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.


Admission Requirements:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice.  Applicants with degrees in related fields (sociology, psychology, public administration, political science, government, or the like) will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and may be required to complete a course of study or a pro-seminar course in criminal justice as a prerequisite to being admitted to the Criminal Justice Graduate Program.
  2. A GPA of 3.0 in the major and 3.0 in the last 60 units attempted.
  3. A letter outlining in some detail the applicant’s experience, interests, goals, and expectations in pursuing the MS in Criminal Justice.  This will assist us in assigning an initial advisor.
  4. Submission of Graduate Record Examination scores including the Analytical Writing scores of 4.0 or higher.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from the student’s former faculty who can evaluate the applicant’s potential for graduate study.  Applicants applying after having been out of college for several years may have recommendations submitted by their employers or other professionals.

The application filing period for the Fall 2014 semester begins on October 1, 2013.  

Accepted applicants will be enrolling in courses offered in the evenings (Monday through Thursday). Students will be limited to 6 units each semester and will have the option of completing a thesis, project, or comprehensive examination as the culminating experience.

 Applicant files will be reviewed as soon as they are complete. A file is considered complete when:

  1. application and transcripts have been submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies; and letter of intent, GRE score, and
  2. letters of recommendation have been received by the Division of Criminal Justice.

All files will be ranked in order of recommended admissions. A list of ranked files will be sent periodically to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) for review and processing. Some applicants may receive an offer of admission from OGS prior to the application and document submission deadline—March 1, 2014. Other applicants may be placed on a waitlist if there are more qualified applicants than the number of spaces available in the program. Applicant files without all required documents on March 1, 2014 will be considered incomplete and will be denied admission.

If you have any questions regarding these requirements or other matters concerning our graduate program, please contact Dr. Farmer at (916) 278-5062, or by e-mail at  


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 4/30/2013