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Master's Program

CCJ ranked #4 in NationAdmission Requirements
Application (Priority deadline April 1st. Applications submitted after April 1st will be considered for admission on a rolling basis.)
Financial Aid and Awards
Required Courses
Evaluation of Good Standing and Progress
Non-Thesis Option
Preparation for Graduation

The department offers a Master of Arts degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, which provides students with advanced theoretical and methodological training for research and management careers in criminal justice.

It is imperative that you read this document thoroughly. Should you not find information you need on this page or links on this page, please email

Admission Requirements

The minimum GPA for regular admission to graduate study is 3.0 on a 4-point scale and students are expected to begin their course of study in the Fall semester. Admission is competitive.


***Priority deadline April 1st. Applications submitted after April 1st will be considered for admission on a rolling basis.***

Students must indicate on their application that they are requesting admission to the MA program. Graduate degrees are conferred by The Graduate School on the recommendation of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice; therefore, students are expected to be familiar with the requirements of The Graduate School in the latest Bulletin.

To consider an applicant for admission, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice must have the following:

Personal statement, unofficial transcripts, and letters of recommendation can be submitted through the online application system.  They can also be emailed to and

GRE scores are not required but may enhance the strength of the application.

Official transcripts and test scores should be mailed to:
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Graduate Admissions Office
121 Woods Hall
One University Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63121-4400 

International students whose native language is not English are required to submit scores from the TOEFL examination unless they qualify for one of the exemptions listed here:

International students should consult the International Student Services website for transcript requirements:

For priority admission, applicants should make certain that the Office of Graduate Admissions has all required materials in advance of the admission deadline, April 1st. Applications submitted after April 1st will be considered for admission on a rolling basis. Applicants are informed of admission decisions by mail from the Graduate School.

Click here for general Application Information

Click here to submit an Application Online

Click here for information regarding International Students

Financial Aid and Awards

Teaching and research assistantships are sometimes available for MA students.  The amount of funding varies from year to year, so we are unable to tell you what is available prior to your application.  We consider everyone for funding at the time of application - please see the assistantship information and application. We also offer the Longinette Scholarship to enrolled students.

Admission to the MA Program

Following notification of admission and receipt of registration materials, new students are eligible to register for classes. Before registration, the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will mail a set of materials to new students naming faculty advisors and stating how to register.

Click here for more information pertaining to After you have been Accepted


The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) is faculty advisor to new MA students. S/he provides information on issues such as requirements, course selection, and prerequisites. The current DGS is Dr. Elaine Doherty.

Students shall make an appointment with their advisor before their scheduled registration time. Prior to that meeting, students should review the recommended schedule of required courses (described below) and the Schedule of Classes. Students who have not had undergraduate training in statistics (the equivalent of CRIMIN 2220) should consult with their advisor before enrolling in an appropriate course as preparation for CRIMIN 6410.

Master's Degree Course Requirements

The Master's program is designed to provide students with a command of criminological knowledge and analytical skills. The proficiency of students and their ability to work independently are assessed through course grades.

The MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice requires the completion of 33 credit hours, at least 21 of which are required to be in courses housed in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Twelve of these hours represent the core of the curriculum. Students may choose between a thesis and non-thesis course of study. Students whose cumulative GPAs fall below 3.0 after 9 or more hours of will be placed on probation and given one semester to raise their cumulative GPAs to at least the 3.0 threshold.

Required Coursework (21 hours)
5415, Foundations of Criminological Theory (3; core)
6400, Proseminar: Criminology and Criminal Justice (3; core)
6405, Methods (3; core)
6410, Statistics (3; core)
Three additional Criminology and Criminal Justice courses at the 6000 level (9; non-core)

Electives (12 hours)
Twelve elective hours of coursework are required; some or all of these credits may be earned in Criminology and Criminal Justice 6000 level seminars not counted toward the 21 hour requirement. Students may take a maximum of two 4000-level courses in partial fulfillment of this requirement but they must have the prior approval of the Graduate Committee. All electives taken outside the College of Arts and Sciences also must receive prior approval of the Graduate Committee.

Click here for the MA course worksheet

Course Descriptions
The Bulletin describes undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses offered at the University. For more detailed information on course content, students should consult the professors teaching the courses (as listed in the Schedule of Classes). Most graduate courses are offered in the evenings.

Course Loads
The normal full-time course load for a regular semester is between six and twelve hours. For an eight-week summer session, the maximum course load is six hours. Students admitted on a part-time basis should consult with the DGS for relevant conditions and requirements.


Students should register online through MyView. If you have problems registering, please contact the Registrar's Office, (314) 516-5545 or, Room 269 Millennium Student Center.

SPECIAL CONSENT COURSE: If “Consent of instructor” is indicated in the Schedule of Courses, you may NOT register for the course without a Permission Number. You may obtain the permission number from the department offering the course.

Registration Checklist

Pre-Registration for Continuing Students
Shortly after the midpoint of each semester, the Schedule of Classes that lists course offerings for the following semester should be available on MyView. Continuing students should schedule a meeting with their faculty advisor for approval to enroll in proposed courses. Registration is not complete until all University fees are paid.

Entering a Course in Progress
Students wishing to enter a course in progress must have the approval of the instructor, their adviser, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Only under exceptional circumstances may students enter courses after the first week of the semester.

Dropping a Course
Students may drop courses before the end of the fourth week of a regular semester or the second week of the summer session without receiving grades. At the end of this period and until the end of 12 weeks (or from the third through the sixth week of the Summer session), students may withdraw from courses with "Excused" grades providing they are passing the course and have the approval of the instructor, their advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Otherwise, a grade of F is given. Students who stop attending classes without officially dropping courses also receive grades of F.

