Division of Criminal Justice

Graduate Program: Master's of Criminal Justice

The Master of Science program in Criminal Justice offers a ‘generalist’ degree focused on a variety of areas within the field of Criminal Justice. It is a mature program that has already made efforts to adapt to anticipated changing demands. The breadth of the curriculum and faculty training is evident in the variety of courses taught by instructors with training in criminal justice, criminology, sociology, psychology, political science, public administration, social work, and law. Faculty members teaching in criminal justice have both academic training as well as practical experience in the criminal justice system. This training enhances the depth of knowledge that is shared with students. In addition, all faculty members that teach in the graduate program have earned doctorates in their respective disciplines.

Graduate students in criminal justice progress toward graduation/degree completion as a cohort. They attend weekly evening classes part-time completing 6 units each semester. During their first year, students complete 12 units of core classes. In their second year, they complete 12 units of selective/elective courses. In their third year, they complete their culminating experience courses.

Applicants considering applying for any financial aid should familiarize themselves with the Financial Aid award guidelines.

Students receive a handout outlining program requirements at the Graduate Student Orientation session scheduled just prior to Fall semester for entering graduate students. Although the Division makes an effort to vary selective and elective course offerings each semester, the number of courses offered each semester is kept to a minimum. In this way, the Division offers and students enroll in courses they need to progress toward graduation.

A Contemporary Curriculum

Below is a table from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) outlining the required content areas to meet the Master’s Degree standards for Criminal Justice:

Content Area

Related content topics include but are not limited to:

Administration of Justice

Contemporary criminal justice system, major systems of social control and their policies and practices; victimology; juvenile justice; comparative criminal justice


History, theory, practice and legal environment, development of correctional philosophy, incarceration, diversions, community-based corrections, treatment of offenders

Criminological Theory

The nature and causes of crime, typologies, offenders, and victims

Law Adjudication

Criminal law, criminal procedures, prosecution, defense, and court procedures and decision-making

Law Enforcement

History, theory, practice and legal environment, police organization, discretion, and subculture

Research and Analytic Methods

Quantitative - including statistics - and qualitative, methods for conducting and analyzing criminal justice research in a manner appropriate for graduate students

The content described in this table is contained in the Criminal Justice Master of Science program course offerings.  For example, our core courses include criminological theory, research methods, criminal justice administration, and the history of the criminal justice system. We also offer courses in corrections, policing, juvenile justice, and law and justice. In addition, we have offered experimental courses in areas with a growing body of research such as White Collar Crime and Emergency Management.

Click to learn about Admission Requirements and how to apply to the Masters of Criminal Justice Program at Sac State. 

The Graduate Handbook for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The Graduate Handbook is a vital resource for both graduate students and faculty teaching graduate level courses. It is the primary document for answering the majority of the questions that will arise during a student’s participation in the graduate program. Occasionally, questions arise that may not be addressed by the Manual. In those cases, students or faculty shall direct their questions to the Graduate Coordinator for resolution.

The Graduate Handbook- revised 11/8/2013