Master's Degree

Criminal Justice and Criminology (M.S.)

Basic Degree Information/Description

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology is designed to provide students with competency in research, policy planning, evaluation, agency management, and preparation for continued graduate study in criminal justice and criminology. The program assists students to develop and apply research expertise toward the resolution of contemporary justice practice and policy issues.

Why pursue an M.S. in Criminal Justice and Criminology?

  • Broaden career opportunities in criminal justice and criminology
  • Advancement in current job
  • Prepare for a Ph.D. if interested in teaching or research
  • Develop skills (writing, research, critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking)
  • Network with a group of like-minded students
  • Smaller classes with more individualized attention from faculty

Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

Program Admission Requirements: To qualify for unconditional admission, applicants must satisfy university-wide graduate admission requirements and submit all transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. GRE scores are optional; applicants can strengthen their application for admission by submitting their GRE test scores. An applicant admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or equivalent training at a foreign institution; have a grade point average of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester credit hours of undergraduate work as well as all previous graduate work; have 18 hours in criminal justice, criminology, or a closely-related discipline, or professional experience in the justice system; be in good standing at the last institution attended; and have the recommendation of the Criminal Justice and Criminology Graduate Program Committee. Students who do not meet these criteria may be admitted conditionally or on probation as degree-seeking depending on the nature of the deficiency. Admission as a special student may be considered by the Graduate Program Committee upon request of the applicant.

Graduate Studies Application: Yes

Department Application: No

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all institutions attended. All international transcripts must be recorded in English or officially translated to English.

Test Scores: GRE scores are optional; applicants can strengthen their application for admission by submitting their GRE test scores.. 

Resume: Yes

Letters of Recommendation: 2 required. Please submit both the form and the letter.

Statement of Purpose: Yes (500 - 750 words)

Minimum TOEFL Score (for International Applicants): 550 paper/79 internet

Minimum IELTS Score (for International Applicants): 6.5

Additional Requirements: International students and those with international degrees may be required to submit additional documents per our admissions policies and procedures. The Graduate School reserves the right to request any additional documents needed to fairly and consistently evaluate applicant credentials.

Degree Requirements:

  • The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of other study to remove deficiencies, is 36. Within the 36 hours, students choose to complete a thesis or to take the written comprehensive exams through the non-thesis option.
  • For a complete list of degree requirements please see the Graduate Catalog.


Application Deadline Dates

Domestic Applicants (Citizens and Permanent Residents):

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: April 1
  • Fall: July 1 (Priority Deadline: April 1)

International Applicants:

  • Spring: September 1
  • Summer: March 1
  • Fall: April 1

Contact Information

Graduate Advisor of Record: Marie Tillyer, Ph.D.
Email Address:
Telephone: (210) 458-2682

Degree Website:

View a PowerPoint with Details on this program.

Contact the Graduate School: Contact now for more information.

Degree Catalog Link:

Career Options Available

Our graduates have been employed by various agencies, including the Department of Public Safety, Adult and Juvenile Probation Department, Innovative Practice in Delinquent Procedure, FBI, US Marshalls, and the San Antonio Police Department.  Additional students have been admitted to doctoral programs and others have been hired as adjunct faculty. 

Funding Opportunities

The deadline for scholarship applications is February 15th. Applications and additional scholarship information can be found by clicking here.

Graduate Research Assistant Positions

  • Students admitted to the program can apply for a graduate research assistantship within the Department of Criminal Justice.
  • Students may work up to 19 hours per week. 
  • GRAs must be in good academic standing and maintain a 3.0 GPA while being enrolled in 6 credit hours (2 graduate classes) per semester.
  • Interested students should contact the Graduate Advisor of Record for an application once admitted to the program. 

Course Scheduling and Offerings

All graduate courses for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology are offered in the evening at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

Faculty Research Areas

Faculty research areas include:

  • Courts and sentencing
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Life course criminology
  • Community corrections
  • Legal issues
  • Restorative and community justice
  • School bullying
  • Criminological theory
  • Violence
  • Biosocial criminology
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Juvenile justice
  • Gangs
  • Race and ethnicity in criminal justice
  • Victimization
  • Environmental criminology
  • Policing
  • Corrections
  • Crime prevention