Criminal Justice Department

West Chester University

Criminal Justice Department
College of Business and Public Management
Fifth Floor
Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2647
Mary Brewster, Ph.D., Department Chair

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.

Curriculum (30 semester hours)

  1. Required (15 semester hours)
    CRJ 505, 507, 508, 509, and 600
  2. Optional Thesis* (3 semester hours)
  3. Electives (12-15 semester hours)
    Chosen from among the following: CRJ 500, 503, 504, 506, 522, 524, 526, 530, 535, 555, 560, 566, 570, 582, 590, 599, *610 with departmental approval, and 999 (All courses listed are three semester hours unless otherwise noted.)

Tuition and Fees

Financial Aid


Students are able to schedule for classes each semester through myWCU which can be accessed through the WCU website. Consult with Dr. 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.

Degree Requirements

Prior to receiving the Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice, all candidates must:

  1. File an Application for Admission to Degree Candidacy with the Office of Graduate Studies after completion of 12 -15 graduate credits (form is available through the Graduate Studies webpage),
  2. Complete required core classes with grades of B or better,
  3. 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),
  4. Fulfill all financial obligations to the University, including payment of the commencement fee, and
  5. 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 master's degree must submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education: (1) a form indicating intent to graduate, (2) a check for $56 (amount subject to change) made payable to the Commencement Fund, (3) a commencement fund invoice form, and (4) a cap and gown order form. All of these forms are available from the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education. 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.

Further Information

To apply to WCU's M.S. in Criminal Justice Program, please visit the website of the Office of Graduate Studies and click on the Apply Now button.

To receive additional information, or to schedule a personal appointment, contact:

  • Dr.Shannon Grugan, Graduate Coordinator
  • Department of Criminal Justice
  • 50 Sharpless Street, Room 504
  • West Chester University
  • West Chester, PA 19383
  • (610) 436-2659


Students & Alum

  • “West Chester University's Criminal Justice Department gave me the skills and confidence I needed in order to perform as a Police Officer. The courses, practicum, professors and staff were each an integral part of the preparation I needed to help me gain full time employment in the criminal justice field.” - Officer Nathan P. Kutz, Badge #8306, Ocean City Police Department, Maryland

  • "The West Chester University Criminal Justice Department delivers an uncompromising level of excellence and dedication, providing students with the edge needed to compete in today's difficult job market." - Paul Iffrig (Class of 2013) and President of the Criminal Justice Club

  • Brandon Oyama (Class of 2014) transferred to WCU from Green River Community College in Washington State and was a member of the Men's Tennis Team. He completed his practicum with the Pierce County Juvenile Court in his home state of Washington. Brandon states, "WCU was a good choice for me. The faculty are helpful, the courses are interesting and relevant to my future occupation."

  • Mary-Elizabeth Keeney (Class of 2013) served as the first president of Nu Beta, a chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice Honor Society). She completed her practicum with the Department of Homeland Security.