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Certificate Program

Certificate Program

Graduate Certificates in Criminal Justice

The graduate program offers five 12-credit certificates that are designed to meet the diverse needs of criminal justice professionals:

Admission Requirements

In addition to the university's requirements for graduate admission, applicants should have the ability to pursue graduate education, as demonstrated by:

  1. Graduation from an accredited four-year institution.
  2. Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.800 or higher.
  3. A complete and official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended.
  4. An interview may be requested by the Graduate Admissions Committee.
Please note that:
International Transcripts that are not in English require a foreign credential evaluation from an agency such as CED: Center for Educational Documentation, Inc., ECE: Educational Credential Evaluators, or WES: World Education Services
For students from countries where English is not the national language, an English test is required. We accept TOEFL: minimum is 79, iELTS: minimum is 6.5, and Duolingo: minimum is 105.

Certificate Requirements

  • University regulations do not allow transfer of class(es) from another institution for the graduate certificate program.
  • Classes may count for both the Masters degree and one certificate program. The same class can not be used for two different certificates.
  • Once the requirements for a certificate have been completed you must submit a Graduate Certificate Clearance Form. This form may be found on the Registrar's website under forms.
  • Four courses must be completed within a five year period with a minimum of a 3.000 Grade Point Average and with no more than three credits below an earned grade of B (3.00).

Graduate Certificate inDomesticViolencePreventionDomestic Violence Prevention

Departments of the School of Criminology and Justice Studies and Psychology

Graduate Coordinator:
Amber Horning-Ruf, Ph.D.
Phone: 978-934-5391

Domestic violence is one of the major social and public health problems in the Commonwealth. The existing degree programs in Criminal Justice, Community Social Psychology, and the College of Health Sciences each offer relevant courses that greatly assist their graduates working with agencies and clients affected by domestic violence. The certificate provides a focused program for those working in settings where domestic violence is an issue. Courses may be applied to the relevant department's Master's degree program with the approval of the department's graduate coordinator.

Required Courses (one of the 3-credit courses in each of the four groups):

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

Group 4:

Forensic-CriminologyGraduate Certificate in Forensic Criminology

Graduate Coordinator:
Amber Horning-Ruf, Ph.D.
Phone: 978-934-5391

The certificate is designed for students with current or potential careers in the fields of criminal justice, nursing/public health, law and paralegal studies, psychology, and social work who wish to expand their expertise in forensic criminology including mental health applications. Students in this program focus on populations being served by state and federal court systems, state and federal correctional systems, law enforcement agencies, mental health facilities, and juvenile facilities and are able to choose from a variety of courses appropriate for their own specific professional needs.

Required Courses: (Choose two of the following courses - 6 credits)

Plus two of the following (two 3-credit courses for a total of 6 credits):

Leadership-&-Policy-DevelopmentGraduate Certificate in Leadership & Policy Development

Graduate Coordinator:
Amber Horning-Ruf, Ph.D.
Phone: 978-934-5391

The graduate certificate provides a focused program for criminal justice managers and administrators. This specialized education will increase the knowledge and skills necessary to administer delivery of high quality and cost effective services. This program is designed to respond to the changes taking place in the criminal justice field which require up-to-date management skills.

Required Courses (total of 6 credits):

Plus two of the following (total of 6 credits):

Security-StudiesGraduate Certificate in Security Studies

Graduate Coordinator:
James JF Forest, Ph.D.
Phone: 978-934-4773

This graduate-level certificate program addresses the increasing global and local concern involving security issues. The program consists of three required courses plus one elective course that can be chosen from a list of courses in the student's particular area of interest.

After the tragedies of September 11, 2001, national policymakers called upon state and local law enforcement agencies to work together in strengthening our national defense. The formulation of the Homeland Security Act was a legislative effort to implement a "total" security infrastructure composed of federal, state, local, and private law enforcement agencies as well as a vast range of organizations that historically did not interface with one another.

Because of these recent changes in government, there is a growing need to understand the type of information gathering that occurs in these agencies, strategies for sharing the information while maintaining data quality, and ways to use the information for strategic planning, policy development and analysis. There are also concerns about how to go about gathering and analyzing this critical information without infringing upon the public's civil liberties and privacy rights.

