Graduate / Program Overview

MA in Criminal Justice

If you are interested in earning a master’s degree, we offer a 30-credit (10 courses) program. It is often possible to complete the program in two years. Students also have the option of completing a master's thesis and using the thesis in place of two classes.

We currently have three courses that are core requirements. These are


  • CJ8101 Decision Making in Criminal Justice
    CJ8102 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CJ8106 Theories of Crime and Deviance

In addition, students can either 1) take seven more elective classes (of which at least two must be from the criminal justice department) or 2) can choose the thesis option, involving five more elective classes and the submission of a supervised Masters thesis.


It is possible to complete the MA in Criminal Justice in two years, though part-time students usually take longer. All we require from part-time students is that they maintain continuous enrollment (if you want to take a break, you can simply enroll in a single credit), and that students understand that a number of our graduate classes are scheduled during the day with few graduate offerings in the evening.

PhD program

The Ph.D. program is designed to produce criminal justice scholars who will provide the future leadership for the field in academia, private and governmental research agencies, and policy level positions in criminal justice and related organizations.

The coursework component of the PhD is a minimum of 48 credit hours (16 x 3 credit hour classes). Advance standing of up to 30 credit hours is available for students who have earned a Masters prior to starting the PhD program. For PhD students, we require the same core classes as the MA plus two additional core requirements. The core courses for the PhD program are therefore:

  • CJ8101 Decision Making in Criminal Justice (not required again if taken at MA level)
  • CJ8102 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (not required again if taken at MA level)
  • CJ8104 Law and Social Order (not required again if taken at MA level)
  • CJ8105 Fundamental Statistical Issues in Analysis of Criminal Justice Data (not required again if taken at MA level)
  • CJ8106 Theories of Crime and Deviance (not required again if taken at MA level)
  • CJ8302 Advanced Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CJ8305 Advanced Statistical Issues in Criminal Justice Data

We also require a further 9 courses to complete the 16 course (48 credit hours) taught component of the doctoral program. On completion of the required 48 credit hours (16 courses) students should also expect to complete a number of dissertation-related requirements, and that the PhD is usually completed with a total of about 60 credit hours. The additional requirements for the program include a research paper, successfully passing the preliminary examinations, an acceptable dissertation prospectus, and of course successfully defending the final requirement, a doctoral dissertation!

If you come into our program with a Masters degree from another institution, we may be able to grant you 30 credits of advance standing to your PhD, thus significantly reducing your route to a PhD. If you have a Masters degree and therefore think you might qualify for advance standing, please click here for details of our advance standing requirements.

Otherwise, Next page >> find out about the application process.