Facebook Pixel Online M.A. in Criminology | Western Kentucky University Skip to main content

M.A. in Criminology

Criminology Banner

The Master of Arts in Criminology is available completely online. The program explores major correlates of crime, delinquency, and deviance, and examines societal responses to crime and delinquency. Students gain insight into correction systems, penology, criminal law, rehabilitation and recidivism, while developing strong research skills to gather and analyze criminological data.

Students are exposed to the empirical study and evaluation of crime patterns in society using a social scientific perspective. The program challenges degree candidates to think about how prior and current research in the field of Criminology can be used to inform social and public policies.

The Online Advantage

  • All courses are taught online, providing you with unparalleled flexibility
  • On-demand courses available, allowing you to start any day of the year and complete coursework on your schedule
  • Credentialed faculty with broad research interests (see below for faculty list)
  • No out-of-state tuition ever charged
  • Staff dedicated to support of online students


The minimum requirements for acceptance are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Application and Fee
  • Official copy of Transcript(s)
  • At least 2.75 GPA (on 4.0 scale)
    • 3.8 GPA or above
      • No GRE required
    • 3.6-3.7 GPA
      • Provide undergraduate Writing Sample for review
        • Review will determine if GRE will Required
    • 2.75-3.6 GPA
      •  GRE required
      • GAP score of at least 600 [GAP = (GRE-V + GRE-Q) + (Undergrad GPA x 100)] for students who took the GRE after August 2011.
      • GAP score of at least 2200 [GAP = (GRE-V + GRE-Q) x Undergrad GPA] for students who took the GRE prior to August 2011. 
      • Analytical Writing score of at least 3.5
  • The GRE MAY required for admission into this program.

Application Process

1. Apply for admission

  • Visit the WKU Online Admission Page for more information.
  • Complete the Graduate Domestic and International Application
    • Under Planned Course of Study Section, Choose:
      • Category of Study >>> Masters
      • Planned Course of Study >>> Criminology (0421)
  • $65 application fee. 

2. Submit Required Materials:

    • Send at least one official transcript showing your completed degree to Graduate Admissions. 
      • You may request electronic transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. This speeds up the admissions process considerably. If your school is not listed with the Clearinghouse, please contact them directly to see if they have another process in place for electronic submissions or request that an official copy be sent by mail.
  • GRE SCORES (If required-based on GPA)
    • Submit an official GRE score report taken within the last 5 years.
  • For additional information on university admission requirements please visit the Graduate School Admission Page.

The Criminology MA program only provides a non-thesis option and all courses are taught online using WKU's Blackboard Website.

Required Core Courses (15 hours)

  • SOCL 513: Quantitative Research Methods
  • SOCL 514: Advanced Social Statistics
  • CRIM 525: Survey of Criminal Justice Studies
  • CRIM 532: Criminology
  • CRIM 596: Applied Research Project

Selected Elective Courses (6 Hours)

In addition to courses outlined above, students must complete 2 elective courses for a total of 6 credit hours.

  • A minimum of 2 courses must be selected from the approved department list.
  • Up to 3 electives may be selected from the approved list of courses that fall outside the department. Courses must be approved by the criminology advisor. Students may work with their advisor to select applicable courses at WKU to fulfill program requirements or select courses from the list of approved electives offered by the Department of Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies and the Department of Criminal Justice at Eastern Kentucky University: 

Online courses may be selected from the list below:

Approved Electives from within the Department of Sociology: Select at least 2 elective courses (6 hours):

  • CRIM 530: Penology
  • CRIM 533: Criminology and Law
  • CRIM 534: Neighborhoods and Crime
  • SOCL 535: Family Violence
  • CRIM 538: Victimology
  • CRIM 547: Life-course Criminology

Approved Electives from Outside Department: Select up to 3 elective courses (9 hours): 

  • COR 823: Topical Seminar in Corrections/Juvenile Justice
  • COR 830: Corrections and Society
  • COR 835: Administration of Corrections and Juvenile Justice
  • COR 840: Adult Corrections
  • COR 850: Offender Rehabilitation Strategies
  • COR 856: Law and Ethics in Corrections and Juvenile Justice
  • CRJ 814: Policing and Society
  • CRJ 874: Crime and Popular Culture
  • CRJ 875: Crime and Public Policy
  • CRJ 878: Ideology and Criminal Justice

Please note the following as you plan your program of study:

  • Additional course options are available on campus. Please click HERE to see the full schedule of classes.
  • Students can also choose to enroll in a graduate certificate program and use up to 12 hours of courses to fulfill their elective requirements with advisor approval. 
  • A list of available graduate certificates can be found HERE.
  • Students may transfer up to 12 hours from another graduate program or institution to fulfill program requirements (if courses meet transfer requirements and advisor approval). 
  • Students must pass an oral examination after completing all course work in the specified curriculum.

Eligibility Requirements and the Application Process

Financial Aid includes grants, scholarships and loans for educational purposes. To qualify for federal student aid you must meet certain requirements. General eligibility requirements can be reviewed on the Federal Student Aid website. Here are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Your eligibility is determined through an application process. So, your first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Even if you doubt your eligibility, apply. Approximately 90% of those who apply qualify for some form of aid. View a step-by-step guide through the application process.
  • WKU Online courses are treated the same as face-to-face courses. If your application is approved, you may elect to take web, on demand or face-to-face courses. Distance courses through On Demand require same semester completion and an On Demand Agreement.
  • You must be classified as a degree-seeking student to qualify. Degree seeking normally refers to an associate, baccalaureate or master degree. However, some stand-alone certificates are eligible.
  • Certificate Eligibility: As a general rule, if you are seeking an undergraduate certificate (certificate only; no degree), the program must require at least 16 credit hours, 15 weeks of instruction and be clearly tied to a profession. If you are seeking a graduate certificate (certificate only; no degree), the program must require at least 8 credit hours, 10 weeks of instruction and be clearly tied to a profession. For additional information on certificate eligibility, please email fa.questions@wku.edu. Certificates may also be earned in conjunction with degrees at the associate, baccalaureate and master levels.
  • You must be registered at least half-time to receive aid (6 credit hours for undergrad students; 4.5 credit hours for grad students).
  • You must meet federal and state regulations regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to remain eligible. View the complete SAP Policy.

Veterans and Active Military

WKU is a military friendly school. Veterans and active military are required to file additional forms for military tuition assistance. The Office of Veterans Affairs unit that helps ensure all appropriate information is on file. Visit the Veterans Affairs office website.

Academic Department

Criminology Coordinator & Advisor: Dr. James Kanan
Email:  james.kanan@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2404
Website: https://www.wku.edu/ma_criminology/index.php

To learn more about the program faculty, visit wku.edu/sociology/staff.

WKU Online

Email: learn.online@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-5173
Toll-Free: (888) 4WKUWEB / (888) 495-8932
Website: wku.edu/online 

The Graduate School

Email: graduate.school@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2446
Website: wku.edu/graduate   

For more information about this program, fill out the form below.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 11/12/19