Criminal Justice

Master's Degree Program

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 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 Center for Interdisciplinary Research 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. For both, you'll need to meet the graduate school's admission requirements, which are outlined at . The additional requirements for each program are outlined below.

Campus-based program

  • Completed application on file with the graduate school
  • Verbal reasoning and analytical writing GRE scores on file with the graduate school
  • Personal statement
  • Transcripts on file with the graduate school with a minimum overall 3.4 GPA on undergraduate work

Online program

  • 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 or mailed to:

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

All application materials for the campus-based program must be received by June 15 for fall admission or Oct. 15 for spring admission. The online program's 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

Thesis option

  • 12 credit hours of required core courses
  • 3 credit hours of a statistics course
  • 15 credit hours of electives
  • 6 credit hours of thesis

Non-thesis option

  • 12 credit hours of required core courses
  • 3 credit hours of a statistics course
  • 21 credit hours of electives
  • Completion of comprehensive exams

Online program

  • 12 credit hours of required core courses
  • 21 credit hours of criminal justice electives (9 credit hours of electives from outside the discipline can be completed)
  • 3 credit hours of a capstone course