Mount Mercy University

Mount Mercy University is also featured in our ranking 50 Best Value Colleges for a Criminal Justice Degree.

Mount Mercy Criminal Justice Degrees

For students who already have a bachelor's degree, Mount Mercy offers an online Master's of Science in Criminal Justice degree that is designed specifically for professionals currently working in the field. This program does not require any campus visits and can be completed in 15 months of full-time study. To fully immerse themselves in the individual topics, students take classes that only last either 5 or 10 weeks. Everyone takes four key courses during their program including Theory of Justice and Research and Statistics for Criminal Justice. The remainder of the program is made up of 18 hours of electives which can include up to 3 credit hours for fieldwork experience. At Mount Mercy University, criminal justice faculty make an effort to keep their curriculum up to date and change many of the electives from year to year. Some examples of these classes are International Policing, Victimology, and Civil Liability in Criminal Justice. Before graduation, students also complete a capstone project as one of their required classes as a way to demonstrate that they have learned and can apply theories and techniques from all their previous coursework.

Mount Mercy University also offers a bachelor's degree in criminal justice that prepares students to enter the workforce or pursue a master's or law degree. From the beginning, freshmen are taught about research methods and given examples demonstrating how research informs policy. Each course in the program emphasizes how the use of evidence-based practices has changed many areas of criminal justice. To graduate, students must complete ten core courses and three electives in addition to meeting general university requirements. The core includes Corrections, Criminal Law, and White Collar Crime, and examples of electives are Media and Crime, Trial Evidence, and Politics Public Administration. For students who are considering graduate school, department policy allows for up to 12 credit hours of graduate-level courses to apply to both their bachelor's and master's degrees.

About Mount Mercy University

In 1928, the Sisters of Mercy founded Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as the all-girls two-year junior college that would eventually become the coed, liberal arts university that it is today. Enrolling about 1800 students, the school currently offers 45 undergraduate and six graduate programs. Additionally, in a partnership with Kirkwood Community College, MMU provides an accelerated program for working adults returning to college to finish their degrees. While it has undergone many changes, the school remains loyal to its Roman Catholic roots, and this is evident both on-campus through activities like a daily mass and in the classroom as faculty emphasize ethical considerations and service-learning in all subjects. MMU students gain leadership skills and learn to be change-makers, especially in the areas of women's rights, immigration, the environment, race issues, and violence. With a 15-to-1 student/teacher ratio, faculty members are experts in their field and take time to develop relationships with each student. Out of the 170 full and part-time professors, about 65% of them have earned terminal degrees. Mount Mercy University has been recognized on the U.S. News and World Report's lists of Best Value Schools and Best Colleges for Veterans in the Midwest.

Mount Mercy University Accreditation Details

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is responsible for evaluating and accrediting colleges and universities in 19 states in the central United States. Mount Mercy University first received accreditation in 1932 and was last re-certified in 2013. This process is a continuous 10-year cycle with intermittent periods of self-review, reporting to the HLC, and two comprehensive evaluations. Universities are encouraged to undertake improvement projects and then measure and report their results. These could include addressing issues related to increasing student body diversity, campus engagement, or student health. The commission not only focuses on academic curricula and learning resources but also examines the school's finances, policies, and organizational structure. This ensures that students are receiving a comprehensive education and that the financial and business aspects of the institution are managed responsibly. Attending a regionally-accredited university is a requirement for receipt of federal financial aid and makes it easier for students to transfer between schools.

Mount Mercy University Application Requirements

Freshmen applicants to Mount Mercy University can fill out the application for admission on the MMU website but also must submit SAT or ACT scores as well as their official high school transcripts. While there are no stated requirements for admission besides a high school diploma, highest consideration is given to students with a class rank in the top half of their graduating class, a GPA of at least 2.75, and an ACT score of 20 or SAT score of 1030. In addition, adequate preparation for criminal justice undergrad study at MMU includes three years each of science, social studies, and math classes as well as 4 years of English.

Admission to the online criminal justice master's program at Mount Mercy University only requires a completed undergraduate degree. This can be in any field, but students with degrees in social sciences are preferred. Along with a completed graduate application, prospective students need to submit official transcripts and a professional resume, but standardized test scores are not necessary. There are no application fees for either the undergraduate or graduate programs at Mount Mercy University.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The graduate tuition rate at Mount Mercy University for online programs is $500 per credit hour, and aside from textbooks, there are no additional fees, so the total cost is $15,000 for the degree. Undergraduate tuition runs about $30,000 per year, and students living in campus housing can expect to pay $42,000 annually. Almost all undergraduates and many grad students receive scholarships or grants from either MMU or the federal government. In order to determine eligibility, all students are encouraged to complete a FAFSA yearly and then meet with a staff member in the Office of Financial Aid to discuss options. The university offers a variety of scholarships for incoming freshmen based on academic achievement including some full-tuition awards. Online criminal justice graduate students often maintain full-time employment and can take advantage of employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement programs. Plus, Mount Mercy University partners with organizations like Transamerica and the Iowa Department of Corrections and offers a 10% tuition discount to full-time employees enrolled in a graduate program.