Learn more about the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.

About the Program

The MA program in Criminal Justice is designed to serve as a first stage of training for students wishing to eventually pursue more advanced graduate work. It also prepares students who will terminate their studies at the master's level. For the latter group, including many engaged in part-time study, the MA program is designed to serve students who, upon graduation, will begin or rejoin professional careers in management, administration or specialist positions in governmental and private criminal and juvenile justice and related agencies. The MA degree requires the completion of 30 credits. The curriculum is structured around a set of core requirements that provides substantive grounding in decision-making and operational aspects of the criminal justice system, and a theoretical, legal, policy and methodological foundation for understanding crime and society.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Those engaged in part-time study take 8 or fewer credits per term. Students should note that classes are scheduled both during the day and evening as scheduling demands. Students are expected to be available for classes when they are scheduled.

Interdisciplinary Study: The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework, research and interactions among faculty and students with interests in a wide range of fields. Many of the students entering the Criminal Justice MA program have backgrounds in Counseling, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Urban Studies.

Ranking: In the 2021 rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Temple University's Criminal Justice program was rated 14th in Criminology. In addition, The Chronicle of Higher Education's Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index identifies the faculty of the Criminal Justice department as the sixth most productive among all doctoral programs in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Areas of Specialization: Faculty members specialize and offer substantial coursework in a wide array of areas, including:

  • Corrections and community corrections
  • Court processes
  • Crime and the physical/social environment
  • Criminal justice policy making and strategic management
  • Criminal law
  • Criminological theory
  • Discretion in criminal justice
  • Issues in policing
  • Juvenile justice
  • Organized crime
  • Qualitative/quantitative research methods
  • Restorative justice
  • Socialization and deviant behavior
  • Statistical analysis
  • White collar crime

Job Prospects: The MA program is primarily dedicated to producing well-trained criminologists, researchers and criminal justice practitioners. The job market for an individual with a master's degree in the field is extremely good. Some graduate students advance their career while completing coursework, while others are hired at the completion of their degree. Graduates of the MA program have obtained positions in the criminal justice system, including criminal or juvenile courts, institutional and community-based agencies, and state and federal police agencies. Careers are also possible in government, planning, public administration, research, teaching or community activism.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are eligible to take some of the graduate courses offered in Criminal Justice. If accepted into the program, up to 9 credits may be applied toward the degree program.

Financing Opportunities: Students in the MA program cannot be awarded Teaching Assistantships. Occasionally, however, funded research opportunities become available for which MA students are eligible.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1
Spring: November 1

Late applications may be considered for admission.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the demands of a graduate program.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree in Criminology/Criminal Justice, Geography, History, Law, Political Science, Social Work, Sociology or a related field is required.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, discuss your specific interest in Temple's program, research goals, future career goals, and academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional. Scores may be submitted if available.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Writing Sample: The writing sample should demonstrate your ability to research and write a scholarly paper. The paper should not be too lengthy (up to 10 pages is preferable) and should be fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual. Although it need not be related directly to Criminal Justice, it should reflect your ability to prepare a social science paper.

Transfer Credit: Students with graduate course credits from other accredited institutions should petition the Graduate Chair to determine the acceptance and transferability of coursework. Grades must be of "B" quality or better. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Thesis Track

Core Courses
CJ 8101Decision Making in Criminal Justice3
CJ 8102Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 8106Theories of Crime and Deviance3
CJ 8228Race, Crime, and Justice3
Electives 112
Research Course
CJ 9996Thesis Research6
Total Credit Hours30

Students must earn 6 credits in Criminal Justice electives. For the remaining 6 elective credits, additional coursework can be taken in Criminal Justice or outside the department.

Non-Thesis Track

Core Courses
CJ 8101Decision Making in Criminal Justice3
CJ 8102Research Methods in Criminal Justice3
CJ 8106Theories of Crime and Deviance3
CJ 8228Race, Crime, and Justice3
Electives 118
Total Credit Hours30

Students must earn 9 credits in Criminal Justice electives. For the remaining 9 elective credits, additional coursework can be taken in Criminal Justice or outside the department.

Culminating Event:
For the Thesis Track, the thesis must be based on an original research project.

Note that the Non-Thesis Track requires only successful completion of coursework.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Criminal Justice

508 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Joe DelMastro


Graduate Chairperson:

Jeffrey Ward, PhD



Jennifer Wood, PhD