Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Contact:Cheryl Banachowski-Fuller, Ph.D.
Program Director
Address:Master of Science in Criminal Justice
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818-3099

Statement of Purpose

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a comprehensive and highly interactive online degree. It is designed for criminal justice and social service professionals who wish to continue their graduate education or who need additional knowledge and skills to advance to higher-level positions in their field. The program is also designed for those seeking an advanced degree as a prerequisite for entry into more specialized criminal justice positions.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  1. demonstrate advanced, in-depth knowledge of criminology and the criminal justice system;
  2. apply research and statistical methodology to policy issues in the criminal justice agency setting;
  3. exhibit effective communication skills in both formal and informal written communication;
  4. demonstrate organizational, managerial, and supervisory skills appropriate to criminal justice agencies;
  5. identify, analyze, and solve problems at the organizational, inter-organizational, or community levels;
  6. show advanced knowledge and skills in one of the three areas of emphasis.

Admission Requirements for Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Those seeking admission to the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program must have earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, criminology, or a related field from a nationally or regionally accredited institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). If the degree is in an unrelated field, a minimum of three years of occupational experience in the field of criminal justice is required.

Program entrance requirements and degree completion requirements are consistent with those of the graduate programs of the institution. Students seeking admission should follow the instructions found in the online Admission Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.

To be eligible for admission in full standing, a student must have an overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or above, or 2.90 on the last 60 credits from the degree-granting institution.

Applicants must submit (1) a detailed résumé, (2) letters of support from two professional sources who can comment on the student's ability to be successful in graduate coursework, (3) a personal statement of purpose and goals, and (4) a portfolio containing specific evidence of the student's writing skills.

The portfolio should be individualized for each applicant. It may consist of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores; research projects undertaken as part of employment; journal articles or other written work; other related applicant-developed work, or specific undergraduate coursework in relevant areas; or other evidence that the applicant believes is relevant. Applicants may consult the Criminal Justice Graduate Program Director ( for advice about what to submit.

All application material will be reviewed by the Criminal Justice Department Admission Committee. Recommendation for admission will be based on demonstrated ability to perform graduate work, including theoretical and statistical coursework, based upon the professional judgment of the Admission Committee.

Students who do not qualify for admission in full standing may be admitted on trial enrollment, which must be justified by the admitting department and approved by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Students are allowed seven years from the date of admission into the program to complete degree requirements. Extensions may be granted for extenuating circumstances.

Special Students

Students with a bachelor's degree who want to enroll in selected courses without being admitted to the program may enroll as special students. A maximum of 12 credits may be taken as a special student.


The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is awarded upon successful completion of 30 credits: 15 credits of required courses and 15 credits of electives.

With the help of an academic advisor, a student will develop an academic program plan consistent with specific goals from one of the three emphasis areas:

All courses are three credits unless otherwise noted.

Required Courses (Core Courses) (15 credits)

Elective Courses (15 credits)

In addition to the required core courses listed above, students must complete 15 credits of elective graduate courses in areas appropriate to the emphasis. With the help of an academic advisor, students develop an academic program plan consistent with specific goals from one of the three emphasis areas. Electives currently identified are listed below. Additional electives may be available through transfer and/or other arrangements. Contact the program coordinator for more information.

Courses are continuously being developed to provide knowledge and expertise in high demand.

Certificate in Child Advocacy Studies

The Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) certificate is designed to prepare students for the realities of child protection and serve the needs of learners specifically interested in professions that work directly with or among maltreated children. It's specifically tailored for students who intend to pursue careers in law enforcement and as child protection professionals, victim witness workers, lawyers, school social workers and treatment providers.

The CAST certificate meets the mission of the National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC), funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to end child abuse in the United States. In recognition of UW-Platteville students' contribution to its mission, the NCPTC will recognize the UW-Platteville CAST certificate by including its logo on each awarded UW-Platteville CAST certificate.

To obtain a certificate, students must:

To earn the certificate, students must complete the following three graduate courses:

Graduate Diploma in Criminal Justice

The Graduate Diploma in Criminal Justice is designed to serve criminal justice and social service professionals who need additional knowledge and skills to advance to higher levels in their profession. The Diploma in Criminal Justice is offered entirely online-no campus visits are required. The Diploma is awarded upon the successful completion of the five required courses identified above as core courses for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice. For individuals wanting to go beyond the Diploma, the core graduate courses for the Diploma meet the core requirements for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Students must complete all of the required courses for the Graduate Diploma in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin- Platteville to be eligible to receive the Diploma. Transfer courses may not be applied to the Diploma program.

For admission requirements, registration instructions, course descriptions, tuition rate, and a long-term course rotation schedule, visit our website at

Criminal Justice Courses

Dusting for evidence Lab