Southeast Missouri State University is a state college and a public university with a long history of providing students with the skills needed to succeed in the future. Founded in 1873 as the Southeast Missouri State Normal School, it was one of several schools in the Midwest that offered training programs for students willing to work and teach students in rural areas of the country. Some of its graduates even moved west to teach in other states. It served as a normal school until 1919, which is when it became one of several teaching colleges in the state. As a teaching college, it offered full degree programs. As the number of students interested in business and other subjects other than education grew, the college changed its curriculum to include more programs in other fields. That led to the college becoming Southeast Missouri State College and then Southeast Missouri State University, which is became in the 1970s.

Also known as SEMO, the university formed a deal with Three Rivers Community College in 2004 that allowed the two schools to work together. Both colleges offered programs and classes on three campuses across the state. SEMO took over the full operations of those campuses in later years and established each one has one of its regional branches. A new agreement between the two schools let to the university and college working together to offer a social work degree program. SEMO added another regional branch in the later 2000s and established its own online program.

Southeast Missouri State University Accreditation Details

If you want to earn a degree in criminal justice because you hope to work with criminals or their victims, you'll appreciate knowing that SEMO has accreditation from the Council on Social Work Accreditation. Not only does this accreditation let you know that the university has approval from a professional organization in the field, but it also lets you know that you will graduate with a degree that means something in the real world. Some of the other programs offered by the university with specialty accreditation include nursing, counseling, business, technology and dietetics. SEMO also has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Attending a school with accreditation from an organization like the HLC is one of the requirements for getting financial aid.

Southeast Missouri State University Application Requirements

Though you do not need to take the GRE or any other test before applying to the criminal justice program that SEMO offers, you may want to submit your score before the university processes your application. This helps the school see that you can handle more advanced themes and topics and can compensate for any poor grades you might have. This program is only open to students who have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. You'll need to provide an official transcript that lists your GPA at the top and includes a list of all the college classes you took.

Writing a letter of intent is another requirement for applying to this program. A letter of intent declares that you want to attend Southeast Missouri State University and lays out some of the reasons why you selected that particular university. You must also supply a writing sample. The university gives you the option of submitting a paper that you wrote in one of your classes or a new sample that you created. This sample should focus on some topic within criminology. SEMO asks that you submit the online application and pay the $30 fee. You'll also need to show proof that you are an American citizen/resident such as a driver's license or passport.

Tuition and Financial Aid

When you add in the fees charged by the university, the cost of attending SEMO is around $297 per credit as a Missouri resident. The application asks for your current address, which can determine if you qualify for this rate. You may need to present proof to the university that you established residency in the state within the last year to qualify for the lower rate. All other students pay a rate of $524 per credit hour. If you decide to enroll in the online CJ program, you'll pay $325 per credit hour. This rate applies to all students including current residents.

Whether you take all classes online or just a portion of classes online, you should still see if you qualify for any financial aid. SEMO requires that you file the FAFSA and use its specific school code on that form. Most students find out within four to six weeks of submitting the FAFSA whether they qualify for any financial aid. Graduate students usually qualify for more loans than grants, but they can use both traditional loans from the government and alternative student loans from private lenders.

Master of Science Criminal Justice

You do not need an undergrad degree in criminal justice to enroll in the university's Master of Science Criminal Justice program, but it is helpful to take behavior science classes as an undergrad. This is a joint program offered by SEMO with help from Missouri Southern State University. The colleges designed the program to last for just six semesters. As a full-time student, you will take four semesters of work during the regular school year and take classes over two summer sessions. U.S. News & World Report ranked this as one of the best criminal justice programs in the nation. You must take 18 credits of required courses, six credits of criminal justice electives and six credits from other disciplines. The program's required classes include overview of the criminal justice system, ethics in criminal justice, civil law and liability and statistical analysis in criminal justice.

Related Resource: Top 30 Affordable Online Master's in Criminology Programs

Electives help you narrow down your field of study and learn more about the practical issues you will confront in the field. Those courses can include crime and criminal justice policy, death penalty in America and restorative justice. SEMO lets online students choose how they want to gain more experience before finishing the program. Those who pick the internship option will work with the university to find an organization to work with in their own cities. Southeast Missouri State University also allows criminal justice students to take a capstone class, take a comprehensive final exam or do a thesis.