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.

Expected Learning Outcomes

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.

Develop a comprehensive understanding of interdisciplinary underpinnings (e.g., from sociology, psychology, political science, economics) of criminology and criminal justice issues and policies.

Develop critical thinking and communication skills through the application of criminological theory and social science research methods.

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.

Develop comprehensive understanding of the role of research and its application for informing policies about criminal justice issues.

Application Requirements Graduate Assistantships

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 30 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 (9 hours)

Nine 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

A student selecting the thesis option must complete the 12 hours of required coursework and 9 hours of seminar coursework. Six of the remaining 9 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 the graduate program director.

MA Thesis Expectations

Students who wish to pursue the MA without a thesis must complete 30 hours of coursework, including 12 hours of required coursework, 9 hours of seminar coursework, and 9 hours of elective coursework.

For additional information, please email ccjgraduate@umsl.edu, or Dr. Elaine Doherty, Director of Graduate Studies at dohertye@umsl.edu.