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Estimated Completion

Thesis - 36 credit hours (18+ months)

Non-thesis - 30 credit hours (12+ months)

Application Process

  1. Admission to Tarleton State University – Graduate Studies
  2. Additional Program Application Requirements


Locations Available



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Tarleton State University offers a Master of Criminal Justice (M.C.J.) degree in Criminal Justice. Your interest in this master's degree is consistent with a growing national trend of criminal justice professionals seeking career development and academic credentials. This degree program encompasses the challenges associated with protecting the community, as well as the growing complexities of the Criminal Justice system with advanced analytical, critical thinking, and leadership skills.

Additionally, our M.C.J. degree now offers a Cohort Program in Fort Worth. The new program design will allow you to complete the program within a small group environment, which will further enable you to grow both personally and professionally in the field.

Jump Right In

You can choose to pursue either a 30 hour non-thesis or a 36 hour thesis track. Students wishing to continue their education beyond the master's degree should follow the thesis track. Thesis students will conduct an original research project as the capstone to their master's degree. Non-thesis students will complete the master's program by taking a comprehensive examination. Contact the program advisor for further information about each track.

Designed With You in Mind

The M.C.J. program offers a professional curriculum track that's designed through collaboration with Criminal Justice field experts. We present our graduates with extensive academic knowledge along with the management and leadership skills necessary for success in the competitive Criminal Justice field. Furthermore, our program does not require you to take the GRE or MAT.


Related Programs

Not what you were looking for? Tarleton State University offers over 100 different degrees and certifications that may be of interest to you, including:

Plan Your Future

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Career Opportunities

The M.C.J. degree is designed for hardworking individuals who desire to use their education to advance in their career. Not only does this degree present opportunities for career advance, but it also prepares students to teach criminal justice courses at the undergraduate level.

Student talking to a police officer at the job fair.

Graduate Certifications

Students can pursue graduate-level certificates in:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution,
  • Cybercrime Field Response, or
  • Strategic Studies

All certificates are 12-hour programs and can be pursued as part of the MCJ program or independently.

Career Service s

Career Services

Career Services offers students a wide variety of professional development opportunities that can translate into careers. A few of these programs include:

  • Career counseling and My Plan
  • DEI - Delta Epsilon Iota, Career Services Honor Society
  • Hire A Texan - Online Job Board
  • Mock interviews
  • Resume assistance

And much more!

Request more information about this program in:

Program Objectives

Graduates of the program are expected to be:

  • Conversant with the theoretical and legal principles that are implicit in Criminal Justice Administration,
  • Knowledgeable about essential research contributions in the field,
  • Capable of field appropriate research contributions, and
  • Capable of assuming decision-making responsibilities in any Criminal Justice Administration-related area.

Coursework Highlights

Class Number Class Name
CRIJ 5300 Statistical Methods for Criminal Justice I
CRIJ 5301 Foundations of Criminological Theory
CRIJ 5309 Victimology
CRIJ 5321 Management of Criminal Justice Personnel
CRIJ 5335 Gender, Crime, and Justice
CRIJ 5340 Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Administration
CRIJ 5353 Global Cyber-Security

For more information on courses, please refer to the university catalog.

Facilities and Features

Students working on a project in the library.

Cohort Program

The Master of Criminal Justice degree now offers a Cohort Program for Fort Worth students. The Cohort Program enables students to work and learn in a group setting within the degree. Students in cohort programs learn to become interactive, develop team-based skills, and gain networking opportunities.

For more information regarding degree requirements for the Cohort Program, check out the degree plan.

Student close up

Complete the M.C.J. Online

Tarleton was recognized by Best Colleges for the online Master's in Criminal Justice degree program in 2015. Our M.C.J. degree is offered entirely online for working professionals and students who desire a program that allows them to work at their own pace. Coursework can be completed wherever Internet access is available.

Dr. Del Carmen speaking

Exceptional Faculty

In addition to providing students with a rigorous curriculum, our program is operated by top notch faculty members and highly qualified personnel who have years of experience in a variety of fields within Criminal Justice and law enforcement. Our teaching personnel include police chiefs, and district and county judges/attorneys that provide students with a wealth of personal experiences and the opportunity to gain outstanding networking connections.