Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.C.J.) Major in Criminal Justice

The School of Criminal Justice offers a master of science in criminal justice (M.S.C.J.) degree. The curriculum provides for the development of skills in criminal justice program planning, implementation, and evaluation to ensure a meaningful contribution to this important area of community and human services.

Comprehensive Examination

All students must pass an oral comprehensive examination. The purpose of this examination is to provide a structured situation in which the candidate can demonstrate proficiency in various areas of study. A student must see the graduate advisor for a detailed description of the comprehensive examination procedures.

Additional Course Requirements

Any student accepted into the M.S.C.J. program may be required to take undergraduate course work in criminal justice as a prerequisite to graduate course work.

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the 2017-2018 academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the 2017-2018 academic year can be found on the program’s web page. International students should review the International Admission Documents section of the catalog for additional requirements.

  • completed online ApplyTexas application
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • $50 nonrefundable international evaluation fee (if applicable)
  • baccalaureate degree in criminal justice or related field from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts required from each four-year institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • official GRE scores required with a preferred competitive minimum

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

Degree Requirements

The M.S.C.J. degree provides a 36-hour program with thesis and non-thesis options. Candidates for the M.S.C.J. degree who choose the non-thesis option will be required to complete a professional quality paper as a component of the degree program. A committee composed of three graduate faculty members must approve this paper.

Course Requirements

Thesis Option

CJ 5310Administration of Justice3
CJ 5315Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5321Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5325Statistics for Criminal Justice3
CJ 5330Management Principles in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5335Advanced Crime Theory3
Approved Electives 112
Thesis6
Choose a minimum of 6 hours
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Total Hours36

Non-thesis Option

CJ 5310Administration of Justice3
CJ 5315Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5321Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5325Statistics for Criminal Justice3
CJ 5330Management Principles in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5335Advanced Crime Theory3
CJ 5370Professional Paper3
Approved Electives 115
Total Hours36

Thesis Option with Minor

CJ 5310Administration of Justice3
CJ 5315Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5321Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5325Statistics for Criminal Justice3
CJ 5330Management Principles in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5335Advanced Crime Theory3
Approved Electives 16
Minor in Cognate 26
Thesis6
Choose a minimum of 6 hours
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Total Hours36

Non-thesis Option with Minor

CJ 5310Administration of Justice3
CJ 5315Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5321Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5325Statistics for Criminal Justice3
CJ 5330Management Principles in Criminal Justice3
CJ 5335Advanced Crime Theory3
CJ 5370Professional Paper3
Approved Electives 19
Minor in Cognate 26
Total Hours36
1

 Electives to be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor.

2

 As the requirements for minors vary among departments, specific requirements for completing the minor should be discussed with the appropriate graduate advisor.

If a student elects to follow the thesis option for the degree, a committee to direct the written thesis will be established. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s capability for research and independent thought. Preparation of the thesis must be in conformity with the Graduate College Guide to Preparing and Submitting a Thesis or Dissertation.

Thesis Proposal

The student must submit an official Thesis Proposal Form and proposal to his or her thesis committee. Thesis proposals vary by department and discipline. Please see your department for proposal guidelines and requirements. After signing the form and obtaining committee members’ signatures, the graduate advisor’s signature if required by the program and the department chair’s signature, the student must submit the Thesis Proposal Form with one copy of the proposal attached to the dean of The Graduate College for approval before proceeding with research on the thesis. If the thesis research involves human subjects, the student must obtain exemption or approval from the Texas State Institutional Review Board prior to submitting the proposal form to The Graduate College. If the thesis research involves vertebrate animals, the proposal form must include the Texas State IACUC approval code. It is recommended that the thesis proposal form be submitted to the dean of The Graduate College by the end of the student’s enrollment in 5399A. Failure to submit the thesis proposal in a timely fashion may result in delayed graduation.

Thesis Committee

The thesis committee must be composed of a minimum of three approved graduate faculty members.

Thesis Enrollment and Credit

The completion of a minimum of six hours of thesis enrollment is required. For a student's initial thesis course enrollment, the student will need to register for thesis course number 5399A.  After that, the student will enroll in thesis B courses in their field, e.g., ENG 5399AENG 5199BENG 5299BENG 5399BENG 5599B, and ENG 5999B, in each subsequent semester until the thesis is defended with the department and approved by The Graduate College. Preliminary discussions regarding the selection of a topic and assignment to a research supervisor will not require enrollment for the thesis course.

