Graduate Program

Mission Statement: This program helps highly-motivated people gain the skills and expertise they need to reach their goals, whether that’s launching or advancing their career, or preparing for a PhD program or law school. Students can expect rigorous training in the theories, methodologies, and empirical findings that help explain social deviance, criminal behavior, criminal justice, and social organizations. Students also have the opportunity to publish cutting-edge articles with faculty, travel to national conferences to present their research findings, and more.


Why get a master’s degree from the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice? Do you want to:

  • increase your job opportunities and earning potential?
  • gain the credential you need to ascend to the top of federal agencies, state organizations, and private corporations?
  • learn from expert faculty members about how you can become the expert?
  • get the opportunity to publish articles in national and international journals?
  • build lasting relationships with other top students?

Graduates of our master’s program have gone on to become highly accomplished working professionals in many important positions, including the deputy director of the U.S. Secret Service; the counterterrorism chief for ATF; the chief of police for Birmingham, AL; a management and program analyst at the FBI; a cyber security systems analyst at Southern Company; a judge for the Birmingham municipal court; and many more! Learn about MS graduates by visiting our alumni profiles.

In addition, our graduates who then sought their PhDs or JDs have been accepted to some of the highest ranking social science programs and law schools in the nation, including Harvard University and The University of Virginia. Other recent graduates have been accepted into PhD programs at Florida State University, Penn State University, The University of Maryland, The University of South Carolina, The University of Nebraska, The University of Delaware, and more.

Degree Requirements

The MS in CJ requires 30 credits for students completing a thesis or practicum and 33 credits for students writing a policy and practice paper.

We have only three required courses in our entire program, which means that the vast majority of our students’ degrees are made up of courses they choose.

Past courses have covered the topics of cybercrime, forensic science, cybersecurity, terrorism, media & crime, crime mapping, hate crimes, civil and criminal trials, danger and disorder issues, immigration & crime, white collar crime, murder in America, gender and crime, social inequality and crime, law and society, juvenile delinquency, drugs and crime, judicial process, organized crime, health and crime, corrections, law enforcement, and more.

In addition, our students have the option to build their expertise by counting up to 6 credits of relevant coursework from other departments at The University of Alabama toward their MS in criminal justice, including courses from political science, history, social work, gender and race studies, American studies, anthropology, and counseling.

For more information about degree requirements, please visit the UA Graduate Catalog.


Assistantships come with a monthly paycheck that goes directly to the student, along with significant tuition and health insurance support.

They are awarded on a competitive basis, after the Graduate Committee’s discretionary assessment of the quality of each student’s (1) academic performance prior to admission, (2) academic performance after admission (when applicable), and (3) professional performance as a departmental employee (when applicable).

Accelerated Master’s Program

The Accelerated Master’s Program allows exceptional undergraduate students at The University of Alabama to begin taking graduate courses during their senior year, and to “double-count” those courses towards both their undergraduate and master’s degrees.

To apply, students just need to complete the other elements of the regular graduate application. To be considered for AMP admission, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.3.


The application process is simple:

  1. Visit The University of Alabama’s Graduate School website and click on the APPLY NOW button.
  1. Use the online system to complete the basic graduate application form and submit your application fee, along with a few other things that you’ll need:
    • A statement of purpose (Tell us about your interests and exciting career plans — no more than one single-spaced page, please!)
    • Your undergraduate transcripts (you can upload them yourself).
    • Contact information for the three people, ideally professors, who have agreed to write letters of recommendation for you.
    • A writing sample (paper from an academic course).

Application Deadlines

Congratulations to our incoming 2023-2024 cohort! 

For students who would like to start in the fall semester:

  • November 15 for priority funding. Applications will not be considered after February 15.

Additional Information

For more information, please visit the UA Graduate Catalog or contact the graduate program director. For information about departmental policies, please visit our Graduate Student Handbook.