UMKC Catalog


Master of Science: Criminal Justice and Criminology

Applicants must submit an application for admission to UMKC and transcripts of their undergraduate work to the university Office of Admissions. Additionally, applicants must submit a writing sample to the department's Admissions Committee (i.e., the Principal Graduate Advisor). This writing sample should be two to three pages in length (double-spaced) and should identify how the applicant's undergraduate education and their work or personal experience has prepared them for graduate study in the area of criminal justice and criminology. Applicants are also encouraged to express how they view study in our graduate program as fitting with their future career or educational goals. It is recommended students review the MS in CJC program's course offerings (available via the department's web site) as well as the concentration areas of the faculty (also available on-line) in order to glean additional information about what the academic programming has to offer. The writing sample is to be sent directly to the principal graduate adviser for the M.S.-CJC program at the department address. Applicants for the spring term must have all materials to the admissions committee by November 1, and those applying for fall semester or summer term admission must have materials in by April 1.

The department strongly recommends that application materials be submitted well in advance of the posted due date to ensure all materials will be on hand in time for review.

Decisions regarding admission to the graduate program are made by the graduate faculty of the program. Materials are reviewed with attention to past academic performance and substantive areas of study that would prepare students for CJC graduate study.

The minimum admission requirements for entrance into the M.S.-CJC program include the following:


  1. Completed an undergraduate degree, from an accredited university or college, with coursework in the socio-behavioral sciences sufficient to prepare for graduate-level study in the criminal justice and criminology field.
  2. Achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all undergraduate work.
  3. Completed undergraduate courses in statistics, research methods, and theories of crime.
  4. Students must take the Graduate Record Exam and have the scores sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies.

The application process is competitive. Satisfaction of the minimum criteria stated above does not guarantee admission to the graduate program of study. Students are admitted according to their rank in the applicant pool and consideration of the adequacy of departmental resources.

Students who do not meet admission requirements, but who otherwise may show promise for graduate work, may be admitted provisionally to the program. Provisional admission means deficiencies must be corrected before a student is fully admitted as a degree-seeking student in the M.S.-CJC program. Typical deficiencies include a need to take undergraduate coursework to prepare for graduate study in this program, or to demonstrate scholastic ability in graduate-level courses.

Graduates from the Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology program will:
  • Have knowledge as to the character and recent trends in crime in the United States.
  • Understand the major elements that shape and impact the development of justice system policies in response to crime.
  • Have knowledge with respect to various models for defining the scope and operation of the criminal justice system.
  • Have specific knowledge regarding recent developments in criminological theories that attempt to explain delinquent and criminal behavior.
  • Be able to employ elements of qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to design scientific-based projects to examine issues related to criminal justice or criminal behavior.
  • Have knowledge and understanding of statistical methods, processes, and tests to understand and interpret scientific research findings from the criminal justice and criminology literature.
  • Have specific knowledge and understanding of current literature, research, and issues in a cognitive area related to criminal justice chosen by the student.

The M.S.-CJC degree requires successful completion of 30 credit hours of graduate work. Within these 30 hours, students may elect to complete a thesis or pursue the non-thesis option. 

A core of five courses is required of all students. The required courses include:

Required Courses                                                                                                    Hours

 CJC 5511       Sociological Research Methods II                   	3
CJC 5515 Qualitative Research Methods in Criminal Justice 3
CJC 5516 Intermediate Quantitative Methods (Statistics) 3
CJC 5518 Advanced Criminological Theory 3
CJC 5580 Policy and Decision-Making in Criminal Justice 3

The required graduate courses in statistics, research methods and theory demand completion of prerequisite courses in these areas from the student's undergraduate work. Those who have not had such courses may be required to take the prerequisite course(s) prior to enrolling in the graduate course. Beyond the required courses, students must complete an additional 15 hours of academic work. This work may include thesis hours, courses in independent directed studies, classes from the CJC curriculum, or courses from other disciplines. The content of those 15 hours of study will reflect the student's choice after consultation with their faculty adviser, with respect to thesis or non-thesis options. 

Thesis Option

Those electing to write a thesis as part of their graduate work can receive up to 6 hours credit (CJC 5599) for preparation of the thesis. In addition to writing the thesis students must successfully complete an oral defense of that thesis before their supervisory committee. The research topic of the thesis will address some issue of specific interest to the student. Through courses, literature review, and analyses conducted in developing the thesis, students are expected to become proficient in their specific thesis topic area.

Non-Thesis Option

Those electing the non-thesis option will take additional coursework in lieu of the 6.0 credit hours allotted for the thesis option outlined above. 

Comprehensive Exams

During their final semester, students pursuing the non-thesis option must successfully complete a comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam will require the student to write an independent research paper that outlines solutions to a given scenario. After completion and submission of the paper, the student will meet with a panel of three faculty members where an assessment of the paper will be given ("Pass", "Revise and Resubmit", "Fail"). See the Principal Graduate Adviser for more information regarding the comprehensive exam option.