MS in Criminal Justice

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Protect, Serve — and Lead

Think about how you can serve your community. If you strive to encourage change as a criminal justice or law enforcement professional, The University of Texas at Tyler’s Master of Science in criminal justice deepens your understanding of both theory and practice in preparation for a career in leadership, research or policy. Guidance and mentorship from our professors, who bring a wealth of experience into the classroom, help you grow professionally and look ahead to what’s next.

Choose a concentration to customize your training to fit your goals, whether you are looking to move into a position of greater responsibility, strengthen your research capabilities or launch a new career in criminal justice.

You already have a passion to protect and serve. With an MS in criminal justice from UT Tyler, get ready to lead.

Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at UT Tyler?

Maybe you’re serving in a criminal justice agency and feel ready to step into a role with greater responsibility and pay. Or, you plan to start a new career path with a job at a local, state or federal law enforcement agency. For another possibility, you aim to encourage broader societal change as a criminal justice researcher, manager, educator or policy analyst.

Whatever your next move, UT Tyler’s MS in criminal justice prepares you to support and uplift the communities of East Texas. In our program, you’ll find:

  • Supportive and Attentive Faculty: Learn from faculty who are practitioners and researchers. With small class sizes, you’ll get individual attention and build meaningful relationships with professors invested in your career growth.
  • Outstanding Curriculum: Complete a degree program that follows recommendations from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, a national association that promotes criminal justice education and research.
  • Customization: Choose one of three concentrations — generalist, management or cybersecurity — to get an education focused on your career goals.
  • Research: Learn to access and evaluate criminal justice research to become a better-informed, better-equipped leader. Formulate your own research-informed policy proposal in your capstone project.
  • Fully Online: Advance in your career without disrupting your path. Coursework for the degree is fully online, giving you maximum flexibility to study while continuing to work full time.
  • Affordability: Build your professional skills without building a burden of debt. We offset our already low tuition with scholarships and other forms of financial support.


The MS in criminal justice is a 36-credit-hour course of study you can complete in two years. The curriculum is designed with a choice of concentrations, making it perfect for existing or prospective criminal justice agency personnel wanting to build their knowledge and credentials, students planning to continue their studies at the doctoral level, those who would like to teach at a community college or anyone else who wants to know more about the field and its applications.

Whichever concentration you choose, you’ll start with a foundation in areas like criminal justice theory, public policy and research methods on which your other coursework will build.

Program concentrations include:

  • Criminal justice generalist: Be prepared for any criminal justice position. You’ll deepen your understanding of law, criminality and criminal justice policy as you explore today’s most relevant topics and issues.
  • Management: Learn about information systems, budgeting and finance and human resources as you get equipped for a management role in complex agency environments.
  • Cybersecurity: Understand how to protect communities and businesses from cybercriminals and prepare to identify and defend against internal and external threats.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll learn to:

  • Apply contemporary criminal justice theories in contexts including law enforcement, corrections, the courts and policy formation.
  • Source and evaluate social science research to apply evidence-based policy and practice.
  • Critically assess current policies and practices and take the lead in developing novel solutions.
  • Be cognizant of the ethical challenges within the criminal justice field and of the delicate balance between controlling crime and safeguarding rights.
  • Effectively communicate about criminal justice issues, both orally and in writing.

See All MS in Criminal Justice Degree Requirements

What Can You Do With Your Degree?

You’ll be ready to take the lead as a practitioner with a data-driven and theory-informed approach to criminal justice. Graduates of the UT Tyler program hold positions with the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, U.S. Customs, DEA, law enforcement agencies, corrections facilities, Child Protective Services, Border Patrol and other criminal justice organizations.

Find your place in positions like:

  • Criminologist
  • Cybersecurity Investigator
  • Detective
  • Federal Marshall
  • Forensic Examiner
  • Fraud Investigator
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Policy Analyst
  • Sheriff
  • Special Agent (at a federal agency: FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE, Homeland Security or Secret Service)

Or, pursue a career in research, education and policy work. Find a position after graduation teaching future criminal justice professionals at a community college. Alternatively, continue your education with a Ph.D. and help reform and strengthen the criminal justice system as a policy analyst or a research professor at the university level.

How to Apply

The MS in criminal justice is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited college or university who fulfill the specific coursework requirements described below.

To be considered for admission, you will also need:

  • A completed online application.
  • Official transcripts for all prior college- or graduate-level work, submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.00 on at least 15 hours of undergraduate coursework in the social sciences.
  • A minimum grade of “C” in an upper-division social science research methods course.
  • Three years of full-time employment in the social services or criminal justice sector. A curriculum vitae/résumé should be submitted to document employment. A satisfactory score on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may be substituted for the employment requirement. The employment requirement may be waived if the applicant earned a minimum 3.25 overall undergraduate GPA or has previously earned a graduate degree from an accredited university. An applicant who does not either meet the employment requirement or satisfy the waiver option may submit scores on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for consideration (GRE Code for UT Tyler: 6850).

Consideration may also be given to one or more of the following: your demonstrated commitment to your chosen field of study, socioeconomic background, status as a first-generation college graduate, multilingual proficiency, geographic region of residence and level of responsibility in other matters, including extracurricular activities, employment, community service and family responsibilities.

Note: International students are not eligible for admission to the MS in criminal justice program.

Review All Application Requirements

See General Graduate School Admissions Requirements

Estimated tuition for full-time, in-state, online enrollment is $16,164. Tuition varies by delivery method and hours taken per semester. Calculate your estimated tuition with the tuition calculator.

April 15

Application deadline for summer admission.

August 15

Application deadline for fall admission.

October 1

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) opens for the upcoming academic year.

December 20

Application deadline for spring admission.

Next Steps

Your future starts here. Get ready to lead with a master’s degree in criminal justice from UT Tyler.