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. Attention is centered on:
- Dissemination and analysis of behavioral science knowledge pertaining to criminal justice;
- Understanding of police, courts, corrections, prosecution agencies, and criminal-legal profession as integral components of the criminal justice system;
- Leadership and managerial skills appropriate for service in the higher echelons of the criminal justice structure;
- philosophy of criminal justice, emphasizing the importance of individual rights and humane treatment within the structure of the U.S. legal tradition; and,
- knowledge of research and research applications needed to understand and improve the administration of justice.
Requirements for Admission
- A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75 (4.0 scale)
- score of at least 50 on the Miller Analogies Test or 900 on the Graduate Record Examination verbal and quantitative sections
- Transfer Credit: Up to six hours of credit may be transferred into the program, with a limit of 12 hours under unusual circumstances.
The criminal justice degree requires 36 hours, including core hours and a written thesis with oral defense. Before enrolling in graduate classes, students must consult with the program coordinator to develop a program of study.
The thesis, requires research and analysis of a topic in the field. It must demonstrate advanced scholarship, appropriate design, and skills of written expression. A total of six credit hours Criminal Justice 8303 Thesis and Criminal Justice 8301 Thesis Preparation must be completed.
Electives may be taken from criminal justice or from education, gerontology, history, interpersonal and organizational communication, journalism, psychology, public administration, social work, and technical and expository writing.
Courses with grades B or better may not be repeated; grades below C are not accepted in the minimum hours requirement and courses cannot be dropped from the study plan because of low grades. Conditional students must earn grades of at least B in the first 12 hours and may not receive a grade of (I) incomplete.
Requirements for Graduation
- Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved program of study as outlined above
- Successfully complete a written thesis with oral defense
- Students who do not attain a 3.0 GPA within the required hours may complete no more than six additional hours to achieve the GPA.
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Click here to apply for an assistantship in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminology.