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Criminology & Criminal Justice

Master of Science in Criminal Justice


About the Program

The Master of Science Degree provides students with the knowledge and skills required for leadership positions in the criminal justice system and continued study at the doctoral level. The Criminal Justice Graduate Program strongly emphasizes the application of theory and research in executive decision-making, policy development and analysis, and the treatment of offenders. While all graduate students are required to complete core courses, students are allowed to select elective courses that match their individual academic and career interests.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Collect and analyze data to evaluate criminal justice policies and programs
  • Present research proposals and findings to criminal justice professionals 
  • Analyze functions and relations between diverse criminal justice systems
  • Apply social and psychological models of crime and intervention to relevant offender populations


Core courses are designed to help students understand the purpose and function of criminal justice agencies organized under the rubrics of police, courts, and corrections. Students will be able to critically analyze the organizational effectiveness of criminal justice agencies and understand how society comes to define certain behaviors as criminal and how these definitions can be effected by the race, gender, and socio-economic status of the lawmaker, as well as the lawbreaker. Students will have to assess the effectiveness of criminal justice policies and programs through the application of research methods, statistics, and criminological theory and understand the root causes of crime and the effects of social, economic, political, psychological, and biological factors on crime.
Elective courses are designed to allow students to develop knowledge and skills in areas that specifically match their individual academic and career interests. Students desiring a concentration in behavioral sciences and the offender are encouraged to consider courses such as CRM 450, CRM 475, CJ 530, CJ 535, CJ 539, and CJ 560. Students desiring a concentration in organizational functioning are encouraged to consider courses such as CJ 525, CJ 540, CJ 575, and CJ 580.
The capstone project is an original piece of research conducted by the student and completed under the supervision of a faculty advisor.


Admission to the Master of Science degree program in Criminal Justice is made on a competitive basis two times per year. Applications for the fall semester must be completed and received by June 1. Applications for the spring semester must be completed and received by November 1. The number of students accepted in any semester is dependent on available openings in the program, which may fluctuate from semester to semester.
Applicants will be notified by June 30 (for fall admission) and December 30 (for spring admission) regarding acceptance decisions. Some applicants who are not accepted into the program may be put on a waiting list. Applicants on the waiting list may be admitted as additional openings in the program become available. Applicants accepted into the program will be contacted and asked to confirm their intentions to enter the program.
Newly admitted applicants who do not register for courses risk losing a spot in courses because enrollment may be made available to students on the waiting list.
In addition to standard University graduate admission requirements, the department requires:

  1.  A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  2. One undergraduate social science research methods course with a grade of "C" or better
  3. One undergraduate elementary statistics course with a grade of "C" or better
  4. A formal application essay that focuses on (a) academic and work history, (b) reasons for pursuing graduate studies on criminal justice, and (c) future career goals 
  5. Resume

Consideration in the admissions process is given to selecting applicants from diverse areas of the criminal justice field (e.g., law enforcement, corrections, alternative sanctions, treatment and rehabilitation, and analysis). Students who do not meet these requirements may request consideration for admission with special requirements. No students may register for graduate-level criminal justice courses without first being admitted to the program.

The Application Process involves two steps:

  1.  Visit the School of Graduate Studies page and apply online, then
  2. Submit your essay and resume to Dr. Reginald Simmons, head of graduate studies for the Criminal Justice Department