Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The field of criminal justice is dynamic and demanding, with an ever-increasing need for advances in forensic science, criminal behavioral analysis (including an understanding of criminal psychopathology and victimology), and administration of rapidly changing criminal justice systems and agencies (emphasizing management and crime policy).

Our Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice offers students a multidisciplinary, research-based, fluid transition and continuation of study from existing undergraduate emphases to the graduate level to address these critical areas. Graduates from the HSU MS in Criminal Justice will have chosen from one of three tracks which will prepare them for advanced service in a variety of positions within the justice system including forensics science, behavioral analysis, or justice administration and management.

Contact Us

Dr. Karin Brown-Head of Criminal Justice Department

Dr. Karin Brown

Head of Criminal Justice Department, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice 325-670-5819

Degrees

  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Why get an MS in Criminal Justice at HSU?

A criminal justice student fires a shotgun at a gun range.

Thesis or Non-Thesis

Our 36 graduate semester hour (thesis) program leads to a Master of Science in Criminal Justice. Our 30 graduate semester hour (non-thesis) program also leads to a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Criminal Justice student conducting examination in classroom

Student Flexibility

Online, resident, and hybrid courses are offered for our student practitioners.

Criminal justice students talk to a potential employer at a job fair.

Excellent Jobs

Ten-year growth projections for criminal justice jobs show double-digit percentage increase for a number of categories. Median salaries for many of those jobs is between $50,000 and $88,000 per year.

Program Details

36 (with thesis) graduate semester hour program leading to a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

30 (non-thesis) graduate semester hour program leading to a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Online, resident, and hybrid courses will be offered for the student practitioner.

All graduates will demonstrate knowledge and the ability to critically analyze theories and methodologies related to the justice system, as well as proficiency in one or more chosen tracks of specific study.

Required Courses [12 hours non-thesis track; 18 hours thesis track]

  • CRIJ 5314 Leadership and Management in the Justice System
  • CRIJ 5321 Ethics in the Justice System
  • CRIJ 5312 Violence and Victimology
  • CRIJ 6322  Quantitative Research Methods

Students may select one elective course and five courses from the chosen track or no electives and six courses from the chosen track.

Electives

  • CRIJ 5340 Justice Abroad
  • CRIJ 6335 Topics in Cybersecurity

Choose at least five courses in the chosen specialization [15 hours required per track, not including thesis]:

Forensic Science

  • CRIJ 5322 Crime Scene Investigation
  • CRIJ 6306 Ballistics and Criminalistics*
  • CRIJ 5323 Forensic Investigation
  • CRIJ 6305 Forensic Pathology and Anthropology*
  • CRIJ 5313 Forensic Evidence and Expert Testimony
  • CRIJ 5303 Topics in Forensic Science
  • CRIJ 5103 Forensic Science Lab
  • CRIJ 6404 Forensic Analysis of Pattern, Physical and Trace Evidence*
  • CRIJ 6407 Forensic Entomology*

Criminal Behavioral Analysis

  • CRIJ 5304 Profiling Serial Offenders
  • CRIJ 5319 Sex Crimes*
  • CRIJ 6330 Psychology of Mental Health
  • CRIJ 6333 Forensic Psychology in Addictions Counseling
  • CRIJ 6340 Advanced Psychopathology I
  • CRIJ 6354 Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • CRIJ 6357 Advanced Addictions Counseling
  • CRIJ 6358 Neuroscience in Counseling
  • CRIJ 6360 Addictions

Justice Administration and Management

  • CRIJ 5353 Law of Human Resource Management
  • CRIJ 5367 Advanced Organizational Theory  
  • CRIJ 6310 Issues in Management and Marketing
  • CRIJ 6311 Business Reporting and Finance
  • CRIJ 6323 Emergent Issues in Justice Administration*
  • CRIJ 6324 Justice Management and Media*
  • CRIJ 6357 Management Strategy
  • CRIJ 6330 Economic Analysis

Forensic Science Track (Thesis Courses CRIJ 6300 and 6301 as needed)

