Criminal Justice Policy and Administration

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Educational Background

Students who do not have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality of their overall application. Work experience will be considered for applicants who have more than two years of experience in a related field.

Core Application Packet

  • Completed official online Graduate School application and payment of a nonrefundable application fee.
  • Statement of purpose: a 2-3 page essay articulating career and educational goals that demonstrate the student’s written communication skills and describes their background with basic statistics education and/or usage.
  • A current curriculum vitae (vita) or résumé.
  • Three letters of recommendation that attest to the student’s readiness for graduate study. Letters must be submitted through the online application system. Within the online application you will be asked to enter the names and email addresses of three individuals who will be providing your recommendation. Those individuals will receive a note via email asking them to complete a brief form that will serve as your recommendation. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.

Degree Requirements

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The 30-credit program of study emphasizes social science perspectives to the study of criminal justice. The degree consists of core courses (18 credits) and allows students to choose from among several electives. 

Total required credits for the M.P.S.: 30 credits. At least 18 credits must be completed at the 500 level or 800 level, with at least 6 credits at the 500 level.

Required Courses
CJPA 501Criminal Justice Institutions3
CJPA 502Theories of Crime3
CJPA 803Applied Research Methods3
CRIMJ 503Advanced Statistics in Criminal Justice3
CJPA 820Criminal Procedure3
CJPA 865Criminal Justice Ethics in a Diverse Society3
Select 9 elective credits 1 9
Culminating Experience
CJPA 808Capstone Project in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration3
Total Credits30

The capstone course provides students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge from their courses to a project. The choice of project topic and exact form will be mutually determined by faculty mentors and the student. For example, the capstone experience could be an academic research project, an evidence-based policy evaluation, or the development of a program. The student will work with a faculty mentor/adviser on a capstone project that will be written up as a capstone report. Students are expected to utilize theories, literature, and methods acquired during other courses in the M.P.S. in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration. The report will be formally presented to peers in the M.P.S. and faculty members at the end of the semester. The capstone report must be approved by the faculty mentor/adviser as meeting the course requirements.

Course Substitutions

Substitutions for the above prescribed courses, either with resident-education courses, alternate online courses, or courses from other institutions, will be considered on a case-by-case basis subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit. Course substitutions must be petitioned and approved in advance by the Chair/Co-Chair, with input from the student’s adviser.

Student Aid

World Campus students in graduate degree programs may be eligible for financial aid. Refer to the Tuition and Financial Aid section of the World Campus website for more information.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Criminal Justice Policy and Administration (CJPA) Course List


Campus World Campus
Graduate Program Head Jeffrey Todd Ulmer
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Ahmet Guler
Program Contact

Ahmet Guler
Department of Sociology and Criminology
1003 Oswald Tower
University Park PA 16802
(814) 865-2527

Program Website View