Criminology and Criminal Justice MA

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.

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.

Degree Requirements

The M.A. 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. 12 of these hours represent the core of the curriculum. Students may choose between a thesis and nonthesis course of study. Students whose cumulative GPAs fall below 3.0 after 9 or more hours of work will be placed on probation and given one semester to raise their cumulative GPAs to at least the 3.0 threshold.

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.

Plan of Study

  • Required Coursework (12 hours)
CRIMIN 5415Foundations of Criminological Theory (core)3
CRIMIN 6400Proseminar (core)3
CRIMIN 6405Methods (core)3
CRIMIN 6410Statistical Applications in Criminology and Criminal Justice (core)3
  • Three additional Criminology and Criminal Justice seminars 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.

Transfer Courses

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 10 credit hours earned at other institutions can be credited toward the UMSL M.A. degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Learning Outcomes

Without Thesis

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of theory, methods, and substantive literature of criminology and criminal justice, and the interconnections between social theory, research, and policy
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the research methods of criminology and criminal justice
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the structure and functioning of the fundamental institutions (e.g., legislatures, police, punishment, supervisory) that are part of criminal justice system
  • Analyze the role that social structure (e.g. race, class, gender, etc.) plays in crime and criminal justice
  • Assess research questions, recognize the need for information and the knowledge to procure that information from relevant scholarly literature and databases, design research projects grounded in theory and scholarship, and evaluate data critically
  • Be knowledgeable users of scientific research related to a wide range of criminology and criminal justice issues

With Thesis

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of theory, methods, and substantive literature of criminology and criminal justice, and the interconnections between social theory, research, and policy
  • Analyze the role that social structure (e.g. race, class, gender, etc.) plays in crime and criminal justice
  • Formulate and assess research questions, recognize the need for information and the knowledge to procure that information from relevant scholarly literature and databases, design research projects grounded in theory and scholarship, and evaluate data critically
  • Use scientific research related to a wide range of criminology and criminal justice issues
  • Apply scientific research methods to produce original, theoretically relevant, and socially important criminological research
  • Conduct research in accordance with the highest ethical standards and scientific integrity
  • Effectively translate and communicate scientific findings effectively, in both oral and written forms