Graduate Program

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The purpose of this degree is to provide students with an opportunity for graduate-level education and a specialized degree in criminal justice. This degree will meet the educational needs of several types of students: (1) existing and prospective criminal justice agency personnel wishing to advance their knowledge and credentials in criminal justice, (2) students wishing to prepare for doctoral level work, (3) students wishing to prepare for community college teaching, and (4) students seeking more knowledge of crime and criminal justice.

Admission Requirements

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4 point scale on the last 60 hours of upper division coursework leading to the baccalaureate degree.
  • 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.
  • Satisfactory Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required. Unless, a waiver is approved. Applicants with at least three years of full-time employment in a criminal justice system related agency or earning a 3.25 cumulative GPA in their undergraduate degree may request a GRE score waiver.  
  • Consideration is also given to one or more of the following: the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to his or her chosen field of study, socioeconomic background, 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.

Degree Requirements

The master of science in criminal justice is a 36-hour degree. Students may choose the thesis or non-thesis option that includes comprehensive exams. The thesis option is recommended for those students who seek research experience or wish to pursue a doctorate.

Required Courses - 24 Hours

  • CRIJ 5336: Administrative Ethics
  • CRIJ 5309: Seminar in Criminal Justice Administration
  • CRIJ 5313: Contemporary Issues in Corrections
  • CRIJ 5303: Contemporary Criminological Theory
  • CRIJ 5302: Judicial Policy and Social Process
  • CRIJ 5332: Law Enforcement: Environment and Practice
  • CRIJ 5396: Research Methods
  • CRIJ 5355:Criminal Justice Capstone Seminar

Areas of Concentration

Criminal Justice Generalist - 12 Hours Minimum

  • CRIJ 5301: Concepts of Law and Justice
  • CRIJ 5307: Criminal Justice Policy
  • CRIJ 5340: Violence and Society
  • CRIJ 5310: Topics in Criminal Justice

Management - 12 Hours Minimum

  • PADM 5331: Information Systems in Public Administration
  • PADM 5332: Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PADM 5350: Seminar in Human Resources Management 
  • Approved Elective/Thesis

Research - 12 Hours Minimum

  • CRIJ 5397: Advanced Social Science Analysis
  • CRIJ 5338: Program Evaluation
  • PADM 5335: Topics in Policy Analysis
  • Approved Elective/Thesis

Thesis Option

Six semester hours from CRIJ 5394 and CRIJ 5395, in lieu of CRIJ 5355.


Graduate level internships (CRIJ 5370 and CRIJ 5371) are available but may not be counted toward the 36 hour degree requirement.

Graduation Requirements

  • All students must achieve a cumulative 3.0 GPA on all work applied to the degree.
  • Thesis students must submit a standard master’s quality thesis acceptable to a committee comprised of three UT Tyler faculty members, two of whom (including the thesis chair) must be criminal justice faculty. Thesis students will also give an oral defense of their thesis to faculty and students.
  • Non-thesis students must complete CRIJ 5355 with a grade of “B” or higher. 

Interested applicants that have any questions should contact Richard Helfers, Ph.D. at