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Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Major: JA
Degree Awarded: MS
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

The goals of the Department of Criminal Justice are for students to achieve a sound liberal arts education and a specialized understanding of the criminal justice system, criminal behavior, legal processes and the relationship of these phenomena to society.

Graduate studies in the Department of Criminal Justice provide students with advanced social and behavioral science skills as well as a detailed and thorough understanding of crime, criminal justice and related processes. Graduates of this program are prepared to continue advanced studies in criminal justice or other social sciences and to assume mid and upper-level leadership positions within criminal justice programs and agencies.

The interdisciplinary nature of the program maintains the dynamic posture that allowed this crime-related discipline to emerge and to mature quickly and successfully. Graduate students are given latitude in choosing elective courses in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Elective courses related to the student's program of study are selected from the resources of the entire University. Courses in social work, public administration, law, business, and the various departments of the College of Arts and Sciences are possible electives that the student and his or her advisor may consider. With proper selection, the electives can complement the core criminal justice courses and produce a balanced, interdisciplinary program which is tailored to meet specific professional and career goals.

The combination of three elements, the degree programs, the Southern Police Institute and the National Crime Prevention Institute, makes the program in Criminal Justice a unique blend of theory and practice.

  • The Southern Police Institute, one of the oldest, most respected police management and administration educational programs in the United States.
  • The National Crime Prevention Institute, the only center in the country devoted exclusively to training and educating crime prevention and loss prevention specialists and managers.

Our programs are offered in two formats:

  • evening courses on campus, and
  • on-line via the internet


Anyone seeking admission to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, University of Louisville, for purposes of pursuing the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree must provide the following:

  • Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work completed. The minimum requirement for admission is the Baccalaureate degree or its equivalent.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic or professional capabilities.
  • Scores on the General Test Section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • An original essay identifying the applicant's background, professional interests and goals. The essay should be 300-500 words and should allow the faculty to better understand the applicant's motivation and potential for graduate work.
  • Completed application for admission to Graduate Admissions, University of Louisville at
  • $60.00 application fee, check or money order made payable to the University of Louisville.
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language, must meet University language proficiency requirements.

The faculty in Criminal Justice consider applications and supporting materials and recommend a disposition. The minimum requirements for admission to degree status are a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4-point scale and a score of at least 900 (former GRE) or 292 (new GRE) on the combined verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE as well as a positive evaluation of the letters of recommendation and the essay; or completion of 12 hours of graduate course credit prior to application for admission with a minimum of a 3.0 g.p.a. on a 4-point scale and the GRE will be waived.

For individuals who cannot meet these conditions, provisional admission may be offered.  Provisional status is determined on a case by case basis.  Factors which may be taken into consideration include:

  • Grade point average in the applicant's major and/or final 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  • Amount of time that has transpired between the applicant's undergraduate degree completion and the application to the graduate program in Justice Administration.
  • Applicant's work experience and accomplishments in their profession.
  • Grade point average in graduate work at other accredited academic institutions.
  • A less than 3.0 grade point average that is "offset" by a combined GRE score greater than 900 (former GRE) ore 292 (new GRE) or a combined GRE score less than 900 (former GRE) or 292 (new GRE)  that is "offset" by a greater than 3.0 grade point average.

Non-degree status is also an option for individuals who are interested in "testing the waters" or simply taking a graduate course.  Please contact us if you would like additional details on provisional or non-degree admission. 

General Requirements

The general requirements for the Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice are the completion of at least 36 graduate credit hours. The completion of these credit hours may include either thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis option requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate level courses and a thesis for a total of 36 credit hours. The non-thesis professional paper option requires the completion of 33 semester hours of graduate courses plus a professional paper for a total of 36 credit hours. A cumulative 3.0 grade point average must be maintained for all graduate coursework, grades of "D" must be repeated.  Students are advised to complete the CJ core courses prior to electives. Core or specific courses required for graduation total 15 semester hours with the remaining courses being electives. The composition of the list of elective courses will vary from student to student depending on the student's undergraduate major, aspirations and background.  Electives outside of our department must have approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator or Chair of the Department.

The degree is offered in two formats, our traditional on campus classes and also via the internet, see department web-page for more information at:


Students may choose either format or a combination of both methods of delivery.


Core Courses

Semester Hours
Thesis Option

Semester Hours
Professional Paper Option

CJ 621  The Criminal Justice System



CJ 625  Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Management



CJ 643  Theories of Crime and Delinquency



CJ 649  Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice



CJ 650  Research Methods in Criminal Justice



Electives (to be approved by advisor)






Professional Paper



Minimum Total Credit Hours:




Departmental Faculty

Gennaro F. Vito

George E. Higgins
Director of Graduate Studies

Deborah G. Keeling

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences

Richard A. Tewksbury

Viviana Andreescu

Associate Professor

Elizabeth L. Grossi
Associate Professor

Thomas W. Hughes
Associate Professor

Theresa C. Hayden

Assistant Professor

Eric S. McCord

Assistant Professor

Kristin M. Swartz

Assistant Professor

Michael Losavio

Cynthia Shain


B. Edward Campbell

J. Price Foster


Ronald M. Holmes

William F. Walsh


Contact Information

Criminal Justice - MS

George E. Higgins, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
Brigman Hall, Room 208
Office Number: (502)852-2686

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