Criminal Justice MS

College : Health and Public Affairs Degree :MS
Department : Criminal Justice Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites :


The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is designed to meet the needs of students preparing for careers in the field of criminal justice. The curriculum focuses on the traditional issues such as management, administrative and criminal justice theory, as well as basic research methods and descriptive statistics


The Master of Science in Criminal Justice requires 36 credit hours, including 21 credit hours of core courses, 6 credit hours of restricted electives, 9 credit hours of general electives, and a final written examination within the Proseminar or capstone course. For students electing to complete a thesis, 6 credit hours of the general elective requirements will be thesis hours.
Total Credit Hours Required:
36 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Required Courses—21 Credit Hours

Core—18 Credit Hours

  • CCJ 5015 The Nature of Crime (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 5456 The Administration of Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6704 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6706 Data Analysis in Criminal Justice I (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6106 Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CCJ 6118 Criminal Justice Organizations (3 credit hours)

Capstone—3 Credit Hours

The Proseminar in Criminal Justice serves as the capstone experience for the program and the culminating learning experience.

  • CJE 6718 Proseminar in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)

Students must achieve a grade of "B" (3.0) or higher in every course listed under core requirements and in the capstone course (CJE 6718).

Elective Courses—15 Credit Hours

The combined total of Restricted and Unrestricted 5000 level electives may not exceed 12 credit hours.

Restricted—6 Credit Hours

Select two from the following courses.

  • CJC 5020 Foundations of Corrections (3 credit hours)
  • CJE 5021 Foundations of Law Enforcement (3 credit hours)
  • CJJ 6020 Juvenile Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6568 Law and Social Control (3 credit hours)
  • CJL 6520 American Criminal Courts (3 credit hours)

Unrestricted—9 Credit Hours

  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Students should consult with the Criminal Justice adviser for approval of general electives outside of the Criminal Justice program prior to enrolling. Criminal Justice courses at the 5000 or 6000 level, not used toward core or restricted electives, are pre-approved general electives.

Thesis Option—6 Credit Hours of the general elective requirements may be thesis hours 

All MSCJ students are automatically placed into the nonthesis option. Students electing to complete a thesis should consult the program adviser. The thesis option will consist of 6 hours of thesis credit and a successful defense of a thesis. Students should select a faculty adviser, form a thesis committee, and complete core/restricted elective requirements before enrolling in thesis hours. A thesis proposal must also be submitted to an approved committee before enrolling thesis hours. Students who elect to write a thesis should become familiar with the university’s requirements and deadlines for organizing and submitting the thesis.  

Independent Learning

Independent learning is demonstrated throughout the curriculum through the process of inquiry and dialogue. Tangible projects such as advanced research projects, scholarly papers, internships, practicum, and presentations at professional conferences also contribute to the self development of our students. The culminating experience for students is completion of the Proseminar in Criminal Justice (CJE 6718), which serves as the capstone for the program.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Statement of career goals, one or two pages indicating how the Criminal Justice MS degree will enhance the applicant's career goals and expectations of the graduate program.
  • Résumé (no longer than two pages).
  • Two letters of recommendation. Letters should be from professors or professional references who can attest to the applicant’s ability to succeed in graduate coursework and his or her work ethic.
  • Applicants applying to this program who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.  

Students should be aware that admission to any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis. There may be cases where students meeting minimum requirements are denied admission based on such factors as program capacity or academic discretion. Applicants not meeting the minimum 3.0 GPA standards may be considered as candidates for very limited and competitive "provisional" admissions. However, only students with complete applications (final transcript, résumé, letters of recommendation and statement of career goals) will be reviewed under this special admission category. Competitive GRE scores are encouraged for this admission category.   

Application Deadlines

Criminal Justice MS *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1Apr 15
International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1Nov 1
International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1Dec 15
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.