Criminal Justice (Archived 2016-17 Graduate Catalog)

Chair: Steven Lab
Graduate Coordinator: Melissa Burek
Address: 223 Health & Human Services
Phone: 419-372-9542
Program Web Page:

Degrees Offered
Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)

Program Offered
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program offers educational opportunities for professionals who seek a broader understanding of the criminal justice process and the link between research and policy. The MSCJ program also serves those seeking additional credentials for promotion and career enhancement, students interested in pursuing doctoral work in criminal justice, and those in allied fields who are interested in criminal justice issues or careers. The MSCJ program has both on campus and distance learning course offerings. The degree can be earned in either three semesters of full time study or part-time in six semesters.

Prerequisites to Graduate Work
As a general rule, students admitted to the program will hold an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, criminology, or other closely related field. Individuals who possess an undergraduate degree in other academic fields will be considered for admission to the MSCJ program if they have experience as employees in the criminal justice fields, or demonstrate other qualifications and interest pertinent to the course of study.

Admission Procedure
Specific admission criteria for all regular-status students include: (1) a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale); (2) three letters of recommendation; (3) a written statement of interest and expectations; and (4) official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)*. For students whose native language is not English, an additional requirement is official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.

GPA: An applicant whose undergraduate GPA is below 2.75 may be considered for “conditional admission” status on the strength of other criteria. Students admitted conditionally must achieve an overall graduate GPA of 3.0 for their first 9 credit hours of graduate study. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program.

Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation should be addressed to the Coordinator of the Graduate Program. Letters should be from individuals who have knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications and ability to successfully complete graduate study. Typically, letters are written by the applicant’s undergraduate professors, or by supervisors or colleagues who hold graduate degrees themselves.

Written Statement: The written statement is a short piece of writing (from one to three pages) that states the applicant’s reasons for wanting to study Criminal Justice at Bowling Green State University, future goals, and any relevant professional preparation, where applicable.

GRE Scores are required, unless applicants meet ONE of the following criteria, in which case the GRE is not required:

  1. GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study.
  2. Overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75.
  3. 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate study AND 5 years or more of work experience in criminal justice or related field.
  4. 3.0 GPA in 9 credit hours of graduate credit.

For applicants who do not meet any of the above criteria, a recommended GRE score of 150 on the Verbal and 141 on the Quantitative sections will need to be submitted for acceptance into the MSCJ program.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Candidates must complete a total of 33 hours of graduate course work, and may elect to complete the degree by writing a thesis, passing a comprehensive exam, or compiling and reflecting upon the contents of an electronic portfolio.

Plan I: 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, nor more than six, credit hours of thesis research as part of their degree program.

Plan II Comprehensive Exam: The comprehensive exam option is designed to allow full-time students to complete their degree within a 12-month school year, if attending full time, or within two years if attending part time.

Plan II Portfolio: 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.

The program can also accommodate students whose professional careers require more individualized timetables within university rules. Regardless of the calendar of study, all degrees must be completed either by passing the comprehensive exams or completing a thesis project.

Graduate Courses
Please access graduate courses online at Graduate courses offered by the Criminal Justice program use the prefix: CRJU.