Criminology and Criminal Justice, MA

School of Criminology & Criminal Justice, College of Public Affairs & Community Service

Vision Statement

The Master of Arts (MA) degree is a 30-hour non-terminal degree designed to emphasize research activity and independent inquiry. This degree is recommended for those students seeking an interim degree prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. To complete the MA degree, students must write and orally defend a thesis. The thesis is an independent research project and an academic exercise that is written to the standards of the faculty members on the thesis committee. A thesis requires a committee of three faculty members and typically takes two semesters to complete.

Program Contact Information

Justin Nix, PhD, MA Program Coordinator
218 College of Public Affairs & Community Service (CPACS)

Program Website

Other Program Related Information

Fast Track

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has developed a Fast Track program for highly qualified and motivated students providing the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in an accelerated time frame.  With Fast Track, students may count up to 9 graduate hours toward the completion of their undergraduate program as well as the graduate degree program.

Program Specifics:

  • This program is available for undergraduate students pursuing any of the following:
    • BS in Criminology or Criminal Justice on either the UNO or UNL campuses
    • Double-major at UNO with a BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice as either the primary or secondary major
    • BMS with a concentration in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Students must have completed no less than 75 undergraduate hours.
  • Students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5.
  • Students must complete the Fast Track Approval form and obtain all signatures and submit to the Office of Graduate Studies prior to first enrollment in a graduate course.
  • Students will work with their undergraduate advisor to register for the graduate courses.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required for graduate coursework to remain in good standing.
  • Students remain undergraduates until they meet all the requirements for the undergraduate degree and are eligible for all rights and privileges granted undergraduate status including financial aid.
  • Near the end of the undergraduate program, formal application to the graduate program is required. The application fee will be waived, the applicant will need to contact the Office of Graduate Studies for a fee waiver code.
    • Admission to Fast Track does NOT guarantee admission to the graduate program. Successful completion of the graduate courses will be a significant consideration during the evaluation of admission to the MA or MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
    • The admit term must be after the completion term of the undergraduate degree.

Special Note: Eligible undergraduate students may enroll in any 8000-level CRCJ course approved by the SCCJ program.


General Application Requirements and Admission Criteria

Program-Specific Requirements

Application Deadlines (Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024)

Applications for this program are accepted on a rolling basis. All materials must be submitted prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student has elected to begin coursework. For those interested being considered for a graduate research assistantship, an April 1 deadline for fall admission is recommended.

Other Requirements

  • Entrance Exam: Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a score of 300 or higher is typically required for admission to the MA program, or to be considered for a research assistantship
  • English Language Proficiency: Applicants are required to have a command of oral and written English. Those who do not hold a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from the U.S., OR a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from a predetermined country on the waiver list, must meet the minimum language proficiency score requirement in order to be considered for admission.
    • Internet-based TOEFL: 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four areas, IELTS: 7.5 (8.0+ preferred), Duolingo: 125 
    • All ESL students are required to take a proficiency assessment examination at UNO upon admission, which will be used to determine whether further assistance is required.
  • Statement of Purpose: One page discussing reasons for pursuing a graduate degree, research interests, and career goals for the future
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required, preferably from faculty or instructors familiar with your academic ability
  • Unconditional Admission:
    • Possession of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Student has a 3.00 GPA (average of “B”) overall in undergraduate work
    • At least 12 credit hours of criminal justice courses or related courses that meet the requirements of the current school undergraduate curriculum, including a basic statistics course, a research methods course, an introductory criminal justice course, and a criminology course.
  • Provisional Admission:
    • Student has not completed all of the undergraduate prerequisite course requirements for unconditional admission to graduate study
    • Student has no less than a 2.75 overall GPA for the last two years of undergraduate work and not less than a 2.75 GPA in the undergraduate major

Degree Requirements

Required Courses
Optional Course
Students can also take a diversity class from any field at the 8000 level or higher with adviser approval.
Select nine hours of CRCJ courses at the 8000 level or higher, with adviser approval: 19
Total Credits30

If CRCJ 8130, CRCJ 8120 or CRCJ 9030 is taken, they will serve as a diversity class, so another class should be selected to fulfill the 9 credit hours of CRCJ electives.

Exit Requirement

All candidates should carefully review the Graduate College requirements for forming a Supervisory Committee, Thesis/Thesis Equivalent Proposal Approval forms and final approval and submission of a thesis.