Master of Science


The Department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice.  The M.S. has 15 hours of core courses and 15 hours of electives. Students can choose to take up to six (6) credits outside of criminal justice upon approval of the department chair. In addition, the student selects from one of three capstone experiences: 1) thesis (6 hours), 2) internship project (6 hours), or 3) an applied research project (CJ 650 for 3 credits and an additional criminal justice elective for 3 credits).

The purpose of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice is to provide a high-quality graduate program that prepares competent individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the criminal justice needs of the region, including such aspects of criminal justice as law enforcement, courts, corrections, and crime prevention.  The goals of the program are to prepare graduates who are able to:

  • Assess and understand criminal justice problems and issues.
  • Conduct basic and applied research in criminal justice.
  • Use statistics and software to analyze problems, data & evidence to answer research questions.
  • Apply legal standards & theories to the study of the criminal justice system.
  • Integrate the findings concerning the psychological, sociological, biological, economic and cultural explanations of crime.

Current SEMO undergraduate students can apply to the Accelerated Graduate Program and earn graduate credit while still an undergraduate student.  See Dr. Jeremy Ball (chairperson) for more details

Program Structure

Total Credits required for graduation: 36

Major Requirements

Required Core Courses: 15 Hours

Each course three (3) hours unless otherwise specified

CJ505 - Diversity in Criminal Justice  
CJ520 - Law & Social Control  ]
CJ601 - Research Methodology in Criminal Justice
CJ615 - Theories of Crime 
CJ626 - Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice 

Elective Credits - 15 hours

Electives in Criminal Justice

CJ510 - Comparative Criminal Justice Systems 
CJ519 - Restorative Justice  
CJ525 - Crime & Criminal Justice Policy 
CJ540 - Ethics in Criminal Justice 
CJ610 - Seminar in Law Enforcement 
CJ625 - Adult Correctional Organization
CJ630 - Seminar in Juvenile Justice
CJ635 - Civil Law & Liability
CJ641 - Death Penalty in America
CJ650 - Applied Research Project
CJ693 - Independent Study in Criminal Justice 
CJ6xx - Special Topics in Criminal Justice
CJ6xx - Seminar in Criminal Courts
CJ6xx - Justice Administration
CJ6xx - Policy Analysis & Evaluation (Methods & Statistics Prerequisite)
CJ834 - Field Experience in Correctional Institutions 

Up to 6 hours outside of criminal justice may be applied with the approval of the department chair.

Requirements for Thesis, Internship or other Capstone Experience

All students must complete a capstone experience. Completing one of the following three options may satisfy this requirement: Internship, Capstone Seminar or Thesis.  The options are described as follows:

(a) Internship Option

CJ699 - Internship I
CJ6xx - Internship II

The internship (CJ699 Criminal Justice Internship) will consist of 240-hour field placement and a paper describing the objectives and outcomes of the experience (6 hours). The internship paper will be prepared under the supervision of a committee that is organized and created in the same manner as a thesis committee. The student must be approved by the Department Graduate Coordinator prior to enrollment. The student will also be required to enroll in GR699 Master's Oral Examination in the semester the student anticipates completing the internship.  More details found in the Department guidelines. 


(b) The Research Project Option

CJ650 - Seminar in Criminal Justice Leadership & Practice

The capstone seminar (CJ650 Applied Research) will include a directed research project (without data collection) that addresses a significant research question that is in the field of criminal justice or cirmiinology. (3 hours). The student will use the information gathered to develop a plan to apply in an agency or community.  The student will also be required to enroll in GR699 Master's Oral Examination in the semester the student anticipates completing the capstone seminar. The professor supervising the seminar and appointed graduate faculty will serve as a second reader. This option requires an additional three hours of electives.

(c) Thesis Option

CJ694 and CJ695 Thesis in Criminal Justice (6 hours).

For students who want to pursue a research interest, the thesis (CJ694 and CJ695 Thesis in Criminal Justice, each 3 hours) may be selected. The student must be approved by the Department Graduate Coordinator prior to enrolling in CJ694. The student will also be required to enroll in GR699 Master's Oral Examination in the semester the student anticipates completing the thesis.  

Application Forms

Individuals seeking admission to the program must do so through the School of Graduate Studies at Southeast Missouri State University.

Admission Criteria

In addition to the criteria established for general admission to graduate studies, applicants must have the following:

  • Undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice, Criminology, or a related field prior to enrollment.
    • A student without a criminal justice degree may be required to complete up to 12 hours of background courses in criminal justice prior to taking graduate level courses including but not limited to: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Methods of Research, Criminological Theory and Statistics. Based on previous courses taken, the requirement to take background courses may be waived by the Criminal Justice Graduate Coordinator.
  • Minimum grade point average of 3.00 on all undergraduate course work and 3.00 on all graduate course work.
    • Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 to 2.99 may be admitted on probation with a GRE score of 300 or above (combined quantitative and verbal scores). Applicants must complete 9 hours of graduate-level course work in the core area of study (with a 3.00 average in those 9 hours) to continue in the program.
  • Letter of intent
    • In 750 words or less discuss: (a) preparation for graduate study, (b) ability to succeed at the graduate level, (c) explanation of any special circumstances/considerations and (d) professional goals. The letter should be well-written, typed, and addressed to the Director of Admissions.
  • A writing sample
    • In 750 words or less, discuss your perception of one of the most significant issues in the criminal justice system today. Why is this a problem and what steps do you propose be taken to address the issue? Make sure your essay is well-written, typed, correctly cited and adheres to APA guidelines.
  • 2 Letters of Reference
    • At least one letter of reference from a current or former professor who can address your research, writing, and analytical skills is required. A letter from work supervisors in the legal or criminal justice professions (who can similarly address your research, writing, and analytical skills) may be also submitted. Reference letters must be received by Southeast no later than the application deadline.
  • Apply Online @
    • Admission Deadlines: July 15 for Fall Semester, December 15 for Spring Semester & May 15 for Summer Semester

The Application for Graduate Admission maybe submitted online or by mail.

More Information

More information on the Graduate Program is available from the School of Graduate Studies.


Graduate Program Coordinator

Phone: (573) 651-2451
Office: Brandt 327
MS 7950

Guidelines for a Thesis Proposal for the Department of Criminal Justice

Graduate Internship Approval Form

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Human Subjects Form

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School of Graduate Studies


Department of Criminal Justice
One University Plaza, MS 7950
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701