Wesleyan OK'd to offer graduate degree


Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

N.C. Wesleyan College received final approval Tuesday to begin offering its first graduate degree beginning this spring.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accrediting board voted this week to approve the school’s offering of a Master in Science degree in criminal justice. The college hopes to begin offering courses in the degree program in March.

"The Master of Criminal Justice will become one of our signature academic programs. It is built around an outstanding faculty and it will further prepare our students to become transformational leaders impacting their communities,” Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark said when he learned that approval had been granted.

The 33-credit-hour program is cohort-based and all classes are online, said Micheal Drew, associate dean of the ASPIRE program at N.C. Wesleyan College. The degree requires 11 three-credit hour classes, which can all be earned online in an asynchronous format, allowing them to be accessed at a time that best suits the student.

Dr. Evan Duff, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Wesleyan College, said the new master’s degree at the college is a natural fit since the school has had a successful bachelor’s degree program in place for many years.

“Our Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice is one of our most in-demand majors,” Duff said in a press statement released Wednesday. “The graduate program is a natural progression as students are seeking career advancement, professional development and career changes.”

Drew said the first cohort of 15 students should be able to begin classes in March. After that, the school plans to enroll up to 25 students per cohort and offer three cohorts per year.

“We already have the faculty in place and we expect this program to produce a high-quality product,” Drew said. “We also expect acceptance to the program to be very competitive.”

Though the school could not market the new master’s degree until it was approved, the college has conducted interest surveys and expects the program to be popular in this area.

“A lot of people in law enforcement want to move up in the ranks or become police chiefs themselves, but now that often requires an advanced degree,” Drew said. “By offering the classes online, law enforcement officers can study for their master’s degree while keeping their current job.”

Drew said Wesleyan offers an advantage over other master’s degrees in criminal justice because of the personal attention students will receive.

“Wesleyan prides itself on the individual attention it gives to students, and we will get to know these students personally, even though the program is online. And students in the area can have access to campus facilities and faculty nearby,” Drew said.

The college has not yet announced the cost of the program, but Drew said it would be slightly more than the cost of the bachelor’s degree and would be competitive with other master’s degree programs in the area. 

For information regarding qualifications and the application process for the new master’s degree, contact Drew at mdrew@ncwc.edu or 252-985-5263.