Graduate Program Overview

  • The program offers two degree options; the thesis option and the course option. Both options require the completion of 15 credit hours of core course work and passing of the comprehensive examination.

    Thesis Option:

    The thesis option requires the successful completion of twenty-four (24) semester hours of course work and a minimum of six (6) hours of credit on an original thesis. This research-oriented option of thirty (30) credit hours is designed for students who anticipate pursuing their academic career to the doctoral level. Students electing this option must form a thesis committee. A minimum committee consists of a major professor (Chair of the Thesis Committee) and two additional faculty members, all of whom must be members of the UMES graduate school. The major professor and one member of the thesis committee should be selected from the Department of Criminal Justice Faculty. One committee member must be selected from outside the department and be a campus-approved graduate faculty. A successful oral defense of the thesis is also required. 

    Core courses     15 credits 
    Concentration courses     6 credits
    Electives     3 credits
    Thesis     6 credits

    Course Option:

    The course option requires the successful completion of thirty-six (36) credit hours of course work. This option requires completion of the five core courses and an eighteen (18) credit hour concentration. In addition, you must complete a three (3) credit hour elective course. The elective course can be a graduate level course. This option does not require a thesis or a completion of an area paper. Students who elect this option do not ordinarily seek admission into a Ph.D. program. 

     Core courses  15 credits
     Concentration courses  18 credits
     Electives  3 credits

    Required Core Courses

    Both the thesis and course options require the successful completion of the following five core courses (15 credit hours):

    MCCJ 600 Proseminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice 3 credit hours
    MCCJ 620 Theoretical Perspectives on Crime and Justice 3 credit hours
    MCCJ 625 Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice 3 credit hours
    MCCJ 631 Applied Statistics in Criminology and Criminal Justice 3 credit hours
    MCCJ 640 Minorities, Crime, and Justice           3 credit hours
    Total Credit Hours 15 credit hours

    Students must achieve a grade of B or better in all core courses.

    Core Courses Descriptions

    (NOTE: Credit Hours are denoted in parentheses)

    MCCJ 600 Proseminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice          (3)

    This course is designed as an in-depth analysis of criminological issues and components of the criminal justice system for students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds.  It employs an integrated systems approach toward thinking about crime and its causes and covers the history of criminological thought as well as multidisciplinary attempts at crime explanation.

    MCCJ 620 Theoretical Perspectives on Crime and Justice (3)

    Survey of criminological theories with emphasis on crime causation and justice.  Included are sociological, economic, geographic, and political theories of law formation and law breaking; development of physiological, genetic, psychological, and psychiatric perspectives of criminal behavior and the relationship between theory and policy.

    MCCJ 625 Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice           (3)

    This course provides an introduction to the research methodology used in studying crime and criminological issues.

    MCCJ 631 Applied Statistics in Criminology and Criminal Justice (3)

    This is an advanced applied social statistics course with computer applications, using examples from criminological issues and crime-related data.  Statistical procedures to be studied descriptive and inferential statistics and linear regression techniques are those typically used to analyze data to understand and explain criminological issues. Prerequisite:  Undergraduate or graduate introduction to statistics         

    MCCJ 640 Minorities, Crime, and Justice (3)

    This course considers the relationships among race, ethnicity, and crime in the justice system.  The effect of social policy on racial and ethnic inequality is studied, and theories of ethnic and racial justice are presented in terms of their effect on crime and criminal justice.


    Concentration Areas

    The MS in Criminal Justice offers three areas of concentration, Criminology and Research (CR), Law Enforcement and Courts (LE), and Corrections and Delinquency Prevention (CDP). Some courses apply to more than one concentration. Each concentration is designed to serve the needs of experienced professionals in the expanding field of criminal justice. The courses of each concentration will help enhance the skills and knowledge critical for effective management and leadership in criminal justice.