About the Program

The Department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice.  The M.S. has an 18-hour core and 12 hours of electives, with six of those electives taken within the department and nine either inside or outside of the department, depending on the student's interest.   The student selects either the thesis option (6 hours), or the internship option (3 hours internship, 3 hours of electives, and non-credit comprehensive examination) or additional coursework & comprehensive written exam.

The purpose of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice is to provide a high-quality graduate program that prepares competent individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the criminal justice needs of the region, including such aspects of criminal justice as law enforcement, courts, corrections, and crime prevention.  The goals of the program are to prepare graduates who are able to:

  • Assess and understand criminal justice problems and issues.
  • Conduct basic and applied research in criminal justice, particularly evaluation research.
  • Use computer technology to locate information and use statistics and software to analyze problems, particularly with respect to criminal justice agencies.
  • Understand legal issues which affect criminal justice professionals.
  • Integrate the findings concerning the psychological, sociological, economic and cultural roots of crime.

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)
CJ625 - Adult Correctional Organization and Administration (3)
CJ630 - Contemporary Juvenile Justice (3)
CJ650 - Seminar in Criminal Justice Leadership & Practice (capstone option) (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.

Graduate Admission Criteria

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university.
  • Have an undergraduate cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 on the 4.0 scale, or a 3.0 or better in the last 60 hours of undergraduate studies. Students may be admitted on a probationary basis.
  • Have completed 18 hours in the social sciences including an undergraduate statistics course, an introduction to criminal justice course, and a criminal law course.
  • 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 address what the applicant expects to achieve through graduate level study in his/her intended program of study. The letter of intent should be typed and a maximum of 750 words in length.

More Information

More information on the Graduate Program is available from the School of Graduate Studies.



Dr. John Wade
Email: jwade@semo.edu
Phone: (573) 651-2685
Office: Brandt 327
MS 7950


Dr. Andrew Fulkerson
Email: afulkerson@semo.edu
Phone: (573)651-2429

Guidelines for a Thesis Proposal for the Department of Criminal Justice

Graduate Internship Approval Form

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Human Subjects Form

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Initial Study Plan Form

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School of Graduate Studies