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Thread: DPA vs. DCJ?

  1. #1
    chrisjm18 is offline Registered User
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    DPA vs. DCJ?

    I would like some opinions on the Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) vs. the Doctor of Criminal Justice (DCJ).

    I am a former cop who currently works in juvenile justice (state) but my main goal is to teach criminal justice courses at a 2-year college. If that doesn't work out, I hope to advance in a governmental juvenile justice or criminal justice role.

    As I work towards completing my master's in criminal justice , I am still unsure if I want to pursue a doctorate in criminal justice or a doctorate in public administration . The DCJ is a 2-year professional doctorate offered by the California University of Pennsylvania . The program has no dissertation or capstone project. Instead, it culminates with 2 capstone courses and a professional portfolio. The DPA is offered by the West Chester University of Pennsylvania and has a criminal justice mini-concentration (9 credits). The program can be completed in 2 - 2 1/2 years and culminates with a 4 part/chapter capstone research project.

    Which program do you think would be more marketable? What are the advantages or disadvantages of either or both?

    Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A.) < West Chester University

    Doctor of Criminal Justice | Online Doctorate
    Last edited by chrisjm18; 09-18-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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  2. #2
    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    My opinion, and it's just that, an opinion, since I have no data to support it, is that the D.C.J. is a very unproven commodity. CUP just started offering it recently, so I don't think there have been any graduates yet.

    Also my opinion, is that any doctoral degree that doesn't have a dissertation or at least a doctoral project, showing advanced research skills, is going to be viewed very skeptically by academic hiring committees. I see the D.C.J. as more of a cherry-on-top "decoration" for law enforcement executives, similar to the Doctor of Law & Policy at Northeastern University .

    It's anyone's guess as to how the degree will be received in academia, and my guess is that it will "check the box" for schools who want to hire an experienced CJ practitioner, but need someone who has a doctoral degree for accreditation or other regulatory purposes. As a stand-alone credential, I'm very skeptical.

    Also, keep in mind that you will be perfectly qualified to teach CJ at a 2-year college with a RA Master's degree.
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    B.A. (Criminal Justice) Curry College
    M.A. (Criminal Justice) University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    M.A. (Forensic & Counseling Psychology) Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
    Certificate (Investigative Psychology) CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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    RA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/16/08

    NA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/20/08

  3. #3
    chrisjm18 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    My opinion, and it's just that, an opinion, since I have no data to support it, is that the D.C.J. is a very unproven commodity. CUP just started offering it recently, so I don't think there have been any graduates yet.

    Also my opinion, is that any doctoral degree that doesn't have a dissertation or at least a doctoral project, showing advanced research skills, is going to be viewed very skeptically by academic hiring committees. I see the D.C.J. as more of a cherry-on-top "decoration" for law enforcement executives, similar to the Doctor of Law & Policy at Northeastern University .

    It's anyone's guess as to how the degree will be received in academia, and my guess is that it will "check the box" for schools who want to hire an experienced CJ practitioner, but need someone who has a doctoral degree for accreditation or other regulatory purposes. As a stand-alone credential, I'm very skeptical.

    Also, keep in mind that you will be perfectly qualified to teach CJ at a 2-year college with a RA Master's degree.
    Thank you for your feedback. I agree with you especially concerning the lack of dissertation or research project. I want to have that sense of pride and accomplishment by completing a publishable doctoral research project. I am aware that I will be qualified to teach with a master's at a 2-year college. I have decided to pursue the community college teaching program at CSU Dominguez Hills in January. I am primarily interested in the semester-long teaching internship aspect of the program. Hopefully, I can get my "foot in the academic door." :)
    M.Sc. in Criminal Justice - Lamar University (2018, expected)
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    decimon is offline Registered User
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    From Ashworth to RA schools. That in itself is interesting.

  5. #5
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Bruce knows more about this than me but even based on general principles I'd be skeptical. If you can teach with a Masters the ROI for the Doctorate is going to have to be quite big just to get your money back.
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    chrisjm18 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    Bruce knows more about this than me but even based on general principles I'd be skeptical. If you can teach with a Masters the ROI for the Doctorate is going to have to be quite big just to get your money back.
    I appreciate your feedback. I am not too concerned about the ROI. Earning a doctorate is a childhood dream that I must fulfill. I could pursue a doctorate in any field because the primary goal is not professional but rather personal. However, if I can "kill 2 birds, with 1 stone" I would love to do that. That is why I am also keeping career opportunities in mind when deciding which field to pursue. At the end of the day, I just want a doctorate for my personal gratification.

