Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The benefits of an advanced graduate degree in criminal justice are self-evident and are being increasingly recognized by employers in Central Florida and throughout the United States. Federal, state and local criminal justice agencies benefit from an informed and innovative workforce that is aware of the complex issues and problems faced by the system regardless of geographic locale. Furthermore, graduates of the program are grounded in the latest theories and learn how these theories affect each individual or organization within the system.

Students in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program will complete a core of seven courses (21 credit hours), two courses from restricted electives (6 credit hours) and three courses from the graduate-level general electives (9 credit hours). The 36-credit-hour program is designed to prepare future criminal justice organizational leaders to be consumers of research and to be able to summarize the present organizational information.

The official program of study is available in the UCF Graduate Catalog and more information is available in this program sheet.

Curriculum

CORE REQUIREMENTS (21 credits)*:

  • CCJ 5015 The Nature of Crime
  • CCJ 5456 The Administration of Justice
  • CCJ 6704 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CCJ 6706 Data Analysis I in Criminal Justice
  • CCJ 6106 Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice
  • CCJ 6118 Criminal Justice Organizations
  • CJE 6718 Proseminar in Criminal Justice (Capstone course to be taken in student’s last semester)

*Students must earn at least a B grade (3.0) in all core requirements

RESTRICTED ELECTIVES (6 credits) – choose two of the following:

  • CJC 5020 Foundations of Corrections
  • CJE 5021 Foundations of Law Enforcement
  • CJJ 6020 Juvenile Justice
  • CJL 6568 Law and Social Control
  • CJL 6520 American Criminal Courts

UNRESTRICTED ELECTIVES (9 credits):
Students should consult with the criminal justice advisor for approval of general electives outside the criminal justice program prior to enrolling. Criminal justice courses at the 5000 or 6000 level, not used towards core or restricted elective requirements, are preapproved general electives.

Application & Admission

The College of Graduate Studies requires all applicants to apply online.

In addition to completing the university’s general admission requirements, applicants must provide the following:

  • Official transcripts of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university showing a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 attempted semester hours of credit earned for the bachelor’s degree
  • Two letters of recommendation: Letters should be from professional references who can attest to the applicant’s ability to succeed in graduate course work and his or her work ethic.
  • A statement of the student’s career goals, indicating how earning the Master of Science in Criminal Justice will enhance the applicant’s career goals and expectations of the graduate program
  • A professional resume (no longer than two pages)
  • A score of at least 220 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if an applicant is from a country where English is not the only official language, or when an applicant’s degree is not from an accredited U.S. institution, or if an applicant did not earn a degree in a country where English is the only official language or a university where English is the only official language of instruction

Students should be aware that admission to any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis. There may be cases where students meeting minimum requirements are denied admission based on such factors as program capacity or academic discretion. Students with less than a 3.0 GPA may be considered for very limited “provisional” admission and are suggested to provide a competitive GRE score. However, only students with complete applications (final transcript, resume, letters of recommendations, statement of career goals) will be reviewed under this special admission category.

Students should be aware that UCF Department of Criminal Justice rules prohibit the counting of more than six credit hours of special courses in their program of study. This includes seminars (CCJ 5931 or CCJ 5934), Study Abroad (CCJ 5957), Criminal Justice Practicum (CCJ 6946), and Independent Study (CCJ 6908).

Students with questions about the program are encouraged to contact the department’s Graduate Advising Office at 407-823-2603 or Elexis.Ritz@ucf.edu.

Funding

The Department of Criminal Justice makes every effort to support funding for graduate research assistants and graduate assistants. The department evaluates students for Fall Graduate Assistantships in early Spring of every year. Those students that have applied for the Spring, Summer and Fall of the upcoming academic year by January 15th will be considered for department Graduate Assistantship positions.

Applicants must submit the following documents to be considered: official transcripts reflecting minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE scores (even though not required for admission), statement of goals, resume, and letters of recommendation. These applications are evaluated by the Graduate Committee as part of this very competitive process, and offers are made in the Spring.


Dual Degree Program

Description

The Public Administration MPA + Criminal Justice MS Dual Degree program provides the opportunity for students to earn graduate degrees from two academic programs, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice and the Master of Public Administration, concurrently. The program emphasizes criminal justice and public administration research, theory, policy and organizational administration to prepare future public service organizational leaders in public, nonprofit, social service, and private organizations. After completion of the MPA/MS dual degree program, students will receive two diplomas, one for the Criminal Justice MS and one for the Public Administration MPA.

The dual degree track consists of 51 credit hours. Each student completes a core of 11 courses (33 credit hours), two research methods and statistics courses (6 credit hours), two electives (6 credit hours), and a capstone experience of two courses (6 credit hours).

