Master's Degree: Thesis Option

M.A. In Criminal Justice, Thesis Option

  • At least 36 approved graduate course hours are required, including P501, P502, P594, P610 or P670, and P595. In addition to core coursework, a student must complete 15 hours of elective coursework, of which 6 hours must be completed within the department, and a master’s thesis for 6 hours of graduate credit.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to form a M.A. thesis committee consisting of a Chairperson and two additional members. The chairperson must be a tenured member of the Department of Criminal Justice. One of the additional members may be from outside the department. With the approval of the chairperson of the thesis committee, the outside member may be from another university.
  • Upon obtaining the written consent of all potential members, the student must notify the Director of Graduate Studies by memo of the composition of the thesis committee.
  • Each student must develop a M.A. Thesis Proposal. Upon written approval of the M.A. Thesis Proposal by the committee members, the student shall provide for his or her file one copy which has been approved and signed by all members of the committee. The chair of the thesis committee shall notify the Director of Graduate Studies by memo of the existence of the signed proposal as well as the proposed thesis title.
  • Oral Defense of the Master’s Thesis.
    • All requirements for the Master’s degree must be completed by the semester in which the thesis is being defended.
    • The oral examination shall be administered by the Thesis Committee.
    • The Thesis Chairperson shall be responsible for notifying the faculty ten (10) days prior to the scheduled examination and see that a copy of the thesis is on file in the departmental office ten (10) days prior to the scheduled defense. The defense will be scheduled for the semester in which the student will be graduating. The defense may occur during any summer session provided the student obtains written permission from all committee members.
    • The oral defense is open to the public, but deliberation is only open to members of the thesis committee.
    • The thesis and oral defense will be evaluated as a combined effort.
    • Upon failure, the oral defense may be repeated within one semester of the first attempt.
    • It is the responsibility of the Chairperson of the Thesis Committee to notify the Director of Graduate Studies in writing of the action taken by the Committee.
  • The thesis format must conform to those outlined in the Indiana University Graduate School Bulletin. Additional information regarding the typing and duplication of theses may be found in A Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations, which is available from the University Graduate School at
  • Bibliographic style may conform to the suggested style sheet (see Section XIV). The department requires that a double-spaced abstract (no more than 350 words) be bound with each thesis. In addition, the department also requires that students provide a table of contents. If tables, figures, appendixes, or abbreviations are used, lists of tables, figures, appendixes, or abbreviations (including page numbers) are required.
  • Copies of the thesis required include:
    • one copy for the department archives;
    • one copy for the chairperson of the committee;
    • other copies as required by the University Graduate School. Students must consult with the University Graduate School regarding regulations for graduate theses.
  • Required or core courses: A sequence of five interdisciplinary core courses is required of all students enrolling in the program. These courses must be taken as offered by the Department of Criminal Justice at Indiana University. These courses assume that the entering student has a basic understanding of descriptive and inferential statistics. If not, students will be required to take individually prescribed compensatory courses.
    • P501 Proseminar: Criminal Justice Systems and Processes I (3 credits): An intensive introduction to the basic areas of criminal justice.
    • P502 Proseminar: Nature of Crime and Delinquency (3 credits): Theories of crime and delinquency.
    • P594 Introduction to Research Methods (3 credits): Research methodology in criminal justice, including research design, scientific methods, ethical questions, and the role of the criminal justice researcher.
    • P595 Introduction to Statistics (3 credits): Statistics in criminal justice
    • P610 Law and Society: Study of how law shapes society and society shapes the law.
    • P670 Cross-Cultural Studies: Examines significance of cross-cultural research to criminology/criminal justice, research practices and problems, with emphasis on analysis of field experiences and findings.

Appealing an Advisory Committee’s Decision

In the event a student disagrees with a committee’s decision on matters related to the graduate program, the student may appeal to the Director of Graduate Studies. The burden shall be on the student to show why the committee's decision should be overruled.