Graduate opportunities

A Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas improves your ability to take informed and thoughtful actions as a scholar, administrator, researcher, police officer, probation officer or caseworker in the criminal justice system.

This is accomplished through an exceptional curriculum that provides you with an understanding of the nature and scope of problems posed by crime and the operation and administration of the criminal justice system. You'll examine these areas from theoretical, practical and empirical perspectives.

You can pursue your degree as part of a campus-based program or entirely online, allowing you to take advantage of your particular learning style and better balance your work, personal and academic obligations. The campus-based program features thesis and non-thesis options. Our programs also offer:

  • Opportunities to participate in research under a faculty member's direction
  • Prospects for earning academic credit through an internship
  • Specialized electives so you can tailor your degree to your professional and personal goals
  • Study abroad opportunities

Outstanding faculty and student services

Faculty members have a diverse range of educational and professional backgrounds. In addition to teaching courses, they assist the Department of Criminal Justice in applied research projects, program evaluation studies and scholarly research. Some of their current research focuses on:

  • Capital punishment
  • Homeland security
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Police operations and tactics
  • Prison violence
  • Victimization
  • White collar crime

UNT provides a wide variety of services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Office of Research Consulting offers assistance with statistical research.

The Toulouse Graduate School® offers several professional development workshops, including a Thesis Boot Camp. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

The department maintains different admission requirements for the campus-based and online programs, which provide separate focus areas. The concentration of the campus-based program is in Theory and Research, while the concentration for the online program is in Justice Policy and Administration. For both, you'll need to meet the admission requirements for the graduate school. The additional requirements for each program are outlined below.

Campus-based program (Concentration in Theory and Research):

  • Completed application on file with the graduate school
  • Personal statement
  • Transcripts on file with the graduate school with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA on undergraduate work
  • Two letters of recommendation (academic or professional) referencing your ability to perform graduate work

Online program (Concentration in Justice Policy and Administration):

  • Completed application on file with the graduate school
  • Transcripts on file with the graduate school
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation (academic or professional) referencing your ability to perform graduate work

The personal statement should explain your career goals, reasons for pursuing a master's degree, previous experience in criminal justice and research, and any personal background information relevant to the admission decision.

The statement and letters of recommendation (for online program applicants) should be emailed to MSCJ-Advising@unt.edu or mailed to:

Adam Trahan
University of North Texas
Department of Criminal Justice
1155 Union Circle #305130
Denton, Texas 76203-5017

All application materials must be received by Aug. 1 for fall admission or Dec. 1 for spring admission. New students aren't admitted for the summer semesters.

Degree requirements

Campus-based program (Concentration in Theory and Research)

Thesis option

  • 15 credit hours of required core courses
  • 15 credit hours of electives
  • 6 credit hours of thesis

Non-thesis option

  • 15 credit hours of required core courses
  • 21 credit hours of electives
  • Completion of comprehensive exams

Online program (Justice Policy and Administration)

  • 12 credit hours of required core courses
  • 24 credit hours of electives
  • Completion of comprehensive exams

Financial assistance

You can apply for financial assistance from national, state, university and departmental resources. The department offers the Tory J. Caeti Memorial Scholarship, which helps cover expenses for one academic year.

The department also offers several graduate and teaching assistantships. The department Teaching Assistantship features a stipend of $16,746 per year. This award is competitive, with a limited number of positions available. The department also offers Graduate Student Assistantships, which receive compensation of $17 per hour for up to 25 hours per week.

For more information on these programs and other scholarships, visit the graduate school website, the financial aid website or our departmental scholarship site.

Faculty

Scott H. Belshaw, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Prairie View A&M University. Juvenile delinquency; criminal justice ethics; criminal law; sentencing; capital punishment; private security and investigations.

Jessica Craig, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas. Criminological theory; life course and developmental criminology; white collar crime; juvenile delinquency.

Eric J. Fritsch, Professor and Department Chair; Ph.D., Sam Houston State University. Juvenile justice policy; gangs and intervention strategies; evaluation research; organizational assessment; policing; legal issues in criminal justice; research methods; violent juvenile delinquency.

Peter Johnstone, Professor; Ph.D., London Guildhall University (United Kingdom). Criminal law; money laundering; white collar crime; policing; comparative justice systems; study abroad.

Brooke Nodeland, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas. Computer crime; victimization; criminological theories; cyber offending and victimization.

Mark Saber, Lecturer; Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas. Firearm ownership; protective gun ownership; criminology theory.

Peggy M. Tobolowsky, Professor; J.D., George Washington University. Criminal law and procedure; crime victim issues; capital punishment.

Adam Trahan, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Indiana University. Capital punishment; jury behavior; organized and white collar crime; organizational culture and deviance; criminological and sociolegal theory.

Chad R. Trulson, Professor; Ph.D., Sam Houston State University. Juvenile delinquency and justice; federal court intervention and prison violence; race relations in prison; capital punishment.