Sep 23, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Criminal Justice, M.A.


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The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program prepares graduates for positions of responsibility in the criminal justice system and related areas, facilitates the professional and intellectual development of in- service students, and provides foundation work for those planning careers in research or teaching. The curriculum provides a distinctive melding of professionally structured knowledge and the ethical imperatives of criminal justice in a constitutional democracy. Attention is centered on:

  • Understanding the broadest nature of scientific inquiry and dissemination of social science knowledge pertaining to criminal justice;
  • The ability to organize literature, think critically, and draw conclusions from conducting independent research into criminal justice topics. Understanding of police, courts, corrections, prosecution agencies, and the criminal-legal profession as integral components of the criminal justice system;
  • Knowledge of research and research methodologies needed to understand and improve criminal justice and criminology; and
  • Understanding of criminological theories for studying issues of crime and behavior.

For more information, visit the program’s website.

Admission Requirements

Students should submit all undergraduate transcripts and other materials to the UALR Graduate School. Do not send materials to the Department of Criminal Justice.

Admissions decisions are made based on a total file review. Expectations of those applying include the following:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75 (4.0 scale)
  • Score of at least 400 on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or 300 on the combine verbal and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • An undergraduate statistics and undergraduate research methods course
  • An oral interview with the program coordinator may be required

Conditional Admission

Students not meeting the standardized test score requirements may be admitted conditionally at the discretion of the program coordinator. Students admitted conditionally must earn grades of at least B in the first 12 hours and may not receive a grade of (I) incomplete within the first 12 hours of the program.

Program Requirements

Two options are available for graduation from the MACJ program: thesis and portfolio. Both options require 36 hours to successfully complete the program including CRJU 8301 Portfolio Preparation  and CRJU 8303 Thesis . Both thesis and portfolios require an oral defense. Before enrolling in graduate classes, students must consult with the program coordinator to develop a program of study.

The thesis requires research and analysis of a topic in the field. It must demonstrate advanced scholarship, appropriate design, and skills of written expression. A total of six hours of CRJU 8303  and CRJU 8301  must be completed.

The portfolio requires a comprehensive literature review, critique of the literature, and direction for future study and policy on the topic. A total of six hours of CRJU 8303  and CRJU 8301  must be completed. Electives may be taken from criminal justice or from education, gerontology, history, applied communication studies, journalism, psychology, public administration, social work, and professional and technical writing.

Courses with grades of B or greater may not be repeated; grades below C are not accepted in the minimum hours requirement; and courses cannot be dropped from the study plan because of low grades. Students may receive a maximum of two Cs in the program of  study. Upon receiving a third C, the student will be removed from the program.

Suggested Degree Plan


Graduate Assistantships


A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Contact the program coordinator for information.

Graduation Requirements


  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on an approved program of study as outlined above.
  • Successfully complete a written thesis with oral defense or portfolio with oral defense.
  • Students who do not attain a 3.0 GPA within the required hours may complete no more than six additional hours to achieve the GPA.

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