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Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice Department offers courses leading to the Master of Science (MS) with a major in criminal justice and supporting courses for the MA with a major in liberal studies. The department also offers an area of concentration in criminal justice within the MPA degree program (please refer to the Public Administration section of this website for application materials required, admission and program requirements). 

Required Application Materials

Applicants for the MS with a major in criminal justice will be permitted to enroll for one semester of graduate course work while completing all other general application procedure requirements.

Applicants for the MS with a major in criminal justice must submit the following documentation to the College of Graduate Studies, Jacksonville State University, 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, Alabama 36265-1602, to be considered for admission:

  1. Completed JSU Graduate Application for Admission (
  2. Non-refundable $35.00 application processing fee
  3. Official transcripts(s) from all colleges/universities with degrees posted. (Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the University.)
  4. Official tests scores on the General Test of the GRE or the MAT 
  5. Three “Graduate Reference Forms” completed by individuals who can provide qualitative assessment of the applicant’s potential for success in graduate course work.  This form is available in the office of the College of Graduate Studies or online at http:/// or
  6. If English is not the applicant’s native language, the applicant is required to submit an official TOEFL score report, an IELTS score report, or a PTE score report.

Admission Requirements

Applicants who meet the general admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies are eligible for admission to the MS with a major in criminal justice program. A particular un­der­graduate major is not specified for admission to this program.

Applicants must meet one of the following formula requirements.  For purposes of computing the undergraduate GPA, a 4.0 grade-point scale is used. The plus (+) and minus (-) grades from undergraduate transcripts are not used in calculating the GPA.

Please use the following concordance tables when figuring your formula.  GRE Verbal & Quantitative Concordance Tables: ; MAT Scaled Score Conversions

Unconditional Admission

(450 x undergraduate GPA) + (total of verbal & quantitative sections of GRE General Test) ≥ 1600 points.


(15 x undergraduate GPA) + (MAT) ≥ 60 points.

Conditional Admission

Any applicant failing to meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be conditionally admitted with the recommendation of the graduate faculty in the applicant’s major and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicants who are granted conditional admission must achieve a GPA of at least 3.0 on the first 12 graduate hours attempted within a twelve-month time frame. Failure to meet these conditions will result in the student being dropped from graduate studies. 

Non-Thesis Option

Total of 30 graduate semester hours. The student must complete 24 hours in criminal justice courses, including 15 hours in required criminal justice courses and 9 hours of criminal justice electives. The remaining 6 hours may be in criminal justice or in a related field approved in advance by the head of the Criminal Justice Department.

Thesis Option Total of 30 graduate semester hours. The student must complete 24 hours in criminal justice courses, including 15 hours in required criminal justice courses, 6 hours of thesis, and a 3 hour criminal justice elective. The remaining 6 hours may be in criminal justice or in a related field approved in advance by the head of the Criminal Justice Department.  See “Thesis Options and Procedures” on page 45-46 of the Bulletin.  The student must meet with the graduate office to receive an orientation to the thesis process and graduate forms that require completion when the student is prepared to register for the first three hours of thesis.  The student must meet with the graduate office, within the first two weeks of the semester in which the student plans to defend the thesis and graduate.  The graduate office will review deadlines for submission of copies of the thesis to the graduate office and discuss other details relative to the completion of the thesis.

Required Criminal Justice Courses (15 semester hours):

  • CJ 500 - Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues (3)
  • CJ 501 - Applied Data Analysis for Criminal Justice (3)
  • CJ 502 - Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3)
  • CJ 505 - Criminal Justice Administration (3)
  • CJ 521 - Criminological Theory (3)

Criminal Justice Courses

Prefix CJ

500.    Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues (3). System-wide issues facing the criminal justice system and its various subsystems.
501.    Applied Data Analysis for Criminal Justice (3). Emphasis on the analysis of original and secondary criminal justice data.
502.    Research Methods in Criminal Justice (3). Social research methods and their application to administration of justice; and the role of social research in the analysis, interpretation, and clarification of problems in the criminal justice system. (CJ 502 is cross-listed with PSC 502 and only one course may be counted for credit.)
503.    Law Enforcement (3). Trends in police procedures, problems and practices; and current issues in law enforcement.
504.    Comparative Criminal Justice (3). Comparative study of the administration, organization, objectives, and principal functions of the U.S. criminal justice systems with those in selected foreign countries.
505.    Criminal Justice Administration (3). Analysis of organizational features, functions, problems and issues confronting criminal justice setting managers and administrators.
506.    Juvenile Justice (3). Assessment of policies and practices of agencies involved in processing juvenile offenders through the juvenile justice system.
507.    Legal Issues (3). In-depth study of contemporary legal issues faced by criminal justice professionals with emphasis on constitutional problems and the judicial review of administrative decisions made by criminal justice organizations.
508.    Corrections (3). Theory and practice of contemporary correctional systems, and current issues in corrections.
509.    Criminal Justice Planning and Evaluation (3). A study of planning and evaluation as applied in criminal justice agencies for program development, and the preparation of grant proposals.
515.    Applied Ethics (3). Application of ethical theories and systems to practical ethical problems and dilemmas encountered in criminal justice practices and professions.
516.    Forensic Investigation (3). Provinces of the court and jury; burden of proof, probability and documentary and physical evidence; expert witness and preparation of scientific exhibits for court.
521.    Criminological Theory (3). Analysis of historical and contemporary theories and analytical models of crime causation with emphasis on classical, positivist, social defense, and critical schools of thought.
523.    Victimology (3). Comprehensive study of victimization including victim-precipitated crimes; analysis of contemporary victim-compensation and victim restitution programs.
525.    International Criminality and National Security (3). International and transnational crime and terrorism and the problems they pose for the criminal justice system; prevention and control of terrorist activities and transnational crime.
526.    Special Topics in Criminal Justice (3). An examination of contemporary issues in criminal and juvenile justice. Topics may vary. May be taken for a total of six credit hours.
527.    Criminal Behavior and Personality (3). A study of the typologies of delinquent and criminal behavior from behavioral and psychological perspectives with particular focus on clinical behaviors frequently associated with delinquents and criminals.
528.    Correctional Counseling (3). The study and practical application of effective correctional counseling and treatment methodologies for youthful and adult offenders.
598.    Directed Reading (3). (Grade of Pass or Fail only.) Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and approval of the Director of CJ Graduate Studies or department head. Selected topics appropriate to student’s course of study as determined by faculty advisor. May be taken for a total of six credit hours.
599.    Thesis (3, 3). (Grade of Pass or Fail only) Prerequisite: Approval of Application for Thesis Option. See “Thesis Options and Procedures” in the Thesis Guide on this website.

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