Criminology & Criminal Justice
Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Are you in or preparing for a career in law, justice, or policy? Are you passionate about making a difference in your community, and know what it takes to be a leader in an world with an ever-changing landscape?

A Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice will help you thrive in government or private sector work, policing, or further education in law or graduate studies.

Along with your degree, you will gain skills employers want: critical thinking, problem solving, oral and written communication skills and a thorough understanding of law and policy.

Student Handbook

Program Admission Requirements

**Applications available for fall entry only

To qualify for unconditional admission, applicants must:

  • satisfy University-wide graduate admission requirements.
  • 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 the recommendation of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Program 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 Graduate Program Committee upon request of the applicant.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • all transcripts
  • two letters of recommendation
  • a resume
  • a personal statement

GRE scores are optional; applicants can strengthen their application for admission by submitting their GRE test scores.

VIP Admissions Program for Current UTSA Students and Alumni

Request Information from the UTSA Graduate School

Thomas Garza“My experience with the M.S. CCJ program entailed a vast understanding of conceptual theories, policy implementation, advance knowledge of statistical analyzation, and close-knit mentorship – which gave me the necessary skillset to attain Government employment with one of the United States’ leading agencies in Intelligence.”

– Thomas J. Garza ’17, Investigator, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

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:


  • CRJ 5073 Research Methods
  • CRJ 5083 Quantitative Analysis
  • CRJ 5103 The Criminal Justice System
  • CRJ 5123 Criminal Justice Policy
  • CRJ 6373 Criminological Theory
Students are expected to complete the majority of core courses prior to enrolling in elective courses. Normally, students should enroll in CRJ 5073, CRJ 5103 and CRJ 6373 in their first semester and CRJ 5083 and CRJ 5123 in their second semester.
At least 9 semester credit hours of prescribed electives from the 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  5133 Justice Organizations and Administration
  • CRJ  6103 Seminar on Topics in Theory of Crime and Justice
  • CRJ  6123 Seminar on Topics in Research Methods
  • CRJ  6203 Seminar on Topics in Corrections Policy
  • CRJ  6213 Gender and Crime
  • CRJ  6233 Minorities and Crime
  • CRJ  6303 Seminar on Topics in Policing and Crime Prevention
  • CRJ  6343 Study Abroad: International Crime and Justice
  • CRJ  6383 Capstone Course
  • CRJ  6403 Seminar on Topics in Law and Society
  • CRJ  6951,3 Independent Study (1 or 3 SCH)
  • CRJ  6961 Comprehensive Examination (1 SCH)
1) Nonthesis Option: Students who select the nonthesis option are required to take a written comprehensive exam divided into four sections (Quantitative Analysis/Research Methods, Criminological Theory, Criminal Justice Policy, and the Criminal Justice System), which will be administered over two sittings. The student must pass each section of the comprehensive exam in order to pass the comprehensive exam.  Students will also have to complete two additional electives (6 hours). It is required that one of these additional electives be CRJ 6383 Capstone. It is graded as Credit/Non-Credit. This course provides a review of the five core courses from which the four sections of the comprehensive exam will be drawn. CRJ 6383 Capstone will operate as a stand-alone course. A student must complete this course to satisfy the requirements of the degree, but he or she can also receive credit for this course without successfully completing the comprehensive exam. In the event that a student does not pass one of the four sections of the exam (or more than one section), the student must retake the failed comprehensive exam section(s) in one sitting in a subsequent semester.  Students have one calendar year (two semesters) from their initial attempt to successfully pass the comprehensive exam (i.e., pass all four sections of the comprehensive exam). Students will be dismissed from the program after two unsuccessful attempts to pass the comprehensive exam. Students do not need to re-enroll in CRJ 6383 to re-take the comprehensive exam. Students not enrolled in any other courses would be required to enroll in 1 credit hour of CRJ 6961 Comprehensive Examination in the subsequent long semester in which the student wishes to re-take the comprehensive exam. 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.

nishita maliek garza“My time in the MSCCJ program was invaluable. The program went in depth on topics related to policy, justice issues, and research practices. The professors constantly challenged me to think outside the box, and helped strengthen my writing and research techniques. Thanks to the outstanding mentorship, and various skills obtained within the program, I was able to secure a career in the counterintelligence field.”

– Nishita Maliek Garza ’17, Investigator, Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency

For more information, contact:
Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Durango Bldg. (Downtown Campus) DB 4.110

Megan Augustyn, PhD
Ph: 210-458-2976