The Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) provides both current and prospective practitioners with the administrative and management preparation to further their careers and to move into leadership positions within criminal justice and social service organizations. The certificate program’s core courses provide students with foundational concepts in government management, an understanding of research methodology and data analysis, and a review of criminal justice planning and evaluation principles. With the elective course offerings, the student can choose a course that most closely relates to their interest.

Students who are pursuing the graduate certificate program are taught by the same professors and are in the same classes as students who are pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice administration. In fact, the 12 credits you earn for this certificate are applicable to the master’s degree program should you choose to go on for further education.

Criminal justice is a rapidly expanding field of academic study. Many government agencies are requiring advanced academic preparation for those in supervisory positions at criminal justice and social service agencies. The certificate program is designed to equip practitioners with advanced administrative and research skills that are needed to effectively manage organizations.

The program is designed for:

  • those employed in the criminal justice field, who wish to expand job-related knowledge
  • those employed in the criminal justice field, who need an advanced credential for working in a supervisory capacity
  • those who have a master’s degree in a related field and are looking to advance their knowledge and understanding of administration and research in the criminal justice field

The Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration is designed to meet the needs of the working professional and the non-traditional student, and the certificate may be earned in as few as two semesters.

Course Requirements 

The criminal justice administration program offers a graduate certificate option, which requires students to complete 12 credits from the CJA curriculum.

Core Courses (9 credits3 required core courses)
CJA 501  Research Methods in Criminal Justice
CJA 604  Criminal Justice Planning and Evaluation
CJA 605  Government Management or CJA 622 Advanced Research and Analysis

Elective Courses (3 credits- choose 1 course from the following)
CJA 503  Issues in Correctional Administration
CJA 511  Historical and Comparative Criminal Justice
CJA 515  Organized and White Collar Crime
CJA 519  Victimology
CJA 520  Issues in Criminal Justice
CJA 532  Public Law and Public Administration
CJA 550  Politics of Crime
CJA 595  Women and Crime
CJA 610  Law and Society
CJA 616  Issues in Juvenile Justice
CJA 620  Forensic Science
CJA 621  Advanced Criminology
CJA 625  Theories in Corrections and Criminal Justice
CJA 628  Seminar: Crime Analysis
CJA 630  Policy, Politics, Community Coalitions in Criminal justice administration
CJA 631  Political Crime and Terrorism
CJA 634  Seminar: Criminology and Crime Policy
CJA 637  Seminar: Special Topics in Juvenile and Criminal Justice
CJA 650  Supervised Justice Administration Readings
CJA 675  Justice Administration Thesis

Admission Requirements

Prospective applicants for the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration must fulfill the following admission requirements. At the discretion of the director of the criminal justice administration graduate program, acceptance may be granted to applicants who have not fulfilled all the admission requirements provided they agree to the conditions of the acceptance prescribed by the director.

  • A completed application for admission
    • Complete your online application for FREE at
    • Should you experience technical difficulties, please contact the graduate admissions office at (814) 824-3351 or for other application options
  • Application Deadline
    • The Criminal Justice Administration graduate program has a preferred admission deadline of August 1st. After August 1st, applications will be considered until the class is full. International students should submit their applications by July 1st.
  • A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university with a min. overall GPA of 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons with whom you have a professional or academic relationship (ex. employer, professor, or volunteer coordinator) who can attest to your ability to succeed in a graduate level program.
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
    • OR Email directly to
  • A current résumé or curriculum vitae
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
    • OR Email directly to
  • A 500-750 word personal statement discussing:
    • Your reason for choosing this program
    • Your short- and long-term professional goals
    • The strengths you bring as an applicant to this program
    • The skills you hope to develop while in this program
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
    • OR Email directly to
  • PLEASE NOTE, a professional or academic writing sample may be requested after initial review of your application and required supplemental materials.
  • An Interview
    • A personal interview (either on-campus or via Skype) is not required, but may be requested after initial review of your application and required supplemental materials.
  • International applicants whose primary language is not English must attain a TOEFL Score of 550 on the paper-based exam, 213 on the computer–based exam, or 79-80 on the Internet-based exam or a score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS
  • International applicants must provide their transcripts through World Education Services (WES) for authentication and a WES evaluation report. International applicants can do this by ordering the WES ICAP service.

Completed application packets are reviewed and the admissions decision is based on the “whole student profile.” Strong emphasis is placed on the applicant’s reading, writing and research skills.

Cost and Career Information

In compliance with the “gainful employment” regulations under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, as amended, Mercyhurst is disclosing certain cost and career information to prospective students. You can view this information by clicking here. 

Contact Us

Maria L. Garase, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Phone: 814-824-3675

Kseniya Kampova
Graduate Enrollment Coordinator
Phone : 814-824-3384