Criminology and Criminal Justice MA Accelerated Master's Degree

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers an Accelerated MA degree program that allows students to simultaneously earn their BS and their MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice in as few as 10 semesters. Students in the Accelerated MA program will complete the MA through coursework; the MA thesis option is not available for Accelerated MA degree program students.

The combined program requires a minimum of 138 credit hours. Students accepted to the Accelerated MA degree program will be permitted to count up to 12 credit hours at the 4000-level or higher toward both the BS and MA degrees; the 4000-level courses will require additional work assigned by the instructor. The remaining 18 credit hours must be at the 5000/6000 level. 

Any 4000-level course taken before admission to the Accelerated MA program will apply only to the undergraduate requirements unless given prior permission from the Graduate School. Students are encouraged to work closely with the Undergraduate and MA Program Directors to ensure that required courses are timed appropriately. It is strongly recommended that students meet with the MA Director as soon as possible and ideally before their Junior year.


Students will need to have fulfilled the core undergraduate curriculum requirements prior to applying for the Accelerated MA program, with the exception of CRIMIN 4390 (Seminar in CCJ).

Admission Requirements

Provisional Admission

Applicants are considered for provisional admission if they meet the following four criteria.

  • Earned 60 hours as an undergraduate
  • Completed the core curriculum requirements for the CCJ major, with the exception of CRIMIN 4390
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 with a B or better in CRIMIN 2220 (Statistics) and CRIMIN 2210 (Research Methods)
  • Have met with both the Undergraduate and MA Directors in CCJ

Seniors who have earned more than 105 credit hours will not be considered for the Accelerated MA degree program. The MA Program Director, in consultation with the Undergraduate Director, will determine whether the student can apply for provisional status. Graduate courses completed by undergraduate students who have been provisionally admitted to Accelerated Master’s program will be charged at the undergraduate tuition rate; however, these courses will count toward the master’s degree. These courses must be approved before the semester starts. Therefore, it is recommended to apply for provisional status as a junior, preferably in the first semester of junior year.

Graduate Admission

Students are considered for formal admission to the graduate school each semester after being granted provisional status. Thus, students should meet with the MA Program Director each semester. Applicants are considered for formal admission if they meet the following four criteria:

  • Earned at least 90 hours as an undergraduate
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 since being granted provisional status
  • Submitted at least one letter of recommendation from an UMSL CCJ professor
  • Submitted to the MA Director a 1–2 page statement of purpose briefly explaining why an advanced degree in criminology and criminal justice is of interest and why the applicant merits serious consideration
  • Have met with the MA Program Director in CCJ

The MA Program Director, in consultation with the Undergraduate Director, will determine whether the student can apply for formal admission. Final decisions concerning formal admission are made by the Graduate Dean in consultation with the Program Director. Students admitted at this stage are conferred graduate status and must continue taking courses with graduate status until the completion of the MA degree. 

Awarding of Degrees

The student must apply for and receive the bachelor’s degree in the semester when all the undergraduate requirements are completed. In that semester, the student must also apply and be admitted to the graduate program, to begin in the semester following the awarding of the undergraduate degree. The student will apply to receive the master’s degree in the semester that the requirements for the graduate degree will be completed.

If the student fails to enroll for more than one year after receiving the bachelor's degree, the student can still earn the master’s degree, but the graduate-level credits earned as an undergraduate cannot be used for the graduate degree.

Program Requirements

Junior/Senior Year Courses
CRIMIN 4390Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice3
Any three 4000-level CRIMIN courses 19
Final Year Courses
CRIMIN 6410Statistical Applications in Criminology and Criminal Justice3
CRIMIN 5415Foundations of Criminological Theory3
CRIMIN 6405Methods3
Any three 6000-level CRIMIN Electives 16

A student must obtain permission from the MA Program Director to take a 4000-level course and 6000-level course as two separate courses when they have the same topic (e.g., CRIMIN 4350 Victimology and CRIMIN 6448 Victimization).