Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Program Overview:

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at Wichita State University is one of the oldest in the United States. Founded by renowned police chief and scholar O.W. Wilson in 1937, only one other active criminal justice department has a longer history.

O.W. Wilson is considered one of the most important reformers in American history. He is credited with being the lead architect of the professional police movement from the 1920s through the 1960s. A protégée of Chief August Vollmer, Wilson worked for Vollmer as a Berkeley, California police officer. Wilson eventually became chief of police at Fullerton, California; Wichita, Kansas and Superintendent of Police in Chicago, Illinois.
While Wilson was Chief in Wichita, the Wichita Police Department became known as the West Point of Law Enforcement and developed an international reputation of innovative police practices. He started the first police science program in the nation at the Municipal University of Wichita (later Wichita State University). Wilson developed a list of the major aspects of a police officer's job and constructed seven courses: criminal/law, personal identification, police patrol practices, criminal evidence, traffic control, criminal investigation, and police administration. Subsequently, these seven courses were added to the college curriculum in 1936.

Over the years, the program at Wichita State University has since evolved from strictly a police science program into a program that encompasses the criminal justice system in its entirety and criminological theory. Criminal Justice within the Master’s Program is viewed as a broad, interdisciplinary discipline comprised of the scientific study of crime and the criminal justice system. Our interdisciplinary faculty hold degrees in criminology, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, law, and public administration. The Master's program focuses on both theory and criminal justice practice in the belief that neither stands alone. The integration of theory and practice prepares students for positions in criminal justice system practice, management, policymaking, as well as in research, teaching, and preparation for law school or further graduate study. Students can work with faculty members with diverse areas of expertise, including policing, crime prevention, sexual violence, comparative criminology, human trafficking, cybercrime, racial profiling, terrorism, and corrections. The program has two formats: traditional (in-person) and online.

For information on careers in Criminal Justice, click here.