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UND to launch M.S. in Criminal Justice Studies in Fall 2023



Grand Forks, North Dakota – The Master of Science in Criminal Justice Studies program will be introduced by the Department of Criminal Justice at UND in time for the Fall 2023 semester.

Similar to the current bachelor’s program, the M.S. in Criminal Justice Studies will be offered both on-campus and online.

The program should be particularly appealing to working professionals looking to improve their skills and credentials in today’s criminal justice field, according to Bradley Rundquist, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, in addition to providing a step up for students finishing their undergraduate degrees at UND.

“This new master’s degree addresses workforce needs in North Dakota and across the region,” Rundquist said in a statement provided to WDAY Radio. “It also offers unique electives focusing on rural criminology and tribal justice, which are understudied aspects of our criminal justice system.”

The School of Graduate Studies’ Chris Nelson concurred.

“We are thrilled to add an online-available master’s degree to our portfolio as well,” Nelson said. “This will help us better serve our local, state, and regional law enforcement professionals looking to advance their careers.”

Adam Matz, an associate professor of criminal justice, will be the program’s graduate director. He claims that UND is well-positioned to fill gaps in a field that frequently focuses on urban law enforcement. The department has lately hired a number of new faculty members with credentials in criminal justice, which has further sparked the development of a master’s program.

“We have an opportunity with this program to stand out and go beyond the macro-level view of criminal justice systems and related research that students learn in the bachelor’s program,” Matz said. “We’re able to examine topics more relevant to the region, and, in turn, teach how to translate research into practice.”

Matz believes that the new program will enhance research opportunities and engage students who are interested in employment in charitable organizations, law enforcement, treatment, and incarceration in research. As organizations and interest groups increasingly rely on data to make decisions about programs and policies, Matz said graduate-level work in data analytics will be of significant use to most sectors of the profession.

Overall, this new degree can assist students in “translational criminology” work, which involves using both academic research and contemporary practices to inform evidence-based judgments. Also, the M.S. in Criminal Justice Studies will offer a non-thesis option for graduates who are already working in a professional context, allowing them to, if they so choose, contribute to their agency or organization while earning their degree. The non-thesis option, according to Matz, was one of the initial considerations for the department while designing the degree.

“All the way around, from teaching to scholarly work and so forth, we’re really excited for this program.”