Central Missouri State University: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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Office of Extended Campus–Distance Learning
Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Warrensburg, Missouri

Distance Learning Program

Central's main Distance Learning Program provides undergraduate- and graduate-level courses through two-way interactive television and Web-based courses. The program currently includes one doctoral degree, two master's degrees, and numerous graduate and undergraduate courses. From fall 1994 through spring 2004, Central provided instruction to more than 13,000 graduate, undergraduate, and high school students in a distance learning environment.

Institutional and financial information about Central Missouri State University may be accessed via the Web at http://www.cmsu.edu/rsearch/ir/toc.htm.

Delivery Media

Central uses a variety of technologies to deliver its distance learning courses. These include two-way, interactive television; broadcast television; and Internet technologies, including video and audio streaming. Central links to the Missouri Research and Educational Network (MOREnet) statewide backbone, which connects all of Missouri's public higher education institutions and several K–12 schools, to provide Internet-based and interactive television programming. Finally, Central's complement of six 2-way videoconferencing facilities, which are capable of ISDN, H.323, T.120, and audioconferencing, allow Central to provide distance learning content to anywhere in the world.

Programs of Study

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program is designed to provide the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities for those students who intend to enter and/or advance in the criminal justice fields of law enforcement, corrections, and juvenile justice or who seek leadership, professional specialization, research, or teaching positions in criminal justice. Course work emphasizes leading justice system issues, including legal aspects; organization, administration, management, and leadership; and information acquisition, analysis, and interpretation. Distance delivery of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice includes interactive television within the state of Missouri and complete online delivery of the degree program. Site-based programs are also held at various locations in Missouri.

The graduate with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice can use the knowledge and skills obtained in the program to articulate knowledge of the major issues facing the criminal justice system in the nation and world; conduct and present an independent research project; communicate and interact professionally in scholarly, academic settings; and delineate the ethical principles of human subject protection in social science research.

First offered in 1962, the program is one of the most respected criminal justice programs in the world. Among Central's criminal justice alumni are members of numerous police and corrections agencies, judges, attorneys, professors, and approximately 400 chief administrators in all parts of the world.

To be accepted into the program of study for the Master of Criminal Justice, a student must have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field and have earned a minimum grade point average of 2.75 on all undergraduate course work and 3.0 on all graduate course work. A student without a criminal justice degree may be required to complete up to 15 hours of background courses in criminal justice prior to taking graduate-level courses. The requirement to take background courses may be waived by the department's graduate coordinator based on previous courses taken and/or relevant professional experience. Students not meeting program admission requirements may request that the department's graduate committee admit them provisionally to the program. GRE scores are not required.

The 36-hour Master of Science in Criminal Justice program allows for 6 semester hours of departmentally approved electives under the thesis option and 12 hours under the nonthesis option.

Special Programs

Central's Distance Learning Program builds upon the existing curriculum offerings at Central as well as offerings that address special distance learning needs.

Central's distance learning students are eligible to participate in the same opportunities as on-campus students. These include study tours and internships in many disciplines.

Founded in 1871, Central Missouri State University is a state university offering approximately 150 areas of study to 11,100 undergraduate and graduate students. In 1996, Central Missouri State University was designated Missouri's lead institution for professional technology, an area long recognized as one of the University's greatest strengths. The new mission has expanded this commitment and means that Central will continue to integrate the latest technologies into every level of its comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. Central is committed to acquiring, disseminating, and utilizing technology to enhance the University's comprehensive educational mission. Central is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Office of Career Services reports a 96 percent placement rate for Central graduates within six months of graduation.

Student Services

A toll-free University number, 800-SAY-CMSU, allows access to offices involved with student services: extended campus–distance learning, admissions, academic advising, registrar, financial aid, revenue, accounts receivable, University housing, and the Graduate School. All students enrolled at Central are issued a mainframe Internet account. The HELP Desk is available to Central students needing technical computer assistance. Distance learning students receive individualized course information prior to the start of each semester as well as information regarding University resources available to them. Online library resources are available for distance learning and off-campus students. An online writing lab (OWL) provides writing assistance to distance learning students. A toll-free number provides ordering and delivery service for textbooks from the University Bookstore.

Credit Options

For entering graduate students, Central will accept up to 8 hours of transfer credits in graduate work.


Faculty members at Central exemplify the goals of the institution as they balance personal attention with expertise in their respective fields. Approximately 71 percent of the 446 full-time faculty members hold doctoral degrees. The student-faculty ratio is 17:1.

The criminal justice faculty has a unique blend of academic credentials and field experience, with all members holding terminal degrees. In addition, 90 percent of the faculty members had significant experience with a criminal justice agency prior to joining the faculty of Central Missouri State University.


Individuals interested in pursuing a graduate degree at Central Missouri State University should use the form in the graduate catalog, contact the Graduate School for application information at 800-SAY-CMSU (toll-free) or visit the Web site at http://www.cmsu.edu/graduate. The Graduate School should receive all application materials at least three weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student wishes to register.

All degree-seeking student applicants must submit a formal application for admission to the Graduate School and official transcripts of all undergraduate/graduate course work. If this is a student's first enrollment at Central, a $25 nonrefundable application fee is required (international students must remit $50). Admission to the Graduate School, which permits enrollment in classes, is not equivalent to admission for a particular program or degree.

Tuition and Fees

For 2004–05, graduate tuition was $235 per credit hour for Internet-based courses. Prospective students should note that tuition rates may be changed at any time by action of the Board of Governors.

Financial Aid

Central recognizes a student's continuing need for financial assistance. Federal grant and loan funds are available for eligible students who have been accepted for regular degree programs at Central. Application eligibility information may be obtained by contacting the Office of Financial Aid at 660-543-4040 or 800-SAY-CMSU (toll-free). Students who are veterans may also be considered for VA educational benefits to help with tuition costs.

The University participates in all federal student financial aid grant, loan, and employment programs. Visiting and non-degree-seeking students are not eligible to receive federal financial aid.


Dr. Joseph Vaughn
Faculty Graduate Coordinator
Central Missouri State University
Warrensburg, Missouri 64093
Phone: 660-543-4188
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.cmsu.edu/cj/index.html

To enroll:
Dr. Michael Penrod
Outreach Coordinator for Distance Learning
Humphreys 410
Central Missouri State University
Warrensburg, Missouri 64093
Phone: 660-543-4984
800-SAY-CMSU Ext. 22 (toll-free)
Fax: 660-543-8333
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.cmsu.edu/extcamp


Graduate students should contact the Graduate School at 660-543-4621 or toll-free at 800-SAY-CMSU.