Are you a current criminal justice professional looking to move up in your career? Are you interested in advanced study in criminal justice or criminology?

East Carolina's graduate degree in criminal justice gives students the opportunity to tailor their studies to their individual applied or academic interests. The master's program provides extraordinary learning and leadership opportunities with the national criminal justice honor society, field experience, international study abroad, independent study or research with faculty mentors, and graduate assistantships.

ECU Advantage

ECU's criminal justice courses are taught by an exceptional faculty with diverse teaching and research experience in the areas of law enforcement, homeland security, criminology, juvenile delinquency, victimology, law, courts, corrections, justice administration and policy, transnational and comparative crime and justice, terrorism, and organized crime, just to name a few.

Our master's alumni have gone on to be high ranking officials in local, state, and national criminal justice organizations in positions as judges, federal agency directors, chiefs of police, and correctional administrators.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Jonathan Sorensen (238 Rivers Building; 252-328-2411; sorensenj@ecu.edu)

The master's program in criminal justice prepares students to become highly skilled and competent professionals who are equipped to seek advancements in the criminal justice profession, teach on the community college level, or pursue a terminal degree in criminal justice or a closely related field. Students must complete 18 s.h. of core courses, 18 s.h. of electives, and can choose to obtain certification in security studies, public management and leadership, or criminal justice education. To obtain certification in criminal justice education students must complete 18 s.h. of required core and elective courses. A professional paper is required for completion of the master's degree in criminal justice.

A minimum of 36 s.h. of credit is required as follows:

1. Core - 18 s.h.:
  • JUST 6000 - Criminal Justice Principles
  • JUST 6001 - Seminar in Research Methods and Statistical Interpretation
  • JUST 6201 - Seminar in Criminal Behavior
  • JUST 6300 - Principles of Criminal Justice Administration and Management
  • JUST 6800 - Program Evaluation (Applied)
  • JUST 6991 - Professional Paper
2. Electives - 18 s.h.:
    Admission Requirements

    Each applicant is reviewed individually by the admissions committee. One criterion does not determine acceptance or rejection. A bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution with a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale is required. Transfer credit must be established at the time of admittance.

    Applicants must submit 1) satisfactory entrance examination scores on the GRE or TOEFL as established by the Graduate School, 2) official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work since graduating high school, 3) three current letters of reference , 4) a statement of purpose that describes the applicant's relevant work experience, short- and long-term goals, and specific interests in the master's in criminal justice degree program (500-750 word, single spaced, typewritten), and 5) a personal interview may be requested.

    A student may elect to attend the program on a part-time basis. In order to qualify for part-time status a student must take a minimum of two courses per semester. It is recommended that at least one core course be taken each of the semesters that the student is enrolled in the program.

      Criminal Justice Education Certificate

       The department offers a Criminal Justice Education Certificate.

        Public Management and Leadership Certificate

        Up to 15 s.h. of courses required for the graduate certificate in public management and leadership can be transferred as electives for the master of science in criminal justice. See Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science, for certificate requirements.

          Security Studies Certificate

          The department participates in the offering of a graduate security studies certificate. Up to 15 s.h. of courses required for the graduate certificate in security studies can be transferred as electives for the master of science in criminal justice. See Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science, for the security studies certificate requirements.

            For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

            Careers With This Degree

            Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

            • Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
            • Law Enforcement
            • Crime Laboratory
            • Courts
            • Corrections
            • Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
            • Juvenile Justice
            • Victim Services
            • Asset Protection

            Career Opportunities

            ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

            NC Tower

            This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

            • Self-employed;
            • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
            • Work outside of North Carolina.

            US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

            This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

            Degree-specific internships

            For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.