Graduate Course Descriptions

401—Politics and Policy Analysis in the Criminal Justice System

This course examines the interactional processes within and among the criminal justice system's components and their relationships to other social, political, public and private institutions. Current issues and examples are used to discuss and analyze the public policy making process, the role that politics play in justice policy and practice, and the ultimate impact public policy can have on crime and justice system operations.

402—Theories of Criminal Behavior

This is a comparative review of dominant contemporary theories and research on the causes of crime and delinquency, including theories based on biological, psychological, and social factors. The course also examines social system theories of subcultures, social disorganization and strain, and ecological characteristics of population distribution across geographic areas. It emphasizes the competing theories that seek to explain the causes of crime, the current status of research on these theories, and differences in their implications for crime control.

403—Program Evaluation and Research Methods

This course provides students with the substantive knowledge to be critical consumers of research studies and program evaluations. Students learn how to critique the internal, construct, and external validity of program evaluations and data collection efforts that seek to understand criminal behavior or the operation of the criminal justice system. The course provides an in-depth discussion of quasi-experimental and experimental designs, types of program evaluations and strategies to address impediments and stakeholders’ concerns in field research and evaluations.

404—Applied Data Analysis and Interpretation

This course provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be critical consumers of statistical information, as is so often required in a wide variety of criminal justice and advanced educational settings. Students learn how to generate and interpret statistical output using SPSS-PC and learn which statistical tools are appropriate for specific measures and research questions. Students learn how to write about statistical information and create tables for research papers and practical reports appropriately and accurately.

405—Professional Ethics

The course defines the ethical responsibilities and explores the ethical dilemmas faced by police, court, and corrections officials. Moral theories are presented, and students learn how ethical judgments are formed. Students critically analyze their own and others' beliefs. They learn how to think constructively about ethical dilemmas, and how to articulate the inherent ethical issues in the field of criminal justice.

410—Advanced Topics in Criminology (Prerequisite 402)

This course covers variable topics on theories or contemporary issues concerning criminal and victim behavior. Examples of topics include: Drugs and Violence; Gender and Crime; Sexual Violence; Human Trafficking; Environmental Crime; Victimology; International Criminology; Race, Ethnicity, and Crime.

411—Advanced Topics in Policing (Prerequisite 401)

This course covers variable topics on contemporary issues in policing. Examples of topics include: Community Policing; Intelligence-Led Policing; Police Problem Solving; Evidence-Based Policing; Police Use of Force; Police Decision Making; Racial and Ethnic Profiling.

412—Advanced Topics in Courts (Prerequisite 401)

This course covers variable topics on contemporary issues in judicial organization and adjudicatory decision making. Examples of topics include: The American Jury; Death Penalty; International Criminal Law; Public Views of Justice; Media, Culture, and Criminal Law; Legal Rights of Children.

413—Advanced Topics in Corrections (Prerequisite 401)

This course covers variable topics on contemporary issues in corrections. Examples of topics include: Principles of Punishment; Sentencing Policy; Community-Based Corrections; Risk Assessment; Re-Entry; What Works in Corrections; Mass Incarceration; Juvenile Corrections.

414—General Special Topics (Prerequisite 401)

Special topics course titles will vary and will cover issues that do not fit within the court advanced topics areas of criminology, policing, courts, and corrections. Topics may include: Crime Mapping; Social Psychology and the Criminal Justice System; Prejudice, Hate, and the Justice System.

415—Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System

This course explores the relationship of mental illness to crime and violence as well as the policies and programs concerning the treatment of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Specifically, the course focuses on the nature, prevalence, and consequences of mental disorder among criminal offenders, the mediating effect of substance use of the relationship between mental illness and violence, the assessment of violence risk in mental health and criminal justice systems, the evolving concept of legal competence, and the institutional and community-based treatments of the mentally ill offender.

416—International Criminal Justice

This course is an introduction to the nature and scope of international and transnational crime, to the emerging legal framework for its prevention and control, and to its impact on the US criminal justice system. Emphasis will be placed on international aspects of the work of different criminal justice agencies, such as formal and informal police cooperation and the use of mutual assistance and extradition agreements, and on the bilateral, regional, and international structures created for crime prevention, punishment and control.

417—Forensic Science and the Criminal Justice System

This course explores the nature, scope, and impacts of the forensic sciences in the criminal justice system. Historical and contemporary issues within the forensic sciences field are examined, providing the criminal justice professional with the substantive knowledge in contexts of forensics in criminal and non-criminal case processing. Current issues, examples, and presentations are integrated into course material for the professional development of critical thinking skills with regard to forensic evidence.

499—Independent Study

Prerequisite: Permission of the department's graduate director. This is a directed study course for advanced students, supervised by a member of the graduate faculty.

501—Thesis Research

This course is designed specifically for students with a special interest in research or who intend to work toward a doctorate. A thesis committee, comprised of two or three faculty members, will work with the student in the development and completion of the research project.


The internship enables the student to apply their knowledge (conceptual, theoretical, methodological) in a practical setting. Placements are typically made with police, prosecution, judicial, probation and corrections agencies in and around Chicago. Students are supervised by the practicum coordinator and an agency administrator. Students are expected to work a minimum of 150 hours and write a log of activities as well as a research paper. Because the research paper is the major scholarly component of the practicum, it must be analytical in content and correct in all technical details.

595—Thesis Supervision

This is a non-credit course. Students who are working on approved master's thesis research and are not registered for any course are required to register for thesis supervision.

695—Master's Study

Prerequisite: Completion of the graduate core courses. This course is a non-credit means of permitting students to be formally enrolled at Loyola while preparing for the written comprehensive examination.