Minimum Hours Required for MSCJ/MPA-51 Credit Hours

Core Requirements – 33 Credit Hours

  • CCJ 5015 The Nature of Crime (3 credits)
  • CCJ 5456 The Administration of Justice (3 credits)
  • CCJ 6106 Policy Analysis in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • CCJ 6118 Criminal Justice Organizations (3 credits)
  • PAD 6035 Public Administration in the Policy Process (3 credits)
  • PAD 6037 Public Organization Management (3 credits)
  • PAD 6053 Public Administrators in the Governance Process (3 credits)
  • PAD 6207 Public Financial Management (3 credits)
  • PAD 6227 Public Budgeting (3 credits)
  • PAD 6335 Strategic Planning and Management (3 credits)
  • PAD 6417 Human Resource Management (3 credits)

Research Methods/Statistics Core Requirements – 6 Credit Hours (1 course from each discipline)

  • CCJ 6704 Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credits) OR
    PAD 6700 Research Methods in Public Administration (3 credits)
  • CCJ 6706 Data Analysis I in Criminal Justice (3 credits) OR
    PAD 6701 Analytic Techniques for Public Administration (3 credits)

Capstone Core Requirements – 6 Credit Hours

  • CJE 6718 Proseminar in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • PAD 6062 Advanced Concepts and Applications in Public Administration (3 credits)

*Students must earn at least a B grade in all CCJ/CJE core requirements and at least a B- grade in PAD core requirements.

Electives (pick two courses) – 6 Credit Hours

  • CJC 5020 Foundations of Corrections (3 credits)
  • CJL 6568 Law and Social Control (3 credits)
  • CJE 5021 Foundations of Law Enforcement (3 credits)
  • CJL 6520 American Criminal Courts (3 credits)
  • CJJ 6020 The Juvenile Justice System (3 credits)

Application and Admission

Applicants must apply online
In addition to the general admission requirements, applicants must provide:

  • Official transcripts of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale overall or for the last 60 attempted semester hours of credit earned for the bachelor’s degree
  • Three letters of recommendation specifically for the Criminal Justice MS/MPA program evaluating scholarly and professional capacity. Letters from professors from the colleges/universities attended are preferred, but if that is not feasible, letters from current or past supervisors will be accepted. The recommender must address the applicant’s work ethic and ability to succeed at graduate-level academic work.
  • Current professional résumé including public service experience (paid or voluntary).
  • Goal Statement: The goal statement is a key component of the admission review process and serves as an example of the applicant’s ability to express himself or herself in writing. The goal statement must be no longer than two pages double spaced (500-800 words) and should address the following:
    • Personal background and career aspirations in public service.
    • Reason for pursuing graduate study in criminal justice and public administration, including future career goals and plans.
    • Specific areas of public administration and criminal justice that interests you

Applicants not meeting the minimum standards may be considered as candidates for limited and competitive provisional admittance. However, only students with complete applications (final transcript, resume, letters of recommendation and personal statement) will be reviewed under this special admission category. GRE scores are strongly encouraged for this category of students.

Students should be aware that admission to any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis. There may be cases where students meeting minimum requirements are denied admission based on such factors as program capacity or academic discretion

Domestic applicants must turn in all materials prior to the following deadlines:

  • Fall Priority January 15th
  • Fall Semester June 15th
  • Spring Semester November 1st

Note: International students are bound by different deadlines and admissions criteria. These regulations can be found in the graduate catalog: www.graduate.ucf.edu Please also check the UCF Graduate Catalog for the most up-to-date admissions information for the program.

Funding

The Department of Criminal Justice makes every effort to support funding for graduate research assistants and graduate assistants. The department evaluates students for Fall Graduate Assistantships in early Spring of every year. Those students that have applied for the Spring, Summer and Fall of the upcoming academic year by January 15th will be considered for department Graduate Assistantship positions.

Applicants must submit the following documents to be considered: official transcripts reflecting minimum 3.0 GPA, GRE scores (even though not required for admission), statement of goals, resume, and letters of recommendation. These applications are evaluated by the Graduate Committee as part of this very competitive process, and offers are made in the Spring

Contact

Criminal Justice Graduate Advising Office
407-823-2603 or elexis.ritz@ucf.edu

Public Administration Graduate Advising Office
407-823-0912 or nasrin@ucf.edu

Department of Criminal Justice
www.cohpa.ucf.edu/criminaljustice

School of Public Administration
www.cohpa.ucf.edu/publicadmin


Certificate Programs

The Department of Criminal Justice offers nine certificate programs to supplement existing programs and to provide specialized knowledge in various disciplines.

See the UCF Undergraduate Catalog and UCF Graduate Catalog for descriptions of these programs or visit the links below.

