Master's in Criminal Justice

Why Study Criminal Justice

Institutions of social control change constantly due to the public’s demand for a quality system of justice. In this climate, government at all levels is insisting on a higher level of intellectual and educational preparation for those who participate in the operation and administration of its criminal justice systems.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program at Shippensburg University is a good fit if you are contemplating a career in the criminal justice field, as well as further graduate study. The program also serves working professionals who wish to enhance their understanding of theory and conduct research related to their organizations.

The program's major strengths are its applied perspective and strong emphasis on theory, policy, research, and analysis. Philosophy, format, and implementation stress the practical application of a higher level of knowledge, skills, and strategies. The methodological and theory components are highly suitable as a preparation for entering advanced graduate studies and other professional programs.

You will study the criminal justice system with faculty who:

  • Hold the highest scholarly qualifications
  • Have experience in the field as practitioners
  • Serve as expert witnesses and consultants to criminal justice agencies
  • Conduct research
  • Publish articles and books
  • Present scholarly papers at local, regional and national conferences

A wide variety of career options are available to our graduates. Graduates successfully compete in the job market and are employed by private companies, city and county governments, state and federal departments. Graduates who are currently employed are often more marketable and upwardly mobile in their agency's career development programs. They are also qualified to move to other agencies in a new and higher level of participation, responsibility, and compensation. They can expect new management, policymaking, and expanded leadership and supervision opportunities as a result of their experiences and graduate degree.

The salary range for criminal justice jobs in PA is $31,000 to $87,000.

  • A baccalaureate degree in criminal justice, administration of justice, or related social science field from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75. Applicants with less than a 2.75 GPA will be required to take the Graduate Requisite Examination (GRE) or the Millers Analogies Test (MAT) and provide a score sufficient of graduate education before they are eligible for admission.
  • In 500 words or less provide a Statement of Interest indicating your reasons for pursuing this program, your professional goals, and how this degree will help fulfill said goals.
  • Students are invited to provide an optional resume
  • You may submit your statement of interest and optional resume via email as a PDF or Word Document to

To qualify for the degree of Master of Science in Criminal Justice, you must complete 36 hours of graduate work. See the Graduate Catalog for a complete list of required courses.

NOTE: Students enrolled in the MS program affiliated with the Juvenile Court Judges Commission will complete 6 credits of Practicum as electives for the program.

With approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Criminal Justice, a student may take up to three courses at the 500-level or higher offered by the following departments: Counseling/College Student Personnel, Educational Leadership and Policy/Special Education, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.

Please note, students are only admitted for thefall semester.

Shippensburg University is located near major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. State government in the capital city, Harrisburg, provides opportunities to study and do research with state and federal agencies.

You will have opportunities to work on research projects with departmental faculty. Computer resources and excellent library facilities are available.

Graduate assistantships may be available if you want to enhance your learning experience by assisting faculty with research, teaching and other tasks during the academic year.  

Criminal Justice
Shippen Hall 321, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1558
Department Website