The joint master’s in criminal justice and criminology and social welfare PhD program prepares students to make significant contributions to both education and research in the social sciences.

Program Type

Master’s, Doctoral

Program Format

On Campus

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The goals and objectives of both the criminal justice MS and social welfare PhD programs reflect the department’s concerns with urban social problems, social and economic equity and well-being, cultural diversity, and the empowerment of individuals, families, organizations and communities to effect change.

Relevant application materials for the criminal justice MS and social welfare PhD program must be submitted to both the Graduate School and the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and will be accepted for admission in the Fall semester only. All applications must be completed and submitted on or before January 2. Applications received after January 2 will be considered only if space is available after other applications are reviewed.

Students who apply and are accepted to the joint MS/PhD program will be able to earn both degrees in the course of their studies and will not be required to apply to the PhD program after earning the criminal justice and criminology master’s degree, assuming their progress is consistent with department, school, and Graduate School standards. Applicants who are not offered admission to the joint program will still be considered for admission into the criminal justice MS-only program.

All applicants must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following Helen Bader School of Social Welfare requirements:

  1. Have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or better.
  2. Have completed at least 21 semester credits in the social and behavioral sciences (i.e., psychology, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, and/or their equivalents).

Personal Statement

In the personal statement section of the Graduate School application form, applicants must indicate:

  1. That, of the PhD program’s four areas of specialization (Applied Gerontology, Child and Family Welfare, Criminal Justice & Criminology, or Health, Behavioral Health and Mental Health) they wish to pursue the Criminal Justice & Criminology option.
  2. Their reasons for seeking a doctoral degree.
  3. Their goals as future scholars.
  4. A topic or issue in the field that they consider to be particularly challenging and worthy of study.

Materials for UWM Graduate School

In other materials submitted to the Graduate School, applicants must:

1. Provide a current copy of a professional resume or curriculum vitae. This should contain information on:

  • All post-secondary education, including institutions, degrees and dates of completed programs of study, plus institutions, dates, and types of study that did not lead to a degree.
  • All employment by the applicant in criminal justice, social work, and related areas, including dates and employing organizations.
  • Employment unrelated to criminal justice or social work within the past five years.
  • Any past or current professional licenses held.

2. Submit three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s achievements and academic potential, including at least one current or former academic instructor.

3. Submit a sample of written work that demonstrates: the applicant’s knowledge of social welfare theory, practice, and research; ability to think analytically; and writing skills. The sample should be at least 1,000 words in length and represent work for which the applicant was the sole author, or, if jointly authored, should indicate which sections were primarily done by the applicant.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology (MSCJC) portion of the joint curriculum requires a minimum of 21 graduate credits. Another 12 master’s-level credits will be replaced by the same number of PhD-level credits.

Courses at the master’s level

CRM JST 743Proseminar: Administration of Criminal Justice Systems3
CRM JST 756Proseminar: Analysis of Criminal Justice Research3
CRM JST 773Criminological Perspectives3
CRM JST 920Criminal Justice Masters Capstone Seminar3
or CRM JST 990Thesis or Research Project
CRM JST 795Issues in Law Enforcement Practice and Policy3
CRM JST 810Police Administration3
CRM JST 850Issues in Correctional Practice and Policy3

MSCJC courses to be replaced by PhD-level courses

CRM JST 713Measuring Crime & Analyzing Crime Data (replaced by SOC WRK 961)3
CRM JST 999Independent Reading in Criminal Justice (replaced by SOC WRK 791 or SOC WRK 932)1-3
ElectiveReplaced by doctoral elective3
ElectiveReplaced by doctoral elective3

PhD-level Coursework

A minimum of 40 credits of PhD-level course work is required. At least 31 of these must be earned in residence at UWM. Required courses include:


SOC WRK 901Philosophy of Science3

Specialization Seminars

9 credits required, 3 from student’s area of specialization

SOC WRK 931Theories of Poverty and Social Welfare Policy3
SOC WRK 932Theories and Research on Behavior Change3
SOC WRK 945Family and Long-Term Care Across the Life Course3
SOC WRK 791Current Topics in Social Work: (Multigenerational Policies and Services)3
SOC WRK 791Current Topics in Social Work: (Child and Family Wellbeing)3
SOC WRK 791Current Topics in Social Work: (Criminal Justice Practice and Policy)3

Research Methods

SOC WRK 951Quantitative Research Methods3
SOC WRK 952Qualitative Research Methods in Social Work3


SOC WRK 962Applied Multiple Regression Analysis3

Research Methods or Statistics Electives

SOC WRK 963Measurement Methods and Related Multivariate Statistics3
SOC WRK 964Advanced Statistical Methods3


SOC WRK 991Doctoral Proseminar: (Proseminar in Research Ethics)1
SOC WRK 991Doctoral Proseminar: (Proseminar in Grantwriting)1
GRAD 803Teaching & Learning in College: Reflections on Theory and Practice1


Accompanies first teaching and research assistantships

SOC WRK 999 or
Independent Reading in Social Work (Teaching) or
Independent Reading in Criminal Justice
SOC WRK 999 or
Independent Reading in Social Work (Research) or
Independent Reading in Criminal Justice


Two approved external doctoral-level courses in area of specialization (2-3 credits each)