Welcome to the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology

The School of Criminal Justice and Criminology (SCJC) at UA Little Rock is Arkansas’s flagship program in its discipline. Across all degree programs, the School provides students with the intellectual and practical skills that they need to become successful and socially responsible professionals. Our programs are led by outstanding scholars who approach the study of crime and justice with a unique blend of research and practice.

Our faculty and students work and learn together to:

  • Improve the criminal justice system
  • Address and solve pressing issues related to crime
  • Develop cutting-edge research and theory
  • Prepare the next generation of criminal justice professionals

Explore Our Five Degree Programs

Associate of Science (AS) in Law Enforcement

The Associate of Science in Law Enforcement is a two-year degree program that provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career and promotional opportunities in law enforcement. Courses are designed to teach students about the criminal justice system, policing background and processes, legal system, critical thinking, and communication skills that are often necessary to be effective in law enforcement. This program requires 60 hours of coursework. Credits earned for the associate’s degree may be applied to the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice is designed for students pursuing careers in law enforcement, corrections, and juvenile and adult courts. We offer this degree online and on campus. This 120-hour degree program approaches the study of crime and justice with a unique blend of research and practice. The criminal justice major will explore topics in administration, criminal behavior, and a variety of correctional and criminal issues. The courses are taught by outstanding scholars who make major contributions in the community and in their discipline.

Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a professionally oriented terminal Master’s degree offered completely online. It provides students with advanced academic training, special expertise in advanced issues within the criminal justice system, supervisory and administrative proficiency, and the methodological and statistical skills necessary to understand research and new developments in criminal justice. Graduates of this program will gain applied knowledge enabling them to rise toward the highest levels in criminal justice organizations. Courses for the M.S. in criminal justice are offered in an accelerated format. Students can expect to complete the 36-hour program in 2 years (4 semesters).

For information about our graduate programs, contact our Graduate Coordinator Dr. Robert Lytle.

Master of Arts (MA) in Criminal Justice

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice prepares graduates for positions of responsibility in the criminal justice system and related areas, facilitates the professional and intellectual development of in-service students, and provides foundation work for those planning careers in research or teaching. The curriculum provides a distinctive melding of professionally structured knowledge and the ethical imperatives of criminal justice in a constitutional democracy.

For information about our graduate programs, contact our Graduate Coordinator Dr. Robert Lytle.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Criminal Justice

The primary goal of the Ph.D. program is to develop scholars in the field of criminology and criminal justice. Graduates will be prepared to assume the role of professors at universities or as researchers in criminal justice agencies and other institutions. Scholarship requires a commitment to understanding research methodologies and statistical applications relative to exploring and understanding criminal justice-related issues. The program focuses on developing high-quality research and teaching skills while fostering independent thinkers and professionals who have a strong commitment to service at all levels of the Academy.

For information about our Ph.D. program, contact our Graduate Coordinator Dr. Robert Lytle.


Research in the Rock

Congratulations to Dr. Tusty ten Bensel and Dr. Robert (Bob) Lytle on their recent National Science Foundation (NSF) grant award. Through this grant, they will examine the context and incidence of anti-Muslim sentiment, ranging from prejudice to hate crimes, through a combination of interviews and surveys over the next three years. This study will specifically focus on the perceptions of Muslims in Arkansas who have been the target of discrimination, harassment, or interpersonal crime, along with the impacts such behaviors have on victims. In addition, this grant also includes funding for 30 undergraduate students to participate in the design, implementation, analysis and reporting of this project. Students who are interested in criminal justice and graduate education will be selected from a nationwide pool of applicants to work with various SCJC faculty members on this project over eight summer weeks.


The Arkansas Department of Corrections awarded faculty at the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology a multi-year contract ($453,000) to examine prison culture and climate. This project is being led by Dr. Mary Parker who has worked with the Arkansas Department of Corrections for over 20+ years. Dr. Parker is joined by Drs. Robert Lytle and Molly Smith.  To describe the study, Dr. Parker said that “we are one of the few large-scale projects that include visitors and volunteers,” Parker said. “Families are a critical dynamic to incarceration and adding their perspective to the study gives us invaluable information on the impact of incarceration on friends and families of those incarcerated. Most people do not realize it but hundreds of volunteers work in prison providing religious programming, therapy groups, dog training, meditation, etc. for the inmate population. We will be surveying a sample of this population to gain their perspectives on what we can do better in our individual prison to improve multiple dynamics of the culture in prison.”

Read more about the research that our faculty and students are engaged in, along with their work in the community.