Department of Criminal Justice Studies - St. Cloud State University

Department of Criminal Justice - School of Public Affairs

Senior Thesis Information

Senior Thesis is the “capstone” course that has distinguished the Criminal Justice Program since 1972. Because the Senior Thesis requires knowledge of research methods and good writing skills, the following course sequence is required. Course prerequisites are enforced.

  • CJS 486-586, Research in Criminal Justice
  • STAT 219
  • CJS 487-587, Criminal Justice Research Methods
  • CJS 488, Senior Thesis

For more information about these courses see the SCSU Undergraduate Bulletin.

Why the Prerequisites?

  • The prerequisites:  All the courses have prerequisites.  This is to assure that you have the required knowledge, skills and understanding for the next course. 
  • Prerequisites serve a purpose.  Failure to follow them can make a course more difficult, frustrating, and may hurt your academic performance.

When Should Students Take The Courses?

  • Course numbers are intended to provide guidance to students in taking the right courses in the proper sequence.
  • CJS 486-586 may be taken right after you have taken CJS 111,Crime and Justice In America.
  • STAT 219, the Statistics course, should be taken the same semester as CJS 486-586, or as soon as possible.
  • CJS 487-587 should be taken as soon as you have completed STAT 219, and during your Junior year.
  • For a sample course map of the sequencing of these courses, see: CJS Undergraduate Degree Map
  • The series of research, statistics, and Senior Thesis is at least a two-year sequence for students to complete.  Planning ahead is important.
  • It is advisable to take most of the other CJS requirements and electives, including an Internship, before enrolling in Senior Thesis.
  • The Senior Thesis is to be taken by Seniors who are in their last semester before graduation.

Applying to Register for Senior Thesis

Because Senior Thesis is a special “capstone course” for Criminal Justice majors who are seniors, and because there are prerequisites that students must complete, students must have permission from a CJS professor before registering for CJS 488. 

Preparing a Thesis Proposal: 
Students are taught in CJS 486-586, Research in Criminal Justice, how to begin writing a research proposal.  The goal is for students to have a good working draft of a proposal upon completing that course.   

In CJS 487-587, Criminal Justice Research Methods, students are taught a variety of research designs and methods.  The goal here is to select a research method (or even two or three possible methods) of gathering information about your proposed topic.  In the CJS 487-587 course, students add to their original research proposal, and make additions and some revisions.  Upon completing this second research course, the goal is to have a good working proposal to submit to the CJS Department in order to get permission to register for CJS 488—The Senior Thesis.

Proposal for Senior Thesis Requirements and Deadlines

All Senior Theses must include:

Proposals for Senior Thesis for Fall semesters will be due the last Friday in January by 4:00 p.m.

Proposals for Senior Thesis for Spring semesters will be due the last Friday in September by 4:00 p.m.

Turn in the completed documents to the Criminal Justice Graduate Advising Center

(SH 222).

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