The Program & Planning Your Route

Three Options to Complete the CCJP Program


Students are required to complete five (5) core courses and three (3) electives for a total of 4.0 credits.

Major-Research Paper

Students are required to complete five (5) core courses, one (1) elective and the major research paper (MRP).


Students are required to complete four (4) core courses and a thesis.

Full Requirements from the Graduate Calendar


For electives, students may take:

  • A CCJP graduate non-core course
  • A graduate course in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology that is designated as an elective for CCJP
  • A graduate course in the Department of Political Science that is designated as an elective for CCJP
  • With the permission of the graduate coordinator, a graduate course in political science or sociology and anthropology that is not listed as an elective for CCJP or a graduate course in another department
  • With instructor consent, and subject to the approval of the graduate coordinator, students may take one (1) fourth-year course in the undergraduate Criminal Justice and Public Policy (CJPP) program, suitably modified (in workload and complexity) to reflect a graduate level course

CCJP Core Courses and Electives

Graduate Calendar Program Regulations

Whether or not to take the course-based option or to write a major research paper or a thesis depends on a variety of factors including the following: your personal preference, your interest in a specific topic, your ability to research and write long-term projects and your time and finances.

Neither PhD programs nor employers require that you write an MA thesis or an MRP. Both the MRP and the thesis will give you the experience of in-depth research and the writing of a lengthy paper with multiple revisions.

As a thesis is longer and requires original work (normally involving primary or secondary data collection and analysis), writing an MA thesis may give you more of a taste of what it is like to write a PhD thesis and may help you decide whether or not you want to apply to a PhD program.

However, writing a thesis is also an intense and time-consuming process that should not be undertaken lightly. The decision to do a thesis should be reached by the student in close consultation with her or his advisory committee and, in all cases, the decision must be approved by the graduate coordinator.

A thesis should be approximately 80-120 double-spaced pages (with about 250 words per page) and demonstrate some degree of original research. You will be required to present your thesis and address questions at an oral defence.

In attendance at your defence will be members of the examination committee which normally consists of your advisory committee, one faculty member who is not on the advisory committee (the external examiner) and a chair (who does not ask questions but guarantees the fairness of the proceedings).

A major research paper should be approximately 40-60 double-spaced pages (with about 250 words per page). If you are writing an MRP, you choose an advisor and a second member of the advisory committee in the same way a thesis student does. Unlike a thesis, there is no oral defense for an MRP. For an MRP, the two members of the committee will jointly decide on a grade.

Course-based students do not have an advisory committee. The graduate coordinator is the advisor for all course-based students.

Ideally, you should decide by the end of the first semester which route you wish to take to complete the degree.

In addition to one suitably modified fourth-year course in the undergraduate Criminal Justice and Public Policy (CJPP) program described above, graduate students can take one (1) reading course to meet their degree requirements.

This course must be in the sociology/anthropology or political science, except in exceptional circumstances. Several steps must be taken before a student can enroll in a reading course.

The student must meet with the professor whom they would like to supervise their reading course. Together, they determine course content and prepare a course outline. The outline must specify readings, grading criteria, deadlines for submission of work and a schedule of meetings.

This reading course outline is submitted to the graduate coordinator for review. When the graduate coordinator has reviewed this outline, the student, designated professor and graduate coordinator sign a course add form.

A graduate add form is completed, using one of the two SOAN reading course codes: SOC*6600 Reading Course or SOC*6500 Selected Topics in Sociology OR one of the two POLS reading course codes: POLS*6950 (01) Selected Readings or POLS*6960 Directed Readings.

The student, course instructor and graduate coordinator sign this form. The form is then forwarded to the graduate program assistant who will send it to enrolment services to add the student. If approved, the student’s reading course is then added to their program for the specified semester.

Note: reading courses must be added within the prescribed deadlines for course adds for the designated semester. Reading courses are equivalent in credits to other courses (0.5 credits each). As such, students should expect to complete approximately 10 hours of work per week.

The restrictions and procedures for submitting a reading course request are as follows: students may not request reading courses that are similar in content and/or purpose to existing courses. Students may not request reading courses that are directly related to topics that are central to their theses or major research papers (MRPs).

Adding or Deleting Courses

After consultation with your advisory committee or, in your first semester, the graduate coordinator, you can add or delete courses on WebAdvisor or by paper form. Graduate students cannot take more than 2.0 credits per semester of courses (plus the 1.5 credits associated with Full-Time Registration).

If, under exceptional circumstances, students wish to complete an additional credit, they are required to receive signed permission from the graduate coordinator. If you want to add a reading course, please read the following section regarding reading courses.

Academic Integrity Course

All students are expected to abide by the standards for academic integrity, as set out in the graduate calendar, in completing their coursework and MRP or thesis.

All graduate students are required to take UNIV*7100 Academic Integrity. They will automatically be enrolled in this course in WebAdvisor. Access to this online course begins on the first day of scheduled classes for the semester.

If you have any questions about academic misconduct, please ask your supervisor or the graduate coordinator or any CCJP faculty member.


This program typically takes between 16-24 months of full-time study, depending on which option you select. Students who select the thesis option often require the full two years due to the need to collect and analyze original data which is a time-consuming process.

Planning your program is your most important responsibility at the outset of the first semester. You will want to tailor your courses to meet the program requirements and your own interests. You will find a detailed account of program requirements and available courses in the Graduate Calendar.

All students should take three or four courses (two or three regular courses plus the professional seminar) in their first (fall) semester.

It is natural to experience a marked increase in course responsibilities (both reading and assignments) in graduate courses. Do not be alarmed if you initially feel overwhelmed. You can draw upon many campus resources as well as your professors for advice as to how to manage your schedule.

The courseload each semester is designed so that you can achieve balance among your academic responsibilities, your teaching assistant responsibilities and other interests.