This degree program is an interdisciplinary graduate criminal justice program drawing on faculty in Sociology and Political Science at Western Michigan University and faculty in the Institute of Forensic Studies at the University of Malta. The program will draw students from both the United States and the Mediterranean basin region. United States students interested in international security and international training would be one audience for the program; mid-career professionals in public and private security in the European Union and other Mediterranean countries would also be a potential audience. The program will be delivered exclusively in Malta and the coursework will have a distinctive focus on the European Union and Mediterranean basin criminal justice challenges. Our aim is for students completing the program to gain both substantive training in criminology and a deeper appreciation for the specific regional criminal justice and public policy context. Program graduates should be attractive to a broad range of non-government organizations, non-profits, government agencies, and firms with interests in the region.
An applicant will be offered admission to the program only if both institutions deem the student qualified. Admission to the proposed program means separate consideration and admission to both Western Michigan University and the University of Malta, using the following criteria for admissions.
Western Michigan University admissions
The department of Sociology considers a variety of factors in making graduate admission decisions. Factors include both academic and professional accomplishments.
A baccalaureate degree with an acceptable grade point average.
Admission to the on-campus masters’ programs in the Department of Sociology requires a minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate grade point average. To compensate for the waived GRE however, applicants to this program will be required to have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.25.
Performance on the TOEFL test.
English is considered a native and official language of the country of Malta hence Maltese students will not be required to prove their fluency in the language. Foreign students for whom English is not a native language will take the TOEFL or the IELS test (see below under University of Malta admission requirements).
Professional Experience (Nature and duration of work experience).
Recommendations of current employer, if applicable. To compensate for the waived GRE, applicants to this program will be required to provide two letters of recommendation, one from a current employer and one from a former employer.
University of Malta admissions
The Course shall be open to applicants in possession of a first cycle degree in Criminology, Sociology, or Political Science or in another area of study which the Board considers as appropriate, provided that the first cycle degree is obtained with second class honors or better classification, or an equivalent classification.
Western Michigan University program requirements: 39.25 credit hours program, 24.5 hours of WMU coursework. See specific requirements outlined below.
University of Malta program requirements: 90 ECTS units: 60 coursework, plus 30 dissertation.
Western Michigan University requirements
PSCI 6710 - Studying Public Policy Credits: 2.25 hours
PSCI 6720 - Comparative Legal Systems Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6901 - Qualitative Methods and Analysis Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6911 - Quantitative Methods and Analysis Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6921 - Gender, Crime, and Justice Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6931 - Environmental Crime and Justice Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6941 - Surveillance and Security Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6951 - State and Corporate Crime Credits: 2.25 hours
SOC 6991 - Independent Research Credits: 4.50 hours
TRANSFER - Spatial Analysis of Crime Credits: 2.25 hours
TRANSFER - Criminological Theory Credits: 2.25 hours
TRANSFER - Criminal Justice Process Credits: 2.25 hours
TRANSFER - Victimology Credits: 1.125 hours
TRANSFER - Introduction to Research Methods Credits 3.375 hours
TRANSFER - Crime Control Policy AND Crime Prevention Policy Credits: 2.25 hours
TRANSFER - Punishment and Social Control Credits: 1.125 hours
Current Western Michigan University students choosing to participate in the program for a single semester would earn sufficient credit in their chosen semester to be considered full-time students and make significant progress toward a U.S. degree. Western Michigan University Sociology graduate students, for example, who spend spring semester in Malta, would complete 11.25 Western Michigan University credit hours plus transfer back two University of Malta courses for a total load of 15.75 credit hours.
All students for the United States who are participating in the program will be required to sign a liability release prior to their travel to Malta.
Western Michigan University Course Descriptions
The following courses are offered as part of the WMU/Malta dual degree program in Criminology, Law and Public Policy. Enrollment requires admission to the Master’s Degree Program in Criminology, Law, and Public Policy.
