MS in Criminology

Students working together.

The MS in Criminology focuses on the nature and causes of crime, characteristics and behaviors of people who commit crime and who are affected by crime, how law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems work, how society reacts to crime, victims, and people who commit crime, and connections between crime and other social institutions (such as work, schools, media, etc.). The Criminology MS is ideal for beginning and advanced learners who plan to (or already) work in settings that require a strong background in crime or law, with associated skills in analyzing and interpreting data relevant to that discourse, including careers in policy analysis, nonprofit or social service organizations, and public safety.

Degree Requirements

The MS degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of master’s-level courses, including twelve (12) credit hours of mandatory coursework:

  • SOC 587 Criminological Theory
  • SOC 606 Social Research Methods
  • SOC 504 Social Statistics
  • One Sociology elective from this list: Life Course Sociology, Urban Sociology, Race & Ethnicity, Social Stratification, Sociology of Poverty, Sociology of Gender (or other course with permission of the Graduate Studies Committee)

The remaining credit hours will be filled with at least 9 credits of  criminology electives (such as Neighborhoods & Crime; Crime & Public Policy; Sociology of Punishment; Families & Crime, Sociology of Law, etc.), as many as 6 credits of advanced methodological courses (such as Multiple Linear Regression, Qualitative Research Methods, etc.), and/or 3 credits of Portfolio Guidance (optional).

Master's Portfolio 
The MS degree also requires the completion of a Master’s Portfolio written under the supervision of at least two regular department faculty. The portfolio summarizes and displays the student’s criminological and sociological knowledge, skills, and problem-solving capabilities beyond an academic audience. It includes a statement of professional goals, a resume, and a written product, such as 2-3 policy briefs, a white paper, or short research paper, based on informational interviews with 2-3 people working in an industry or field of interest to the student. 

Graduate Handbook
Further information about the MS degree, including policies, requirements and coursework, can be found in the Graduate Handbook.

What is a Typical MS Timeline?

Semester 1: Statistics, Methods, Criminological Theory, one criminology elective

Semester 2: Sociology elective, advanced methods course, two criminology electives

Semester 3: Criminology elective, portfolio guidance (to focus on completing the portfolio)


The MS in Criminology admits students only for Fall matriculation - there are no spring admissions.

Careers and Placements of MA Graduates

 We will update this page with placements of Criminology MS graduates once our first students have enrolled and completed their degrees. Our Sociology MA students take a variety of paths after finishing their degree. Many continue on in our PhD program. Others transfer to various other PhD programs across the country. Other MA graduates find applied jobs with community, governmental, or educational institutions.  See where our recent graduates are now!

Contact Us

We encourage prospective students to get in touch with us directly by emailing Susie Sheron, our graduate coordinator, at You may also complete an information request form to learn more about UB or pursuing graduate work in other departments. Current UB students may contact their faculty advisor or the Director of Graduate Studies with questions.