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The Department of Criminal Justice offers a Master of Science (MS) degree with a major in Criminal Justice. The master's degree is designed to prepare graduates of the program to provide leadership, critical thinking, and knowledge in the areas of criminological theory, program evaluation, and criminal justice administration. The curriculum provides for the development of skills in criminal justice planning, implementation, and evaluation to ensure that the management and administration of the criminal justice system is effective, efficient, and responsive to the needs of the community.

Research methods and statistical analysis are central elements in the curriculum. Students are expected to generate unique research questions which assist the criminal justice community in evaluating its effectiveness. Students are encouraged to bring ecologically valid research questions from the criminal justice agencies in the area and incorporate the question into their academic pursuits. It is through these types of experiences that the Department forges cooperative relationships between the University and the criminal justice community. This relationship provides practitioners with an opportunity to evaluate management and programming decisions and how they benefit the agency and community at large.

Program Description

Students graduating with an MS in Criminal Justice will be expected to demonstrate competency in the following knowledge content areas:

  • Criminological Theory
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Research Methodology
  • Policy Analysis

Additionally, students graduating with an MS in Criminal Justice will be expected to demonstrate competency in the following thinking skills:

  • Analytical Skills
  • Research Skills
  • Computer Proficiency
  • Problem-Solving Strategies¬†

Demonstration of these content areas and skills is expected through course work, CJ project, and thesis (optional).

Graduate Degree Requirements

The degree requires a minimum of 36 semester hours. Students have a thesis or project option. All students complete 18 hours of core classes. Project students complete a 3 hour project capstone class and 15 hours of electives. Thesis students complete 6 hours of thesis and 12 hours of electives.

Core Classes (18 hours):  
CJ 6310
Issues in Criminal Justice
CJ 6320
Research Design and Methods
CJ 6321
Quantitative Analysis in Criminal Justice
CJ 6330
Advanced Criminology
CJ 6340
Administration in Criminal Justice
CJ 6350 Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
Project Course (3 hours):
CJ 6301 Criminal Justice Project
Thesis Courses (6 hours):  
CJ 6390 Thesis I
CJ 6391 Thesis II
MSCJ Electives  
(15 hours for Project)
Project students select any five additional classes at the 6000 level.
(12 hours for Thesis) Thesis students select any four additional classes at the 6000 level.

A minimum GPA of 3.0 for all course work is required.


Questions about the Graduation Admissions

Graduate Admissions Office
(713)221-2718 (fax)

Last updated or reviewed on 6/10/14

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