Transferring Graduate Credit

Transfer courses are evaluated for acceptance on a case-by-case basis subject to the rules and regulations of the Graduate School. A maximum of 11 credit hours of graduate work at another institution may be accepted as transfer credits. Potential transfer courses must have been completed within an accredited graduate program and within a six-year period ending with the granting of the MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice. A transfer course with a grade less than a "B" cannot be accepted.

Evaluation of Good Standing and Progress

Students are expected to complete course work and other degree requirements in a timely manner.

Completing Courses on Time
Students should avoid delayed grades. It is up to the discretion of the instructor whether or not to submit a delayed grade. A history of delayed grades indicates an inability to handle a normal workload and jeopardizes good standing and financial aid. Delayed grades must be removed within two semesters after the time recorded or they automatically become failing grades.

Faculty has complete discretion in assigning grades. Point assignments for grades are as follows:
A = 4.0 points
A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3
C = 2.0
C- = 1.7
F = 0.0

The Graduate School does not recognize a "D" grade for a graduate student enrolled in a course carrying graduate credit. According to the regulations of the Graduate School, grades lower than "C-" are recorded as an "F".

Grade Point Average (GPA)
All courses taken at UM-St. Louis for graduate credit figure into the calculation of the overall GPA, including courses that may not be a part of the degree program. However, only those courses included in the degree program GPA must be at least 3.0 (B) for a student to receive a graduate degree.

The department will place a graduate student on probation if their GPA falls below 3.0. The student will be placed on probation for one semester, during which time progress will be reviewed by the departmental committee. After one semester the student will be removed from probation, continued on probation, or dismissed from the program. Letters of probation and letters of the subsequent outcome will be sent directly to the student.

Deadline Extensions
Students may request deadline extensions by consulting with the DGS. The request must include a projected schedule that shows when requirements will be met. Students must be explicit about their reasons for their request. Family and medical leave are the most common reasons for approved extensions of deadlines. Extensions also may be approved for special academic needs such as study abroad.

The Graduate School requires students to complete the MA degree within six years of first course enrollment. Students who do not take any courses over a two-semester period are required to reapply to the program.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop a comprehensive understanding of the theories, methods and substance of issues in criminology and criminal justice and demonstrate an ability to synthesize knowledge in these areas.
  2. Develop a comprehensive understanding of interdisciplinary underpinnings (e.g., from sociology, psychology, political science, economics) of criminology and criminal justice issues and policies.
  3. Develop critical thinking and communication skills through the application of criminological theory and social science research methods.
  4. Develop a comprehensive understanding of the structure and functioning of the fundamental institutions (e.g., legislatures, police, punishment, supervisory) that are part of criminal justice systems.
  5. Develop comprehensive understanding of the role of research and its application for informing policies about criminal justice issues.

The Thesis

The thesis is the preferred option for receipt of the MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice, especially for students planning to continue graduate studies. The thesis committee assists in selecting and developing the research problem and evaluates the student's work on that problem.

A student selecting the thesis option must complete the core course and option course requirements. Six of the remaining 12 credit hours may be granted for thesis research. The six thesis research hours are normally taken in three hour increments over the two successive semesters, immediately preceding graduation, and after course requirements are completed.

A student selecting the thesis option should outline the thesis option early in his/her studies in consultation with members of the graduate faculty. The student also should begin to determine the graduate faculty member of the department who will be asked to serve chair of the student's thesis committee. Two additional UMSL graduate faculty members also serve on the thesis committee, at least one of whom must be a faculty member of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

After the selected faculty has agreed to serve as the thesis committee, the student will prepare a written thesis proposal and submit it to the chairperson of the committee. The thesis committee chair will distribute copies to the other members of the committee for their comments. The chair of the committee will inform the student when the thesis proposal has been accepted.

Thesis research
It is the policy of the University of Missouri that all research projects that involve human subjects shall be subject to review and approval by an appropriate, officially appointed human subjects committee prior to project initiation, and without respect to the source of funding or sponsorship. This policy includes all faculty, staff, and student research regardless of source of support.

Any research, therefore, which involves the use of human subjects, must be approved by the campus Institutional Research Board (IRB) before actual research begins. (The chairperson of the student's thesis committee will assist the student in obtaining the IRB approval of the research project, or the granting of an exemption, which must be granted prior to the start of actual research).

A student engaged exclusively in thesis research during a given term will enroll for one or more hours in CCJ 6498--MA Thesis research. In the term in which the research is to be completed, the student will enroll for as many hours as necessary to complete the department requirement of 33 credit hours. In other words, the degree requirements and the thesis should be completed in the same semester.

Thesis Form
Please see the Graduate School's Thesis Procedures page for guidelines on thesis format.

The Non-Thesis Option

Students who choose to pursue the MA degree without a thesis must complete 33 credit hours of graduate study with a GPA of at least 3.0. The credit hours include the 15 hour core course requirement, and at least 6 hours of option courses. The remaining 12 credit hours may be completed within the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice or in other graduate departments at UMSL. Courses taken in non-residence through a campus exchange program are not allowed during the last semester.

Preparation for Graduation

A graduate student enrolled in a master's degree program is required to file a degree program with the Graduate Office before completing the first half of the number of hours required in the program. The Department requires students to complete the Program for Master's Degree Form (Form M1) after the completion of approximately 21-24 hours of course work. This form should be completed in consultation with the student's advisor and given to the Director of Graduate Studies. If a change is to be made in a degree program after it is filed, the student must file a "Petition for Change in Degree Program" form with the Graduate Office. The same procedure should be followed for the petition.

Students are responsible for seeing that all appropriate forms are submitted on time to the Graduate School. This is especially important during the final semester, as there are several forms and deadlines to assure graduation eligibility.