Graduate Certificate in Victim Studies

young victim

Available entirely online!

UMass Lowell's Online Graduate Certificate Program in Victim Studies provides specialized knowledge of crime victim issues, crime victim rights, and formal responses to victims so that students may apply that knowledge within their own professional context. Students will gain the background necessary to better understand the strengths and limitations of current crime victim responses. Completion of the certificate program will better prepare students to participate in initiatives and programs that prevent crime victimization, to engage in research and evaluation focused on crime victim issues, and to respond effectively to victims of crime in a culturally appropriate manner.

Students are required to take a core course in Victimology, plus one course that focuses on a specific type of victimization, and then they may customize their program by choosing two courses from a list of skills and knowledge electives.

Many of the courses in this certificate program can be counted toward UMass Lowell's Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice.


Individuals who are interested in gaining a better understanding of crime victims, especially those who provide direct services to victims or those who supervise victim programs, are ideal candidates for this program. Examples may include victim advocates, prosecutors, health services workers, law enforcement and corrections personnel, youth services workers, social workers, journalists, and first responders.

Program Outline

The Graduate Certificate in Victim Studies is a 4-course graduate program consisting of one required course, one victimization elective and two skills and knowledge electives. Each of the courses in this program is worth 3 graduate credits, and the program is a total of 12 credits.

Required Courses (1):

  1. CRIM.6300 Victimology - Available Fall 2016!

Victimization Electives - Choose 1:

  1. CRIM.6320 Responding to Child Maltreatment
  2. CRIM.5600 Gender, Race and Crime
  3. CRIM.6310 Intimate Partner Violence - Available Fall 2016!
  4. PSYC.5090 Psychological Approaches to Child Maltreatment

Skills and Knowledge Electives - Choose 2:

  1. PSYC.5090 Psychological Approaches to Child Maltreatment
  2. CRIM.5200 Administration of Criminal Justice - Available Fall 2016!
  3. CRIM.5600 Gender, Race and Crime
  4. CRIM.6130 Law and Public Policy - Available Fall 2016!
  5. CRIM.6510 Criminal Homicide - Available Fall 2016!
  6. CRIM.5910 Research Design - Available Fall 2016!
  7. CRIM.6310 Intimate Partner Violence - Available Fall 2016!
  8. CRIM.6320 Responding to Child Maltreatment
  9. CRIM.6500 Violence in America

Note: CRIM.5600, CRIM.6310 or PSYC.5090 can not be used as skills and knowledge electives if they have been used as the victimization elective.

Additional electives are available in the traditional on-campus format. Please contact for information on availability of on-campus electives in the Victim Studies program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should have:

  1. An earned Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year institution.
  2. A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 or higher.
  3. Two copies of a complete and official transcript from each undergraduate and/or graduate institution attended. Please note, if the degree is from an international institution, then the transcripts may need to be evaluated.

An interview may be requested by the Graduate Admissions Committee. In addition, University regulations do not allow the transfer of class(es) from another institution for the graduate certificate program. The graduate criminal justice courses in this certificate program (those with a CRIM.xxxx course number prefix) may count towards both the certificate program and UMass Lowell's Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice; however, the same course cannot be used for two different certificate programs.

Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

Completion rates, median loan debts and program costs are outlined for each certificate program.

Graduate Certificate Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

    Course Descriptions

    CRIM.5200 Administration of Criminal Justice

    An examination of the components of the criminal justice system and a review of the administration of federal, state and local criminal justice agencies, including a focus on criminal law and procedure. 3 credits.

    CRIM.5600 Gender, Race and Crime

    The implications of criminal laws, criminal justice practices and programs. Focus on inequalities based on gender, race and class. 3 credits.