    Ps. I can earn the DPA at WCUPA for under $28, 000 at the in-state tuition rate with 9 transfer credits to the CJ concentration.
    M.Sc. in Criminal Justice - Lamar University (2018, expected)
    MBA in General Management - Assam Don Bosco University (2016)
    B.Sc. in Criminal Justice - Ashworth College (2014)
    AAS in Security Management - Ashworth College (2012)

    "Whether you say I can or I can't, you're right either way."

  7. #7
    chrisjm18 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by decimon View Post
    From Ashworth to RA schools. That in itself is interesting.
    It is indeed interesting :)
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    MBA in General Management - Assam Don Bosco University (2016)
    B.Sc. in Criminal Justice - Ashworth College (2014)
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    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisjm18 View Post
    I appreciate your feedback. I am not too concerned about the ROI. Earning a doctorate is a childhood dream that I must fulfill. I could pursue a doctorate in any field because the primary goal is not professional but rather personal. However, if I can "kill 2 birds, with 1 stone" I would love to do that. That is why I am also keeping career opportunities in mind when deciding which field to pursue. At the end of the day, I just want a doctorate for my personal gratification.

    Ps. I can earn the DPA at WCUPA for under $28, 000 at the in-state tuition rate with 9 transfer credits to the CJ concentration.
    Didn't you just answer your own question?
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  10. #9
    me again is offline Registered User
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    CALU DCJ v. WCU DPA

    CALU DCJ
    From a cost-analysis ROI, the CALU DCJ is prohibitively expensive, unless your employer is footing the bill. Otherwise, it looks like an untested gem because it's RA. Will it matter that there is no dissertation? It remains to be seen. With the way the federal Department of Education is screwing up the accreditation process, the future of doctoral degrees is somewhat vague in the United States. For teaching at a CC, the fact that it's dissertation-less is moot. Conversely, why pay 150k for a teaching position that pays 28k annually (or pays even less part-time)? Here is CALU tuition:
    California University of Pennsylvania - Tuition

    WCU DPA
    From a cost-analysis ROI, the WCU DPA is also prohibitively expensive, unless your employer is footing the bill. Will it matter that it has two capstone courses instead of a dissertation? Probably not, but with the way the federal Department of Education is screwing up the accreditation process, the future of doctoral degrees is becoming a clouded issue in the United States. For teaching at a CC, the fact that it's a capstone-based program is moot. Conversely, why pay 90k for a teaching position that pays 28k annually (or pays even less part-time)? Here is WCU tuition:
    West Chester University - Tuition

    CALU DCJ v. WCU DPA
    Also, CJ is completely different from public administration (PA). On the surface, it seems like the two should be logically interrelated disciplines, but in actuality, they are not (apples and oranges). If you decide to study PA, then be prepared to be bored, especially if CJ is your forte.

    For both programs, the excessive cost-factor seems to be the biggest issue. CALU is 150k and WCU is 90k. Those are base costs that do not anticipate other unexpected expenses. If you're not filthy rich or if your employer is not paying most of the costs, then stay away. Otherwise, both look acceptable (at this juncture).
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    sideman is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by decimon View Post
    From Ashworth to RA schools. That in itself is interesting.
    I find it interesting as well. It's also avant garde, innovative, etc. It again proves that there is more than one way to "skin a rabbit". And if that is your objective, by all means, do it. I find it admirable that someone figured out another way into the "house". Front door, back door, side door...Who cares? If you want to get into that house, you figure out a way.
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  12. #11
    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by me again View Post
    CALU DCJ
    From a cost-analysis ROI, the CALU DCJ is prohibitively expensive, unless your employer is footing the bill. Otherwise, it looks like an untested gem because it's RA. Will it matter that there is no dissertation? It remains to be seen. With the way the federal Department of Education is screwing up the accreditation process, the future of doctoral degrees is somewhat vague in the United States. For teaching at a CC, the fact that it's dissertation-less is moot. Conversely, why pay 150k for a teaching position that pays 28k annually (or pays even less part-time)? Here is CALU tuition:
    California University of Pennsylvania - Tuition

    WCU DPA
    From a cost-analysis ROI, the WCU DPA is also prohibitively expensive, unless your employer is footing the bill. Will it matter that it has two capstone courses instead of a dissertation? Probably not, but with the way the federal Department of Education is screwing up the accreditation process, the future of doctoral degrees is becoming a clouded issue in the United States. For teaching at a CC, the fact that it's a capstone-based program is moot. Conversely, why pay 90k for a teaching position that pays 28k annually (or pays even less part-time)? Here is WCU tuition:
    West Chester University - Tuition

    CALU DCJ v. WCU DPA
    Also, CJ is completely different from public administration (PA). On the surface, it seems like the two should be logically interrelated disciplines, but in actuality, they are not (apples and oranges). If you decide to study PA, then be prepared to be bored, especially if CJ is your forte.