A student will be required to enroll in and pay the fee for at least one hour of the thesis course during any term in which the student will receive thesis supervision or guidance and/or in which the student is using university resources. Failure to register for the thesis course during a term in which supervision is received may result in postponement of graduation. After initial enrollment in 5399A, the student will continue to enroll in a thesis B course as long as it takes to complete the thesis. In the rare case when a student has not previously enrolled in thesis and plans to work on and complete the thesis in one term, the student will enroll in both 5399A and 5399B. The only grades assigned for thesis courses are PR (progress), CR (credit), W (withdrew), and F (failing). If acceptable progress is not being made in a thesis course, the instructor may issue a grade of F. If the student is making acceptable progress, a grade of PR is assigned until the thesis is completed. The minimum number of hours of thesis credit (“CR”) will be awarded only after the thesis has been both approved by The Graduate College and released to Alkek Library.

A student who has selected the thesis option must be registered for the thesis course during the term or Summer I (during the summer, the thesis course runs ten weeks for both sessions) in which the degree will be conferred.

Fee Reduction

A master’s degree candidate for graduation may be eligible for a one-time fee reduction under V.T.C.A. Education Code, Section 54.054. Please refer to the section titled Fee Reduction in the Additional Fees and Expenses chapter of this catalog for more information.

Thesis Deadlines and Approval Process

Thesis deadlines are posted on The Graduate College website under "Current Students." The completed thesis must be submitted to the chair of the thesis committee on or before the deadlines listed on The Graduate College website.

The following must be submitted to The Graduate College by the thesis deadline listed on The Graduate College website:

  1. The Thesis Submission Approval Form bearing original (wet) and/or electronic signatures of the student and all committee members.
  2. One (1) PDF of the thesis in final form, approved by all committee members, uploaded in the online Vireo submission system.  

After the dean of The Graduate College approves the thesis, Alkek Library will harvest the document from the Vireo submission system for publishing in the Digital Collections database (according to the student's embargo selection). NOTE: MFA theses will have a permanent embargo and will never be published to Digital Collections. 

While original (wet) signatures are preferred, there may be situations as determined by the chair of the committee in which obtaining original signatures is inefficient or has the potential to delay the student's progress. In those situations, the following methods of signing are acceptable:

  • signing and faxing the form
  • signing, scaning, and emailing the form
  • notifying the department in an email from their university's or institution's email account that the committee chair can sign the form on their behalf
  • electronically signing the form using the university's licensed signature platform.

Scanned, faxed, or email communications must be submitted to The Graduate College together with the form containing original signatures.

No copies are required to be submitted to Alkek Library. However, the library will bind copies submitted that the student wants bound for personal use. Personal copies are not required to be printed on archival quality paper. The student will take the personal copies to Alkek Library and pay the binding fee for personal copies.

Master's level courses in Criminal Justice: CJ

Courses Offered

CJ 5101. Graduate Assistant Supervision.

Prepares graduate student teaching and instructional assistants to perform effectively in diverse instructional settings and in their assigned instructional support roles. The course provides for regular and planned opportunities for continuing evaluation of instructional and assistive responsibilities. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable with different emphasis. Graded on a credit (CR), no-credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Graduate Assistant Supervision

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Graduate Assistantship|Exclude from Graduate GPA
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

Read Less [-] about Graduate Assistant Supervision

CJ 5199B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Graded on a credit (CR), progress (PR), no credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Thesis

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Thesis

CJ 5299B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Graded on a credit (CR), progress (PR), no credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Thesis

2 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Thesis

CJ 5300. Foundation Studies in Criminal Justice.

This course is designed for students who do not have a sufficient background in the foundations of criminal justice studies. Coursework will vary depending on the student’s prior academic history. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable with different emphasis.
Read More [+] about Foundation Studies in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from Graduate GPA|Leveling
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

Read Less [-] about Foundation Studies in Criminal Justice

CJ 5310. Administration of Justice.

Introduction to the study of crime; explanations of criminal behavior; typologies of criminal behavior; the criminal justice system; and social reaction to crime and the criminal justice system.
Read More [+] about Administration of Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Administration of Justice

CJ 5311. Administrative Law in Criminal Justice.

