Master of Science (Online Option)

About the Program

This unique program is a partnership between Southeast Missouri State University and Missouri Southern State University to provide persons with a convenient and easily accessible opportunity to complete advanced study in criminal justice. Participating students will enroll in online classes offered by faculty from both institutions in a fixed rotation covering six consecutive academic terms: four semesters and two summer terms.

best online programs award for criminal justice US news and world report

Program Highlights

  • All courses in the program are offered online, permitting students to complete their studies wherever they have access to the internet.
  • Fully interactive learning experiences through well-designed course web pages that foster interaction between students and faculty.
  • Courses focus on the practical application of assessing programs and policies, conducting evaluative research and understanding complex legal issues relevant to the field of criminal justice.
  • This degree is best suited to people currently working in the criminal justice field.

Program Structure

Every graduate student is required to fill out an Initial Study Plan (ISP) with his/her advisor prior to or during the first semester of graduate study.

Total Credits required for graduation: 36

Major Requirements

Core Courses: 18 Hours

CJ600 - Overview of the Criminal Justice System (3)
CJ626 - Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice (3)
CJ601 - Research Methodology in Criminal Justice (3)
CJ615 - Criminal Justice Theory (3)
CJ635 - Civil Law and Liability (3)
CJ640 - Ethics in Criminal Justice (3)

Elective Credits

Electives in Criminal Justice

12 hours to be chosing from the following:

CJ510 - Comparative Criminal Justice Systems (3)
CJ525 - Crime and Criminal Justice Policy (3)
CJ610 - Seminar in Law Enforcement (3)
CJ619 - Restorative Justice (3)
CJ625 - Adult Correctional Organization and Administration (3)
CJ630 - Contemporary Juvenile Justice (3)
CJ693 - Independent Study in Criminal Justice (3)
CJ641 - Death Penalty in America (3)

Up to 6 hours outside of criminal justice may be applied with the approval of the department chair.

Requirements for Thesis, Internship or other Capstone Experience

All students must complete a capstone experience. Completing one of the following four options may satisfy this requirement: Internship, Capstone Seminar, Comprehensive Exam or Thesis.  The options are described as follows:

(a) Internship Option

The internship (CJ699 Criminal Justice Internship) will consist of 240-hour field placement and a paper describing the objectives and outcomes of the experience (6 hours). The internship paper will be prepared under the supervision of a committee that is organized and created in the same manner as a thesis committee. The student will also be required to enroll in GR699 Master's Oral Examination in the semester the student anticipates completing the internship.

(b) The Capstone Seminar Option

The capstone seminar (CJ650 Seminar in Criminal Justice Leadership & Practice) will include analysis of current issues and trends in criminal justice, and a practical program or policy review and a writing component (3 hours). The student will also be required to enroll in GR699 Master's Oral Examination in the semester the student anticipates completing the capstone seminar. The professor supervising the seminar and the Department Graduate Coordinator, or designee, who will serve as a second reader, must approve the writings prepared by the student. This option requires an additional three hours of electives.

(c) Comprehensive Exam Option

Students selecting the additional coursework option will be required to take a comprehensive essay examination over their coursework. This option requires an additional six hours of electives.

(d) Thesis Option

CJ694 and CJ695 Thesis in Criminal Justice (6 hours).

For students who want to pursue a research interest, the thesis (CJ694 and CJ695 Thesis in Criminal Justice, each 3 hours) may be selected. The student will also be required to enroll in GR699 Master's Oral Examination in the semester the student anticipates completing the thesis.

Application Forms

Individuals seeking admission to the program must do so through the School of Graduate Studies at Southeast Missouri State University.

Admission Criteria

In addition to the criteria established for general admission to graduate studies, applicants must have the following:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.000 on a 4.00 scale.
  • 18 total credits in the social sciences, including criminal justice, criminology, sociology, psychology, social work, political science or relevant university studies courses. These credits must include the following: introduction to criminal justice (3 hours), criminal law (3 hours) and statistics (3 hours).
  • In addition, applicants must submit a letter of intent addressing preparation for graduate study, ability to succeed at the graduate level and professional goals and objectives. The letter should be typed, a maximum of 750 words in length, and be addressed to the Director of Admissions.

All documents should be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions. Probationary Admission Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 to 2.999 may be admitted on probation with a GRE score of 300 or above (combined quantitative and verbal scores). Applicants must complete 9 hours of graduate-level course work in the core area of study with a grade of “B” or better to continue in the program.

Applicants must have all documents submitted to the Office of Admissions by the following semester deadlines:
Fall – July 15
Spring – December 15
Summer – May 15

The Application for Graduate Admission may be submitted online or by mail.

Program Coordinator

Dr. Michelle Kilburn
Phone: (573) 986-6414
Office: Brandt 328
MS 7950

Course Rotation

Graduate Internship Approval Form

Download (PDF Format)
Download (Microsoft Word Format)

Human Subjects Form

Download (PDF Format)
Download (Microsoft Word Format)

Initial Study Plan Form

(PDF Format)

School of Graduate Studies


Department of Criminal Justice
One University Plaza, MS 7950
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701