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Department of Criminal Justice

Master of Science Degree in Justice Policy

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Justice Policy is designed to provide students with competency in policy planning, evaluation, criminal justice agency management, and preparation for continued graduate study in criminal justice and criminology. The program assists students to develop and apply research expertise toward the resolution of contemporary justice practice and policy issues.

Program Admission Requirements. To qualify for unconditional admission, applicants must satisfy University-wide graduate admission requirements and submit all transcripts and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores as well as two letters of recommendation and a personal statement. An applicant admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or equivalent training at a foreign institution; have a grade point average of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester credit hours of undergraduate work as well as all previous graduate work; have 18 hours in criminal justice, criminology, or a closely-related discipline, or professional experience in the justice system; be in good standing at the last institution attended; have a valid GRE test score and the recommendation of the Justice Policy Graduate Admissions Committee. Students who do not meet these criteria may be admitted conditionally or on probation as degree-seeking depending on the nature of the deficiency. Admission as a special student may be considered by the Admissions Committee upon request of the applicant.

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of other study to remove deficiencies, is 36.

Degree candidates must complete the following three requirements:

  1. 15 semester credit hours of core courses:

    CRJ 5073    Research Methods
    CRJ 5083    Quantitative Analysis
    CRJ 5123    Justice Policy Formation and Implementation
    CRJ 5133    Management of Justice Organizations
    CRJ 6373    Crime Theory and Justice Policy


    NOTE: Students are expected to complete the majority of core courses prior to enrolling in elective courses. Normally, students should enroll in CRJ 5073, CRJ 5123, and CRJ 6373 in their first semester and CRJ 5083 and CRJ 5133 in their second semester.

  2. 15 semester credit hours of electives as follows: at least 9 semester credit hours of prescribed electives should be taken from the required list below and up to 6 semester credit hours of free electives may be taken outside of the discipline in related UTSA graduate programs with approval of the Graduate Advisor of Record (GAR).

    CRJ 5323      Criminal Justice Program Evaluation
    CRJ 6103      Seminar on Topics in Theory of Crime and Justice
    CRJ 6113      Advanced Research Applications
    CRJ 6123      Seminar on Topics in Research Methods
    CRJ 6203      Seminar on Topics in Corrections Policy
    CRJ 6213      Gender Issues in the Criminal Justice System
    CRJ 6223      Ethics and the Practice of Social Control
    CRJ 6233      Minorities in the Criminal Justice System
    CRJ 6303      Seminar on Topics in Policing and Crime Control
    CRJ 6343      Study Abroad: International Criminal Justice
    CRJ 6353      Jury Trials in American Jurisprudence
    CRJ 6363      Paradigms of Justice Policy
    CRJ 6383      Capstone Course
    CRJ 6403      Seminar on Topics in Law, Society and Justice Policy
    CRJ 6951,3   Independent Study
    CRJ 6961      Comprehensive Examination


  3. 6 semester credit hours consisting of one of the following options. Student must complete the 15 credit hours of the core coursework and a minimum 9 credit hours of electives (total of 24 credit hours) to be eligible for one of the following options:

    1. Nonthesis Option (Written Comprehensive Examination): Students electing the nonthesis option are required to take the written comprehensive examination and enroll in 6 additional credit hours of electives. It is required that one of these additional electives be CRJ 6383 Capstone Course—preparation for the written comprehensive exam—and an additional 3 credit hours of electives. Students not successfully completing the comprehensive exam would be required to re-enroll for 3 credit hours of CRJ 6383 Capstone Course in the Fall semester. CRJ 6383 in the Fall is for students who need to retake failed comprehensive exam sections from the previous Spring.
    2. Thesis Option: This option is available only with permission from an instructor and the Graduate Advisor of Record. Students electing the Thesis option are required to enroll in CRJ 6993 or CRJ 6996 Master’s Thesis for a total of 6 credit hours, which includes completion of an oral comprehensive exam (i.e., successful proposal defense). Students failing to complete all requirements of the thesis option within the 6 credit hours would be required to enroll for 1 credit hour of CRJ 6991 Master’s Thesis if no other courses are being taken that term. The Master’s thesis requires compliance with UTSA thesis requirements and a successful final thesis defense.

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