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New Degree Programs

Three new programs have been added to the College of Criminal Justice: A Masters in Victim Services Management, a Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management, and a Forensic Anthropology Minor.

The College of Criminal Justice is expanding its academic degrees, with new online graduate programs for victim service and criminal justice professionals and students as well as an undergraduate minor in forensic anthropology.

This fall, the College of Criminal Justice will launch a Master of Science in Victim Services Management, a two-year, 36-hour program delivered entirely online to help victim advocates and students advance their careers. The College also introduced a one-year, online Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management for working professionals in law enforcement and corrections to aid with promotions and career development. Finally, the College initiated a new undergraduate Forensic Anthropology Minor to give students an edge in the job market.

Master of Science in Victim Services Management

The Master of Science in Victim Services Management is designed to train those who want to work in victim services offices or positions in law enforcement agencies, corrections, prosecutor’s offices, courts and other agencies, including nongovernment organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Graduates also can serve in crime-specific programs for domestic violence shelters, anti-drunk driving campaigns and agencies that protect children, the elderly, immigrants and those who are physically or mentally abused. This degree prepares graduates to work in various areas of victim services, including but not limited to, direct service provision (e.g., rape crisis centers or victim service providers), organizational management, and social policy development.

"With new opportunities growing in the field of victim services, this degree will help professionals in the field to be able to better manage agencies and understand the trends and challenges facing their clients and programs," said Dr. Leana Bouffard, Director of Victim Studies and the Crime Victims’ Institute at the College of Criminal Justice.

The Master’s degree includes 24 hours of required courses, such as victimology and research methods, as well as applied courses, like crime victim services management. Students also select from 12 hours of elective courses on topics relevant to the study of victim services.

Sam Houston State University is among the few colleges across the country that offers an undergraduate degree in victim studies and even fewer that offer graduate level courses in this area. The College is home to the Crime Victims’ Institute, which was created by the Texas Legislature to study the impact of crime on victims, on their relatives and on society as a whole and to make recommendations on criminal justice policy.

Certification in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management

The new 18-hour certificate program, which can be applied toward a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management, is designed for the busy professional in the field seeking promotion or career advancement. It is also is delivered entirely online and can be completed within a one-year period.

“The certificate program caters to students who may not be in the position to pursue a Master of Science degree but want to start working towards that goal,” said Dr. Phillip Lyons, Director of the Division of Professional Justice Studies. “Other students may be working professionals looking to advance their career and could be eligible for a raise or promotion after completing the program.”

Delivered in 7-1/2 week sessions, the certificate includes only two required courses – Critical Analysis of Justice Administration and Seminars in Organization and Administration – and four elective classes. Students can focuses on legal aspects, leadership psychology, research methods and development, computer and technology applications, program evaluation, corrections and policing, to name a few.

The courses are led by the College’s internationally-known faculty, who have recently been recognized as the fourth most productive researchers in the field.

Forensic Anthropology Minor

Driven by the popularity of TV shows like CSI and Bones, the forensic anthropology minor can help students in a wide variety of career choices, including criminal justice, forensic science, pre-med, nursing, biology, geography, archeology and chiropractic studies.

"It’s a field that requires no hard sciences, such as physics and chemistry, but it allows students so solve puzzles in practical ways using science,” said Dr. Joan Bytheway, Director of STAFS and a Professor at the College of Criminal Justice. “There are many disciplines that we offer that would benefit from this minor.”

Forensic anthropology is the application of forensic sciences to the human body and the vast amount of knowledge that can be gleaned from the careful recognition, collection, and preservation of that evidence. The minor requires 17 credit hours and includes five courses -- Forensic Science, Foundations of Forensic Anthropology I, Human Osteology, Introduction to Forensic Anthropology and Special Topics (Advanced Techniques in Forensic Anthropology.) The courses provide hands-on applications at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, one of only four willed body facilities in the United States for the study of forensic science as it applies to crime scenes and criminal investigations.

In addition to providing a strong background in the human body and osteology, students will have the opportunity to work on state-of-the-art equipment available at STAFS. This includes devices to cut bone and examine bone slides, a digitizer and 3D printer to illustrate bones, and ground penetrating radar to detect human remains in soil. In the final class, students will get a case of their own and be required to identify the victim by age, sex, race, trauma and height.

The introduction of a new minor also will open the door for new research opportunities at STAFS through access to the facility’s collection of modern skeletal remains.

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