Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

2 years
Credit Hours:

Advance your career in criminal justice.
Our Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Theory and Research empowers current and future leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to create just and safe communities. 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.

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Why Earn a Criminal Justice Theory and Research Master's?

You can pursue your degree as part of a campus-based program or entirely online, allowing you to take advantage of your learning style and 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

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
  • Cybercrime and cyber security
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Police operations and tactics
  • Prison violence
  • Victimization

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
Marketable Skills
  • Technical and academic writing
  • Abstract problem-solving
  • Knowledge of government operations
  • Research interpretation/implementation
  • Information verification

Criminal Justice Theory and Research Master's Highlights

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.
UNT provides a wide variety of services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the 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.
The Department of Criminal Justice is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service. Our faculty is comprised of nationally recognized scholars focusing on interdisciplinary solutions to the complex problems of crime and disorder.
Our faculty members have extensive relationships with area agencies and include nationally recognized experts in policing, juvenile justice, corrections, criminological theory, victims' issues and sentencing.
Criminal Justice graduate students may apply for the Department of Criminal Justice’s Tory J. Caeti Memorial Scholarship and other scholarships offered by the College of Health and Public Service each year.

Career Outlook

Many MSCJ alumni are serving in various careers such as:

  • Analyst
  • Scholar
  • Administrator
  • Researcher
  • Police officer, probation officer or caseworker

Criminal Justice Theory and Research Master's Courses You Could Take

Seminar in Criminal Justice Administration (3hrs)
This course includes critical application of selected analytical tools in administering justice agencies; studies of the application of human and financial resources, productivity, measurement and enhancement; and organization design, culture and change in the context of criminal justice agencies.
Advanced Criminological Theory (3hrs)
Students will examine the major theoretical explanations of criminality, the distribution of crime and the behavior of justice agencies.
Evaluation and Research Methodologies (3hrs)
Students will learn quantitative and qualitative methods of gathering and analyzing data on crime and the justice system, with special attention devoted to evaluation methods.
Criminal Justice Statistics (3 hrs)
This course explores the theory, practice and application of statistical analysis to the field of criminology and criminal justice. The student learns how to conduct independent statistical testing, understand the applications of statistics to research methods and the use of statistics in criminal justice.
Criminal Justice Policy (3hrs)
Students will learn methods of policy formulation, implementation and analysis in the criminal justice setting. Selected topics are developed for practical research and evaluation.

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