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How to Become a Criminal Justice Major
What is impaction?
Impaction limits the number of students entering the major so that there are sufficient resources to allow admitted majors to finish their coursework and graduate in a timely manner. Currently, the demand for the Criminal Justice major exceeds the number of students that can be taught effectively. The Chancellor's Office of the California State University system granted the Division of Criminal Justice impaction status for its undergraduate program in Fall 2012. New applicants, including transfer students, must be admitted to Sac State before applying to the major.
What is a Supplemental Application and do I need one?
Yes. In addition to submitting an application for admission to Sacramento State, you must submit a separate “Supplemental Application” to the Criminal Justice major. You must be admitted to Sac State before you can access the application during the open application period.
The Supplemental Application is available twice per year. Exact dates are posted each semester.
- In Spring, it is open from the beginning of February to mid-March, for admission in the following Fall semester.
- In Fall, it is open from the beginning of September to mid-October, for admission in the following Spring semester.
The Supplemental Application form is found in your MySacState> Student Center, in the box labeled "Forms". The form is very simple. The only information it asks for is the four prerequisite classes (or their community college equivalents), the school where you took them ("institution"), and the grades you received.
What are the prerequisites for the major?
Before you can apply to become a Criminal Justice major via the Supplemental Application process, you will must meet the following criteria:
- Overall GPA of 2.6 or higher.
- Completion of 45 units
- All prerequisite coursework completed with a grade of C or better.
- In-progress coursework is only accepted if you are a transfer student with declared Administration of Justice for Transfer major (AS-T / AD-T degree) at a community college.
The prerequisite courses are:
- CRJ 1 Introduction to Criminal Justice and Society
- CRJ 2 Law of Crimes
- CRJ 4 General Investigative Techniques
- CRJ 5 The Community and the Justice System
Because of the 45-unit minimum requirement for the major, freshmen are admitted to Sac State as Expressed Interest in Criminal Justice (EI-CRJ). EI-CRJ status is not required to apply to the major.
Transfer students are also admitted as EI-CRJ, but may become Criminal Justice majors via the Supplemental Application process before beginning coursework at Sac State.
- Local Admission Area
A student transferring with the majority of units from one or more of the following community colleges is considered to be in Sacramento State’s local admission area: American River, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento City, Sierra, San Joaquin Delta, Solano, Woodland, and Yuba. Students who meet the Local Admission Area criteria receive a 0.01 GPA boost at the time of applying to the major.
Which community college classes are equivalent to the prerequisites?
Articulation agreements, also called transfer agreements, exist between community colleges and Sacramento State to define equivalent course requirements. If you attended or plan to attend a California community college, you can check at ASSIST.org to help you find the articulated courses that meet the Sac State Criminal Justice requirements. We also have an Articulation Agreement document that lists of all the courses we accept from California community colleges.
What about transferring other college-level Criminal Justice courses?
If you attended an out-of-state college or have criminal justice coursework from another four-year institution, please be prepared to provide syllabi to Destiny Effiong, Criminal Justice Advising Coordinator, so that she may determine whether any substitutions may be made. Please understand that lower-division and community college courses cannot be substituted for upper-division course requirements at Sacramento State.
Can any of the prerequisites be in-progress? What about the AS-T?
This depends on your status when you apply. For most students, all prerequisites must be complete when you submit the Supplemental Application.
The only exception is for transfer students who are declared “Administration of Justice for Transfer” (AS-T) majors at their community college. Completing Administration of Justice or Criminal Justice classes is not enough. You must meet the following criteria to apply with courses in-progress:
- Be a declared "Administration of Justice for Transfer" (AS-T) at your community college. Other transfer degrees do not qualify.
- You must declare that you are pursuing an AS-T when you apply to Sacramento State.
- You must have, at minimum, CRJ 1 and CRJ 2 in-progress.
Please read more about the AS-T and how it can benefit you as a transfer student. If you are reading this as a community college student intending to transfer, talk to your community college counselor about this option right away.
If you transferred to Sacramento State but did not complete the paperwork declaring your AS-T, or you completed the AS-T but did not meet the minimums for admission to the major, you are now considered a non-AS-T student and are no longer eligible for its benefits.
Regardless of whether you transfer with or without an AS-T, we strongly recommend that students complete the lower-division course requirements at least one semester prior to transfer. In-progress coursework may not affect your admission to Sacramento State, but it may delay your progress in the major.
Can I reapply to the major if I'm not accepted the first time?
Yes, you can reapply if you were missing coursework or units, or needed to improve your GPA to qualify.
If your GPA is significantly lower than the minimum, it can be very difficult to improve if you have already completed a lot of units, as in the case of juniors and seniors. Destiny Effiong, Criminal Justice Advising Coordinator, will be happy to review your records and make suggestions that will help you reach your academic and career goals.
Can I minor in Criminal Justice?
No. Because we are an impacted program, we cannot offer a Criminal Justice minor at this time. It is indefinitely suspended. You may have seen a minor in a previous catalog. This was an error that has since been corrected.
There a Forensic Investigations Minor (Fori) that is only offered to students majoring in Biological Science or Chemistry. For more information, see the Forensic Investigations Minor page.
Can I have an overview of the application process?
Sure! Watch this slide show on the Supplemental Application Process that is presented at the application information sessions.
Do you rank applicants?
We do not rank applicants at this time. We admit all qualified students who apply. If the number of applicants does exceed our resources in the future, applicants will be ranked based on overall GPA.
I am a working student. Can I take classes online?
Our program does offer some classes in an online or hybrid format. You can also take take advantage of the CSU Fully Online program which lets you take one online course through any of the CSU's campuses at no additional cost. Many classes will still be in-person only though. You cannot complete the entire program online.
If you need a fully-online program, please see the Criminal Justice Degree Completion Program offered through the College of Continuing Education (CCE). This program is designed for working professionals who have completed their general education requirements and are ready to finish their baccalaureate degree. This program offers the same content and is taught by the same instructors. Students in this program earn a degree identical to the traditional program.