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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.

Prepare to Advance
Our curriculum is evidence-based, legally focused, and criminal justice-centered.

Core classes in policy, theory, and research methods provide you with the tools to be successful on any career path. With a wide variety of elective classes, you can tailor your degree to fit your goals. Consider these options when choosing your 9 or 12 elective hours:

Are you a practitioner or supervisor? These electives will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need:

  • CJ 5101 Criminal Justice Planning
  • CJ 5102 Administration in Criminal Justice
  • CJ 5105 Custody, Care, and Treatment in the Institutional Setting
  • CJ 5444 Terrorism
  • CJ 5488 Homeland Security
  • CJ 5625 Crime Analysis
  • CJ 5700 The Juvenile Justice System

Are you planning on teaching or attending doctoral school? These electives will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need:

  • CJ 5006 Comparative and International CJ Systems
  • CJ 5090 Miscarriages of Justice
  • CJ 5920 Women and Crime
  • CJ 5930 Race, Class, and Crime
  • CJ 6000 Advanced Research (thesis preparation, required for the Thesis Option)


Quality, Flexibility, and Affordability

Our program is highly distinguished as one of the best online criminal justice programs in the nation.

You have options:

Need the most flexibility?  Take classes 100% online and log in when your schedule permits.

Want some interaction?  Online is not the only remote option.  Try our ITV classes housed at UCM Lee's Summit.  Or an Online Synchonous class.  Using Zoom technology, students could be in-class in Warrensburg or Lee's Summit, or join the conversation virtually.

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. logoGetEducated Best Masters badgeBest Masters College Choice badgeBest Value CJ degrees badgeBest online masters degree badgeBest online program badge



Creating Your Plan is Easy!

Check out the Program of Study for required classes and course descriptions.


Chart your path with the Schedule of Courses.  This link shows required as well as elective options, so you'll know when classes are offered.  

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission into the program of study for the Criminal Justice & Criminology 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 & Criminology 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 & Criminology 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 & Criminology 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.

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.


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

Students are eligible to serve as a GA in any area, not only Criminal Justice & Criminology.

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


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