Year 1 – Fall 2019 Year 1 – Spring 2020
CRIJ 5314 Leadership Management in the Justice System

CRIJ 5303 Topics in Forensic Science (with Lab)

CRIJ 5313 Forensic Evidence and Expert Testimony

CRIJ 5312 Violence and Victimology

CRIJ 5311 Crime Scene Investigation

CRIJ 6322 Quantitate Research Methods

May Term 2020 Year 2 – Summer 2 2020
CRIJ 5340 Justice Abroad CRIJ 6306 Ballistics and Criminalistics
Year 2 – Fall 2020 Year 2 – Spring 2021
CRIJ 6407 Forensic Entomology

CRIJ 5321 Ethics in the Justice System

CRIJ 6305 Forensic Pathology and Anthropology

CRIJ 5323 Forensic Investigation

CRIJ 6404 Forensic Analysis of Pattern, Physical and Trace Evidence

Criminal Behavioral Analysis Track (Thesis Courses CRIJ 6300 and 6301 as needed)

Year 1 – Fall 2019 Year 1 – Spring 2020
CRIJ 5314 Leadership Management in the Justice System

CRIJ 6333 Forensic Psychology

CRIJ 6360 Addictions

CRIJ 5312 Violence and Victimology

CRIJ 6322 Quantitate Research Methods

CRIJ 6354 Child and Adolescent Counseling

May Term 2020 Year 2 – Summer 2 2020
CRIJ 5340 Justice Abroad CRIJ 6358 Neuroscience in Counseling
Year 2 – Fall 2020 Year 2 – Spring 2021
CRIJ 5321 Ethics in the Justice System

CRIJ 5304 Profiling Serial Offenders

CRIJ 5319 Sex Crimes

CRIJ 6340 Advanced Psychopathology I

CRIJ 6330 Psychology of Mental Health

CRIJ 6357 Advanced Addictions Counseling

Justice Administration and Management Track (Thesis Courses CRIJ 6300 and 6301 as needed)

Year 1 – Fall 2019 Year 1 – Spring 2020
CRIJ 5314 Leadership Management in the Justice System

CRIJ 5367 Advanced Organizational Theory

CRIJ Issues in Management and Marketing

CRIJ 5312 Violence and Victimology

CRIJ 6322 Quantitate Research Methods

May Term 2020 Year 2 – Summer 2 2020
CRIJ 5340 Justice Abroad CRIJ 5353 Law of Human Resource Management

CRIJ 6330 Economic Analysis

CRIJ 6323 Emergent Issues in Justice Administration

Year 2 – Fall 2020 Year 2 – Spring 2021
CRIJ 5321 Ethics in the Justice System

CRIJ 6311 Business Reporting and Finance

CRIJ 6357 Management Strategy

CRIJ 6323 Justice Management and Media

 Add CRIJ 6335 Topics in Cybersecurity (Elective) to each 2-year plan.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the complexities and functions of the various components within the justice system.
  • Evaluate and analyze ethical, legal, and professional issues within the justice system.
  • Demonstrate problem solving and ethical decision-making skills in the justice field.
  • Develop knowledge and skills specific to the chosen emphasis of study (chosen track).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the application of theories related to the emphasis of study (chosen track).
  • Thesis track: Demonstrate the ability to identify systemic needs and apply a cogent, research based strategic analysis to the issue.

Assessment

Learning will be assessed within individual courses including the required courses and the courses taken to complete the desired track or emphasis of study. Additionally, graduate students will sit for Comprehensive Oral and Written Examinations that are track specific. Thesis track students will be required to defend their thesis.

To be eligible for admission to the MS in Criminal Justice Program, a candidate must hold or be pursuing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester hours and a 3.0 in the undergraduate major. Students may hold an undergraduate degree in any field. A writing sample and a written statement of professional purpose and goals must be provided. No GRE required.

Conditional acceptance may be granted by the Program Director to applicants whose GPA in their last 60 semester hours is less than 3.0 with a minimum of 2.75. Conditional students must achieve a 3.0 GPA after completing four courses approved by the Program Director by the end of their second semester of graduate student to be granted full admission standing.

