M.A. in Criminology

Master of Arts in Criminology

Over the next year, the Department of Criminology will be focusing on a transformed iteration of our successful M.A. Criminology program to build a solid and sustainable foundation for the future.  Student intake has been paused until the process is complete in 2020, so no new M.A. Criminology students are being accepted for Fall 2019.  The application process will resume again in Fall 2019 for the 2020/21 academic year.


The Master of Arts in Criminology offers students an opportunity to do advanced critical work in the areas of crime and punishment, policing and law enforcement, socio-legal studies, social justice and inequality, power, governance and regulation and the social construction of crime.


  • Critical criminology
  • Crime and media
  • Violence against women
  • Organized, state and corporate crime
  • Youth culture and crime
  • Restorative and transformative justice
  • Human rights
  • Social justice

The benefits of studying Graduate Criminology at Saint Mary’s

  • Small seminar formats and student-focused education.
  • Strong integration of theory and methods in analyzing criminological, socio-legal and social justice issues.
  • Students learn how to collect data, analyze results and write a thesis.
  • We emphasize critical thinking and critical social policy.
  • We have a diverse and wide-ranging faculty with strong local, national and international expertise.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to develop rewarding careers that include further graduate study or employment in government agencies, non-government agencies and the private sector


Admission Requirements and Other Information for Applicants

Please note:  Meeting the formal requirements does not guarantee entry into the program. We have many more applicants than we can accept each year.


To be accepted into the Graduate Program in Criminology at SMU, students should have earned an honours baccalaureate (BA) undergraduate degree in Criminology (or equivalent), sociology (or equivalent), or an honours baccalaureate undergraduate degree with a concentration in Criminology (or equivalent).

  • Email the Graduate Program Coordinator (crim.grad@smu.ca) to determine if your undergraduate degree can qualify as an “equivalent.”
  • Email the Graduate Program Coordinator (crim.grad@smu.ca) to determine if you would qualify for admission without an honors degree.

 In exceptional circumstances, a student holding an undergraduate degree with an advanced major may be admitted.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Applicants must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 (B+) on a 4.3 scale in their overall academic record. In exceptional circumstances, in which an applicant is otherwise qualified, the admissions committee may waive this requirement.

  • If you do not have an overall GPA of 3.3, but meet all the other core requirements, in your cover letter you can present other GPA calculations - especially if these alternatives are higher than your overall GPA. For example calculate: the GPA for criminology courses only or for your last two years (or final year if is higher) 

Proficiency in English

Saint Mary’s University admits only students who meet the language requirements outlined in the graduate calendar (Regulation 1e). Students whose first language is not English, and who have not attended an English language secondary school or have a previous degree completed totally in English, are required to take one of the standardized English language proficiency tests.

Applicants must submit:

1) Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. We use these transcripts to assess your GPA and whether you have taken courses that will prepare you for graduate studies in our program.

2) A statement that specifies your proposed thesis research (1000 words). This statement should include the following information

  • areas of research interest
  • a specific issue that you would like your proposed thesis to focus on, including research objectives
  • how your undergraduate courses (or other experiences and/or training) have prepared you to pursue this research
  • which professors in the Department of Sociology and Criminology you would like to work with and why

We recommend that you circulate the research statement to your current professors for feedback, well in advance of our deadline, and that you consult the main Criminology Graduate Program web page to ensure that your interests fit with the kind of research and teaching that our faculty members do. We use these research statements to evaluate whether you are prepared to undertake graduate-level research and whether we can support you both intellectually and in terms of the faculty resources available in the program at particular times. Ideally, you should identify one or more faculty members who could serve as a potential thesis supervisor - whose area of expertise is relevant to your topic. We would be reluctant to accept any applicant whose proposed thesis topic does not align with our faculty areas of expertise.

3) A sample of academic written work, usually from one of your undergraduate courses. The paper need not reflect the type of research that you would like to pursue in your graduate program.

4) Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your academic competence, interest in pursuing graduate studies and ability to carry out the proposed research.  We prefer that these references come from academics and recommend that you have your referees read your research statement so that they can comment on it in their letter. 

Application Deadlines and key dates

  • Application Deadline: February 1
  • Response time (to hear about whether application is accepted or rejected): April/May
  • Program Start Date: September (no acceptance in January)
  • Minimum time for completion:2 years (All students must be enrolled full time in the program during their two years of residency)
  • Maximum time for completion: 5 years (students can be enrolled part-time following their two-year residency)


Apply Now

Program Coordinator

Dr. Stephen Schneider
McNally South 415

Contact Us

Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research