Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The Program

TAMIU's Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) is a comprehensive online degree program. The MSCJ prepares graduate students to actively participate in the development of knowledge and policy responses to contemporary crime problems. A focus is placed on criminological theory, the administration of justice, corrections, ethics, and legal studies. Graduate students engage in research and are encouraged to take active leadership roles as professionals in the field of criminal justice or juvenile justice. The program specifically aims to: (1) encourage students to analyze crime issues in contemporary settings given theory and the practical constraints of the justice system, (2) enhance students? critical thinking, writing and analytic skills, and (3) ensure that students are well prepared for future studies and/or employment.

Our program is also one of only a few in the state that delivers curricula using state-of-the art technology. Through our online platform, students engage in critical or reflective thinking about professional and/or scholarly literature. Courses challenge students to skillfully conceptualize, analyze, and evaluate scholarly discourse and, then participate in informed and thoughtful discussions.

Challenge and engagement of students is of utmost importance to the Criminal Justice Faculty. The faculty is composed of active scholars who are nationally and internationally recognized for their scholarship and commitment to understanding and responding to critical justice issues.

The MSCJ program has two tracks: thesis and non-thesis. The thesis option requires an original paper which demonstrates: (1) the ability to organize and conduct a research study and (2) to write a professionally competent paper/manuscript which makes a substantial contribution to ongoing work in the student's chosen discipline. The requirements for the non-thesis option for a master's degree are satisfied by completing additional semester hours of course work in lieu of the thesis.


All application materials for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice are due by the date provided by the Office of Graduate Studies & Research to be considered for full admission. You may apply and begin our graduate program in the Fall, Spring, or Summer (to begin the summer, the application materials must be received by the due date for Spring). To be considered for admission to the Master of Science in Criminal Justice, you must meet the following requirements prior to the application deadline:

  1. Submit an application for graduate studies by the due dates provided by the Office of Graduate Studies & Research. Deadlines can be found at:
  2. Pay the application fee.
  3. Submit transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  4. Submit a Personal Statement describing your research interests and indicating how your research interests and academic/professional background characteristics will assist you in successfully completing the online degree program.
  5. Earned a 2.7 GPA overall and a 3.0 GPA in upper-level courses within your undergraduate degree (junior and senior years of coursework of the major). Students who submit all application materials and who earned a 3.2 GPA in their major with an overall GPA of 3.0 will be automatically admitted into the program.
  6. Submit two letters of recommendation from academic sources sent to the Office of Graduate Studies & Research. You may include one academic and one professional recommendation Letters of recommendation should indicate:
    1. Applicant's academic performance (or job performance that is relevant to show competency to be successful in graduate education).
    2. Applicant?s ability to succeed in an online program where a good deal of motivation, dedication, and self-direction is necessary.
    3. Applicant's strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Submit a resume.
  8. Submit a Writing Sample that demonstrates:
    1. knowledge of contemporary issues in the field of criminal justice
    2. professional writing skills
    3. The Writing Sample must contain elements of good writing and comport with American Psychological Association's (6th edition) writing style/format.
    4. The admissions committee may request a personal interview.

Future Employment

Most students who earn a master's degree in Criminal Justice secure employment in the public/government sector working for police agencies, the court system, correctional agencies, or with programs aimed at rehabilitating adult or juvenile offenders. For instance, potential employment opportunities include work as a:

  • Police Officer (with municipal, state, county, and federal policing agencies)
  • Customs & Border Patrol Officer
  • FBI Agent
  • DEA Agent
  • State Trooper
  • Texas Ranger
  • ATF Agent
  • Corrections Officer
  • Court Administrator
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Game Warden
  • Parole Officer
  • Probation Officer
  • Public and Private Security Officer
  • U.S. postal inspector
  • Criminal Justice Administrator/Director (in police, courts, or correctional agencies)
  • Detective/Investigator
  • Juvenile or Adult Probation Officer
  • Social Worker for state and non-profit agencies
  • Truancy Officer
  • Counselor for at-risk youth and special-needs offenders
  • Bailiff or Constable

In addition, the degree prepares you for law school and a Ph.D. program.


  • Dr. San Miguel

    Dr. Claudia San Miguel

    Dr. Claudia E. San Miguel is assistant professor and director of the Criminal Justice Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. Her research interests include human trafficking, neighborhood watch, domestic violence and the death penalty.

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