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CDCR, CSU Dominguez Hills partner to offer Master’s Degree program

SACRAMENTO –The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is partnering with California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) to offer a groundbreaking master’s degree program beginning in fall 2023.

The program, called HUX, offers a Master of Arts in Humanities. It will be the first time CDCR formally partners with California’s public higher education system to offer a graduate degree to incarcerated students.

Research shows that higher education reduces recidivism and provides a pathway for good paying jobs upon release. This opportunity will allow incarcerated students to further their learning and meet their rehabilitative goals.

“CDCR is proud to partner with CSUDH to further the Department’s commitment in expanding ‘grade school to grad school’ opportunities and also strengthen collaborative efforts with California’s public higher education system,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber. “These efforts are vital, as education serves as a powerful rehabilitative tool – studies show that incarcerated individuals who participate in correctional education are 48% less likely to return to prison within three years than those who didn’t take advantage of these opportunities.”

CSUDH President Thomas A. Parham echoed the importance of providing advanced learning opportunities in correctional settings: “Transforming lives is what we do at CSUDH. Our mission is firmly anchored in social justice, and HUX reaffirms our commitment to providing accessible, transformative education. This historic partnership between California State University and CDCR benefits students—and ultimately their families and communities—by distinguishing between what people did and who they are at the core of their being, and recognizing their potential, cultivating their talents, and preparing them to thrive in their paths moving forward,” said Parham.

On April 23, 2023, CSUDH and CDCR entered into an interagency agreement, allowing the HUX program to take place within the California state prison system’s infrastructure. This signing marked a formal dedication to this highly collaborative effort.

Under the new agreement, any incarcerated person within CDCR can apply for HUX if they have already obtained a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have earned a grade point average of at least 2.5 in past coursework.

Before the agreement, students pursuing a graduate degree would have to do so completely independently, via correspondence college, through out-of-state institutions.

How HUX works

The first HUX cohort will begin in fall of 2023 and will include 33 students. Students will commit to two years of coursework, focusing on subjects within the field of humanities that reflects their own interests and goals. Current areas of study consist of:

  • Religion, Morality and Spirituality
  • Perspectives on Punishment
  • Urban Development
  • Expanding Horizons

Students work independently, completing coursework through secure laptops. Additionally, CSUDH professors will work 1-1 with students through video call and/or written correspondence to discuss material and help in coursework completion. Whenever possible, professors will bring together students in the program for discussions and collaborative work through written correspondence or video.

Tuition for HUX is approximately $10,500 and must be paid for by the student and/or their support persons. In some instances, the California Department of Rehabilitation will cover any assistance not covered by comparable benefits. Support persons of the student may also work with the college’s financial aid office to stay attuned to cost-saving opportunities such as scholarships and grants. Additionally, CSUDH accepts donations to go towards tuition for incarcerated students enrolled in HUX.

The HUX Master’s degree is fully accredited and equivalent to earning the same degree in person.

CDCR’s ‘grade school to grad school’ commitment

CDCR partners with California’s public higher education system to offer associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the California community colleges, the California State University, and the University of California. About 13.5% of the entire incarcerated population are enrolled in college courses. HUX expands the partnership to include the master’s degree, providing increased opportunity for incarcerated students to continue their education.

History of CSUDH’s HUX program

CSUDH first established HUX in 1974. HUX is a joint project of the College of Continuing and Professional Education and the College of Arts and Humanities. Its combination of subject-matter breadth and affordability helped it become one of the most popular and accessible humanities-based graduate degrees in the U.S. Hundreds of incarcerated students have attended the program from its implementation until 2016, when the program ended due to declining enrollment. In 2020, CSUDH rebooted HUX, resuming its mission to help incarcerated people pursue their academic goals with support from CDCR.