CJ-big difference in prestige?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by PatsGirl1, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. PatsGirl1

    PatsGirl1 New Member

    Hi all,
    As part of my career plans I'm making a lateral career move into the Feds (local now). I was nudged into pursuing a CJ degree. I asked and was given a very generic answer as to if prestige matters for hiring purposes. I was told, "No, it just has to be RA and in CJ, concentrations don't matter and school ranking doesn't matter." I asked coworkers and general workers and they all said yes, prestige would matter as well as GPA and work experience (which I have covered). if it matters I am going for Analyst positions with possible eventual translation/intel work

    So I have narrowed down a few choices and I know one stands out way more than the other 2, which is why I am asking this question.

    M.A. Criminal Justice, AMU (no conc) $11k approx.
    M.S. Criminal Justice, U Cincinnati (Crime Analysis conc) $21k approx.
    M.S. Criminal Justice Administration, Tiffin University (unsure about conc) $21k approx.

    AMU is the cheapest by quite a bit, but Cincinnati is very highly ranked and Tiffin is decently well-regarded as well. I'm not a LEO and don't have 20 yrs of LE experience, so I'm thinking prestige may actually matter for me.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  2. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    University of Massachussetts, Lowell has an MA in CJ for approx $17,200.

    MA Criminal Justice - UMassOnline.net

    It's a tweener as far as the prices, but the UMass name is much more recognizable than AMU. I'm not sure, however, of how the program ranks, the quality of it, or what prestige each program has in the CJ world. I have noticed this program appear in the signatures of a few people here at DegreeInfo, so maybe somebody can give you first-hand info.

    Lots of people here have taken courses at, or have received degrees from the various AMU departments and I have yet to hear anything bad about them.
  3. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    As for prestige I would think that the DL program in CJ from Boston University would be up there. I believe the cost is around 23K for the program, its 30 credits.

    I also, keep in mind I am not a CJ person at all, remember hearing about a John Jay college of CJ that would have some prestige. Although I cannot remember if they are DL or not.

    Have you checked your local schools? That, IMHO, would be your best bet. For instance, where I live Washington State University offers a MA in CJ.

    Good luck!
  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    For getting a government job, this low-cost RA degree will suit you just as well as any other, if not more-so.
  5. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    What is the above statement based upon?
  6. TonyM

    TonyM Member

    Michigan State

    I'd consider Michigan State for its prestige and interesting programs. My first choice would be its Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis Masters program: LEprogram . There's also a more standard CJ Program: LEprogram
  7. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

  8. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    CJ degree

    I would steer clear of AMU. AMU is, in my opinion, a great school with knowledgeable instructors, and great tuition. However, I have seen about 17,000 of my fellow officers get their degrees from AMU. It is almost to the point that management rolls their eyes when someone mentions the school. This is unfortunate because, as I said before, AMU is good.

    I disagree with the previous poster who said that the prestige of the school is irrelevant. In fact, I would say that so many public safety personnel are getting degrees from online schools that, once these old school police supervisors find out that you got your degree from an online school, they will cast your hard work aside, and your master's degree will be worth less to them than their own state-school associate's degree. That comes from experience as well.

    Now, there are definitely times, especially in the Federal government, when the degree is just a check mark in a box that gets you qualified. But, that is only the first step to the process. You still have to go through an interview. I have been on NUMEROUS hiring panels in which the applicant left, the door closed, and somebody questioned the legitimacy of degrees from AMU and Phoenix. I have even corrected fellow panel members who thought particular schools were online. Then, when they realize the school is brick and mortar, their expression changes like, "oh, ok it is legitimate then." And this is from panel members who themselves don't even have degrees!! LOL.

    I would caution you VERY seriously to get your degree from a bricks and mortar school with an online program. You just don't want to have your hard work questioned by some closed minded, old school manager who assumes all online degrees are from diploma mills.

    Tiffin is a good school with a good program. They don't have much name recognition though.

    Boston University obviously has name recognition, but it is very expensive.

    I believe Northeastern has a master's in CJ available online. Again, well respected, but expensive.

    University of Cincinnati is pretty much one the top CJ schools in the country, but I believe their program is like 15 classes or something (which is a few less than I am doing for my doctorate -- if that tells you anything).

    Any of the other big-name schools are a good idea. I would find the cheapest one that has a good rep and go with that. Check with Fraternal Order of Police. I believe several schools (tiffin I think is one of them) offer discounts to FOP members.

    I would definitely stay away from AMU though. Too many cops go that route. I can tell you that, in my agency at least, so many people are getting degrees from AMU that management is questioning the degree. The problem is this: One idiot gets a degree from the school, and every other person with a degree from that school is now viewed as having a weak degree because that one idiot managed to get the degree, which ruined the school's rep.

    At the end of the day ask yourself these two questions:

    1. Are there any possible negative repercussions regarding the perception of your degree if you go to a traditional school with an online program (especially a big name school)? Very unlikely. They won't even ask how you attended. They will say "oh, UMass" or "oh Boston University" and that will be the end of their questions on your degree.

