Master of Science in Criminal Justice

MS in Criminal Justice Page

 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 systems 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 degree.  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 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 two elements, the degree programs and the Southern Police Institute makes the program in Criminal Justice a unique blend of theory and practice. The Southern Police Institute is one of the oldest, most respected police management and administration educational program in the United States.

NOTE: Currently, all graduate-level Core Courses are available online only. Graduate-level electives are still available both on campus and online. 


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

  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work completed. 
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the applicant's academic or professional capabilities.
  • An original essay identifying the applicant's background, professional interest and goals and the applicant's motivation and potential for graduate work.
  • Complete application for admission to the School of Interdisciplinary & Graduate Studies, University of Louisville
  • $65.00 application fee, check or money order made payable to the University of Louisville
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis)

The Department of Criminal Justice has adopted the Council of Graduate Schools recommendation for a holistic approach to our admission criteria. Successful applicants will typically have strong scores on standardized tests, a strong undergraduate record, and excellent letters of recommendation that speak to the nominee’s scholarly ability and potential to succeed in a master’s program. However, candidates may have other documented strengths that speak to the potential for success as evidenced by: prior research experience; exceptional community engagement or service; leadership experience; evidence of creativity or resilience; unique experiences or background that will contribute to our program.

Note: Those applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a degree from a university where the language of instruction is English must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language, with a minimum score of 80 on the internet-based test (iBT) or 213 paper based test (PBT) or 550 (old test).

Non-degree status is also an option for individuals who are interested in “testing the waters” or simply taking a graduate course.  Contact us if you would like more details.

The requirements for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS CJ) are the completion of 36 graduate credit hours. This includes 15 credit hours of CJ core courses, 18 credit hours of CJ electives and a professional paper (3 credit hours).  The core curriculum includes an overview of the criminal justice system, theories of crime and delinquency, legal issues in criminal justice and advanced statistics and research methods. Elective courses address specialized topics within criminal justice such as capital punishment, violent crime, domestic violence, criminal justice in the media, international terrorism, substance abuse and justice policy, issues in policing and ethics in criminal justice practice.

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 CJ core courses prior to electives. Students are free to select electives specific to their area of interest within the Department of Criminal Justice.  Electives outside of our department must have the approval of the Graduate Program Director or Department Chair.

Students may only apply six (6) hours of experiential credit, i.e. internship, service learning, co-op, practicum, etc. toward their degree.

For more information, contact

Student Services
Room 102
Brigman Hall
Phone:  502.852.2686




Core Courses

Semester Hours

Thesis Option

Semester Hours

Professional Paper Option

CJ 621, The Criminal Justice System 3 3
CJ 625, Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Management 3 3
CJ 643, Theories of Crime and Delinquency 3 3
CJ 649, Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice 3 3
CJ 650, Research Methods in Criminal Justice 3 3
Electives (to be approved by Advisor) 15 18
Thesis 6 -
Professional Paper - 3
Minimum Total 36 36

Departmental Faculty

Important Links

Financial  Aid

Tuition & Fees

Course Schedule

Graduate Handbook