M.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice

The Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice is a 36-credit hour program. Courses are offered face-to-face in the evenings, online, or a hybrid combination of online and face-to-face approaches.

The educational objectives of the MS-CCJ are to prepare individuals to identify problems and develop solutions through applying criminological theories and policies to social issues that contribute to crime, and how to implement these solutions within justice-related agencies.

Admission Requirements

  1. Completed UTEP Graduate School Application
  2. Official transcripts from each institution attended showing a minimum of 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of upper-division (junior and senior level) undergraduate classes
  3. A B.A. or B.S. degree in criminal justice, criminology, or a related field from an accredited institution or foreign equivalency institution.
  4.  Professional resume that includes any relevant internships and/or employment
  5. 3-4 page Statement of Purpose- A well-written essay that details your background and your expectations and/or goals from a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. You may include an explanation of your transcript if needed.
  6. Two Professional and/or Academic Recommendation Letters from individuals who are qualified to assess applicant’s potential for academic success and are not related to the applicant. For applicants who have completed a baccalaureate degree in the last 2 years, at least one recommendation letter must come from applicant’s former academic institution.
  7. International Students must take the TOEFL Exam and score a minimum of 250 (or 600 on the paper-based exam).

Applicants who lack the required GPA or who lack appropriate course preparation may be considered for conditional admission.

Transfer Credits Limited to 6 hours

No more than six hours of applicable graduate transfer credit will be accepted at the Master’s degree level. Transfer hours will be accepted only within the last 7 years and only from institutions that are accredited by a regional higher education accrediting body. No academic transfer credit for criminal justice courses will be awarded for workforce credits, life experience, military courses, police academy, correctional officer academy, or other continuing education professional training. Graduate courses for which a “C” or lower was earned cannot be transferred. Graduate courses used toward the completion of another degree will not be accepted.

Degree Requirements

The MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree is a 36 credit program. All students in the program will be required to take 9 hours of core courses: Proseminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Advanced Criminological Theory, and Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy. Following the core, two tracks are available to appeal to students with different educational goals: a professional/non-thesis track and a thesis track.

Professional Non-Thesis Track Semester Credit Hours
Core Courses (required for all students in both tracks)9
Track Requirements9
Electives (at least 9 credits must be "CRIJ" designated)18
Total Hours36
Thesis Track Semester Credit Hours
Core Courses (required for all students in both track)9
Track Requirements12
Electives (at least 9 credits must be "CRIJ" designated)15
Total Hours36

The Professional/non-thesis track may appeal to the student who may already be working in a criminal justice agency or the student who desires the Master’s as a terminal degree and has yet to enter the criminal justice field. In addition to the 9 hours of core courses required for all students, the professional track will require 9 credits in Criminal Justice Organization and Management, Program Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practices, and Capstone in CCJ.

Students taking the capstone course will produce a major paper and demonstrate their mastery of knowledge through a comprehensive exam. Skills acquired in previous courses in the areas of critical thinking, problem-solving, and professional writing will be demonstrated. The remaining 18 credit hours of courses will be taken as electives, of which 9 of those credits must be CRIJ-designated.

Degree Plan

Professional/Non-Thesis Track

Required Courses:
CRIJ 5305Proseminar in Criminology/CJ3
CRIJ 5310Adv Criminological Theory3
CRIJ 5315Sem Criminal Justice Policy3
CRIJ 5300Seminar-Crim Just Administrati3
CRIJ 5350Program Evaluation and EBPs3
CRIJ 5390Capstone in Criminology/CJ3
Elective Courses 18
Select 18 hours from the list below (at least 9 hours must be CRIJ)
Sem Policing Law Enforcement
Invest Interview & Interrogat Course currently in degree plan, but no longer offered. Please see advisor for substitution.
Seminar Courts and Sentencing
Correctional Policy and Mgmt
Decision Making Intel & CJ Course currently in degree plan, but no longer offered. Please see advisor for substitution.
Communities and Crime
Immigration, Crime and CJ
Transnational Criminal Orgs
Drugs, Crime and CJ Policy
Race Ethnicity in CJ System
Seminar Selected Topics
Violence and Victimization
Crime and Border Security
Independent Study Crim CJ
Grad Study Abroad in CJ
Introduction to GIST
Legal Issues/Intel & Nat Sec
Pro-Seminar Homeland Security
Admin Law and Regulation
Pol Anal & Decision Making

The Thesis track will prepare students who later aspire to enter a Ph.D. program by enhancing their theoretical knowledge, research, and statistical skills. In addition to the 9 hours of core courses for all students, the thesis track will require 6 credits in Research methods and Statistics, and 6 credits for the completion of the Thesis. The thesis will be supervised by a faculty committee within the Department of Criminal Justice. The remaining 12 credit must be CRIJ-designated, and the remaining 3 credits may be CRIJ electives or specific courses outside the department, designated in the list below

Thesis Track

7 Required Courses:
CRIJ 5305Proseminar in Criminology/CJ3
CRIJ 5310Adv Criminological Theory3
CRIJ 5315Sem Criminal Justice Policy3
CRIJ 5397Master's Thesis I3
CRIJ 5399Master's Thesis II3
CRIJ 5302Research Methods Intel & CJ Course currently in degree plan, but no longer offered. Please see advisor for substitution.3
CRIJ 5361Statistics in Intel & CJ Course currently in degree plan, but no longer offered. Please see advisor for substitution.3
Elective Courses:12
Select 12 hours from the list below (at least 9 must be CRIJ)
Sem Policing Law Enforcement
Seminar Courts and Sentencing
Correctional Policy and Mgmt
Communities and Crime
Immigration, Crime and CJ
Transnational Criminal Orgs
Drugs, Crime and CJ Policy
Race Ethnicity in CJ System
Seminar Selected Topics
Violence and Victimization
Crime and Border Security
Independent Study Crim CJ
Grad Study Abroad in CJ
Introduction to GIST
Legal Issues/Intel & Nat Sec
Political Economy of Terrorism
Pro-Seminar Homeland Security
Emergency Management
Admin Law and Regulation
Pol Anal & Decision Making