Dec 06, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Criminology and Criminal Justice, M.S.

Update, 12/12/2018: Please review the Department website for Admission and Application Information. 


  1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited university. Although a major or minor in criminology, criminal justice, or a related social-scientific discipline is preferred, the School’s Graduate Committee may admit students with undergraduate preparation in other fields.
  2. A student must have an overall undergraduate average (GPA) and average in their major of 3.00 or better. A student whose overall grade point average is between 2.750 and 2.999, but who presents acceptable evidence of professional potential either through recent academic performance and/or experiential background, may be conditionally admitted by special action of the School’s Graduate Committee.


Students entering the M.S. program in criminology and criminal justice are expected to have completed the following six undergraduate courses or their equivalents:


Students who have not taken courses in criminological theory, research methods, and statistics during their undergraduate studies still qualify for conditional admission to the M.S. program in criminology and criminal justice, but will be required to take deficiency courses in these areas before being permitted to enroll in the graduate-level courses for which undergraduate competency in one or more of these areas is required. Because deficiency courses do not count for graduate credit (but grades in those courses taken as a Postbac will count towards your graduate GPA), the necessity of acquiring undergraduate competency in one or more of these areas may extend the time to degree completion by a semester. Students who have not taken courses in criminal law or criminal procedure will be required to use one or two of their elective courses to gain competency in the areas. Taking such courses will not delay graduation.

Advancement to Candidacy

  1. Students must satisfy the general University requirements for advancement to candidacy, as specified in this catalog.
  2. Before advancing to candidacy, students must successfully complete 12 graduate units within the core (CRJU 501 , CRJU 504 , CRJU 520 , and CRJU 525 ) with a minimum grade of “B” in each of the courses.
  3. Before advancing to candidacy, students must have fulfilled the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) and have successfully passed the School’s qualifying examination.
  4. Each student’s graduate program must be approved by the School Graduate Advisor, the Director of the School, and the Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Services.


Criminal Justice Ethics, Values & Diversity

Take CRJU 530 Criminal Justice Ethics, Values, and Diversity  (3), unless waived because the student completed an undergraduate course in applied criminal justice ethics with a grade of “B” or higher. If so waived, the student must take 3 units of any graduate-level elective in lieu of CRJU 530 .

School’s Qualifying Examination

Successful passage of the School’s qualifying examination testing graduate-level competency in statistics, research methods, and criminological theory.

Take 15 additional graduate units in one of two ways:

Thesis Option:

Take 9 units of advisor-approved electives and the following courses:

Comprehensive Examination Option:

Take 15 units of advisor-approved electives and successful completion of the comprehensive master’s essay examination in either policing, corrections, law and social control, crime and mental illness, crime and inequality, or other authorized subject area.


Masters students must complete catalog requirements specified in the catalog in effect at the time of admission to the graduate program. All graduate students have the option of taking comprehensive examinations even if such exams were not listed as an option in the catalog at the time the student matriculated. 

In Addition to the Core Classes

In addition to the core classes, take 12 units of electives selected in consultation with graduate advisor. A maximum of 6 units may be taken from 300 or 400-level courses in Criminology and Criminal Justice. With written approval from the Graduate Advisor, up to 6 units of graduate work (with a grade of “B” or higher) may be transferred from another accredited university or another program at CSULB. With written approval from the Graduate Advisor, graduate-level and 400-level courses in related disciplines (e.g., psychology, public policy, social work, sociology, political science, law) may also be used to satisfy the elective requirements for the master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice.  All students must earn a grade of “A” or “B” for each required course. Students may not have more than 6 units of “C” grades apply toward the master’s degree. Advancement to candidacy is necessary before Thesis I, Thesis II, or comprehensive exams can be taken.


The thesis is a supervised experience in the application of theory and analytical tools to an issue in criminology or criminal justice. The thesis should prepare students for further graduate work or research in the field. 

The thesis is a written product of the systematic study of a significant problem. It clearly identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendations. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. The coursework is supervised by a committee of three, including the Thesis Chair, who must be a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty member in the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management and two other faculty members.  Students who struggle with writing, conceptualizing, and paper organizing (i.e., earn less than an A in CRJU 501) may want to consider the Comprehensive Exam. Students who are on academic probation should not complete a thesis.