Undergraduate

Graduate


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice

Program Overview

The Department of Criminal Justice has recently launched a program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice. See the information sheet.

UCF’s Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice is composed of a substantive core focused on criminal justice theory and institutions; a research methods core that prepares social scientists in the scientific method and social-science statistics; and a selection of substantive criminal justice specializations (policing, corrections or juvenile justice). The program focuses on criminal justice and takes advantage of the city of Orlando and surrounding cities and counties to examine criminal justice issues at multiple angles and levels.

The program is intended to serve many purposes. Chief among them are to:

  • prepare disciplinary stewards capable of advancing scholarship in criminal justice
  • prepare a qualified workforce to assume criminal justice instructional responsibilities in post-secondary institutions
  • prepare analysts competent to staff state and local criminal justice agencies
  • improve safety and justice in communities through research partnerships with neighborhood, city, county and state agencies and associations

Students completing the Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice at UCF will be exceptionally well prepared to pursue academic positions in universities, research positions in criminal justice agencies, and consultancies in program evaluation and needs assessment.

The program is a 57-credit, post-master’s program of study and research. Substantive emphasis is placed on core course work in criminal justice theory and institutions, and on in-depth concentrations in policing, corrections or juvenile justice. Students will complete a minimum of 42 credits of post-master’s course work and 15 credits of dissertation research.

For additional information, including details about admission, visit the UCF Graduate Catalog.

Questions? 

Prospective students with questions are encouraged to contact the department’s Graduate Advising Office at 407-823-2603.

Program Curriculum

SUBSTANTIVE CORE (15 credits):

  • Seminar in the Nature of Crime (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Theory (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Systems (3 credits)
  • Teaching Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • Criminal Justice Research in the Community (3 credits)

METHODOLOGICAL CORE (12 credits):
(Entering Ph.D. students are expected to have qualifying graduate course work in statistics and research methods equivalent to two semesters of graduate research methods course work and two semesters of graduate statistics.)

  • Advanced Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credits)
  • Two additional methods/statistics courses with advisor approval (6 credits)

CONCENTRATION AREA (9 credits):
Students will select an area of concentration and complete the assigned coursework. Entering doctoral students must have completed a master’s-level precursor in their chosen area (e.g., Master’s-level survey course in policing if the area chosen is Policing Theory and Research). Areas of concentration are:

Policing Theory and Research (9 credits):

  • Policing Urban Communities (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Police Culture (3 credits)
  • Police Administration (3 credits)
    -or-

Correctional Theory and Research (9 credits):

  • Seminar in Institutional Corrections (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Community Corrections (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Correctional Effectiveness (3 credits)
    -or-

Juvenile Justice Theory and Research (9 credits):

  • Seminar in Policing and Prevention in the Juvenile Justice System (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Prosecuting Juvenile Offenders (3 credits)
  • Seminar in Juvenile Corrections (3 credits)

ELECTIVE COURSE WORK (6 credits)

Students will select two classes, of three credits each, from an approved list of electives in the department, college and university.

EXAMINATIONS (credits unspecified)

A series of cumulative examinations will ensure expertise in the substantive, methodological and concentration areas. Students may enroll in doctoral research credits during the period of study preceding the examinations.

DISSERTATIONS (15 credits)

Upon successful completion of all examinations, students will enter candidacy and complete a dissertation. The topic should be grounded in the student’s selected concentration area.

Application and Admission

The College of Graduate Studies requires all applicants to apply online.

In addition to completing the university’s general admission requirements, applicants must provide the following:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • An earned or in progress Master’s degree in criminal justice or a closely related discipline from an accredited institution with at least a 3.5 GPA.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Three letters of recommendation, with at least two being from university faculty members who can assess the student’s ability to succeed in a doctoral program.
  • A personal narrative of 500 – 1,000 words describing research interests, educational expectations, career aspirations, level of computer skills, and any special qualifications that may enhance the overall learning environment of the CJ PhD program.
  • A curriculum vita.
  • A writing sample that is at least 2,000 words long, is academic in nature (e.g., paper written for a Master’s class), and demonstrates the applicant’s ability to complete graduate-level composition. Should not be published work and applicant must be the sole author.

Applicants may be requested to participate in an interview (by Skype) with the Department’s Doctoral Program Committee and coordinator. Students will simultaneously be considered for both admission and funding.

Students should be aware that admission to any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis. There may be cases where students meeting minimum requirements are denied admission based on such factors as program capacity or academic discretion. Students are expected to be full time and are required to be in residence. Application materials are due by January 15th to be reviewed for fall admission.

Funding

Qualified students are awarded research or instructional assistantships. These assistantships include a tuition waiver, stipend, work experience, health insurance and qualifies the student for in state residency.

For more information, contact the Department of Criminal Justice Graduate Program Director.