Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Program Overview:

The Criminal Justice program at Wichita State University is one of the oldest in the United States. Founded by renowned police chief and scholar O.W. Wilson in 1937, only one other active criminal justice department has a longer history.

O.W. Wilson is considered one of the most important reformers in American history. He is credited with being the lead architect of the professional police movement from the 1920s through the 1960s. A protégée of Chief August Vollmer, Wilson worked for Vollmer as a Berkeley, California police officer. Wilson eventually became chief of police at Fullerton, California; Wichita, Kansas and Superintendent of Police in Chicago, Illinois.

While Wilson was Chief in Wichita, the Wichita Police Department became known as the West Point of Law Enforcement and developed an international reputation of innovative police practices. He started the first police science program in the nation at the Municipal University of Wichita (later Wichita State University). Wilson developed a list of the major aspects of a police officer's job. From the list, he eliminated low level skills, tasks which could be best taught by a police department or a training academy, and subjects which could not achieve a degree of academic respectability among professors. From those tasks remaining he constructed seven courses: criminal law, personal identification, police patrol practices, criminal evidence, traffic control, criminal investigation, and police administration. Subsequently, these seven courses were added to the college curriculum in 1936.

Through the years the program at Wichita State has evolved from strictly a police science program into a program that encompasses the entire criminal justice system including criminological theory.

Faculty in the program have an international reputation and have conducted research and published books and academic papers, which have contributed to our growing understanding of crime, criminals and the criminal justice system. The interdisciplinary faculty hold degrees in criminology, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, law, and public administration.

At Wichita State University criminal justice is viewed as a broad, interdisciplinary study which encompasses the scientific study of crime, criminals, the criminal justice system and the process of law-giving. The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program focuses on solid theory and criminal justice practice in the belief that neither stands alone. The integration of theory and practice prepares students for positions in criminal justice system practice, management, policymaking, as well as in research, teaching, and preparation for law school or further graduate study.

 For more information on what you can do with a degree in Criminal Justice, click here.

Admission Requirements:

In addition to the Graduate School admission requirements, applicants must submit: (1) three letters of reference from people acquainted with the applicant's background and potential and (2) a brief autobiographical statement describing particular interests, experiences and goals related to academic and professional work in criminal justice.

Applicants are evaluated with respect to (1) undergraduate grade point average; a minimum GPA of 3.0 based on the last 60 hours is required for consideration of admission to degree status; (2) amount, type and scope of undergraduate preparation; and (3) reference letters. Final recommendation on a candidate's admission to the MACJ program is made to the Graduate School by the graduate coordinator of the Criminal Justice program.

Degree Requirements:

Students pursuing the MA degree in criminal justice may follow either a thesis or a non-thesis option. Both program options require a minimum of 36 hours, including 24 hours taken in courses numbered 700 or above. Core Curriculum. All degree candidates are required to complete CJ 802, 893, 894, and 897 with a grade of B or better in each course. It is recommended that all core courses be completed in the first two semesters of study. Students selecting the thesis option may count up to 6 hours of thesis credit toward the required 36-hour total.

The MACJ degree requires a minimum of 36 hours, including 24 hours taken in courses numbered 700 or above.


Students selecting the thesis option must pass an oral defense of the thesis.


CJ 802 - Quantitative Methods for Public Sector Professionals (offered during fall semester)
CJ 893 - Seminar in Applied Criminal Theory (offered during spring semester) 
CJ 894 - Proseminar in Criminal Justice (offered during fall semester)
CJ 897 - Advanced Research Methods (offered during spring semester)


CJ 501 - Integrity in Public Service CJ 783 - Avcd. Sp. Topics in CJ
CJ 513 - Violent Crime CJ 796 - Criminal Typologies
CJ 515 - Sex Crimes CJ 797 - Pub. Plcy. Anal. & Prgm. Eval.
CJ 516 - Profiling CJ 816 - Correctional Administration
CJ 517 - Homicide Investigation CJ 820 - Terrorism & Mod. Society
CJ 518 - CJ & Crime in Film CJ 850 - Workshop
CJ 541 - Med. & Lgl. Aspects of Dth. Invest. CJ 853 - Crime Prev. thr. Environ. Dsgn.
CJ 551 - Workshop in CJ CJ 861 - Police Administration
CJ 593 - Crime Causation & CJ Policy CJ 873 - Avcd. Criminal Law
CJ 600 - Forensic Anthropology CJ 874 - Qualitative Methods
CJ 610 - Correctional Counseling CJ 882 - Individual Directed Study
CJ 641 - Forensic Psychiatry CJ 891 - Seminar in Judicial Process
CJ 643 - Forensic Science CJ 895 - Seminar in Policing
CJ 651 - Dispute Resolution CJ 896 - Seminar in Corrections
CJ 652 - Juvenile Just. & Social Plcy. CJ 898 - Appl. Research Paper
CJ 692 - Community Policing CJ 900 - Thesis
CJ 781 - Cooperative Education/Internship

Download .pdf Copy of the MACJ Program Sheet