CJ Graduate Program

Criminal Justice

Master of Science

Degree Program

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) Program offers options for both in-class traditional and international graduate students as well as non-traditional working law enforcement professionals through it's online delivery options.  In both cases, students will receive a quality educational experience based on critical thinking, analysis, and research.  UNA MSCJ graduates  will be well positioned for promotion to positions of greater responsibility within their organizations or new opportunities, as well as continuing advanced study at the Doctorate level and follow on teaching opportunities.


In addition to the general requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies (see General Regulations and Procedures), admission to the MSCJ degree program also requires the following: 

Unconditional Admission

  1. Hold a masters or higher degree from a regionally accredited university. Official transcript must reflect that degree was awarded. No test scores are required.


  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree and possess a minimum GPA of 2.5 on all attempted undergraduate course work.


  1. Receive a minimum a score of 286 [verbal plus quantitative] on the Graduate Record Exam or a minimum score of 380 on the Miller Analogies Test. 

Conditional Admission

Any applicant failing to meet the requirements for unconditional admission to the MSCJ program may be conditionally admitted with recommendations of the graduate faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice and approval of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Applicants granted conditional admittance must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the first nine hours (three courses) of completed graduate coursework. Failure to make this GPA requirement will result in the student being eliminated from the program. 

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester: July 1st

Spring Semester: November 1st



Upon admission to the program, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who will provide continued supervision and guidance.


Degree Program Plans 

Master of Science in Criminal Justice Degree:     a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit, to include the following:


Required Core…………………………………………………….…..………………9

CJ 618,  Crime in America (3)

CJ 640 Methods of Research in Criminal Justice (3)

CJ 650, Criminological Theory (3)

CJ 698, Comprehensive Exam (0)



(A maximum of 15 hours can be taken at the 500 level. Students are not permitted to receive credit for a 500-level course if they received credit for the comparable senior-level undergraduate course. Up to six hours of electives may be taken outside the Department of Criminal Justice with prior approval from the Department of Criminal Justice).

CJ 505, Criminal Investigation (3)

CJ 506, Forensic Investigation (3)

CJ 530, Criminal Evidence (3)

CJ 534, Criminal Procedure (3)

CJ 550, Theory and Crime Control (3)

CJ 580, Psychological Dimensions of Criminal Justice Practice (3)

CJ 591, Special Topics (3)

CJ 606, Contemporary Issues in Juvenile Justice (3)

CJ 610, Nature and Function of the American Judicial System (3)

CJ 614, Management and Policy in Criminal Justice Organizations (3)

CJ 622, Contemporary Issues in Corrections (3)

CJ 630, Victimology (3)

CJ 634, Advanced Criminal Procedure (3)

CJ 645, Advanced Statistical Procedure (3)

CJ 660, Comparative Criminal Justice (3)

CJ 690, Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement (3)

CJ 699, Independent Study/Research (3)

                  Total……………………………………………………………………………..30 hours.

In the last semester in which all other course requirements are expected to be completed, the student must register for CJ 698 (Comprehensive Examination) in order to take a written comprehensive examination prior to graduation in order to complete the program. The exam will be taken on-site in the Criminal Justice Department over the course of two days. 


CJ 505.  Criminal Investigation. 

Investigation, methodology, relations of the detective with other police divisions, modus operandi, evidence development, source of information, interview, interrogation, surveillance, and courtroom testimony.

CJ 506.  Forensic Investigation. 

An examination of modern forensic science principles and techniques as applied to the detection, collection, preservation and analysis of crime scene evidence. Course topics will include but are not limited to fingerprints, serological evidence, trace evidence, and other evidentiary items.

CJ 530.  Criminal Evidence. 

An examination of the basic principles of evidence including but not limited to testimonial and physical evidence used in the prosecution of criminal cases. 

CJ 534.  Criminal Procedure. 

Examines the procedural requirements for judicial processing of criminal offenders.  Topics include the concepts of evidence sufficiency, standards of proof, due process, and constitutional safeguards. 

