Department of Sociology & Criminology

M.A. Criminology

The MA program offers graduate students an opportunity for advanced critical work in the interdisciplinary field of criminology and socio-legal studies. This includes such as the social construction of crime, punishment; socio-legal studies; social justice and equality; alternative justice systems, and governance and regulation. The Program provides students with the analytical and research skills necessary for further graduate study; research or teaching; policy research and practice; employment in government/non-government agencies, and the private sector.

The Department of Criminology at Saint Mary’s has established an excellent scholarly and professional reputation in the field of critical criminology and social justice.

Faculty and graduate students pride themselves on researching, developing, and applying solutions to crime and social injustice through preventative, developmental, transformative, and restorative measures as well as other alternatives to the criminal justice system.

Our program is directed at students who are interested in the problems associated with criminalization strategies and social regulation. Course work and research by faculty and graduate students pay particular attention to criminological and criminal justice issues relating to social inequality and social justice. With that said, all students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Criminology and meet the minimum requirements, are encouraged to apply. 

Our faculty members have expertise in:

critical criminology & social justice  •  crime and the media • criminal justice systems • crime prevention • criminogenic risk factors • environmental criminology • desistance and recovery • genocide • hate crimes • mental illness and substance misuse • organized, state, and corporate crime • punishment & culture • recidivism • transformative & restorative justice • terrorism & national security • youth culture and crime • victims • violence

Our faculty currently hold or recently held grants related to juvenile justice law reform (Dr. Val Johnson), television, culture and identity (Dr. Michele Byers), restorative justice (Dr. Diane Crocker), crime prevention (Dr. Stephen Schneider), organized crime in Latin America (Dr. Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt), peaceful return of victims of ethnic cleansing (Dr. Djordje Stefanovic), youth resiliency (Dr. Madine VanderPlaat), and forensic mental health (Dr. Jamie Livingston).

Course Work

Students in the MA program are required to complete one year of course work, which includes the following:

  • Advanced Seminar
  • Advanced Theory 
  • Advanced Research Design
  • Critical Criminology
  • Special topics, elective courses, and extra-curricular workshops


Under the direction of a faculty supervisor, all graduate students undertake an MA thesis, which entails an in-depth investigation into a topic of relevance to criminology or social justice. Students are expected to produce a thesis proposal, form a supervisory committee, conduct secondary and primary research, and write and defend the thesis.

Applied Learning Opportunities

The Graduate Program in Criminology strikes a balance a traditional liberal arts education (fostering substantive subject matter expertise, critical thinking skills, analytical skills and research skills) and preparing students for a successful career. 

In addition to traditional course work, students in the MA program are offered applied learning opportunities and career-related experiences through service learning courses, field placements, volunteer work, and job shadowing with criminal justice agencies, community groups, and non-governmental organizations. 


SMU offers generous funding packages to all first and second year students. All graduate students are also offered at least one paid teaching assistant position. Research assistant positions are also available.

Benefits of Studying Graduate Criminology at Saint Mary’s:

  • A small cohort of students is accepted every year, which provides small seminar formats and student-focused education.
  • We have a diverse and wide-ranging faculty with strong local, national and international expertise.
  • All students receive funding during their two year residency
  • Faculty and staff work closely with graduate students to help them secure external funding in the form of Canada Graduate Scholarships 
  • Strong integration of theory and methods in analyzing criminological, socio-legal and social justice issues.
  • The graduate program provides students with numerous applied learning opportunities that help them connect with local criminal justice agencies and non-governmental agencies, while providing tangible, career-related skills
  • Students have the opportunity to develop rewarding careers that include further graduate study or employment in government agencies, non-government agencies and the private sector.

Online Application, Admission Requirements, and other Information for Applicants

For the admission requirements to the Graduate Program in Criminology, click on this link: Admission and Application Requirements

To complete the online application form, click here

Further Information

For more information on the MA Program in Criminology see the Academic Calendar

Criminology Graduate Student handbook:

Information on the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Tuition and other fees:

Scholarships and awards:

International students: