Two students studying in the UAlbany Dewey Library.

Master of Arts

Criminal Justice

Program of Study


Through diverse course offerings you will learn about the structure of criminal justice systems, theories of crime, and evaluation of effective policy and practice using enhanced research and statistical skills.

You will have the option to pursue a general track or focus your studies with a concentration in:

  • Information Technology (currently unavailable)
  • Crime Causation, Prevention, and Intervention
  • Justice Systems 
  • Problem Solving and Analysis


Foundation Courses

  • Theories of Crime
  • Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Justice

Support Sequence of Statistics and Research Design

  • Applied Statistics or equivalent
  • MA Research Design or equivalent

Elective Credits

18 credits from any Criminal Justice graduate-level courses. The credits may include one of four 9-credit concentration areas (see below for details).

Capstone Experience Seminar

The Capstone Seminar (CRJ799) will provide the opportunity to demonstrate special field competency by synthesizing and refining graduate experiences around a set of related activities, built on each student's curricular choices and acquired specialized expertise.

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact the Student Services Office at 518-442-5210 or [email protected].

Information Technology (currently unavailable)

The curriculum is designed to extend and expand the statistical and methodological expertise learned in the traditional sequence of the School's methods and statistical courses.

Core Requirements

  • Fundamentals of IT
  • Data Utilization in Criminal Justice
  • Geographic Information Systems in Criminal Justice or Responsible Use of Criminal Justice Information
  • A non-credit module encompassing data utilization software
Crime Causation, Prevention, and Intervention

The study of the etiology of crime, offenders’ responses to interventions, and the efficacy of crime prevention strategies (examples include courses on sociological, psychological, other theories of crime; crime of place; gang behavior; terrorism; situational crime prevention; reentry; incarceration).

Select 9 credits:

  • Crime, Deviation, and Conformity
  • Psychological Factors of Crime
  • Gender and Crime in American Culture
  • Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime
  • Guns and Gun Control
  • Race and Crime
  • Homicide Research
  • Nature of Youth Gangs
  • Crime and Cities
  • Decision Making and Deterrence
  • Community Supervision and Treatment of Convicted Persons
  • Prison Environments
  • Terrorism and Public Security
  • Social Response to Youth Gangs
  • Modes of Correctional Intervention
  • Prison Reform
  • Violence in Criminal Justice
Justice Systems

The study of how societies respond to crime through policy and practice, and the value systems that underlie those responses (examples include courses on behavior of police, courts, and corrections agencies; law and social control; juvenile justice; international responses to crime).

Select 9 credits:

  • Substantive Criminal Law
  • Principles of Punishment
  • The Legal Rights of Children
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Public Opinion and Criminal Justice
  • Comparative Criminal Justice
  • Issues in Policing
  • The Incarceration Process
  • Sentencing
  • Innovations in Policing
  • Gender, Administration, and Policy
  • Policing in America
  • Prosecution and Adjudication
  • Crime, Criminal Justice and Public Policy
  • Organizational Change
  • Seminars on Specific Problems in Law and Social
  • Wrongful Convictions
  • Capital Punishment
Problem Solving and Analysis

Development of research, data and analytic skills that would prove useful in practice and policy settings (examples include courses on crime analysis; program evaluation; policy analysis; measurement of crime; spatial analysis; qualitative research; historical research; advanced statistical analysis).

Select 9 credits:

  • Crime Analysis for Problem Solvers
  • Data Utilization in Criminal Justice I
  • Measure of Crime and Delinquency
  • Law and Science in Criminal Justice
  • Program Evaluation
  • Geographic Information Systems in Criminal Justice I
  • Spatial Data Analysis - Criminal Justice
  • Qualitative Research in Criminal Justice
  • Special Methods Seminars
  • Historical Research Methods
MA with JD Option

Pursue your Juris Doctor in Law through UAlbany’s collaborative agreement with Albany Law School. Each program will accept elective credits from the other to reduce the overall time to complete both degrees. You must apply to and be accepted by both programs.

Visit the Albany Law School Juris Doctor Program for more information and admissions requirements.

UAlbany students participating in a mock trial at the New York State Assembly.
Career Paths

Take advantage of UAlbany’s partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies and non-profit organizations for research and networking opportunities.

Pursue a diverse number of career paths including:

  • Crime analyst
  • Policy analyst
  • Police officer
  • State trooper
  • Crime victim specialist
  • Special agent
  • Community/outreach organizer
  • Residential/case manager
  • Community support director

Other graduates choose to advance their understanding of the field of criminal justice by applying for doctoral and law programs.


A student speaks with a police officer at a networking event

“I spent so much time on job sites such as Indeed, looking for the perfect first job. It turns out I found it with the school’s help! I am so appreciative of that. In my new position, I work with police departments and other partners to assist with investigations, identify trends, and share information. I have really been enjoying my work and I know my SCJ education prepared me well for this!"

- Megan Fruin, MA ’18, Intelligence Analyst with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Option

If you’re a current UAlbany undergraduate student with at least a 3.2 GPA, you can save time and money by beginning your graduate degree coursework as early as your junior year. Up to 12 academic credits, billed at the undergraduate rate, will count towards both degrees – so you can complete your combined program in only 5 years and spend less than you would if you completed each program separately.

Contact your undergraduate advisor to see if you’re eligible and learn about your combined graduate program options.

UAlbany graduate with confetti at Commencement.

Admissions Requirements

  • Fall: August 1
  • Spring: January 1
  • Summer: Not Available

There is no departmental assistantship consideration for this program.

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE scores*
  • Statement of Goals

The statement is generally one to two pages discussing what you have to offer the program and what you wish to get out of the program. It should include a brief description of the applicant's field of interest, related background, desired area of study and research emphasis or career goals.

*The GRE has been waived for fall 2024. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or other standardized test, is required for all applicants to the M.A. program except when the Graduate Admissions Committee elects to waive the requirement based on special circumstances, e.g. hardship or demonstration of significant professional accomplishments. The department will also accept LSAT and GMAT scores in lieu of the GRE.


Special Notes

This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Arts
  • Develop a research question and a plan to answer it using pre-existing data sets.
  • Evaluate the validity of research conclusions drawn from a given data set.
  • Apply basic statistical analyses to practical criminological problems.
  • Identify gaps in current research on a given topic and propose a plan for filling those gaps.
  • Assess the application of criminal justice theories in the explanation of criminal justice outcomes.
  • Assess the validity of criminological theories as applied to current questions.