    2. Are there any possible negative repercussions if you get a degree from an online school? Unfortunately, we still live in a world where people view online schools as less rigorous and possibly even diploma mills, regardless of their true quality. You run the risk of the old guy interviewing you looking down his glasses at you and saying... "Is that one of them... online schools?" (insert look of suspicion/disgust). This exact thing happened to a friend of mine.
  9. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. Wasn't the original posters question asking if an 11k RA AMU degree would be sufficient to get hired in a government position? If so, the 11k would be well spent, as opposed to some of those 21k RA degrees.
  10. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Sam Houston State Univ. offers an online MS in Criminal Justice Leadership & Management or even the MPA

    MS CJ Leadership & Management - Online - Graduate Studies - Sam Houston State University
    MPA Public Administration - Graduate Studies - Sam Houston State University

    SHSU Online Costs (Graduate Distance Learning):
    Tuition/Fees Online Courses (3 hours)* $1,131
    Tuition/Fees, Online Courses (6 hours)* $2,187
    Tuition/Fees, Online Courses (9 hours)* $3,243
    Tuition/Fees, Online Courses (12 hours)* $4,299
    How much Will it cost? - Sam Houston State University

    Ranked 22nd (Criminology) nationally by U.S. News & World Report
    Rankings - Criminology - Graduate Schools - Education - US News and World Report

    Disclosure: I’m an undergraduate alumnus of SHSU
  11. PatsGirl1

    PatsGirl1 New Member

    Thanks everyone for the food for thought... I pretty much had already decided against AMU And decided to kind of focus on Tiffin or Cincinnati instead. I know Cincinnati is a long program (16 courses, iirc) but it’s ranked #3 in the US for CJ and has a well-respected program. What I like about Tiffin is it also gets good reviews (no name recognition, though) and has great concentrations-Criminal Behavior and Crime Analysis being two of the more relevant ones for me. Crime Analysis is actually literally the job field I want, data mining and crime statistical analysis usage. It’s what made me consider the school in the first place. Tiffin is 9 courses/30 cr to Cincinnati’s 16 courses/48 cr. That adds about another yr on to Cin’s degree. They cost the same because of the credit fee differences (TU’s is $700/cr!)

    I like the program at Boston as well. $23k or $771/cr (ouch!), but only 10 courses. Good name recognition, but not a ranked program.
    FWIW there is also a program at CA U of PA- an MS in Legal Studies with a concentration in Criminal Justice. Slightly less at $19k I think and it’s a good school but not well-known at all.

    I have a specific job at a specific alphabet agency that I’m targeting and they will not divulge exact favorable hiring criteria- best I can get is off the record, which is what I was given. I was told to “beef up” my school name recognition as TESC is a “nobody” school (no one jump me, that’s just what I was told). That’s why I’m so concerned about prestige. I also have to balance that with the knowledge that there are certain schools I just will not get into, like MSU’s program. It’s probably the best option for me, but I have a 3.2 GPA and didn’t want to take the GRE so I’m limited. UMass, MSU, etc. will not really be options for me.
  12. soupbone

    soupbone Active Member

    That bolded part above tells me you already know the answer to this question. If Tiffin provides you with a very specific path and it's one you know you will love then this is a very easy decision. It definitely sounds like you want to take the specific concentration path over the general CJ one. Good luck in whatever you choose! :)
  13. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    A 3.2 GPA isn't a deal breaker on grad school apps. I'm not sure how CJ master's programs work, but I had right around a 3.2 GPA in undergrad (a little below actually) and still managed to get into what are considered to be very good MBA programs. Is there some reason you don't want to take the GRE? I just think taking the test will open up a lot more options for you.
  14. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    New Mexico State University offers an online Master of Criminal Justice. While this school's program CJ program is not ranked by UN&WR, it is a state university and the tuition is cheaper than AMU!

    Notes about this program:
    • GRE is not required
    • There are three options for completing this program - coursework only, project, or thesis
    • The degree will cost around $8937 (plus books). Tuition details are located here

    Best of luck,
  15. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    Seemed to me like she was asking for general advice, so I gave her my opinion. AMU would definitely "fill that minimum qual" so she could be considered qualified. But, that sure seems like a lot of work (and AMU is a lot of work) only to still run the risk of your degree not being worth much in the eyes of some old-school managers.
  16. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    AMU is a utilitarian RA university that is extremely low cost and high value. However, it appears that New Mexico State University is an even better economic value for those who are seeking an online MCJ. It might be the lowest cost online RA MCJ -- unless someone can provide a link to an even better value!!!
  17. CargoJon

    CargoJon New Member

    Nothing at all wrong with UMass-Lowell. If you're looking for a "big name" it's a good way to go.
  18. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Another GREAT Option

    Don't even think about enrolling until you first at least check this one out:

    Columbia College: Online Campus - Master of Science in Criminal Justice

    Columbia College is a B&M that has been in existence for 200 years. They rank in the top tier in USN&WR for Master's Universities in the South (ranked 44). I have seen nothing but positive reviews from ex-students, and best of all...

    Columbia College Online Campus Tuition & Fees

    Tuition is about $12,000.00, not much more than AMU!!!

    There is a lot about this school that impresses me, which is in fact why I am considering getting my BA from them.
  19. PatsGirl1

    PatsGirl1 New Member

    UMass I think the issue was the GRE and letters of rec, iirc but I have to look again.

    Columbia College I actually looked at but on geteducated.com they have it listed as the undergrad degree must be in CJ and mine isn't. Doesn't mention it on CC's website though so maybe I can check. I have 12 undergrad credits in CJ/LE classes but that won't help me much.
  20. PatsGirl1

    PatsGirl1 New Member

    Just a little update- I applied to Tiffin since the app is free. I also put an app in to U Cincinnati. So far I think I will stick with those two, but I am also considering BU.

    Thanks everyone!

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