Note: This Catalog was published in July 2009 and supersedes the 2008-2009 Catalog.

Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

department web page:
department contact:
graduate web page:
graduate contact:


Alejandro del Carmen
362 University Hall

Admission and Degree Requirements | Dual Degree Program | Courses

Area of Study and Degree

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Master's Degree Plans

Thesis and Non-Thesis

Graduate Advisors

Rhonda Dobbs
307 University Hall, 817.272.3318

Graduate Faculty


del Carmen

Associate Professors


Assistant Professors

Butler, Dobbs, Fowler, Gould, Phillips, Rodriguez, M. Sarver, R. Sarver, Stickels



The program leading to the MA degree in criminology and criminal justice offers a comprehensive examination of the criminal justice system, an exploration of criminal and delinquent behaviors, a foundation in research and statistics, and an opportunity to explore other relevant topics of interest to the student.

It is designed for:

  1. Pre-professional students who wish to pursue a career in some aspect of criminal justice, or in a related field, and to develop the perspectives and knowledge appropriate to doing so;
  2. In-service professionals who wish to enhance and broaden their knowledge in this and related areas of study;
  3. Students pre-professional or in-service who wish to pursue further relevant post-graduate studies, whether academic or professional.

To meet these objectives, and to develop a broadly educated student, the program offers both thesis and non-thesis options.

The coursework (non-thesis) option is generally recommended for students who do not intend to pursue doctoral-level studies. It does not require applicants to have prior criminal justice employment and is designed to provide a base of knowledge and skills necessary to enter and/or administer criminal justice related programs.

The non-thesis option requires students to pass a comprehensive examination that covers three areas: criminological theory, research methods, and an area of specialization that will depend on the student's selected track. Students must declare their track by the second semester and must complete 27 hours (including core classes) in order to attempt the examination. Students must be enrolled in the semester in which they take the comprehensive examination.

The examination takes place over a two-day period, with knowledge of research methods and theory tested on the first day and knowledge the specialization area assessed on the second. The comprehensive examination is scheduled once each long semester,once in late October and again in late March.

Students have two opportunities to pass the comprehensive examination. Failure on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program. If a student first attempts the examination in the Spring Term and fails it, he or she may request to retake the it during the summer terms. However, the Examining Committee shall decide whether or not to allow this.

The thesis option is generally recommended for students wishing to pursue further education in professional schools or doctoral level studies. It is designed to prepare students to conduct research in criminology and criminal justice and actively participate in the development of knowledge. Students choosing the thesis option are required to take a six-hour thesis course during the semester in which the thesis is defended. Non-thesis students take two additional courses constituting six credit hours.

With the approval of the Graduate Advisor, students may also use their elective hours to concentrate on a particular field of study, such as sociology, political science, corrections, policing, or a multidisciplinary approach to a particular focus, such as administration-or research. Thesis students take 15 hours of elective courses and non-thesis students take 21 hours.

Admission and Degree Requirements

The MA degree in criminology and criminal justice requires a minimum of 36 semester hours, regardless of the option selected, and includes 15 semester hours of required core coursework.

  1. Core: CRCJ 5301, CRCJ 5309, CRCJ 5310, CRCJ 5327, and CRCJ 5350. One of the following may be taken in lieu of CRCJ 5309 with the approval of the Graduate Advisor: SOCI 5303, SOCW 5322 or URPA 5302.
  2. Electives: The number of semester hours available for electives ranges from a minimum of 15 to 21, depending on the option selected (thesis or non-thesis). Ordinarily, elective hours are taken in areas of particular interest to the student, with the advice and approval of the Graduate Advisor.

All candidates for the graduate degree must pass a final comprehensive examination, written, oral, or both written and oral. The scope, content, and form of this examination will be determined by the student's supervising committee.

The criminology and criminal justice graduate program adheres to the following admission criteria.

