Graduate Programs

Master's Program


The school offers a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology. This program is suitable for at least five types of applicants:

  • Applicants seeking a terminal master's degree as a prerequisite for entry into the criminal justice field. 
  • Applicants currently in the criminal justice system who seek to broaden their skills and obtain job-related knowledge and expertise. 
  • Applicants currently in the criminal justice system seeking to specialize and/or work in some other area of the system. 
  • Applicants currently in the system or pre-service who wish to obtain the education and expertise necessary to meet the growing need for teaching criminal justice at the community college level. 
  • Applicants wanting to prepare for doctoral work in criminal justice or related fields.


  • To meet the needs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for criminal justice graduates to fill positions in teaching, research, and management in criminal justice and related agencies. 
  • To prepare students for leadership positions in the administration of criminal justice agencies at the local, state, and federal levels as well as in the private sector. 
  • To apply theory and research to real-world problems in criminal justice. 
  • To conduct quality research on crime measurement, causation, impact, and the effect of state and local policies on crime. 
  • To provide knowledge about methods of crime control in public and private settings. 
  • To provide a thorough knowledge of the development of current issues in criminal justice and the relationship of criminal justice to other social and behavioral sciences. 
  • To apply computer technology to decision-making in the criminal justice system. 
  • To apply advanced skills in research, technology, management and intervention. 

For the latest Admission Requirements, course of study and course information please visit the UMass Lowell on-line Graduate Academic Catalog.

Degree Program

The Master's degree program offers courses in two formats: on-campus and online. Students may take courses in either of the formats or a combination. Requirements are the same for all course formats. 

Once the majority of required courses have been 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.  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. 

Master's Thesis

Students may choose to complete a Master's Thesis. 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.  The thesis will be completed under the direction of a mutually acceptable thesis advisor. The thesis proposal must be approved by a thesis committee, composed of the thesis advisor (chair) and two other committee members chosen by the student and approved by the Graduate Coordinator. 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 the thesis committee and other interested faculty and students. Thesis forms and guidelines are available. 

Five-Year BS/MA Program

Juniors and seniors at UMass Lowell who have a 3.0 GPA or better and have earned a B or better in 44.395 (Criminal Justice Statistics) are eligible to apply for the B.S/M.A. program.  The B.S./M.A. program allows for completion of both degrees in five years if desired.  As part of the program, two graduate classes may be counted toward both the 120 credit hours required for the B.S. degree and the 33 credit hours required for the M.A. degree.  

Please note once the student graduates with their Bachelor's degree and enters the Master's program, the student must transfer the credits from the graduate courses taken while they were pursuing their Bachelor's degree by completing an academic petition asking for the credits to be transferred into the Master's program.  

For additional information, please contact the Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor via e-mail: