Graduate Handbook

What is a Graduate Student?

It is important for graduate students to understand that a graduate program is very different from an undergraduate program. To earn your undergraduate degree you completed a specified number of course hours. A comprehensive exit exam ensures that the graduate programs offer no such guarantee! Graduate degrees are conferred by the criminal justice graduate facility, only to those students who demonstrate an advanced understanding and deep knowledge of criminal justice issues and the criminal justice process. Graduate students occupy a unique rung of the education ladder, you are no longer an undergraduate, and graduate faculty will expect more from you. As a graduate student in criminal justice, you, like the faculty, represent the department and the university. What you accomplish, or fail to accomplish reflects back on faculty, current students, and successful graduates. The graduate faculty therefore, will be keenly aware of your progress, and behavior. Our reputation rests on you! The graduate faculty wants you to succeed; and will do everything within their ability to help you; however, this is ultimately your degree, your accomplishment, and you will only get out of it -- what you put into it! The degree plan and courses are only one part of the process: you will be expected to read more, write more, and think more (professional conferences are highly recommended): you must go beyond the scope of basic course requirements.

Admission

Full Admission
  • A 2.5 average, on a 4.0 scale, for the last 60 hours of your bachelor's degree.
  • All transcripts and requested Test Scores on file at the time of Admission.
  • Students are not required to take the GRE for the Criminal Justice Masters program

OR You may have either one of the next two criteria:

  • The successful completion of 12 semester hours of non-degree or probationary graduate work with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Hold a master's degree from an accredited college or university

While holding an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice is not required for admission, background familiarity with the field and additional basic skills are required. Students will be required to take 12 sch in Criminal Justice with a 3.0 grade point average or higher in all courses; or CJ 4309, Senior Seminar; or students may choose to CLEP the Graduate Leveling Exam. Students opting to CLEP the exam must score a minimum of 60%). Students pursuing a second Master's degree must present the same background as undergraduates, and might be able to have a maximum of 12 sch of graduate work from the completed degree program credited toward this degree. This will occur only after full admission to this program has been granted by the Director of Admissions and the Graduate Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Department.

Probational Admission

If you do not have the qualifications required for full admission, Sul Ross offers a probational admission. In order to qualify you must have at least one of the following requirements:

  • A 2.5 average, on a 4.0 scale, for the last 60 hours of your bachelor's degree
  • A GRE score of 850 or better

You may fill out the graduate school application online.

Dual Degree Option

Sul Ross State University now offers two dual Master's degree programs. If you complete this program you will have a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration or a Master of Science degree in Homeland Security and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration. Both programs have 18-shared credit hours for a total of 54 hours. If you were to do each program separately it would require 72 combined hours. Having knowledge of Criminal Justice and Public Administration  or Homeland Security and Public Administration will improve your ability to communicate with other professionals regardless of which field you choose. Two degrees will open more possibilities for you and put you ahead of the competition.

Candidacy

All graduate students must apply for Candidacy upon completion of 12 hours of graduate work at Sul Ross State University (transfer credits do not count toward this total).  At this time an assessment will be made of the student’s body of work and some suggestions may be made or extra requirements added to the student’s program in order to ensure successful completion of the program.  Student who do not meet the requirements for Candidacy may be removed from the program.  Requirements include:

  • 12 graduate level credit hours
  • Full admission into the university graduate program
  • An approved degree plan on file in the Criminal Justice office and in the office of the Dean of Professional Studies
  • An application for candidacy

Failure to apply for candidacy at least one semester before graduation will result in a failure to graduate.  Additionally, the Graduate Coordinator may place restrictions on registration if this form is not filed. 

You may download the application for candidacy online. The request must be submitted no later than the semester prior to graduation. The Dean will review the request for candidacy and will notify the student of the decision

Comprehensive Exams

All students must pass a comprehensive examination which may be scheduled though the Graduate Coordinator any time after the student has been admitted to candidacy and has completed 24 sch including the four required courses. The exam will be made available to qualified students on Blackboard and will be graded instantly upon completion. Students who have completed at least 24 hours of course work including the 4 required courses from the particular program in which the student is enrolled (CJ or HS) may also request a practice exam be made available in the Blackboard format through the Graduate Coordinator. Exams will consist of 200 multiple choice questions. Students must score a minimum of 70% to pass. If a student does not pass the Comprehensive Exam the first time, they must retake the entire exam at a time to be scheduled through the Graduate Coordinator. A student who fails their second attempt may petition (must show significant cause) the Graduate Coordinator for a third attempt. The student can expect one of 3 outcomes from their petition:

  1. Student will be required to take remedial course work – to be determined in consultation with the CJ faculty – before taking the exam again.
  2. Student will be allowed to take the exam a third time with no other requirements.
  3. Student will not be allowed to take the exam again and will be removed from the program.

Note - Students in one of the dual degree programs with Public Administration must also take the comprehensive exams in that area - Public Administration Comps

Graduate Student Academic Performance

Graduate students must maintain a minimum 3.0 (B) in all courses attempted for graduate credit. Students with assistantships may lose their funding following any grade below (B). Students receiving any grade of (F) or two grades below (B) will be removed from the program. Graduate students who take undergraduate courses must have prior written permission from both the instructor and the Graduate Coordinator, and that course instructor must be a member of the graduate faculty. Only six credit hours can be taken via undergraduate course. Graduate students will be expected to do additional work in undergraduate classes taken for graduate credit.

Assistantships

Assistantships are based solely on academic merit. Individuals who receive assistantships are required to work at least 20 hours a week for the department. Assignments to specific faculty members will be made by the Graduate Coordinator at the start of each semester.

Courses

Courses are offered on a rotating schedule. Generally if a course is offered in the spring, it will not be offered again until the following spring semester. This will be an important thing to consider in scheduling required courses when nearing graduation. Graduate courses are offered in a Web Based format only using Blackboard as a platform. This is done to allow individuals with full time positions to pursue a degree.

Degree Plans

Sample degree plans are available online for both the Criminal Justice Master's degree and the Homeland Security Master's degree as well as the  dual degree programs with Public Administration.

Checklists