Master of Science
The Master of Science in criminal justice offers a multidisciplinary curriculum to give students the sophisticated working knowledge of the major systems within the field. Students will take challenging and rigorous courses rooted in history, law, philosophy, research, psychology, management, and political science that involve critical analysis of complex issues.
Faculty provide a quality education to students who have demonstrated competence and commitment to learning and growth, who desire to make a meaningful contribution to the field of criminal justice and who share the values of idealism, honesty, integrity, justice, and fairness.
Internet scheduling and evening courses make full- or part-time graduate study at WCU convenient for anyone interested in pursuing this degree. The program is well-suited for current or future criminal justice professionals, as well as those who plan to pursue further graduate study.
Benefits of the M.S. in Criminal Justice
The Bachelor of Science may get you in the door, but you’ll need more to advance in the field. Most criminal justice agencies encourage and reward post-graduate degrees through promotion to higher ranks and with increased salaries. Some agencies provide educational incentives and tuition reimbursement. The best agencies recognize that this is a fast-changing discipline, and keeping abreast of the latest developments can be a challenge. Earning a Master’s Degree is a great way to keep up and stay contemporary. Some applicants may also be considering a teaching career with public or private universities, technical institutions, community colleges and police academies. A Master’s Degree will qualify professionals to work in adjunct teaching positions or in full-time positions after retirement.
The Department of Criminal Justice of West Chester University is one of the oldest and most respected in the region. As other institutions compromise quality for quantity, we have steadfastly adhered to providing the highest quality education possible. Successful students possess academic credentials that are highly respected by professional criminal justice agencies. Students gain a wealth of information, and are energized by our classes. Our courses are taught by individuals who have significant experience in the subject matter. Quite simply, our students learn from the best.
Curriculum (30 semester hours)
- Required (15 semester hours)
CRJ 505, 507, 508, 509, and 600
- Optional Thesis* (3 semester hours)
- Electives (12-15 semester hours)
Chosen from among the following: CRJ 500, 503, 504, 506, 522, 524, 525, 526, 528, 530, 545, 546, 555, 560, 565, 566, 570, 575, 580, 582, 599, *610 with departmental approval, and 999 (All courses listed are three semester hours unless otherwise noted.)
Course Catalog for full course listings and descriptions
Tuition and Fees
Students are able to schedule for classes each semester through myWCU which can be accessed through the WCU website. Consult with Dr. Mary Brewster prior to registering to discuss your progress toward the degree and your plan for future semesters. Keep in mind that the core classes are each offered once per year, and students should plan accordingly. Historically, CRJ 508 and CRJ 509 have been offered every fall semester, and CRJ 505, CRJ 507, and CRJ 600 have been offered each spring. The rotation of elective courses occurs less frequently, and students are encouraged to take any electives that pique their interest whenever they are offered (since those electives may not be offered again for 3 to 5 semesters).
Students should register as soon as myWCU indicates eligibility for registration. This will ensure securing a seat in desired classes, and will also help the department measure demand for various classes.
All prospective graduate students should contact Dr. Mary Brewster with questions related to admissions, curriculum, and course registration. All admitted students will be assigned Dr. Brewster as their advisor. Each student should meet with Dr. Brewster at least once per semester to go over degree progress and course registration for the next semester. In addition, students should contact Dr. Brewster with any questions or concerns that arise at any time related to the graduate curriculum, degree candidacy, continuous enrollment, graduation clearance, etc.
Application to Degree Candidacy
Application for degree candidacy must be made immediately upon completion of the first 12 to 15 semester hours of course work in the degree program. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 to be approved for degree candidacy.
Prior to receiving the Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice, all candidates must:
- Apply for Degree Candidacy via the myWCU portal after completion of 12-15 graduate credits,
- Complete required core classes with grades of B or better,
- Complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate course work with a cumulative average of 3.0 or better (based on a 4.0 system),
- Fulfill all financial obligations to the University, including payment of the commencement fee, and
- Comply with all academic requests from the Dean of Graduate Studies, including submission of a form letter of intent to graduate by the specified due date (form is available through the Graduate Studies webpage).
Each candidate for a graduate degree must apply to graduat on myWCU. An automatic fee of $99 (amount subject to change) will be added to their account. The deadlines for applying to graduate are:
- May graduation - February 1
- August graduation - June 1
- December graduation - October 1
All students must apply for graduation and pay the commencement fee, regardless of whether or not they are planning to attend the commencement ceremony. Students who fail to do so will not receive their degree.
Graduate Programs are Subject to Change
Please refer to the most recent West Chester University Graduate Catalog for general graduate program policies pertaining to admissions, time to complete the degree, grading regulations, degree requirements, and other related information. The catalog is available on the West Chester University website.
To apply to WCU's M.S. in Criminal Justice Program, please visit the website of the Graduate School and click on the Apply Now button.
To receive additional information, or to schedule a personal appointment, contact:
- Dr. Mary Brewster, Graduate Coordinator
- Department of Criminal Justice
- 50 Sharpless Street, Room 508
- West Chester University
- West Chester, PA 19383
- Email Dr. Brewster
- (610) 436-2630