PSCI 6710 Studying Public Policy
The course will examine the ways that governments arrive at particular public policy choices, how social problems move on to political agenda, and the actors, events, and interests that influence policy choices. Drawing on public policy literature that addresses these topics in Washington DC, The European capitals, and Brussels, the course focuses the process by which public policies are formed and reformed. The course will draw on active policy debates in a variety of substantive areas. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
PSCI 6720 Comparative Legal Systems
This course explores the historical and philosophical influences on the world’s major legal systems, focusing specifically on countries that practice civil (Roman) law, common law, the Islamic legal tradition, and the socialist legal tradition. The course analyzes the emerging legal system (specifically the criminal justice system) of the European Union and examines the civil legal traditions of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, the original common law of Great Britain, the derivative common law systems of the United States, Ireland, Canada and Australia, the Islamic legal system of Saudi Arabia, and the socialist system of China and Russia. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
SOC 6901 Qualitative Methods and Analysis
This course will familiarize students with qualitative epistemological and methodological approaches to data collection, analysis and reporting. Qualitative research will be considered through both a philosophical and practical lens, as it relates to criminal justice. Attention will be paid to the utility and validity of qualitative approaches, along with an acquisition of skills within various means of data collection, analysis and reporting. C/NC only 2.25 hours
SOC 6911 Quantitative Methods and Analysis
An introduction to and survey of statistical modeling strategies typically employed in social science and policy analysis. The course will include extensive supervised lab work involving analysis of government expenditure data and social and economic indicators from the OECD Statistics Portal or equivalent national and regional data archives. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
SOC 6921 Gender, Crime, and Justice
This course is a multi-disciplinary assessment of gender injustices - focusing on the endemic inequalities between men and women in the cultural, social, political, legal and economic contexts. Attention is given to gender injustice in the public domain - where unequal justice is dispensed by judicial, legal and political institutions - and to gender injustice in the private domain - where the cultural construction of gender limits women’s agency and leaves them powerless. Gender and justice will be studied in the context of the cultural construction of gender, feminization of poverty, citizenship, constitutional rights, violence against women, criminalization of women, development, and political and women’s empowerment. A case study on gender, crime, and justice in the Mediterranean region will be developed by each student. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
SOC 6931 Environmental Crime and Justice
The aim of this course is to explore the emergence of environmental crime and environmental justice movements as facets of contemporary concerns with the environment. Attention will be directed to how environmental crime has been defined in various legal systems and how criminal justice agencies enforce environmental laws and react to environmental justice movements. Consideration will be given to how risks and benefits associated with economic production are distributed in space and time and how various environmental justice movements mobilize on behalf of groups who have been unfairly burdened by these risks and denied the benefits. The course will cover readings on environmental history, environmental movements, environmental risk, the various “isms” of environmental justice such as racism, classism, sexism, and speciesism, as well as environmental justice in the workplace and the global context. A case study on environmental justice in the Mediterranean region will be developed by each student. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
SOC 6941 Surveillance and Security
The goal of this course is to study the idea and practice of surveillance so that its role in the production and maintenance of social order and security might be analyzed. While this course will be concerned with the sociological literature on surveillance, it will also be interdisciplinary with reading material taken from the fields of art, criminology, philosophy, popular culture, education, law, information technology, and public health. An examination of the central concepts and theories of surveillance will be the primary occupation of the course. Attention will be paid to the relationship between privacy and surveillance. The course will inspect five areas in which practical applications of surveillance are core features, particularly in the Mediterranean region: deviance/crime, computer security and cybercrime, terrorism/national security, food systems, and tourism. A case study will be prepared by each student on a form of surveillance practiced in the Mediterranean region. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
SOC 6951 State and Corporate Crime
This course centers on state (government) and corporate crime from a socio-criminological perspective. As state and corporate crime is best conceptualized as an aspect of organizational crime, which is a sub-field of white-collar crime, the course will first focus on the concept of white-collar crime and then narrow to focus to the nature, extent, and costs of organizational crime. Attention will then turn to national and multinational illustrations of state and corporate crime, the human rights violations contained therein, and the problems associated with reacting to and controlling these types of crimes will be examined. A case study on state and corporate crime in the Mediterranean region will be developed by each student. C/NC only. 2.25 hours
SOC 6991 Independent Research
The aim of this course is to provide students nearing the completion of their degree program an opportunity to pursue their independent research project. The purpose of the independent research project is for each student to produce an investigation that evidences competence to design, carry out, and report an original and important criminological study. C/NC only. 2.25 to 16.75 hours
University of Malta Course Descriptions
The principle aim of this course is to study contemporary theoretical perspectives in criminology and to explain and understand various forms of offense. Attention will be paid to the manner in which central concepts in each theoretical perspective have been defined and how they have been related to one another in the criminological literature. Consideration will be given to the way in which theories have been evaluated in the discipline. A focus of the course will be a comparison of European criminology and United States criminology, with scrutiny directed toward the social, economic, cultural and political influences on the practice of criminology in each region. A goal of the class will be to explore the implications for public and private responses to crime that derive from the different theories.