Undergraduate HSU students may receive up to 6 hours graduate course credit for courses taken toward their academic plan with Program Director and instructor approval. Students taking the courses for graduate level credit must complete extra assignments involving additional research, writing, and oral presentations. Final requirements to be determined by the course instructor.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth throughout this decade is projected to occur in law enforcement, private investigators, correctional, probation, and parole officers, and forensic science technicians. Our MS in Criminal Justice prepares you for any of these careers:

  • Forensic Science Lab Technician in a Law Enforcement Center
  • Child victims’ forensic interviewer
  • Consulting or Investigation of Criminal Cases
  • Organization and management of Victims Advocacy Centers
  • Direct services provision for crime victims
  • Social policy development
  • Director or administrator of various local, state, or federal justice agencies
  • Federal law enforcement agent
  • Advancement or added specialization in the chosen field of study
  • Leadership or command position in law enforcement or security

Potential Employment Opportunities

Career Field Potential for Employment Salary Potential
Forensic Science Technicians 2016-2026 17% growth (much faster than average) Median Pay $56,750 per year
Private Detectives and Investigators 2016-2026 11% growth (faster than average) Median Pay $48,190 per year
Police and Detectives 2016-2026 7% growth (as fast as average) Median Pay $61,600 per year
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 2016-2026 6% growth (as fast as average) Median Pay $50,160 per year
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 2016-2026 7% growth (as fast as average) Median Pay $88,400 per year
Victim Advocacy Center Manager 2016-2026 18% growth (much faster than average) Median Pay $64,680 per year
Human Service Worker/Victim Advocate 2016-2026 16% growth (much faster than average) Median Pay $34,811 per year
Federal Law Enforcement Agent 2016-2026 7% growth (as fast as average) Median Pay $78,730 per year
Child Forensic Interviewer Median Pay $38,818 per year
2018 Criminal Justice Job Announcements 3/13/2018 and 03/19/2018
Abilene and Surrounding Communities 13 Total
Indeed-Forensic Science Technician 0
Indeed-Private Detective/Investigator 0
Indeed-Police Officer/Detective 8
City of Abilene-Police Officer 1
Indeed-Child Forensic Interviewer 0
Taylor County-Probation Officer 0
Coleman County-Constable 1
LinkUp-Police Chief or Supervisor 0
LinkUp-Victim Advocacy Center Manager 0
State of Texas Abilene area-Victim advocate/Human Service Worker 3
USAJobs-Federal Law Enforcement Agent 0
Regional-Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma 156+ Total
Indeed-Forensic Science Technician 2
Indeed-Private Detective/Investigator 10
Indeed-Police Officer 80+
Indeed-Child Forensic Interviewer 3
Monster-Probation Officer 14
LinkUp-Police Chief or Supervisor 1
LinkUp-Victim Advocacy Center Manager 0
State of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma-Victim advocate/Human Service Worker 24
USAJobs-Federal Law Enforcement Agent 22
Nationwide 357+ Total
Indeed-Forensic Science Technician 1
Indeed-Private Detective/Investigator 50+
Indeed-Police Officer 100+
Indeed-Child Forensic Interviewer 16
Monster-Probation Officer 50+
LinkUp-Police Chief or Supervisor 7
LinkUp-Victim advocate/Human Service Worker 30
USAJobs-Federal Law Enforcement Agent 100+

The study of the justice system in an environment enlightened by faith begins with an understanding of the foundational role practitioners play in facilitating ethical and just responses at all levels. The integrity of the system is heavily reliant upon the character of the women and men serving within it. Equal treatment under the law is a core principle within this framework.

This multidisciplinary approach provides graduate students with the opportunity to enhance their broad knowledge base as well as specialize in an area of focus. The overall objective is to equip students to master competencies necessary for service in this dynamic and demanding field, encouraging them to face challenges through the lens of acting justly, seeking to be merciful, and walking humbly.