Criminology and Sociolegal Studies: Criminology and Sociolegal Studies MA

Master of Arts​

Program Description

The MA program encompasses two related disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields.

The first is criminology, which can be briefly defined as the study of all aspects of crime, including its definitions, causes, and intellectual genealogy, as well as the policy and institutional responses to it. Although criminology features some aspects of a separate discipline, including its own theoretical schools, journals, and university departments, it also draws heavily on related social science disciplines.

The field of sociolegal studies, also known as the law and society movement, is a related interdisciplinary research tradition that investigates a broad range of legal phenomena using the techniques and approaches of social science. Examples of such phenomena that the faculty have studied include citizenship and immigration policy, urban planning, and the regulation of alcohol and sex work.

The program is distinctive in that these bodies of knowledge are treated as closely related, and both of them are incorporated into the program of study. Broad intellectual exploration of these fields is incorporated by limiting the number of required courses and encouraging students to select courses (both in this and other graduate programs) that reflect their own intellectual and professional priorities. Likewise, students are given the option of meeting their degree requirements by completing eight taught half-courses or by completing six taught half-courses and writing a “master’s research paper” that allows them to develop an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member. While specialized professional or technical training meant to be directly transferable into criminal justice occupations is not provided, we welcome applications by criminal justice professionals who wish to pursue part-time studies.

The MA program enjoys an excellent national and international reputation, and graduates are sought by employers in both the public and private sectors who appreciate the theoretically and academically rigorous interdisciplinary social science training that is provided.


Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the additional admission requirements of the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies stated below.

  • Applicants must have an appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university. An appropriate bachelor's degree normally consists of 20 full-course equivalents (FCEs). Applicants with arts and science degrees will normally be required to have at least a B+ standing. Applicants from law schools who have already completed a JD degree or its equivalent will normally be required to have at least a B standing.

  • Although many applicants to the MA program have some training in criminology or sociolegal studies, students from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary backgrounds are welcomed. It would be advantageous for MA students in the program to have some familiarity with the approaches and methodologies associated with the social sciences. However, outstanding students from the humanities and behavioral and natural sciences will also be considered.

  • The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. All students will be required to complete the program within the time limits set for the MA degree under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Students with professional experience who meet the academic admission requirements are encouraged to apply to the program.

  • It is essential that all incoming graduate students have a command of English. Proficiency in the English language must be demonstrated by all applicants educated outside Canada whose primary language is not English, and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English. This requirement must be satisfied using a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a verbal and a written component. To be considered for admission, applicants must achieve the following minimum scores:

    • ​​​​paper-based TOEFL exam: 580 and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)

    • Internet-based TOEFL exam: 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

    Official copies of these scores must be submitted to the University of Toronto before a formal offer of admission can be made.

Program Requirements

  • MA students can complete the program in one of two ways:

    • ​​​by completing 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) within 9 months or

    • by completing 3.0 FCEs and a research paper (CRI 3360Y) within 12 months.

  • ​​​The degree program includes compulsory and elective courses.

    • ​​​​The compulsory​ course (0.5 FCE) is CRI 2010H Methodological Issues in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies.

    • ​​​The elective courses allow students to engage in specialized study of different approaches to, and topics within, criminology and sociolegal studies. The elective courses offered may vary from year to year. In certain cases a student may, with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator, substitute a maximum of 1.5 FCEs from other graduate units in lieu of elective courses in criminology or sociolegal studies.

​​Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)
6 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time