For questions about the Criminal Justice MS program:

Tina Freiburger
(414) 229-6134

For questions about admission or the application process:

Graduate School
(414) 229-6569

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

This program prepares students for leadership positions in the field of criminal justice. It provides a strong foundation for students who anticipate advanced study at the doctoral level. The curriculum offers criminal justice professionals a broad foundation for understanding criminal justice policy.

Legal, organizational, political and behavioral frameworks are used to analyze the operation of the U.S. criminal justice system. Students are introduced to advanced knowledge on the nature and causes of crime, the justification and means of social control, the administration of the justice system, and the evaluation of criminal justice programs.

Crime Analytics Concentration: Learn the specific analytic and methodological techniques used by crime analysts and will gain the qualifications necessary to be successful in any crime analysis position. Learn more about the Crime Analytics Concentration


All students complete a minimum of 33 graduate credits; 24 credit hours must be taken within the criminal justice program and the other 9 may be taken elsewhere in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare or in other UWM departments with the consent of the student’s advisor. Students must complete all degree requirements within seven years of enrollment. All students must take the following proseminars in each of three core areas.

  • 3 credits: Perspectives on Crime and the Criminal Justice System (773)
  • 3 credits: Administration of Criminal Justice Systems (743)
  • 3 credits: Analysis of Criminal Justice Research (756)

In addition, all students must complete either the Master's Thesis (essay option), or the Capstone Seminar (non-essay option.)

Master's Thesis Option
Students have the option to write a thesis in their area of concentration. This option is strongly encouraged for students who are planning to go into a doctoral program. Students pursuing this option must complete 3 credits of approved research and a graduate-level statistics course. They then must pass an oral exam in defense of the essay.

Capstone Option (Non-Essay Option)
Students who do not complete the essay option are required to complete the capstone seminar course (CRM JST 920, Masters Capstone Seminar.) This seminar will integrate learning from the degree coursework. It will involve the synthesis of criminal justice theories, empirical research and program creation and implementation.

Graduation Requirements
Minimum of 33 graduate credits
A grade of B or better in the following: CRM JST 743, CRM JST 756, CRM JST 773 and CRM JST 920 (if taken).
Minimum GPA of 3.0

Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to meet the following standards:

  • Undergraduate degree, from an accredited university, in criminal justice, a related social science or other relevant educational experience.
  • Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 3.00, to be admitted in good standing. (Students with less than a 3.00 GPA may be admitted on probationary status. See below.)
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons who are familiar with the applicant’s academic record.
  • Satisfactory completion of a research methods course. Lacking this, an applicant may be admitted on the condition that the course will be taken prior to receiving the M.S. degree. Credits for such courses will not count toward the degree.
  • Admission on Probationary Status: Applicants whose GPA is 2.75-2.99 may be considered for admission on probation. To be admitted on probationary status, students must also submit satisfactory scores on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test. Students are removed from probation after completion of 9 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better.

How and when to apply

  • Submit the following to the Graduate School: 1) Graduate application, 2) official transcripts, 3) GRE or MAT scores (if required), and 4) the application fee.
  • Submit 2 letters of recommendation to the Criminal Justice Program.
  • Submit everything prior to these deadlines: July 1 (for Fall semester), November 1 (for Spring semester), April 1 (for Summer semester)

Graduate Assistantships

Teaching Assistant and Project Assistant positions may be available to qualified students who carry 6 or more credits. Vacancies are filled on a competitive basis and are subject to the availability of funds. Most positions require 20 hours of work weekly. Students who accept positions are considered employees of UWM and educational expenses may not be deducted from taxable income.

To be considered, a graduate applicant must send a completed Graduate Assistantship Application form to the Criminal Justice Program.

Teaching Assistantships are awarded for the academic year in the Fall. If you apply for Spring Admission, you may put in an application for the following Fall. If you wish to apply your application is due March 1 (or the next Monday if 3/1 falls on a weekend) for the following Fall semester.