CJ 550.  Theory and Control of Crime. 

An examination of the major theories of criminal behavior and their implications for crime control policies. 

CJ 580.  Psychological Dimensions of Criminal Justice Practice. 

Examines the psychological dimensions of criminal justice practice.  Topics include the psychology of criminal conduct, the science of forensic profiling, the interviewing and interrogation of suspects, witnesses and victims, the interpersonal relationships among criminal justice professionals and members of the public, and other timely selected topics. 

CJ 591.  Special Topics. 

This course surveys a contemporary justice issue.  Topics will be treated by developing a theoretical understanding of the issue, and will foster both writing and critical inquiry skills.  Course may be substituted for one upper-level elective in criminal justice.  (Offered upon sufficient demand.)

CJ 606.  Contemporary Issues in Juvenile Justice.           

An analytical approach to the controversies surrounding the juvenile justice process, including the goals of the systems, police-juvenile interaction, juvenile adjudication, and corrections.

CJ 610.  Nature and Function of the American Judicial System. 

Structure and function of the American judicial system; judicial process, ethics and decision making in the criminal and juvenile courts. 

CJ 614.  Management and Policy in Criminal Justice Organizations.

Approaches to the effective management of criminal justice organizations, with specific emphasis on personnel management and policy implications. Specialized topics include management principles, organizational structures, legal mandates, and political and social influences.

CJ 618.  Crime in America. 

This course will focus upon the statistical patterns of specific crimes, the modus operandi of offenders, the social-psychology of specific types of offenders (rapists, arsonists, etc.), techniques of crime prevention/protection, and potential solutions to the crime problem.

CJ 622.  Contemporary Issues in Corrections. 

An analytical examination of current issues in corrections, including those applicable to American prisons and jails, probation, parole, and correctional programs both within correctional institutions and in the community.

CJ 630.  Victimology. 

The study of victims and victimization, including sources of victimization data, patterns of victim/offender relationships, the role of victims in their own victimization, special needs of victim types, responses of the community, law enforcement, judicial, and correctional systems to the needs of victims.

CJ 634.  Advanced Criminal Procedure.

Investigation, pretrial procedure, trial procedure and sentencing, post-trial motions, appeals, reviews, and remedies in the criminal courts.

CJ 640.  Methods of Research in Criminal Justice. 

The application of the elements of scientific research to criminal justice; the implementation of research designs, methods, and tools; data processing analysis.

CJ 645.  Advanced Statistical Applications.

An examination of the use of inferential statistics in the analysis of criminal justice data.  Major course topics will include the analyses and applications of probabilities, chi-square, t-test, ANOVA, correlations, and bivariate and multiple regression.

CJ 650.  Criminological Theory. 

A critical analysis of the major criminological theories and their empirical foundation with emphasis on current theory and research. 

CJ 660.  Comparative Criminal Justice. 

A study of international expressions of law, police, courts, and corrections emphasizing how various countries organize and administer their formal social control efforts.  This course aims to provide students with an opportunity to contrast American criminal justice practices with those of several countries so as to understand why criminal justice systems work as they do and what advantages and disadvantages are related to such expressions of criminal justice.

CJ 690.  Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement. 

An analytical examination of the controversies surrounding law enforcement practice, with primary emphasis on its functions, problems, administration, and interaction with other criminal justice agencies.

CJ 698.  Comprehensive Examination. 

Orientation to and administration of a written comprehensive examination for the MSCJ program.  A non-credit course required of all candidates to be taken the last term in which the student is expected to complete all other program requirements.  A grade of “S” indicating satisfactory performance or a grade of “U” for unsatisfactory will be recorded on the transcript.  A grade of “S” is required for graduation; may be repeated once.  Prerequisite:  student must have completed all other program requirements or be enrolled in the last course for program completion.

CJ 699.  Independent Study/Research. 

Guided independent study and/or research in an area related to criminal justice administration.  Prerequisite:  Approval from the department chair.

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