The Department of Social Sciences at Texas A&M University-San Antonio launched its fully online Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice program this semester.
“We saw a need and a lot of student demand for it,” said Dr. Durant Frantzen, chair of Social Sciences. “No other programs in San Antonio had an online criminology and criminal justice program at the master’s level.”
There are 42 students enrolled. Many of the students are A&M-San Antonio alumni, but some are attending the university for the first time. The two-year, 36-hour program is generating interest from prospective students outside the San Antonio area, Frantzen said.
“With any online program, it takes a lot of work-life balance and good time management skills to be successful in the course,” Frantzen said. “You could easily lose track of deadlines if you don’t have a good sense of how you’re going to manage the coursework with all the other things that are going on.”
Criminology is the second largest discipline in the university, Frantzen said. There are approximately 600 undergraduate students in the major.
Having a master’s program was naturally the next step.
“A master’s degree is a step up in terms of your career, in terms of promotion, advancement and also increase in salary,” said Dr. Claire Nolasco Braaten, graduate director of the master’s program and associate professor of criminology.
Some students are already working in the profession but are looking to expand their knowledge. According to the department’s website, the online degree program develops critical thinking, leadership and advanced research skills.
With a degree in criminology, students can pursue professions and further their careers in law enforcement, corrections, the legal system or even academia.
John Lopez graduated from A&M-San Antonio in 2020 with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. He returned this fall as a student in the new criminology and criminal justice master’s program.
Lopez said he hopes pursuing a master’s degree gets him closer to the job he really wants as a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Lopez, who works at an elementary school, chose A&M-San Antonio’s program for many reasons.
“I figured it would benefit me in the future in case I wanted to move up in my position,” Lopez said. “Also, I wanted to be the first person in my family to obtain their master’s, and lastly, I wanted to be a part of TAMUSA’s first crim master’s program.”
A master’s degree can be beneficial to both the employee and employer, Braaten said.
“Any employer would think it’s desirable for a current employee who has the discipline and self-motivation to go through a master’s program, especially because it’s an online program. It speaks to the self-discipline of the student.”
Upon completion, students have the option to write a thesis or take a comprehensive exam. The thesis track is for students who want to continue to a doctoral program. The comprehensive exam is for those already working in the field but hoping to advance.
Go here for more information about the program.
A&M-San Antonio to offer new master’s degree in psychology program.
The psychology program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio is accepting applications for a master’s degree program starting in fall 2023. The program aims to provide a research-oriented curriculum that will cover broad, major topics in psychology.
The program will offer two-degree tracks for an M.S. degree, said Dawn R. Weatherford, associate professor of psychology and graduate program coordinator.
Track 1 will consist of a thesis track where students will be required to create a thesis based on their independent research project. It will consist of 30 credit hours and include at least six thesis credit hours under the direction of a faculty mentor.
The second track is an option for students who do not necessarily want to lead their own intensive research but are looking to learn more about psychology through a capstone project that will allow students to write a literature review or perform a meta-analysis on a research question.This track will require 36 credit hours, including three capstone credit hours.
“The type of students we are looking for is to help mold and shape their future, as well as students seeking out careers in research and data science, or students who are looking to further their education in a Ph.D. program,” Weatherford said in a Zoom interview on Sept. 12.
Courses will be offered face-to-face but may also include hybrid and online formats.
The application process opened on Sept. 15, and early admission for teaching eligibility for the thesis track only is on March 15. The final admission deadline for applications is July 15.
Applicants must complete an application and required documents on GradCas, send an official e-transcript, personal statement, a resume or curriculum vitae, letters from three references and pay a non-refundable $35 application fee.
Students who successfully earn a master’s degree at A&M-San Antonio will gain knowledge and skills within a broad range of psychological subdisciplines.
Career positions are as diverse as the field of psychology. With a master’s degree, graduates can work as a researcher or practitioner.
Weatherford said students may use their master’s degree in psychology as a stepping stone toward a doctoral degree. However, graduates can pursue career options in data science and analytics, human subjects’ compliance and user experience. They also can teach at a university level after earning 18 hours in PSYC credit.
For more information on the new master’s program, visit the program’s website.