Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Dr. James McCutcheon, Coordinator of Graduate Studies

The Program

The graduate program of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which is part of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, seeks to serve students who are interested in the criminal justice system, with a focus on those who seek careers in this area. Faculty conduct research and participate in program development relevant to the many different facets of criminology and criminal justice. A significant emphasis of the program is on developing partnerships with policymakers, program developers, and other community groups.

The graduate program provides students with a solid foundation of knowledge about criminology and criminal justice. The required course work provides students with the skills necessary for conducting and evaluating research. Graduate students have the opportunity to learn in both classroom and community settings and to work closely with faculty in all facets of research.

The objectives of the program are to provide students with an understanding of criminological principles, theories, and concepts, as well as an appreciation for the significance of social justice in public policy decisions. The program also strives to assist students in the development of critical analytical and research skills to prepare them for professional careers in the field of criminal justice.

To be considered for admission, the applicant should:

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

  • Have earned a grade point average of at least 3.00 on a scale of 4.00.

  • Achieved a score of 290 on the GRE. More information on the GRE can be found here

  • Submit a statement of purpose for graduate study in Criminology and Criminal Justice (two pages, double-spaced).

  • Submit a resume or CV.

  • Submit two letters of recommendation.

The graduate coordinfator will review the applicant and make a decision on whether the materials meet the above standard to accept. All application material should be received by July 1 (for Fall admission) and November 1 (for Spring admission) and should be uploaded electronically through the Graduate School website portal. Any student planning to pursue a Graduate Assistantship should apply by March 15 in the Fall semester and October 1 for the Spring semester to receive full consideration.

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Current and Prospective Students

  • To access the thesis declaration form, click here.
  • For information on attending an academic conference while enrolled in the program, click here.
  • Meet the graduate students! A current list of our graduate students can be found here.

Program Requirements

  • A total of 33 semester hours of graduate work is required.

  • Up to 3 hours of thesis coursework will be counted toward the degree upon the completion and defense of the thesis. Students writing a thesis will have a thesis committee with no fewer than three members. 

  • Satisfactory completion of the following core curriculum (15 hours):

    • SUAP 7100 Public Policy Statistics

    • CJUS 7100 Criminal Justice Administration: Programs and Policies

    • CJUS 7128 Research Methods in Criminal Justice

    • CJUS 7161 Intervention Strategies: Changing Organizations and Communities

    • CJUS 7541 Criminological Theory: Causes of Crime

  • A minimum of 27 hours of coursework at the 7000 level, including thesis hours.

  • Up to nine hours of coursework may be taken outside the department with prior approval of the graduate coordinator.

  • Students will be allowed no more than six hours of credit toward the degree in non-classroom courses. Thesis hours will not count toward this six hour limit.

  • Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive examination covering the major areas of criminology and criminal justice.

Retention Requirements

All students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.00. Should the student's GPA fall below that mark, a period of one semester will be allowed to correct the deficiency. At the discretion of the chair, the coordinator of graduate studies, and the Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, this period may be extended one additional semester.

Any student receiving a grade of D or F in a required course in the core curriculum will be terminated from the program.