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Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The UHD Department of Criminal Justice currently offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree with a major in Criminal Justice. This degree will help UHD graduates provide leadership, critical thinking, and knowledge in the areas of:

  • Criminological theory
  • Program evaluation
  • Criminal justice administration

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Criminal Justice 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 community needs.

Research methods and statistical analysis are central elements in the curriculum.

  • Students are expected to generate unique research questions to 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 understand how these decisions benefit both the agency and community at large.

Program Description

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

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

Students will demonstrate knowledge of these content areas and skills through course work, Criminal Justice projects, and thesis (optional).

The Master of Science (MS) degree requires:

  • A minimum of 36 semester hours
  • Students have a thesis or project option
  • All students must complete eighteen (18) hours of core classes
  • Project students complete a three (3) hour project capstone class and fifteen (15) hours of electives
  • Thesis students complete six (6) hours of thesis and twelve (12) hours of electives
  • Online MSCJ Students are required to complete the Graduate Project and are not eligible for Thesis option
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 for all course work.


Admission to the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program is based on the applicants' academic ability, interests in the criminal justice system, and the personal qualities necessary to successfully complete the program. Further consideration is given to the applicant's ability to positively contribute to the field of criminal justice upon completion of the program.

Applicants to the program must meet the following minimal criteria:

  • Completion of a Bachelor's (including an applied degree) from an accredited university. Applicants without a Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ) may be required to complete additional undergraduate leveling course work as a condition of admission to the program. These leveling courses can include research methods, statistics, and criminology courses. 
  • A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate or graduate study.
  • Applicants whose baccalaureate degree was conferred by a university whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency with a minimum composite score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam as well as a minimal score of 50 on each of the subscales.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals acquainted with the applicant's potential for academic success.
    • ​​Students who have graduated within the previous 5 years, need two of the recommendation ​letters to come from a former professor

Apply today for the Master of Criminal Justice.

Applicants must complete and submit the following documentation to the Office of Admissions prior to the admissions.

  • Letters
  • All Transcripts
  • Application
  • Completion of the MSCJ Essay

Admission Deadlines​​

Fall Deadline

​Spring Deadline

July 31st
December 15th


For additional information contact:
Jace Valcore, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at 713-221-8133 or
Kory Kilgore, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies at 713-221-2714 or

For questions about the Graduate Admissions:
Graduate Admissions Office
713-221-2718 (fax)

One or more documents on this site are in PDF format. In order to view and print these document(s), you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. It can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Updated Fall 2020 Admission Requirements

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, admission materials submitted to UHD graduate programs for Fall 2020 will not require GRE, GMAT test scores or official transcripts until further notice.

​For more information, please visit UHD Graduate Admissions.

Last updated 9/9/2020 9:34 AM