The study of victimology focuses on crime patterns and criminal victimization, fear of crime, the impact of victimization, the role of victims in the criminal justice process, and victim-centered conceptions of justice. Students in this class will acquire the skills to critically examine these aspects of victimization through the use of national and multinational data. Of particular relevance in this course will be repeat victimization; victimization of socially, economically and politically marginalized populations; the economic, social and psychological impacts of victimization; and the response to victimization by various social institutions, which may contribute to secondary victimization. Various forms of victimization (e.g., child abuse, intimate partner assault, prejudice-based/hate crimes, state crime) will be used as case studies, and students can expect to acquire a diverse array of multinational perspectives on victimization.
Punishment and Social Control
What is punishment? What are the common philosophical justifications for the use of punishment by the state? What is social control? How is informal social control related to formal social control? How do the social, economic, and political features of society inform the practice of punishment and social control? These questions will be answered with reference to the current literature. Attention will be paid to contemporary debates about punishment and social control in Europe and the United States. The salience of these debates for punishment and social control in the Mediterranean region will be explored.
Criminal Justice Process
The course compares criminal justice organizations and the exercise of discretion by criminal justice workers within those organization around the world and especially in Europe and the United States, focusing particularly on police, courts, and punishment. Attention will be paid to theoretical accounts of criminal justice practices. Consideration will be given to the social, economic, and political influences that shape criminal justice organizations and their procedures. Reform of criminal justice organizations will be studied, especially in the European Union and the United States. An aim of the course is to situate the Mediterranean experience of criminal justice against the background of systems in Europe and North America.
Crime Control Policy
How is crime control policy established in different nations? How have the crime control policy choices of different nations been influenced by moral and ideological considerations? What are the conditions under which crime control policy promotes privatization of the criminal justice response? How do crime control policies transfer between nations? What are the social, economic, and political influences on the substance of crime control policy? How do the media structure crime control policy choices? Employing the literature on crime control in the United States and Europe, these questions will be answered with a particular eye toward their salience for the Mediterranean region.
Crime Prevention Policy
This course surveys crime prevention schemes in a multinational context. Topics of concern include social crime prevention, situational crime prevention, crime prevention through social development, community safety, and efforts within and in lieu of the criminal justice process to prevent recidivism (e.g., balanced, restorative and reconciliatory justice strategies). Students will acquire the knowledge necessary to critically assess the relevance of crime prevention strategies as an alternative or accompaniment to more “traditional” and reactive forms of justice administration.
Introduction to Research Methods
What distinguishes social science as a science? The course introduces basic social science research methods and questions with particular attention to critical evaluation of research design choices. Data collection strategies, data analysis techniques, measurement and observation challenges are addressed. Students will prepare a critical evaluation of a published research paper.
Spatial Analysis of Crime
The main goal of this course is to develop skills with which to analyze how crime is distributed geographically. Employing geographic information system software such as Arcview or ArcGIS, attention will be paid to crucial issues of data management. Basic spatial analysis techniques such as proximity analysis, spatial distribution analysis, and distance analysis will be examined. Advanced spatial analysis technique such as hot spot analysis, density mapping, and spatial dispersion mapping will also be studied.
Research Project Seminar
How are research projects organized to yield convincing answers to important questions about the social world? How can an argument in a research report be made more compelling? How is information managed in a research project? What ethical issues arise when one conducts social research? These questions and others will be addressed in this seminar designed to provide practical skills with which to organize and complete a defensible dissertation and other research projects.