Graduate Catalog
Criminal Justice

Room 311 McCord Hall
(901) 678-2737

Coordinator of Graduate Studies

I. The graduate program in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which is part of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, seeks to serve students who are working or who want to work in the criminal justice system as well as those who wish to conduct research and teach in this area. A significant focus of the graduate program is on developing partnerships between researchers, policymakers, program developers, agency personnel, and other community groups. Through these partnerships, faculty conduct basic and applied research, program development, and evaluation in the many different facets of crime, criminology, and justice.

The graduate program provides students with a solid foundation of knowledge about criminology, victimology, and the criminal justice system. The required course work emphasizes the study of research methods and statistics, providing students with the skills necessary for conducting and evaluating research. Graduate students have the opportunity to learn in both classroom and community settings and to work closely with faculty in all facets of research.

Program objectives are: (1) fundamental understanding of criminological principles, theories, and concepts; (2) development of independent research skills, including data analysis and oral and written communication of research; and (3) competitive for professional positions in the criminal justice field.

 Students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements) as well as the program requirements of the degree being pursued.

II. MA Degree Program

A. Program Admission

Admission to the program is competitive and is not automatic upon meeting minimum departmental admission requirements. Students are selected from the pool of qualified applicants for the program, and the number of students admitted to the program yearly depends on availability of financial aid and adequate faculty supervision. Applicants admitted to the program typically have at least a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, written analytical) are taken into account in the admissions process. All application material should be received by June 1 for a candidate to be considered for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester. Admission for the summer session is not considered.

To be considered for admission, the applicant must:

  1. Possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Have earned a grade point average of at least 3.00 on a scale of 4.00 and achieved an acceptable score on the GRE. The admissions committee reserves the right to make exceptions for candidates presenting special circumstances.
  3. Submit a letter of purpose for graduate study to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Criminology and Criminal Justice that is no more than one typed single-spaced page in length.
  4. Submit two letters of recommendation.

B. Program Requirements

  1. A total of 30 semester hours of graduate work plus the completion and defense of a thesis, or 33 semester hours of graduate work without a thesis with courses taken in both Tool and Foundation Components. NOTE: Students choosing the thesis option should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.
  2. Satisfactory completion of the following core curriculum:
    Tool Component: (9 credit hours)
    CJUS 7128 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
    CJUS 7129 Advanced Statistical Methods in Criminal Justice
    CJUS 7131 Research Practicum in Criminal Justice

    Foundation Component: (12 credit hours)
    CJUS 7100 Criminal Justice Administration: Programs and Policies
    CJUS 7161 Intervention Strategies: Changing Organizations and Communities
    CJUS 7541 Criminological Theory: Causes of Crime
    CJUS 7542 Victimology: Causation, Prevention, and Restorative Justice

  3. Students not previously having successfully completed a statistics course must register for a statistics course from a list approved by the department prior to registering for CJUS 7129, Advanced Statistical Methods in Criminal Justice.
  4. A minimum of 27 hours of coursework at the 7000 level, including thesis hours.
  5. Up to six hours of coursework may be taken outside the department with prior approval of the graduate coordinator.
  6. Students will be allowed no more than six hours of credit toward the degree in non-classroom courses such as internships, individual directed studies, and reading courses.
  7. Satisfactory performance on a comprehensive examination covering the major areas of criminology and criminal justice.

C. Retention Requirements

  1. All students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.00. Should the student’s GPA fall below that mark, a period of one semester will be allowed to correct the deficiency. At the discretion of the chair, the coordinator of graduate studies, and the Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, this period may be extended one additional semester.
  2. Any student receiving a grade of D or F in a required course in the core curriculum will be terminated from the program.


In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:
CJUS 6010-19. Special Topics in Criminal Justice. (1-3). Topics are varied and announced in online course listings.

CJUS 7190-99. Special Topics in Criminal Justice. (3). Systematic and comprehensive examination of important and timely issues and development in the field of criminal justice. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 hours.