In response to the demand for knowledge in this area, UMass Lowell's School of Criminology and Justice Studies has developed a graduate-level program designed to educate students in the complex nature of threats and how to manage them. Students can focus their studies in areas such as risk management and analysis; organizational and systems integration; legal and political policy and ethical issues in responding to threats; policy development and analysis; and the use of technology in implementing national security.

Intended Audience

The program is appropriate for students with a general interest in homeland security, professionals who are currently employed in security-related jobs, and for those interested in pursuing careers in security.

Required Courses (9 credits):

  • CRIM.5780 Intelligence Analysis: Policy and Practice
  • CRIM.5750 Contemporary Security Studies
  • CRIM.6680 Scientific and Technical Dimensions of National Security

Plus one of the following (3 credits):

Victim-StudiesGraduate Certificate in Victim Studies

Graduate Coordinator:
Amber Horning-Ruf, Ph.D.
Phone: 978-934-5391

The Graduate Certificate in Victim Studies is a 12-credit program consisting of one required course (3 credits), one Victimization elective (3 credits), and two Skills and Knowledge electives (6 credits).

The purpose of the proposed Graduate Certificate in Victims’ Studies is to provide multidisciplinary specialized knowledge of crime victim issues, crime victims’ rights, and formal responses to victims so that students may apply that knowledge within their own professional context. Completion of the certificate will provide students with the background to understand strengths and limitations of current responses to crime victims so they can be a part of initiatives and programs to prevent crime victimization, be prepared to engage in research and evaluation focused on crime victims’ issues, and respond effectively to victims of crime in a culturally appropriate manner.

Unlike many graduate certificates which are designed to provide specialized knowledge within a particular field, the Graduate Certificate in Victims’ Studies is designed to provide specialized knowledge on crime victims that can be applied in a broad range of fields. The courses offered draw from programs in Criminal Justice and Criminology, Education, Psychology, and Regional Economics and Social Development. All students will take a core overview course in Victimology, one course about a specific type of victimization, and two courses pertaining to skills, theory and/or evaluation.

Elective courses are organized in clusters according to skills and knowledge content. These options are intended to guide students as to how they can tailor their education to their particular interests and/or professional needs. For example, a program director in a human services agency might take Program Evaluation or Grant Writing.

In recent semesters, a number of graduate students enrolled in the Criminal Justice Masters and certificate programs, who are working in victim services, have expressed an interest in taking more courses in that field through UML. In addition, many of our students who have completed our Domestic Violence Prevention Certificate have expressed interest in further course work which addresses the diverse range of victims of other types of crimes, e.g. identify theft, economic crime, and cyber stalking. Therefore, the proposed certificate is distinct from the Domestic Violence Prevention Certificate and will focus on crime victims more broadly and also include victims of crimes committed by non-family members and strangers.

Target Audience

The target audience for the proposed certificate includes professionals or potential professionals in fields that come in direct contact with victims of crime, as well as those who simply seek to better understand victimization. Some of the professionals this would include are those who provide direct services to victims, those who supervise victim programs, and those who come in contact with victims as a part of their professional lives. Some examples include victim advocates, prosecutors, health services workers, law enforcement and corrections personnel, youth services workers, social workers, journalists, and first responders.

Required course: (3 credits)

Elective Courses:

Victimization Electives (choose one of the following 3 credit courses):

Skills and Knowledge Electives (Choose two of the following 3 credit courses):

Please note that clusters are suggested groupings based on student interest and their utility for application to current or potential employment. However, students are free to choose any two courses from the list.

Criminal Justice Cluster:

Policy Cluster:

Program Director Skills Cluster:

Psychology & Helping Cluster:

  • PSYC.5000 Introduction to Community Social Psychology
  • PSYC.5090 Psychological Approaches to Child Maltreatment (available online)
  • PSYC.5220 Psychology of Diversity
  • PSYC.5270 Immigrant Psychology and Communities
  • PSYC.5420 Working with Groups

Research & Evaluation Cluster:

updated 11/13/23