Criminal Justice, M.S.

Degree: Master of Science

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.

Application & Admission

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.


Thesis Option- 6 Credit Hours (towards the 9 credits general electives):


All students will be automatically placed in the non-thesis option. Those wanting to complete a thesis will work with the program coordinator.

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 academic or 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).


Application Deadlines


  • Fall Priority- January 15th
  • Fall - July 1st
  • Spring- December 1st
  • Summer- April 1st (MSCJ page only)

Students with questions about the program are encouraged to contact the department’s Graduate Advising Office at 407-823-2603 or

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.