Graduate Program


We offer rolling admissions so you will not have to wait for the next semester to join us.




Master of Criminal Justice Online program nationally ranked 17th as being one of the best in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. Read More

Prepare to lead

Take the next step in your criminal justice career with BGSU's Master's of Science in Criminal Justice. This high-caliber program will equip you for leadership roles in criminal justice agencies, as well as provide a solid base for the pursuit of a doctoral degree. For working professionals interested in pursuing a Criminal Justice graduate degree on a part-time basis, our degree can be earned completely online and we continue to maintain an evening course schedule for individuals who are able to take courses on campus.

Learn from the best

Bowling Green's highly qualified faculty are well respected nationally in their field and bring real-world experience to their teaching. Their areas of specialization include victimology, police organizations, corrections, juvenile justice, criminal law, crime prevention, and more. The program's small class settings foster a dynamic relationship with these professionals.

Expect quality and flexibility

  • Nationally recognized faculty
  • Courses timed to fit your schedule
  • Part-time or full-time study
  • A 33 semester-hour program
  • The choice of completing a thesis or comprehensive exam for graduation
  • The flexibility to complete the program in one calendar year full-time or two calendar years part-time with course offerings on-campus and online.

Foundation Courses (9 credit hours)

  • Criminal Justice Processes and Institutions
  • The Nature of Crime
  • Criminal Justice Policy Analysis

Research in Practice Courses (6 credit hours)

  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Data and Statistical Analysis in Criminal Justice

Substantive Issues Courses (15*-18 credit hours)

  • The Organization & Management of Justice
  • Workshop in Criminal Justice
  • Seminar in Contemporary Policing
  • Seminar in Contemporary Juvenile Justice
  • Seminar in Contemporary Corrections
  • Intermediate Punishments in the Community
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Legal Issues
  • Seminar in Court Administration
  • Issues in Justice Administration
  • Race, Gender & Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Seminar in Criminal Justice Ethics
  • Crime Analysis
  • Topics in Criminal Justice
    • Funding Criminal Justice Initiatives (Grant Writing)
    • Victims & the Justice System
  • Independent Study
  • Thesis Research
  • Other courses as approved by the Graduate Coordinator
    *Students opting to write a Thesis complete 15 credit hours of substantive issues courses.

Plans for Degree Completion

Plan 1: Thesis Option

The thesis option is a major project of original research, conducted under the supervision of the student’s major advisor. Students electing this option must register for no fewer than three, or more than six, credit hours of thesis research as part of their degree program.

Plan 2: Comprehensive Exam Option

This option is designed to allow full time students to complete their degree within a 12-month school year or within two years if attending part time. Student mastery of the degree will be assessed through responses to a one day comprehensive exam.

Plan 3: Portfolio Option

Students compile an electronic portfolio consisting of papers and/or projects that are integrated across specific courses. A reflection paper discussing the contents of the portfolio’s significance and application relative to the degree program and practical considerations is also required.

Admission Requirements

Undergraduate study: To gain regular status admission to the MSCJ program, you must have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00* (on a four-point scale) or 3.00 in at least nine credit hours of graduate-level courses.

* Students with undergraduate GPA between 2.70 and 2.99 are eligible for regular status admission but not funding through assistantships. Students with an undergraduate cumulative GPA between 2.50 and 2.69 may be considered for conditional admission and no funding through assistantships. Students admitted under conditional status will be required to achieve an overall 3.00 GPA in the first 12 credit hours of graduate study. Failure to meet this requirement will result in dismissal from the program.

GRE: Applicants who meet ONE of the following criteria do not need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE):

GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study
Overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75
2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study AND 5 or more years of work experience in the criminal justice field
3.0 GPA in 9 credit hours of graduate credit
For applicants who do not meet any of the above criteria, a GRE combined score of 900 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections will be required.

Letters of recommendation: Students must also submit two letters of recommendation from individuals with knowledge of the applicant's qualifications and ability to successfully complete graduate study. Examples of individuals typically asked to write letters of recommendation are past professors, supervisors, or colleagues holding a graduate degree. For students applying for graduate funding, a third letter of recommendation is required.

Personal Letter of Application: Applicants must supply a written statement outlining their interests in graduate study, and their expectations and future goals. This letter is extremely important since the Graduate Admissions Committee will base many decisions on its content and quality.

Application deadline: Review of applications begins as soon as completed applications are received and continues until all positions are filled. We cannot process your application until we receive ALL supporting materials. We urge you to send them promptly. We will begin notifying students of admissions decisions immediately.

Contact us: If you are not familiar with our campus, please consider a visit so we can become acquainted. This will give you the opportunity to meet our faculty and see our facilities. If a visit is not practical, we invite you to call, write, or e-mail us if you have any questions (see below).

For an application packet and full application instructions, please use our online form or contact:

Dr. Melissa Burek
Criminal Justice Program
Room 223 Health Center
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403
Phone: 419.372.9542
Fax: 419.372.2400
Email: mwburek@bgsu.edu


Financial aid is available through a limited number of assistantship stipends and tuition scholarships for on campus students who qualify. All financial assistance is highly competitive. To be considered for an assistantship for the academic year you are interested in beginning the program, a completed application is due the November 1st prior to a spring semester start date and the April 1st prior to a fall semester start date.