Master of Science in Criminal Justice

This is an archived copy of the 2023-2024 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

In 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked our online Master's degree programs #2 in the United States for Criminal Justice.  The online Master of Science program in Criminal Justice is designed primarily for persons, regardless of prior academic or work experience in criminal justice, who are seeking a terminal master's degree and do not intend to continue to the Ph.D. level. The degree program works well for nontraditional students who have full-time jobs because it is available via distance education. Courses are sequenced so that students can complete the degree in no more than two years, including summer semesters, but may be able to do so in less time. The degree program prepares students to work in various areas of the criminal justice system including, but not limited to, field positions, administration, organizational management, and social services. Students who are potentially interested in applying for the Ph.D. program should apply for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Additional information: Reference the Program Landing Page for additional information, such as cost, delivery format, contact information, or to schedule a visit.

Applications to the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program are on a rolling basis, where the fall semester deadline is August 1, and the spring semester deadline is November 1.

Please submit all documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Admission considerations include:

  1. Graduate application
  2. Application fee
  3. Official transcripts of all academic coursework previously undertaken, including an undergraduate degree from an accredited academic institution in criminal justice or an allied field.
  4. GPA of 3.0 or higher
  5. Official GRE scores may be requested to demonstrate graduate study readiness if the GPA is low.
  6. Three letters of recommendation preferably from undergraduate professors referencing the applicant’s ability to perform graduate work.
  7. A personal essay regarding career background and goals
  8. International students ONLY: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)--a minimum score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based) is required

A review of each student’s application file will be completed with admission offered on a competitive basis.

The MS in Criminal Justice does not require a thesis; however, the student must complete a capstone course (CRIJ 6388) in their final semester with a grade of B or better to satisfy the University’s comprehensive exam requirement. Students should seek advisement from the Criminal Justice Graduate Admissions Coordinator in planning a course of study. The Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice is a 36-hour degree

Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Required Courses
CRIJ 5330Critical Analys Of Justice Adm3
CRIJ 6333Seminar In Org & Administratn3
CRIJ 6334Resrch Mthd & Quantve Analysis3
CRIJ 6336Comp/Tech Applications For CJ3
or CRIJ 6387 The Ethics Of Criminal Justice
CRIJ 6365Comm Theory & Admin Of Justice3
CRIJ 6388Emergent Issues In CJ Leadrshp 13
CRIJ 6392Program Evaluation In CJ3
Select five 5000-6000 level graduate courses in CRIJ15
Total Hours36

A grade of B or better in CRIJ 6388 is required for graduation.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MS in Criminal Justice is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • Communication.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Understanding of social issues.
  • Problem solving.
  • Team work.