Unconditional Admission

In addition to having satisfied the requirements set forth by the UT Arlington Graduate School, as outlined in the graduate catalog, applicants seeking unconditional admission to the CRCJ graduate program are required to meet the following four criteria:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in criminology/criminal justice or related discipline. Applicants with baccalaureate degrees in other disciplines may be considered for probationary admission.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work as calculated by the Graduate School.
  3. A minimum of 440 on the verbal and a minimum of 440 on the quantitative subtests of the GRE. The GRE is not required of an Applicant who satisfies all of the following requirements:
    1. Has three or more years of professional experience with increasing responsibility in managerial or administrative positions in a criminal justice (or closely related) occupation and provide a detailed work history documenting this experience.
    2. Submits an acceptable sample of professional writing authored solely by the applicant. This will be evaluated to assess writing and analytic skills.
    3. Successfully completes a personal interview with the advisor, where credentials, goals and objectives of graduate studies, and views related to the study and profession of Criminology/Criminal Justice will be discussed.
  4. Three letters of recommendation, submitted to the program advisor, addressing the applicant's potential for success in the graduate program from persons knowledgeable of the applicant's abilities.

Applicants meeting criteria 1-4 will be considered for unconditional admission into the CRCJ Graduate Program. Applicants who have an appropriate baccalaureate degree but do not meet one of the other three criteria may be considered for probationary admission.

Probationary Admission

Applicants who fail to meet the four criteria for unconditional admission may be considered for probationary admission. Applicants who fail to meet the GPA or GRE requirements for unconditional admission may be granted probationary admission if the GPA falls between 2.5 and 3.0 and the remainder of the application package is satisfactory. Applicants admitted on probation will remain in that status until completing 12 hours of graduate coursework with no grade lower than a B.

Deferred Admission

In the event an applicant does not meet the minimum criteria established for unconditional or probationary admission, yet nonetheless is judged by the graduate advisor, in consultation with the CRCJ Graduate Studies Committee, to show promise, the admission decision may be deferred, with instructions provided to the student indicating the course of action to be taken prior to subsequent review. Admission decisions may also be deferred if the application package is incomplete.

Provisional Admission

An applicant unable to supply all required documentation prior to the admission deadline, but who otherwise appears to meet admission requirements may be granted provisional admission.


Applicants who do not satisfy all of the criteria for any of the above categories will be denied admission.


Fellowships, when available, will be awarded on a competitive basis. Nominees for the Graduate School Master's Fellowship in the criminology/criminal justice graduate program will be selected based on the following criteria:

Dual Degree Program

Students in criminology and criminal justice may participate in one of three dual degree programs whereby they can earn a Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice and 1) a Master of Science in Social Work, 2) a Master of Arts in Political Science, or 3) a Master of Public Administration. By participating in a dual degree program, students can apply a number of semester hours jointly to meet the requirements of both degrees, thus reducing the total number of hours which would be required to earn both degrees separately. The number of hours which may be jointly applied ranges from nine to 18 hours, subject to the approval of Graduate Advisors from both programs.

To participate in the dual degree program, students must be admitted to each program and must submit a separate Program of Work for each degree. Those interested in a dual degree program should consult the appropriate Graduate Advisor(s) for further information on course requirements. See also the statement on Dual Degree Programs in the general information section of this catalog.

The grade of R (research in progress) is a permanent grade; completing course requirements in a later semester cannot change it. To receive credit for an R-graded course, the student must continue to enroll in the course until a passing grade is received.

An incomplete grade (the grade of I) cannot be given in a course that is graded R, nor can the grade of R be given in a course that is graded I. To receive credit for a course in which the student earned an I, the student must complete the course requirements. Enrolling again in the course in which an I was earned cannot change a grade of I. At the discretion of the instructor, a final grade can be assigned through a change of grade form.

Three-hour thesis courses and three- and six-hour dissertation courses are graded R/F/W only (except social work thesis courses). The grade of P (required for degree completion for students enrolled in thesis or dissertation programs) can be earned only in six- or nine-hour dissertation courses and nine-hour thesis courses. In the course listings below, R-graded courses are designated either "Graded P/F/R" or "Graded R." Occasionally, the valid grades for a course change. Students should consult the appropriate Graduate Advisor or instructor for valid grade information for particular courses. (See also the sections titled "R" Grade, Credit for Research, Internship, Thesis or Dissertation Courses and Incomplete Grade in this catalog.)

Courses in Criminology and Criminal Justice (CRCJ)


An exploration of classical and contemporary literature in criminology and criminal justice. Theoretical perspectives and empirical research will be used to examine criminal behavior and the structure, function, operation, and interaction of the criminal justice system components as well as current practices and future trends in criminology and criminal justice.