Legal principles and doctrines applicable to state and federal criminal justice agencies delegated quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial authority by legislatures are studied and evaluated in this course.
Read More [+] about Administrative Law in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Administrative Law in Criminal Justice

CJ 5315. Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice.

The study of scientific research methods as used in the criminal justice system to include a review and critique of research on crime causation, law enforcement, courts, and corrections.
Read More [+] about Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice

CJ 5320. History and Philosophy of Justice.

An exploration of historical approaches to social control of nonconforming behavior. The principal contributions of architects and theorists of systems of social justice are examined with emphasis on major Western European schools of thought. Special emphasis given to the development of the scientific method and its role in the contemporary system of justice.
Read More [+] about History and Philosophy of Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about History and Philosophy of Justice

CJ 5321. Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice.

Case law and legislation, both state and federal, which have contemporary impact on practices and policies of criminal justice agencies will be examined in this course. Topics may vary to include such matters as civil rights liability, substance abuse and the law, juvenile crime, organized crime, tactics of enforcement, unionization, and other legal issues.
Read More [+] about Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Current Legal Issues in Criminal Justice

CJ 5322. Police in Society.

This course provides an in-depth assessment of policing and the various types of community crime control. Core topics include the history of police, organizational and individual police discretion, police culture, use of force, minorities and the police, community oriented policing, and police problem-solving.
Read More [+] about Police in Society

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Police in Society

CJ 5323. Special Operation Units.

A course designed to acquaint students with basic principles of Special Operation Units (SOUs) within law enforcement, including the necessity for such units in the changing nature of policing communities. The principles of crisis management, the development of SOUs, selection/training/operationalizing of personnel and other strategic planning issues are emphasized.
Read More [+] about Special Operation Units

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Special Operation Units

CJ 5324. Investigations.

This course explores issues related to investigations. Topics covered include the history and state of investigations, investigative theory, interviewing, interrogation, polygraph, geographic profiling, serial crimes, and investigative failures.
Read More [+] about Investigations

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Investigations

CJ 5325. Statistics for Criminal Justice.

The study of basic and advanced descriptive and inferential statistics, with an emphasis on applications in the criminal justice system will be taught. Focus will be given to various multivariate statistical procedures.
Read More [+] about Statistics for Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Statistics for Criminal Justice

CJ 5330. Management Principles in Criminal Justice.

The study of behavior in complex bureaucratic or administrative organizations with an emphasis on organizational behavior, group processes, and the managerial function. Concepts and practices of managing criminal justice agencies within the United States will be stressed.
Read More [+] about Management Principles in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Management Principles in Criminal Justice

CJ 5335. Advanced Crime Theory.

This course will develop and apply analytical skills surrounding a wide range of theoretical concepts, assumptions, propositions, and variables aimed at explaining crime-related outcomes. In the process, students will learn how social scientists empirically (i.e., quantitatively and qualitatively) access theory and how theory influences public policy.
Read More [+] about Advanced Crime Theory

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Advanced Crime Theory

CJ 5340. Personnel Practices in Criminal Justice.

The study of personnel decisionmaking within the criminal justice agency. Topics emphasized will include recruitment and selection, promotion, training, performance evaluation, and human resource allocation.
Read More [+] about Personnel Practices in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Personnel Practices in Criminal Justice

CJ 5350. Current Issues in Criminal Justice.

An in-depth presentation and discussion of vital contemporary issues in criminal justice, including research, process, procedure, and substance. General issues addressed remain constant and specific emphasis will vary depending on changes in contemporary issues.
Read More [+] about Current Issues in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Current Issues in Criminal Justice

CJ 5355. Intelligence Gathering and Operational Issues As Applied to Terrorism and Counterterrorism Operation.

This course provides an overview of the importance of intelligence gathering in the global and domestic war of terrorism, and critically examines issues involved with the gathering of intelligence, techniques for the gathering of intelligence, methods of collecting, collating, analyzing and disseminating intelligence, and a review of current terrorist threats.
Read More [+] about Intelligence Gathering and Operational Issues As Applied to Terrorism and Counterterrorism Operation

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Intelligence Gathering and Operational Issues As Applied to Terrorism and Counterterrorism Operation

CJ 5360. Independent Studies in Criminal Justice.

Student will work directly with a faculty member and develop in-depth knowledge in a specific topic area of Criminal Justice. Repeatable for credit.
Read More [+] about Independent Studies in Criminal Justice

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Independent Studies in Criminal Justice

CJ 5370. Professional Paper.

