Admissions – Master of Arts 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.

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;
  • Knowledge of research and research applications needed to understand and improve the administration of justice.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale)
  • There are a series of questions in the Graduate School Application required for this program (see below)
  • One letter of recommendation
    • Send all letters to your graduate application processor. If your last name in the application starts with A-K, send to If your last name in the application starts with L-Z, send to
      We are waiving the GRE/MAT testing requirements at this time.
  • MAT/GRE scores are currently waived for the M.A. in Criminal Justice

Questions to Be Answered on the Graduate School Application

Please be prepared to answer these questions on the Graduate School Application. If you do not see these questions on the application, please contact the Graduate Coordinator at for these questions.

  1. Why are you pursuing this degree in the field of criminal justice? Please describe the reason(s) you are pursuing this degree and/or any experiences that influenced this decision.
  2. What is your specific area of interest within the field of criminal justice? What topic(s) are you most excited to learn more about, teach, and/or research?
  3. What skills and opportunities do you hope to gain from earning this degree?
  4. How has your prior experience (e.g., personal, professional, volunteer, research, teaching) and education prepared you for this degree program?
  5. What are your career goals? How do you plan to use this degree after you graduate?
  6. Why do you want to pursue a graduate degree in criminal justice at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock? What about the program, faculty, department, and/or university make this program a good fit for you?
  7. Would you like to be considered for a graduate assistantship? Graduate assistants are funded to work 20 hours a week assisting faculty primarily in research activities. Please note that assistantships are limited and not guaranteed.

Admission Deadlines

Fall Application Deadline for MA is May 1st
Spring Application Deadline for MA is October 15th

Decisions on Graduate Assistants will begin on February 15
If you wish to be considered for funding, please submit your completed application packet to the Graduate School by January 10th.

General Requirements

The master’s 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.

Graduation Requirements

  • 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.