Examination of research methodology in criminal justice. Special emphasis on methods and techniques for conducting research in criminal justice, including a review of problems encountered in sampling and survey research, field research, public policy implementation, and program evaluation.

Advanced methods and techniques of research and research design in criminology and criminal justice. Course will cover pure and applied research and expose students to contemporary methodological and analytical issues. Students will be instructed on the use of existing CRCJ databases as well as the collection of new data and particular aspects of SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software) and advanced data analysis.

Personnel administration and management in criminal justice agencies and institutions; analyzes functions of recruitment, selection, hiring, placement, evaluation, dismissal, benefits systems, minority recruitment, training, education, promotion, career development, and retirement.

CRCJ5319 - Issues in Policing (3 - 0)
In-depth analysis of historical, current, and future issues in policing and police administration. Emphasis will be placed on the role of police in society, police-citizen relationships, and empirical evaluations of police effectiveness, police behavior, and programs and strategies.

Examination of the structure, functions, and operations of the courts, with special attention to contemporary constitutional issues and their impact on the criminal justice process.

Examination of social, psychological, political, and historical bases of interventions in the control and disposition of offenders. Emphasis on contemporary policies, practices, and problems in institutional, semi-institutional, and community-based corrections.

This course focuses on the ethical decisions and dilemmas encountered in the criminal justice system. Topics covered include criteria for ethical decision making, professional codes of ethics, and ethical and legal dilemmas faced by criminal justice professionals.

Explores the etiology of crime, theory development and crime causation. Emphasis is on theoretical perspectives and policy implementation.

This course examines the origins, nature, and operational characteristics of terrorist groups. Students are exposed to topics ranging from the definition of "terrorism" to the unique characteristics of terrorist cells in the United States and abroad. Particular emphasis is on historical and contemporary terrorist attacks against the United States.

A summary of issues related to women as criminal offenders, victims of crime, and professionals in the criminal justice system. The course focuses on crimes women are most likely to commit and/or be processed through the criminal justice system for, the punishment of female offenders, the types of victimizations most often experienced by women, and employment issues unique to women employed in the criminal justice system. While the main emphasis of the course will be on the experiences of women in the U.S., attention will also be given to women on a global scale.

An examination of organizational theory with specific application to the operation and management of criminal justice agencies. The historical precedents and emergence of contemporary perspectives are presented with their implication for effective functioning of the criminal justice system.

This course explores the role of race and ethnicity within the juvenile and criminal justice system. Emphasis is on the social construction of crime, racial and ethnic inequalities, the law and policies/practices that impact blacks and other racial minorities.

Correctional modes are discussed and applied to juvenile offenders. Theoretic approaches to causation, modification, and control of delinquent behaviors are presented, and policy implications and limitations are discussed. Historical and contemporary perspectives and approaches are presented in the context of evolving and emerging practices and procedures.

CRCJ5370 - PRACTICUM (3 - 0)
Professional or pre-professional experience in a criminal justice related agency or institution with the approval and direction of the student's supervising professor; intended for non-thesis option students who do not have professional experience related to criminal justice.

This course focuses on the administration of criminal justice that can lead to wrongful conviction. The causes of wrongful conviction which the course will specifically cover include, but are not limited to: faulty eyewitness identification, questionable testimony of jailhouse snitches and informants, police and prosecutorial misconduct, racial bias, ineffective assistance of counsel, false confession, the reliability in the use of DNA evidence, and junk science. Students will be exposed to the investigative techniques utilized in post-conviction litigation. This course offers multiple research opportunities for students specific to the legislation and various facets of wrongful conviction.

Synthesis course for advanced graduate students. Special emphasis on examination of constructs of crime/criminals, justice and systems. Requires individual research in area of particular concern to student.

This course addresses crime and criminal justice policy. Emphasis is on the examination of media and political forces that shape criminal justice responses and policy initiatives. In the context of theoretical paradigms, the impact of race, class, economics, and gender on development of criminal justice public policy is examined.

May be repeated for credit as the topic changes.

May be repeated for credit as the topic changes.

Reading and research in a specialized area of criminal justice under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty.

CRCJ5398 - THESIS (3 - 0)

CRCJ5698 - THESIS (6 - 0)


© 2009 The University of Texas at Arlington