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 graduate coordinator. In addition, the student selects from one of three capstone experiences: 1) thesis (6 hours), 2) internship project (6 hours), or 3) leadership capstone (CJ650 for 3 credits and either CJ525 or CJ645 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 or to prepare students for doctoral education.   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

The Department offers the M.S. in Criminal Justice in two uniquely delivered ways. The first delivery method is a blended program utilizing evening, face-to-face courses at Southeast Missouri State University and online courses offered by Southeast Missouri State University and Missouri Southern State University through a cooperative agreement.

The second delivery method is a 100% online experience through a fully integrated, cooperative program with Missouri Southern State University. This program provides students with a convenient and easily accessible opportunity to complete advanced study in criminal justice. It offers the working professional the opportunity to engage in online education, taking the same curriculum as the blended program.

Major Requirements

Required Core Courses: 15 Hours

Each course three (3) hours unless otherwise specified

CJ505 - Social Inequality  
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 
CJ530 - Crime, Media, & Pop Culture
CJ540 - Ethics in Criminal Justice 
CJ610 - Seminar in Law Enforcement 
CJ625 - Seminar in Corrections
CJ630 - Seminar in Juvenile Justice
CJ635 - Civil Law & Liability
CJ641 - Death Penalty in America
CJ645 - Policy Analysis & Evaluation
CJ650 - Seminar in Criminal Justice Leadership & Practice
CJ693 - Independent Study in Criminal Justice 
CJ699 Criminal Justice Internship (3 or 6 credits)
CJ6xx - Special Topics in Criminal Justice
CJ6xx - Seminar in Criminal Courts
CJ6xx - Justice Administration
CJ834 - Field Experience in Correctional Institutions 

Up to 6 hours of criminal justice may be applied with the approval of the department graduate coordinator.

Graduate Capstone Requirements

A Master’s degree requires a culminating activity putting the skills into action. The Department offers three options for this culminating activity – called a capstone.

Option 1: Thesis

For students who want to pursue a research interest, the thesis may be selected. The student will work with a graduate faculty member to develop a research question and a data source to analyze (preferably before the semester starts) who will also help in selecting the other committee members (one outside of the department). This option is a recommended option for those students who are considering a doctorate degree; however, this option is not limited only to those students. The student must be approved by the Department Graduate Coordinator prior to enrolling in CJ 694.


  • CJ 694 Thesis in Criminal Justice (3 hours)
  • CJ 695 Thesis. Second Semester (3 hours)
  • GR 699 Master’s Oral Examination (0 hours)

Option 2: Internship Capstone

For students who want to apply what they have learned in their graduate studies in a particular agency, the internship capstone is a good option. The Internship Capstone requires 240 hour field placement in a criminal justice-related agency. If the student is currently employed in an agency, the Department requires the student work in a different agency. The student will work with a graduate faculty member to develop measurable objectives (before starting the internship) who will also help in selecting the other committee members (one outside of the department). The student will also be writing a significant paper outlining research in the field, findings on the objectives, and recommendations for the agency to consider.


  • CJ 696 Internship Capstone I (3 hours)
  • CJ 697 Internship Capstone II (3 hours)
  • GR 699 Master’s Oral Examination (0 hours)

Option 3: Leadership Capstone

For students who want to learn about leadership and policy, this capstone is a good option. The students are required to take specific courses beyond the 30 hours of coursework required. In this capstone the student will develop a portfolio, analyzing leadership theory and practices and policy analysis and evaluation. This portfolio will be created within CJ 650 using components in that course as well as in CJ 525 and/or CJ 645.


  • CJ 650 Seminar in Criminal Justice Leadership and Practice (3 hours)
  • Choose one course (3 hours)
    • CJ 525 Crime and Criminal Justice Policy
    • CJ 645 Criminal Justice Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • GR 698 Master’s Comprehensive Examination (0 hours) (used for non-thesis/non-internship capstone students)

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 personal statement outlining an explanation for the lower academic performance and evidence of commitment to graduate education in criminal justice. Applicants must complete 9 hours of graduate-level coursework in the core area of study with a 3.0 GPA 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.
  • Apply Online @
    • Admission Deadlines: April 30 for Fall Semester, October 31 for Spring Semester & April 30 for Summer Semester

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


Brandt 329
Department of Criminal Justice & Sociology
One University Plaza, MS 7950
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701