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Criminal Justice MS

Criminal Justice & Criminology

Master of Science

When you are ready to continue your education, choose a well-established program with world class faculty.  The Department of Criminal Justice at UCM was founded in 1962 and has stayed true to its roots while continuing to innovate and keep pace with today’s criminal justice agencies.  The CJC graduate program is one of the most flexible you will find, offering classes 100% online or face to face in Warrensburg or Lee's Summit.  See the rotation of course offerings below!

Earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice will provide you with the knowledge and skills to excel in your chosen career field.  This program is designed for those who wish to enter and/or progress in a criminal justice agency, seek a position of leadership, research, or teaching in criminal justice.  As a graduate of our program, you will be able to:

  • Articulate knowledge of the major issues facing the criminal justice system in the nation and world.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the multidisciplinary criminal justice theories and their implications for policy.
  • Understand how to access research, conduct original research, and apply research findings to problems with crime or the criminal justice system.
  • Communicate in a knowledgeable and professional manner for a variety of academic and criminal justice settings.
  • Demonstrate an advanced writing capacity with the ability to use and reference literature properly.

For a complete list of courses and requirements click "Program of Study" on the left.

Top Ranked

Quality and Affordability

The University of Central Missouri is highly distinguished for having one of the best online criminal justice programs in the nation by leading education and industry resources for online education information.  

Criminal Justice faculty are internationally recognized for their expertise and scholarship and are an excellent blend of academic credentials and field experience.  The full time faculty who teach at the Warrensburg campus are the instructors you will have in your online courses, too.

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Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission into the program of study for the Criminal Justice M.S. degree, the applicant must have earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field prior to enrollment in program coursework at UCM and earned a minimum grade point average of 3.00 on all undergraduate course work and 3.00 on all graduate coursework.  Applicants must complete an application through the Office of Graduate Studies and include a personal statement and two letters of recommendation.

A student without a criminal justice degree may be required to complete up to 15 hours of background courses in criminal justice prior to taking graduate level courses. The requirement to take background courses may be waived by the Criminal Justice Graduate Coordinator based on previous courses taken and/or relevant professional experience.

Students with a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 to below 3.00 may be considered for admission by the Criminal Justice Graduate Committee upon submission of an extended application.  The extended application includes:

  • Criminal justice major preferred, but not required
  • Cover letter explaining deficient GPA
  • Writing sample based on these prompts
  • Official scores on the GRE General Test (combined score Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning of 300 points and a minimal score of 4.0 on the Analytic Writing Test).

All applicants must complete an application through the Office of Graduate Studies online.


Application Dates & Deadlines

To be considered for admission into the Criminal Justice M.S. degree program and to ensure available capacity, early submission of application materials is recommended. Priority consideration will be given to students who apply at the beginning of the semester prior to the anticipated enrollment term. To apply later will put students at a distinct disadvantage regarding course availability. The Criminal Justice & Criminology Graduate Committee will meet monthly to review completed applications. All applicants will be notified of their admission status via email and/or the address provided on the application. Admission decisions will be based upon the merit of the application and the available space in the program for the student.

Schedule/Course Rotation

This table shows when you can expect CJC Graduate Core Courses to be offered.  A rotation of CJC Graduate Electives is also available (Courses numbered 4000 and higher are typically available for graduate credit).

Course Sp '19 F '19 Sp '20 F '20 Sp '21 F '21 Sp '22
CJ 5003 F2F   OL   F2F   OL
CJ 5006 OL   F2F   OL   F2F
CJ 5102   OL   F2F   OL  
CJ 5301 F2F F2F   OL   F2F  
CJ 5610 OL   F2F   OL   F2F
CJ 5620   F2F   OL   F2F  


CJ 6000 is an Independent Study course and arranged with an individual faculty member; available every semester.

CJ 6600 is also an Independent Study course and arranged with an individual faculty member; available every semester.

CJ 5600 is available every Fall and Spring OL.  Contact the Graduate Coordinator to review your audit, ensure you are eligible to take the class, and get you enrolled. 

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of competitive Graduate Student Worker positions are available, for both teaching and research positions.

These positions provide opportunities for professional development in addition to ta stipend to help cover the costs of your graduate education.


GAs in Criminal Justice get a backstage pass to all activities, trips, conferences, and visitors hosted and attended by faculty in the department.  These opportunities help you network with professional organizations and meet influential people while building your resume.


Research GA:  The main duty of a research GA is to assist CJ faculty with their research.  GAs are the first students to be introduced to opportunities to get involved in current CJ networking and outreach projects.  Working with your professors can open doors for your career and make you competitive in the job market.

Teaching GA: The main duty of a teaching GA is to assist CJ faculty with a specific lower level undergraduate criminal justice course.   GAs are involved with day to day activities including facilitating discussion sessions and in-class activities.


Apply for a position as a Graduate Student Worker on the UCM Jobs website:

Thesis Information

Thesis Manuals and Forms

Use the following forms to apply for your thesis committee and declare your prospectus and final defenses. Please be advised that a thesis typically takes two semesters to complete.

UCM Graduate School Thesis Manual

Criminal Justice & Criminology Thesis Manual

Determination of Research Form

Thesis Committee Form

Thesis/Prospectus Defense Declaration Form

Application for External Thesis Committee Member

Thesis Publication Agreement

Thesis Transmittal Form

UCM Thesis and Writing Resources


Criminal Justice & Criminology offers two scholarships for graduate students:

Bill P. Colvin Criminal Justice Scholarship:  full or part time junior, senior, or graduate student in good standing who demonstrates enthusiasm in the area of criminal justice

Allen Sapp Criminal Justice Graduate Student Scholarship: a second year graduate student pursing a degree in criminal justice with a minimum 3.25 GPA and demonstrated academic achievement and career potential


Dr. Scott Chenault
Graduate Program Coordinator
HUM 301 C-2
Tel: 660-543-4951


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