the aim of creating an informed consumer of such information, the student will have the opportunity to practice the application of empirical findings to agency policies, procedures, practices, and programs as he or she is exposed to the principles and techniques of program evaluation and research. Such an understanding is critical for both the producer and consumer of data in the criminal justice system in order to critically evaluate new knowledge as it is generated and presented by others as well as themselves.
CRJ 527 Research Methods in Criminal Justice II 3
Because the bulk of what is done in the criminal justice area depends heavily on things that have been tried in the past (the "data"), it is important to know how to treat data. This course will expose the graduate student to the more common statistical techniques and concepts used in criminal justice research and evaluation to treat the data generated by that system. The concentration will be on psychological and sociological statistics, for that is what is common in the field. Such an understanding is critical for both the producer and consumer of data in the criminal justice system in order to critically evaluate new knowledge as it is generated and presented by others as well as themselves.
Prerequisites: CRJ 526
CRJ 535 Management of Human Resources in Criminal Justice Agencies 3
This course will examine the critical issues and strategic questions regarding managing human resources in criminal justice agencies. It will focus on human resource administration as a coherent, proactive management model. Current and future trends in personnel management will be examined in depth.
CRJ 540 Planning and Financial Management in Criminal Justice Agencies 3
This course is an examination of the interactive process of strategic planning and financial management within an agency. An emphasis will be placed upon this process as a system of organizational development, with program budgeting as the visible product. Topics will include identifying, developing, and securing fiscal resources; comparisons of levels of planning; distinguishing between operational and managerial plans; the political context of criminal justice planning/budgeting as it relates to preparation, presentation, executive and legislative approval, execution, and audit; and enhancements and alternatives to an agency's routine funding base.
CRJ 551 Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Agencies II 3
This course is a continuation of CRJ 550. Offering further study of civil and administrative legal issues confronting today's law enforcement supervisors and managers, this course then addresses many of the criminal law issues that become have become problematic in today's society. Many factors, including unprecedented scrutiny, a litigious society, greater awareness of individual rights, greater assertiveness of employee rights, and global media coverage (including the Internet and instant electronic media), contribute to the need for enhanced legal knowledge on the part of law enforcement managers. This course will address these numerous and complex issues. Through lectures, class discussions, written projects, case presentations, and examinations, students will develop a better understanding of the legal environment in which modern law enforcement supervisors and managers must operate successfully.
Prerequisites: CRJ 550
CRJ 555 Information Resource Management for Criminal Justice Management 3
This course includes techniques of data processing and information technology, with emphasis upon their use and application to criminal justice information management. Most particularly, the curriculum will examine the changing technology and systems available to criminal justice agencies, especially those that enhance inter-agency communications and coordination.
CRJ 570 Future Studies in Criminal Justice 3
Since Alvin Toffler's work in Future Shock, an increasing focus has been placed on "future studies," the analysis of trends and conditions affecting society or specific organizations. This course will examine the social, technological, economic, environmental, and political issues shaping Florida, its communities, and its criminal justice agencies now and in the future. A particular emphasis will be on preparing the student to anticipate and identify such future conditions, trends, and issues.
CRJ 575 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice Administration 3
This course will provide in-depth informational coverage regarding various current issues relevant to the administration of criminal justice. The focus will be on the application of this knowledge to both public policy making and the effective management of criminal justice organizations.
CRJ/CIM 581 Impact of Terrorism on Homeland Security 3
This course is an introduction to political terrorism, ranging from low-level acts of threats and acts of violence that may represent significant risk to human life and property to large-scale acts of violence using "weapons of mass destruction" that may have devastating, long-term effects.
CRJ/CIM 582 Management of Critical Incident Operations 3
This course will explore the role of various public safety personnel in managing disaster response operations. The nature of disaster, the complexities of disaster response operations, and the roles and responsibilities of various emergency management personnel will be examined. Students will gain an understanding of common post-disaster problems and how the emergency management community may overcome these challenges.
CRJ/CIM 583 Risk Identification and Assessment 3
The overall goal of this course is to contribute to the reduction of the growing toll (deaths and injuries, property loss, environmental degradation, etc.) of disasters in the United States by providing an understanding of a process (the hazards risk management process) that provides a framework that may be applied at all levels of communities and governments to identify, analyze, consider, implement, and monitor a wide range of measures that can contribute to their well-being.
CRJ/CIM 584 Psychological Aspects of Critical Incidents 3
This course is an examination of the psychological trauma that one experiences when involved in a catastrophic event. The learner will examine terrorism and natural and man-made disasters. The learner will also examine how the aforementioned catastrophic events cause psychological trauma, related psychological and physiological disorders, sense of community trauma and loss, and the impact of such incidents on the first responder. In addition, the course will examine preparedness and the role of the mental health profession, community response teams, peer support groups, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study of this phenomenon by first responders and emergency managers is essential in understanding the impact of trauma and allows for the development of treatment strategies that can effectively combat the debilitating effects of catastrophic events.
Total Credits 36