Criminal Justice Graduate Program

M.S. in Criminal Justice Administration (33 credits) 

Our graduate program leads to a master’s of science in criminal justice administration. The program’s focus on criminal justice administration is broadly-conceived to understand criminal justice administration and practice within a wider policy context.

It is not a narrowly conceived managerial or technical program focused on one specific line of work within criminal justice. Rather, it reflects Niagara University’s Vincentian mission and liberal arts tradition.

The program emphasizes current criminological and criminal justice theory and research. This helps professionals think more critically about contemporary challenges and controversies specific to criminology and criminal justice.

We want our graduates to become more well-rounded and well-informed and ethical criminal justice practitioners and citizens whatever work they choose to do. Toward this goal, the program offers a more rigorous and intensive study than what students undergo in their undergraduate studies.

However, applicants need not have studied criminology and criminal justice as undergraduates or have worked in a criminal justice field. Our program is appropriate for both recent university graduates beginning their professional careers as well as mid-career professionals who want an advanced study of scholarship and practice in their discipline and enhance their credentials.

Many recent university graduates are well-advised to defer graduate studies until after they have a better sense of what their educational interests and career goals are. But for others, our graduate program is a great way to develop their educational interests and figure out their initial career plans. For them, graduate studies should be intellectually rewarding and enhance their credentials.

Some mid-career applicants feel anxious about pursuing graduate studies because they have been out of school for a while. But we find that many of these students find their studies intellectually rewarding and perform well academically. Networking with diverse classmates who are at different stages of their careers, interested in different lines of work within criminal justice, and those who work in different jurisdictions on both side of the U.S./Canada border enhances the student learning experience.

Some graduate students do internships to network and advance their careers. Sometimes these internships lead directly to employment with the internship agencies.

We structure our program so that students can take full course loads and finish degree requirements in fewer than two years. But our program is intensive and the workload demanding, so some students prefer not to take a full load of graduate courses while also working full time. They may find it more rewarding and effective to take fewer courses per semester and take a little longer to complete degree requirements.

Course schedules are designed to accommodate our rolling admissions and student work schedules. Although our courses fit together to form a coherent program of study, we do not design courses with prerequisite courses that would require students to take particular courses in a particular order.

During the fall and spring semesters, we schedule our graduate courses during the evenings, Monday through Thursday. Typically, we offer one or two courses per evening back-to-back from 4:20-7:05 p.m. and 7:15-10 p.m. We also typically offer four-week graduate courses during one or more of the university’s three summer sessions. We also offer online or hybrid courses throughout the year to supplement our regular course schedule.

Full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty members teach our graduate courses. Each of us is an active scholar-educator credentialed with a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice. Each of us undergoes a rigorous pre- and post-tenure review of our teaching, scholarship and service excellence. We each design and teach courses in our areas of interest and expertise. We bring our scholarship into these courses and update them regularly.

Graduate Coursework

Graduate students complete a mix of required and elective courses, eleven (11) courses for thirty-three (33) credits. Prospective students can see current and recent course offerings on the university website:

All graduate students complete a core of required courses:

  • CRJ 500 - Seminar in System-Wide Issues in Criminal Justice
  • CRJ 510 - Seminar in Criminal Justice Management
  • CRJ 520 - Introduction to Statistics
  • CRJ 530 - Seminar in Professional Ethics and Liability
  • CRJ 540 - Research, Planning and Evaluation Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Policy paper (three credits) OR master’s thesis (six credits)

Students also take various elective courses covering specific aspects of criminology and criminal justice in more depth. Recent examples include:

  • Seminar in Theories of Crime
  • Elective course examples:
  • Seminar in Problems in the Application of Law and Legal Policy
  • Seminar in Organizational and White Collar Crime
  • Seminar in Domestic Violence
  • Seminar in Criminal Court and Sentencing
  • Race, Gender and Class in the Criminal Justice System

Our graduate students may also take several computer crime and cyber-security courses. These are cross-listed with the department of computer information sciences. Interested students may contact Dr. Petter Lovaas at 716.286.8463 or


Assistantships and Financial Aid

There are a small number of highly competitive scholarships and assistantships. Graduate assistantships offering either a tuition waiver or stipend come with a weekly work component. These are appropriate for those students particularly interested in doing research and scholarship as these students work directly with faculty on our research and departmental projects. Students may apply here.

If you would like to learn more about our graduate degree program and apply, contact graduate program director Ronald Winkley at 716.286.8089 or The university also hosts on-campus open houses for prospective students each semester. Although these are for undergraduate students, we welcome prospective graduate students to attend and speak with departmental faculty and graduate assistants about our graduate program.


B.S./M.S. Enrollment Option  

Well-qualified Niagara University and Humber College undergraduate students may apply to our graduate degree program via our BS/MS program during their junior years. This allows accepted students to beginning taking graduate courses while they are still undergraduates.

We refer to this as our 4+1 program because students may take four undergraduate courses plus one graduate course (3 credit hours) per semester during their senior years, or up to three graduate courses (9 credit hours) total. These graduate credits then apply to both their undergraduate and graduate degrees.  

Although we do to necessarily advise that they do so, BS/MS students can complete all their degree requirements within one calendar year should they so desire.


Application Requirements

Students must submit the following:

  • An electronic application, accompanied by a $30 application fee paid via the online portal.
  • Two letters of reference. 
  • GRE scores taken within the past five years. Students that have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of over 3.0 area are not required to submit a GRE for consideration.
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities indicating the awarding of an accredited undergraduate degree.

** Niagara University will not accept copies or emails for any test score or credential evaluation**

International Applicants

Along with the standard application for requirements shown above, you will need to submit the following items in order for your application to be complete. 

Official TOEFL or IELTS score sent from testing service if English is not your native language. The minimum Internet based score required for the TOEFL is 79, while the minimum score for the IETLS is 6.0.

Contact a credential evaluation service and submit any student transcripts for review. Please choose the "comprehensive course by course evaluations" from any of the agencies websites below:

Educational Credential Evaluators

World Education Services

Be prepared to provide financial documentation in the amount of $22,975 for immigration purposes.

For any questions regarding Student Visas or I-20 Forms, please contact Elizabeth Broomfield at

Application Deadlines

Students may apply year round and begin at the start of any one of our three semesters (fall, spring, and summer).  Students are encouraged to have ALL application materials in by the dates listed below. In doing so, students will ensure that their completed application has ample time to be reviewed:

To be fully considered for the spring semester, all application materials should be submitted by Nov. 1 of the previous semester.