Master in Criminal Justice (MCJ)
Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a Master of Criminal Justice?

After completing our 36-hour Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) program, graduates will be prepared to:

  • Pursue a doctoral program.
  • Secure employment with criminal justice and related agencies at the local, county, state, and federal government.
  • Secure employment with criminal justice and related companies within the private sector.
  • Pursue teaching opportunities.
  • Pursue promotional opportunities.

What coursework is required?

The MCJ is a 36 graduate-hour program.  All students complete twelve credit hours of core (required) classes:

  • CJ500 (Criminal Justice Administration) offered during fall semesters
  • CJ635 (Criminal Justice Research Methods) offered during spring semesters
  • CJ645 (Criminal and Intelligence Analysis) offered during spring semesters
  • CJ655 (Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis) offered during fall semesters

Students must select three courses (9 credit hours) from either the criminal justice emphasis or the homeland security emphasis. The student selects remaining coursework for a variety of elective courses, after consulting the academic advisor.

When should I submit my application to The University of Mississippi?

In order to meet all required deadlines, your application should be submitted as soon as you decide to apply to the Master of Criminal Justice program.

The MCJ program welcomes applications from all persons who can demonstrate the potential for success in graduate studies. For more on admission criteria and how to apply, please see

Do I have to take the GRE?

Yes. Students must have GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores submitted directly to The University of Mississippi to be considered for admission. We cannot accept LSAT or GMAT scores as substitutes for a GRE score. A desirable GRE score is at least a 145 on each section and a 3.5 on the writing assessment.

Applicant who have served a minimum of four years in a full time capacity in the following fields may qualify for the “professional track” and will not be required to submit GRE scores for admittance:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Homeland Security
  • Public Safety
  • U.S. Military

In lieu of the GRE, the applicant must submit a portfolio that contains a letter from the applicant’s supervisor, agency head or equivalent, acknowledging that the candidate is employed in good standing. It is requested that the applicant’s supervisor comment on the applicant’s aptitude/ability to successfully complete the graduate program. The supervisor must indicate whether the applicant possesses the potential for professional development/promotion within the agency.

Those seeking a waiver of the GRE must also provide a writing sample explaining why his or her professional experience will help enhance success in graduate school and a vitae/resume, along with any/all documentation of professional achievement to include: (a) professional development training, (b) in–service training, (c) supervisory training, and (d) awards/citations. Completed portfolios must be mailed to the below address.

Linda Keena
Associate Professor and Interim Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Legal Studies
Odom Hall 202
The University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677

Can I take the GRE more than once?

Yes. We will take the highest score achieved.

Do my references need to be from professors, or can I get a work reference?

We strongly encourage that the letters be from academic referees who can comment on your aptitude/ability to successfully complete graduate level work, including critical thinking and written and oral communication skills. It is recommended that work references indicate whether you possess the potential for professional development/promotion within the agency.

What is the minimum GPA required for admission to the Master of Criminal Justice program?

All applicants should have a GPA score of 3.0 or higher on the last 60 hours of undergraduate study.

Once I apply,  when should I expect to be notified about my admission status?

We have a rolling application process.  Applications are reviewed every two weeks. Once you satisfy all the admissions criteria, you may be fully admitted for either the fall, spring or summer semester. An applicant who does not satisfy all the criteria but who shows promise may be granted conditional or qualified admission. Non-degree seeking status is also available to individuals who are interested in coursework but not in earning the degree.

Do I have to write a thesis to get my degree?

No, not all students who graduate with a Master of Criminal Justice from The University of Mississippi will research and write an independent thesis. In order to complete your degree requirements, you will select one of three capstone options:

  1. Thesis (6 credit hours) and passing an oral comprehensive examination;
  2. Practicum (6 credit hours); and passing an oral comprehensive examination, or
  3. Non-thesis (6 credit hours consisting of two additional course) and passing of a written comprehensive examination.

Are Graduate Assistantships offered?

Yes.  We offer Graduate Assisantships. The number of assistantships, however, vary from one academic year to the next. A Graduate Assistantship comes with a stipend and tuition waive for up 12 credit hours for the fall and spring semesters. Students must enroll in at least 6 hours of graduate credit hours per semester and sustain a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0 to maintain the assistantship. A full-time Graduate Assistant position requires 20 hours of work a week for the Department, and a half-time position requires 10 hours of work a week for the Department. Responsibilities vary from semester to semester but typically include assisting regular faculty in the preparation and teaching of their courses, assisting faculty with research projects, and providing service to the Department. In addition, a Graduate Assistant may also be required to assist with the graduate program and represent the Department at various advising and recruitment functions.

How do I apply for a Graduate Assistantship?

Applications must be received by 5 pm (Central Time) on April 15, 2015. If interested, please send a copy of your resume, an application letter specifying your interest in the position, your qualifications for the position, and your career goals after completing the Master of Criminal Justice degree to the below address. Also, official transcript(s) of your academic record must be mailed to the below address.

Linda Keena
Associate Professor and Interim Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Legal Studies
Odom Hall 202
The University of Mississippi
University, MS 38677