Students in the non-thesis option will complete their professional paper while enrolled in this course.
Read More [+] about Professional Paper

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Professional Paper

CJ 5380A. Ethics and the Criminal Justice System.

This special topics course will explore ethical issues that are faced by criminal justice professionals, basic ethical systems, and applications to dilemmas of criminal justice professionals.
Read More [+] about Ethics and the Criminal Justice System

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Ethics and the Criminal Justice System

CJ 5380C. Drugs in Society.

This special topics course will explore issues related to the “War on Drugs.” Topics covered include theories of addiction, legal and philosophical issues of government response to drug use, and treatment strategies.
Read More [+] about Drugs in Society

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Drugs in Society

CJ 5380F. Police Problem-Solving Practicum.

This course applies contemporary police problem-solving tools and techniques (including SARA, COMPSTAT, crime mapping, intelligence led policing and computer enhanced problem solving) to real world problems with practicum problems derived from situations commonly facing police practitioners such as common law enforcement “problems” such as noise abatement, property offenses and traffic violations.
Read More [+] about Police Problem-Solving Practicum

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Police Problem-Solving Practicum

CJ 5380H. Police Problem Solving Methodologies.

This course addresses police problem solving methodologies. The course covers the history, state, and theory of police problem solving. Emphasis is placed on using problem solving methodologies to address real issues facing the community.
Read More [+] about Police Problem Solving Methodologies

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Police Problem Solving Methodologies

CJ 5380I. Race, Class, and Crime.

This course addresses issues related to racial/ethnic minorities, socioeconomic status, crime trends, perceptions of crime and criminal behaviors. The social/historical constructions of race and class are covered as well as their intersectionality within the criminal justice system. Topics include racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in offending, victimization, law enforcement and sentencing.
Read More [+] about Race, Class, and Crime

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Race, Class, and Crime

CJ 5380J. Sex Offender and the Criminal Justice System.

This course explores sex offenders and the criminal justice system and the issues faced by criminal justice professionals. Recent trends in assessment tools, treatment approaches, and legal responses to sex offenders are emphasized.
Read More [+] about Sex Offender and the Criminal Justice System

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Sex Offender and the Criminal Justice System

CJ 5380L. Geospatial Intelligence and Geographic Profiling.

This course addresses the use of geospatial intelligence and geographic profiling in the military and intelligence environments. The course covers the theory, concepts, methods, and analysis of human geographic information. Emphasis is placed on understanding how geospatial knowledge can inform decision making and action plans.
Read More [+] about Geospatial Intelligence and Geographic Profiling

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Geospatial Intelligence and Geographic Profiling

CJ 5380M. Crime Analysis.

This course teaches students step by step how to evaluate and synthesize local crime data and present it to others. It helps students identify local crime trends and cycles, develop usable crime maps, and to think of practical local police responses.
Read More [+] about Crime Analysis

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Crime Analysis

CJ 5380N. Applied Research Practicum.

This course provides structured assistance to students who are preparing for significant independent research projects (i.e. Thesis, Professional Paper) by exposing them to the organizational tools, processes and techniques used by productive scholars. Ideally, students should expect to complete a viable research prospectus by the end of the semester.
Read More [+] about Applied Research Practicum

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Applied Research Practicum

CJ 5380P. Quantitative Data Analysis.

This course provides an introduction to quantitative data analysis. For the purposes of research and exploratory data analysis, topics include data construction and cleaning, variable coding, descriptive and inferential statistics, summary measures, and visual presentations of data. This course makes extensive use of statistical software.
Read More [+] about Quantitative Data Analysis

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

Read Less [-] about Quantitative Data Analysis

CJ 5399A. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s initial thesis enrollment. Credit is not awarded until student has completed the thesis in Criminal Justice 5399B. Graded on a credit (CR), progress (PR), no credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Thesis

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Thesis

CJ 5399B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Graded on a credit (CR), progress (PR), no credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Thesis

3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Thesis

CJ 5599B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Graded on a credit (CR), progress (PR), no credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Thesis

5 Credit Hours. 5 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Thesis

CJ 5999B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Graded on a credit (CR), progress (PR), no credit (F) basis.
Read More [+] about Thesis

9 Credit Hours. 9 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Read Less [-] about Thesis