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Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology Master’s Writing Portfolio

In addition to the course requirements, students are required to prepare a master’s writing portfolio to members of their master’s committee.

Writing Portfolio

The Writing Portfolio must contain two seminar papers totaling at least thirty pages of student work (including references). One paper must be from a core required CRM J course in the MA program. The second paper can be from any graduate seminar taken for the MA. The copy of the seminar papers submitted should include the comments and feedback from the seminar faculty. (Keep your graded papers.) Prior to submitting their portfolio, students are strongly encouraged to enhance their originally graded papers by a) incorporating faculty feedback; and b) presenting additional research/literature review that strengthens the paper.

During the semester the writing portfolio is submitted the student will present him- or herself before his or her committee for an oral examination. At the oral examination the student will be questioned by committee members about the materials in the writing portfolio as well as issues related to substantive areas discussed in the submitted papers. The oral defense needs to be scheduled in the semester (by November 1 for the Fall semester; or by April 1 for the Spring semester) in which the course requirements for the MA are being completed.

The portfolio and performance at the oral defense are evaluated by the student’s committee to ensure that the student has achieved the learning goals and objectives in the MA program. Specifically, evaluation of the portfolio and oral defense consider whether the student understands the interdisciplinary nature of criminal justice, the theoretical, legal, ethical, and policy issues associated with at least one criminal justice institution, and the theoretical and applied role discretionary decision-making plays in the operation of the criminal justice system.

After the oral examination, if a student’s portfolio and/or oral defense performance are found to be deficient, after consulting with the Graduate Director but within 5 days of the defense, the committee will provide the student specific steps needed to correct such deficiencies. Such steps may include, but are not limited to modifying papers in the writing portfolio, preparing a new, original seminar-length paper, or other items that can demonstrate attainment of the program’s learning outcomes and objectives. The student who does not successfully correct the inadequacies identified by the student’s Master’s Committee will be allowed to re-register for CRMJ 702 the following semester and repeat the oral exam process.