School of Criminology and Justice Studies

Master's Program

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

 Expected Academic/ Professional/Occupational Results 

It is anticipated that the master’s and certificate programs will serve four types of students: 

  1. Those seeking a terminal master’s degree as a prerequisite for entry into the criminal justice field. 
  2. Those currently in service in the criminal justice system who seek to broaden their skills and obtain job-related knowledge and expertise. 
  3. Those currently in the criminal justice system seeking to specialize and/or work in some other area of the system. 
  4. Those currently in the system or pre-service who wish to obtain the training and expertise necessary to meet the growing need for teaching criminal justice at the community college level. In addition, the program will meet the needs of students preparing for doctoral work in criminal justice or related fields. Off-campus graduate courses have been offered in Boston, Woburn, and Bedford, and varied with each semester. Selected courses are also offered via the Internet. 

Admission Requirements 

In addition to the university requirements for graduate admissions, applicants should have the ability to pursue graduate education, as demonstrated by: 

  1. Graduation from an accredited four-year institution. 
  2. Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.8 or higher. 
  3. Acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test or Millers Analogy Test. 
  4. Three letters of reference from individuals familiar with the educational and/or professional performance of the applicant. 
  5. Two copies of a complete and official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. 
  6. An interview may be requested by the Graduate Admissions Committee. 
  7. Subject to departmental approval, a maximum of 12 credits of graduate level coursework taken at an accredited university outside of UMass Lowell with a grade of B or better may be transferred into the Criminal Justice master’s degree program. 
  8. Prospective applicants may take a maximum of two classes at UMass Lowell as a non-degree student which may be transferred into the master's program.

Students with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program who have an undergraduate grade point average between 2.5 and 2.8 may, with the permission of the Graduate Coordinator, take limited courses as non-degree students. These non-degree students should take CRIM 580/44.501 Foundations of Criminal Justice Scholarship and CRIM 520/44.503 Criminal Justice System or other courses with approval. If they successfully complete these two courses with a grade of B or better, they may then make formal application to the program, submitting all required credentials. The Graduate Committee of the School of Criminology and Justice Studies then will review all relevant information and make a decision regarding admission to the program.

A maximum 6 credits of graduate level course work taken at an accredited university outside of UMass Lowell with a grade of B or better may be transferred into the Criminal Justice master's degree program.

 Degree Requirements 

You must complete a minimum of thirty-three (33) credits for the Master of Arts Degree, including a Core Course Sequence of fifteen (15) credits, which includes the following required courses: 

Please note: The CRIM prefix refers to on-campus courses, while the 44 prefix identifies on-line courses.

  1. CRIM 501/44.521 Criminological Theory: Foundations   
  2. CRIM 520/44.503 Criminal Justice System
  3. CRIM 590/44.580 Quantitative Analysis in Criminal Justice
  4. CRIM 591/44.590 Research Design 
  5. CRIM 580/44.501 Criminal Justice Scholarship OR 
  6. CRIM 613/44.573 Law and Public Policy OR CRIM 521/44.570

In addition, all students may choose to complete CRIM 583/586/44.743/44.746 Master’s Thesis (6 credits). If you do not undertake the thesis option, two additional classes must be taken to complete the six credit hours. 

You should meet with your academic advisor to develop an individualized course of study to meet your degree requirements.

 Bachelor's/Master's (BS/MA) OPTION 

Outstanding undergraduate Criminal Justice majors at the University of Massachusetts Lowell may enroll in a B.S./M.A. program that allows students to complete both degrees in five years (in many cases). 

Additional information and how to apply

Degree Program 

During the first year of full-time study, students emphasize the five core courses. The decision to complete a thesis should be made before the completion of 24 credits. Full time students will enroll in thesis during the second year of study. Selected specialty courses will be taken during the second or subsequent year. With the approval of the academic advisor, students may select up to nine credits of graduate level courses in other programs at the university. Students will be assigned an academic advisor, usually the Graduate Coordinator, when entering the program. Students will be required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative average. If a student should receive a grade below a B, the academic advisor will meet with the student to discuss methods of improving performance. No more than six credits below a B may be counted toward the degree. If a student should receive a second grade below a B, there will be a review by the Graduate Committee for such actions as a warning, probation, or loss of degree candidacy. Such action will be subject to the approval of the Graduate Dean. All requirements for the degree must be completed within five years of the time the student was first admitted as a matriculated student. 

 Master’s Thesis 

The thesis will be completed under the direction of a mutually acceptable thesis advisor. The thesis proposal must be approved by the thesis committee. An approved copy of the proposal will be filed with the Graduate Coordinator. The thesis will represent the student’s ability to formulate, carry out, and present a significant research project. A defense of thesis will be conducted before a panel including the thesis advisor (chair), and the committee members chosen by the student and approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Thesis forms and guidelines are available. 

 Course of Study 

Once the majority of the required core courses are completed, students are free to choose the remaining courses in their program of study. Students should meet with their advisor to develop an individualized course of study that best meets their interests and needs.