    CRIM.5910 Research Design

    Research design is a graduate-level introduction to methodology as used in criminology/criminal justice. The course surveys the research design enterprise and covers a host of issues on the measurement and collection of data, and other procedures that influence whether a research study will lead the investigator to scientifically rigorous information. This course explains various strategies for devising social science studies, compares the relative benefits of various designs, and identifies the tools necessary to conduct studies that will yield data worthy of analysis and interpretation. This material will be valuable for students who will conduct research and administrators who must evaluate the research of others. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    CRIM.6130 Law and Public Policy

    The course is an introduction to crime and the efforts to control crime through public policy. We explore the foundations of the policy-making process at the federal, state, and local levels. The course also considers broad theoretical applications pertaining to public opinion, national culture, and comparative analyses among Western democracies and their differing approaches to crime. This course employs a variety of learning tools, from roundtable discussions to policy cases. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    CRIM.6300 Victimology

    This course examines the study of crime victims and of the patterns, impact, and formal responses to criminal victimization. Particular attention is given to research issues such as measurement of victimization, fear of crime and related measures, and conducting research with victimized populations, as well as discussion of current issues in the field of Victimology. Substantive topics may include theories of victimization, the overlap between victims and offenders, social-psychological and other impacts of victimization on primary and secondary victims, media coverage of victimization, and evaluation of prevention and intervention programs for victims (criminal justice system based programs and others). 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    CRIM.6310 Intimate Partner Violence

    An examination of the nature and extent of intimate partner violence and an analysis of the causes and consequences of violence between partners as well as the latest research regarding the criminal justice response. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    CRIM.6320 Responding to Child Maltreatment

    Introduction to empirical findings and theoretical perspectives concerned with the maltreatment of children and youth. Includes an examination of prevalence rates, risk factors, consequences, and system responses. 3 credits.

    CRIM.6500 Violence in America

    This course provides an in-depth analysis of the causes, context, and control of a wide range of violent crimes. Topics covered in this class include: Murder, rape, robbery, assault, and violence in the helping professions, the workplace, school, gang violence, cult violence, and institutional violence. For each form of violence, we examine issues related to(1) the extent of the problem, characteristics of the crime, victim, and offender, (2) causation, (3) crime prevention, and (4)crime control strategies. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

    CRIM.6510 Criminal Homicide

    A survey of the nature and extent of criminal homicide. There will be five main components: statutory definitions of homicide; theories of homicide; homicide rates over time and across jurisdictions; trends and patterns in homicide characteristics; and cross-cultural comparisons. Homicide is an important topic in criminology for three reasons: (1) it is the crime of greatest severity in any penal code; (2) it is a fairly reliable barometer of all violent crime; and (3) at a national level, no other crime is measured as accurately, precisely, and comprehensively. 3 credits.

    PSYC.5090 Psychological Approaches to Child Maltreatment

    The course addresses the painful topic of Child Maltreatment in the context of research on optimal, typical, and unacceptable treatment of children, as maltreatment cannot be considered apart from acceptable and even optimal treatment. The impact of maltreatment on the development of the child from the first growth of physical organs in the prenatal infant through the development of moral reasoning in the adolescent is addressed. Both theories and research will be discussed. 3 credits.

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Apply Into the Program

Apply Online or complete and submit the Graduate Certificate Application form (pdf).

For further details visit UMass Lowell's Graduate Admissions.

Register for Courses

Approximately 2 months prior to the start of each semester, Online and Continuing Education posts the new course schedule to the website. Once you've decided which course(s) you would like to take, returning students can register using SIS self-service, while new students must use the Non Degree Registration Form.
Note: If you previously completed an academic program through UMass Lowell
but haven't already applied and been accepted into this program, please use the Non Degree Registration Form to register.

Questions? Contact Us!

Email our Student Support Center for assistance, or call for advising at (800) 480-3190 and press 1 to speak with an advisor. See links at the bottom of this page for technical assistance with your online course.

Certificate Completion

Once you have completed all the courses in this graduate certificate program, please complete and either mail or fax the Graduate Certificate Clearance Form to the Registrar's Office.

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