May 26, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 
    
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 of 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.

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). A 3.0 or higher is preferred.
  • An undergraduate statistics and undergraduate research methods course is preferred.
  • An online questionnaire will be required.
  • One letter of recommendation.
  • An oral interview with the graduate 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 or comprehensive exam. Both options require 36 hours to complete the program including CRJU 8301  and CRJU 8303 . The thesis requires an oral defense. The comprehensive exam option requires  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 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. Students receiving a D or an F in any graduate course will be removed from the program.

Elective (18 Hours)


Must be CRJU courses at a 7000 level or higher with an on-campus section number. CRJU classes with an online campus number (e.g., 9U0) are reserved for the online MSCJ program and do not count towards the MACJ program without prior approval by the Graduate Coordinator. 

Students can also pursue electives in other graduate programs with approval by the Graduate Coordinator.

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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