Our graduate program in criminal justice prepares students for leadership positions in the field of criminal justice and provides a strong foundation for students who anticipate advanced study at the doctoral level.

The curriculum offers criminal justice professionals a broad foundation for understanding criminal justice policy. Legal, organizational, political and behavioral frameworks are used to analyze the operation of the U.S. criminal justice system. Students are introduced to advanced knowledge on the nature and causes of crime, the justification and means of social control, the administration of the justice system, and the evaluation of criminal justice programs.

Areas of Study

  Field placements provide students with the opportunity to work in a criminal justice related setting while earning course credit in the process. Find a field placement opportunity  

  Teaching and project assistant positions may be available to qualified students who carry 6 or more credits. Vacancies are filled on a competitive basis and are subject to the availability of funds. Most positions require 20 hours of work weekly. Students who accept positions are considered employees of UWM and educational expenses may not be deducted from taxable income.

Teaching assistantships are awarded for the academic year in the fall.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

All students must take the following proseminars in each of three core areas.

Criminal Justice
CRM JST 713 Measuring Crime and Analyzing Crime Data 3 cr
CRM JST 756 Analysis of Criminal Justice Research 3 cr
CRM JST 743 Administration of Criminal Justice Systems 3 cr
CRM JST 773 Perspectives on Crime and the Criminal Justice System 3 cr
CRM JST 920 Criminal Justice Masters Capstone Seminar 3 cr
Criminal Justice Electives (4) 12 cr
Electives (2 Criminal Justice or outside electives with advisor’s consent) 6 cr
TOTAL 33 Credits
  • Graduation Requirements Minimum GPA of 3.0; Minimum of 33 graduate credits; A grade of B or better in the following: CRM JST 743, CRM JST 756 and CRM JST 773. All students complete a minimum of 33 graduate credits; 27 credit hours must be taken within the criminal justice program and the other 6 may be taken elsewhere in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare or in other UWM departments with the consent of the student’s advisor. Students must complete all degree requirements within seven years of enrollment.
  • Thesis Option (Essay Option) Ideal for students intent on pursuing a doctoral degree. Required: 3 credits of approved research and an oral exam in defense of the essay.
  • Capstone Option (Non-Essay Option) Students who do not complete the essay option are required to complete the capstone seminar course (CRM JST 920, Masters Capstone Seminar). This seminar integrates learning from the degree coursework and synthesizes criminal justice theories, empirical research, and program creation and implementation.

Admission Requirements
  •   Undergraduate degree from an accredited university in criminal justice, a related social science, or other relevant educational experience.
  •   Undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.00 (for good-standing admission).
  • Applicants with an undergraduate cumulative GPA between 2.75-2.99 may also be considered for admission but must submit satisfactory scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). (Due to COVID-19 testing restrictions, the GRE or MAT exams may be waived for students applying for Fall 2020.)
  •   Two letters of recommendation from those familiar with applicant’s academic record and suitability for graduate work.
  • It is recommended that applicants have completed a research methods course and a statistics course at the undergraduate level prior to beginning the program.
How to Apply
  • Submit the following through the  Graduate School: 1) Graduate School application, 2) official transcripts, 3) GRE or MAT scores (if required – see above under “Admission Requirements”), and 4) application fee.
  • Submit 2 letters of recommendation to the Criminal Justice Program:
  • Mary Russell
    Academic Department Specialist
    Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Frequently Asked Questions
  • May current or former supervisors provide recommendations?
    Yes! In addition to your professors, current or former supervisors may also provide recommendations.
  • How long does it take to complete the MSCJ degree?
    Students may complete the degree in as few as 3 semesters with full-time status, while most full-time students complete the degree between 3 and 4 semesters. Part-time study is also available.
  • Can I complete the program online?
    Yes! There are two online cohorts: 1) Summer 2020 through Summer 2021 and 2) Fall 2020 through Fall 2021.
  • Do I have to do an internship?
    Internships, or field placements, are not required. Students may take up to 3 credits of field placement.
  • When do classes meet?
    Core classes and most electives meet during the evenings, while some electives may be held online or meet during the day.
  • Do I have to have a bachelor’s in criminal justice in order to apply for this program? If not, will I be at a disadvantage?
    Students with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as a social science or administration, are encouraged to apply. Students entering without a bachelor’s in criminal justice are not at a disadvantage, and will learn core concepts about the criminal justice system and criminology along the way.
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