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Division of Criminal Justice College of Health & Human Services

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How to become a Criminal Justice major


Applying to become a Criminal Justice major

Other questions

Additional questions or concerns?

Reach out to the CRJ Advising Center

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 has granted the Division of Criminal Justice impaction status for its undergraduate program, effective Fall 2012.

What is a Supplemental Application?  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 program. You must be admitted to Sac State before you will be able to access the application during the open period.

The Supplemental Application is available twice per year. In Spring, it is open from the beginning of February to mid-March, for admission in the Fall semester. In Fall, the application is open from the beginning of September to mid-October, for admission in the Spring semester. Exact dates are posted each semester.

The Supplemental Application form itself can be found in your MySacState> Student Center , in the box labelled "Forms". The form is very simple. The only information it asks for is the four prerequisite classes (or their local equivalents), the school where you took them ("institution"), and the grades you received.

What are the prerequisites for the Criminal Justice major?

Before you can apply to become a Criminal Justice major via the Supplemental Application, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Overall GPA of 2.6 or higher.
  2. Completion of 45 units
  3. Prerequisite coursework completed with a grade of C or better at time of application. In-progress coursework is not acceptable.

The prerequisite courses are:

  • CRJ 1 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • 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 major status, 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 initially admitted as EI-CRJ, but may become Criminal Justice majors via the Supplemental Application process before they begin coursework at Sac State.

Which community college class are equivalent to the CRJ classes?

If you attended or plan to attend a California Community College, you can check at to help you find the articulated course(s) to meet the Sac State Criminal Justice requirements. We also have a list of all the courses we accept at California community colleges.

What about other college-level criminal justice coursework?

Local Admission Area Statement

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, Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Advising Center, so that she may determine whether any substitutions may be made. Please understand that lower-division/community college courses cannot be substituted for upper-division course requirements at Sac State.

Can any of the prerequisite be in-progress?  What about the AS-T?

This is a slightly complex question.

Transfer students may have courses in-progress, but only if:

  1. the student is declared as "Administration of Justice for Transfer" (AS-T) (not another major for transfer) at their community college
  2. the student declares that they are pursuing an AS-T at the time of application to Sac State
  3. the student must have, at minimum, CRJ 1 and 2 in-progress

Please read more about the AS-T and how it can benefit you as a transfer student here. If you are reading this as a community college student intending to transfer, talk to your community college counselor about this option right away.

For continuing students, all four courses must be complete and awarded a grade of "C" or higher. You are a continuing student if you have only attended Sac State, or have begun taking courses at Sac State.

If you transferred but did not complete the paperwork for 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 the benefits of an AS-T.

Regardless of whether you tranfer 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 necessarily affect a student's admission to Sac State, but it may delay 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 many units, as in the case of juniors and seniors. Destiny Effiong, Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Advising Center, 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 instead?

No. Impacted programs are not permitted to create minors.

(There was a catalog error that allowed a few minors to be created, but this has now been rectified.)

Can I have an overview of the application process?

Sure! Here is the slide show that is presented at the application information sessions: View the slide show here.

Do you rank applicants?

Up to the present time, we have not had to do so, and have admitted all qualified students who applied. If the number of applicants does exceed our resources in the future, applicants are qualified based on overall GPA.

I am a working student.  Can I take classes online?

This program offers some classes in an online or hybrid (split between in-person lecture and online teaching days) formats. However, they are not meant to compose a pattern that would allow you to take all classes online.

If you need a fully-online program, please see the Criminal Justice Degree Completion Program offered through the College of Continuing Education. 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, is taught by the same instructors, and you will earn a degree identical to the traditional program.