    For both programs, the excessive cost-factor seems to be the biggest issue. CALU is 150k and WCU is 90k. Those are base costs that do not anticipate other unexpected expenses. If you're not filthy rich or if your employer is not paying most of the costs, then stay away. Otherwise, both look acceptable (at this juncture).
    Excellent points, although it should be noted that CUP (and I assume other PA state schools) charge online students who are active military, military dependents, and military veterans the in-state tuition rate, which makes an enormous difference.
    --
    Bruce Tait
    A.S. (Criminal Justice) Quincy College
    B.A. (Criminal Justice) Curry College
    M.A. (Criminal Justice) University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    M.A. (Forensic & Counseling Psychology) Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
    Certificate (Investigative Psychology) CUNY-John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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    RA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/16/08

    NA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/20/08

  13. #12
    chrisjm18 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by me again View Post
    For both programs, the excessive cost-factor seems to be the biggest issue. CALU is 150k and WCU is 90k. Those are base costs that do not anticipate other unexpected expenses. If you're not filthy rich or if your employer is not paying most of the costs, then stay away. Otherwise, both look acceptable (at this juncture).
    Where did you get those figures you quoted?

    I live in the Commonwealth so I will be paying in-state tuition. Even if I was paying out-of-state tuition, neither program would cost more than $42, 000.

    DCJ at Cal U of PA
    In-state: $663.55 per credit x 42 credits = $27, 869.10
    Out-of-state: $998.60 per credit x 42 credits = $41, 941.20

    DPA at WCUPA
    In-state: $851.15 per credit x 43 credits = $36, 599.45
    Out-of-state: $878.10 per credit x 43 credits = $37, 758.30

    The DPA program allows transfer of 9 credits from a master's degree program to meet the concentration requirement. That's a saving of $7, 660.35.

    Let me know if I missed some other cost that would have skyrocketed the cost DCJ to 150k and the DPA to 90k.
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  14. #13
    me again is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisjm18 View Post
    Where did you get those figures you quoted?
    Voodoo math was used to achieve the aforementioned incorrect results. The best way to achieve voodoo math is to start the day without caffeine. Your math is much more accurate. :-)
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    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    You can meet the minimum requirements to become an adjunct instructor with just a master's degree, but that doesn't mean you're going to get the job. There is considerable competition from those with doctoral degrees.

    A DPA with nine CJ credits is not going to demonstrate doctoral-level expertise in CJ, but it probably won't matter since your master's is in CJ. If I remember correctly, I had an adjunct instructor who was a probation officer and had a PhD in management or counseling . They probably won't care that the DCJ doesn't have a dissertation either. Plenty of people with JDs are adjuncts; it's just usually not enough to get a full-time job at a 4-year school these days.

    So, you may need a doctorate to be competitive, but is it really worth it for a low-paying, part-time job?
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    Steve Levicoff is offline Registered User
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    A few quick thoughts, for what they’re worth . . .

    First, one Pennsylvanian to another, WCU has a much better reputation than CalU . Historically, both were originally state teachers colleges. But WCU has always had a stronger reputation in areas ranging from business education to the arts. Could be its proximity to the metro Philly area or its location (i.e., less in the boondocks than CalU ). Then there’s the confusion caused by CalU ’s name (shared with IUP – Indiana U. of PA for non-PA folk)…

    DPA or DCJ? I’d lean toward the DPA because it’s been around longer, has a larger degree of acceptance, and is more diversified if you want to move into other teaching areas.

    But I also notice that no one has mentioned the most important credential for teaching CJ, which is one you already have: you have been a cop. And even at the community college level, hiring parties lean toward current or former LEO’s (again, for the novices, that means law enforcement officers) to teach future LEO’s.

    At the community college level, FWIW, I think that combining a M.S. in CJ with a DPA is a winner.

  18. #16
    chrisjm18 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanantone View Post
    You can meet the minimum requirements to become an adjunct instructor with just a master's degree, but that doesn't mean you're going to get the job. There is considerable competition from those with doctoral degrees.

    A DPA with nine CJ credits is not going to demonstrate doctoral-level expertise in CJ, but it probably won't matter since your master's is in CJ. If I remember correctly, I had an adjunct instructor who was a probation officer and had a PhD in management or counseling . They probably won't care that the DCJ doesn't have a dissertation either. Plenty of people with JDs are adjuncts; it's just usually not enough to get a full-time job at a 4-year school these days.

    So, you may need a doctorate to be competitive, but is it really worth it for a low-paying, part-time job?
    My primary goal is not to be an adjunct. I want to teach full-time at a community college. Of course, if it doesn't work out, I want to advance to a leadership role in a governmental or non-profit juvenile justice agency. At that point, I would be interested in being an ajunct.
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