The Department of Sociology offers a Master’s of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.The program provides training in fundamentals of the criminal justice system and criminological theory, as well as provides foundational training in research methods and statistics. Students may tailor their programs through their selected electives, curricula tracks, and choice of one of three completion options.

Option 1: Comprehensive Examination (and preparation).

For students already working in criminal justice professions, the comprehensive examination may be an ideal culminating experience.The exam assesses the student’s knowledge of and ability to evaluate key topics and issues in criminology and criminal justice. It tests the student’s understanding and proficiency in the material covered in the core courses as well as in each student’s specific elective courses completed.This written exam provides an overarching assessment of the student’s knowledge of criminology and criminal justice.

The comprehensive examination is offered by announcement near the end of the fall semester, and students will enroll for their 6 credit hours of examination preparation during the semester they intend to take the examination. Students must have completed all of the required core courses before they may seek to take the comprehensive; the exam is taken during student’s final semester in the program. Students are provided with a reading list that covers core topics. The examination committee will consist of at least three faculty members who participate in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program. A majority of examination committee members must evaluate the exam as a “pass” in order for students to successfully complete this option.

Option 2: Internship and accompanying paper/report.

For the student seeking an initial placement in or seeking a change in criminal justice professions, the internship may serve as an ideal culminating experience.The student works with his/her advisor to identify and design an internship placement in one of a variety of agencies (e.g., local, state, or federal juvenile justice or criminal justice agencies). He/she works with his/her advisor to gain placement and to specify the nature of the internship paper/report.The internship may be full or part-time, depending on the agency involved.

The internship and accompanying placement occurs in the student’s final semester in the program, although identification of an internship agency and necessary arrangements should be made during the semester prior to the actual placement. Successful completion of this culminating experience will involve a) evaluation of success by the internship supervisor at the placement agency; and, b) acceptance by the faculty advisor of the student’s internship paper/report.

Option 3: M.S. thesis.

For those students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, the thesis option is the recommended culminating experience. The thesis is an independent research project that is completed by the student in the last phases of his/her Master’s program. It represents an original contribution to criminological and/or criminal justice knowledge. Students pursuing this option must recruit and enlist a thesis committee, which consists of three members, two of whom (including the chairperson) must be faculty members in the Department of Sociology. The third member is selected from outside of the Department. Once a thesis committee is established, the student must complete and verbally defend a written thesis proposal. The thesis proposal introduces and describes the project’s focus, reviews the relevant scholarly research, and states the research questions and/or hypotheses to be addressed. Proposals for empirical projects must also describe the data and relevant designs and procedures.After the thesis proposal has been formally defended and accepted by the student’s committee, he/she may begin the project. The final written thesis must successfully be verbally defended and submitted per the guidelines of the Graduate School.

There is no language requirement for the M.S. degree.

Admission Requirements

Students are evaluated for admission based on a holistic assessment of the following requirements. Students must submit :

  1. A statement of purpose.
    1. In this personal statement applicants detail their reasons for pursuing the degree, both in general and in our program specifically. The statement   will help evaluate applicants’ writing abilities as well as fit with our program.
  2. Transcripts from all academic institutions attended.
    1. Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended must be submitted.  Transcripts should show that students attained a minimum of 3.0 in the last 60 credits of upper division undergraduate coursework and/or 3.0 in graduate coursework. Applicants with lower averages may be admitted to the Certificate program.
  3. Letters of recommendation.
    1. At least three letters of recommendation must be submitted.  These should be positive and strongly indicate that the applicant has the aptitude and stamina necessary to successfully complete a graduate degree.
  4. GRE scores.
    1. A minimum GRE score of 950 (or a combined 294 on the revised Test) is necessary for admission to the M.S. program. Applicants with lower scores may be admitted to the Certificate program.  The GRE requirement may be waived for applicants based on a) Five or more years of relevant professional experience or b) Prior degree in related field/area.

Academic Standing

Graduate students are expected to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 overall GPA in all coursework.  Should the average fall below that minimum in a semester, the student will be notified and will work with his/her advisor to rectify the performance issues.  If the student has a second consecutive semester with an average overall GPA below 3.0, he/she will be placed on academic probation.  Three semesters of below average performance may result in suspension from the program in accordance with guidelines for the University’s Graduate School.

Curriculum Requirements

Core Requirements
SOC 609Social Statistics3
SOC 610Advanced Research Methods3
SOC 670Theories in Criminology and Criminal Justice3
SOC 673The Criminal Justice System3
SOC 677Criminology and Public Policy3
Additional Requirements
Choose one of the following:
Comprehensive Examination and Preparation
Internship and Accompanying Paper
M.S. Thesis for PH.D. Program Oriented Students
Completion Track
Choose 6 credits from one of the following tracks:6
Research and Statistics
Program Evaluation
Lifestyle and Career Counseling
Structural Equation Modeling
Advanced Sociological Statistical Analysis I
Qualitative Research Methods
Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Systems I
Geographic Information Systems II
Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
Substantive Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure Adjuducation
Public Administration
Introduction to Graduate Public Administration
Public Policy Analysis and Administration
Human Resource Management in Public Service
Managing Through People
Total Credit Hours30