M.A. in Criminal Justice

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice is designed to serve the growing number of individuals in the criminal justice system who desire postbaccalaureate education, as well as those in more traditional public and private employment who may wish to acquire further education in criminal justice.

The degree program offers two options. One is a thesis option designed for students who intend to pursue graduate studies beyond the M.A. level and those students who have special research interests in the criminal justice system. The comprehensive examination option is for those with administrative and management goals.

The program can serve a variety of student interests. It has been designed with a limited prerequisite requirement to enable students with baccalaureate degrees in related fields such as psychology, administration, anthropology, sociology or social sciences to enroll along with students with undergraduate degrees in criminal justice.

All of our required courses are offered online to accommodate various student schedules, whereas many of our elective courses are held in the classroom. The MA degree can be completed fully online or with a combination of online and classroom courses.

National Recognition

2016: Ranked #12 in “Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice Degree Program, 2016” (College Choice)

2015: Ranked #3 in “50 Best value Colleges for a Criminal Justice Degree, 2015” (Best Value Schools)

2015: Ranked # 17 in “50 Best Online Criminal Justice Programs, 2015” (Super Scholar)

2015: Ranked #20 in “Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs” (U.S. News and World Report)

2009: Ranked #3 in the nation for the number of faculty authored books (Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice)

Admission to the M.A. Program

The Graduate Committee cannot act on applications until they have been reviewed by the Office of Admissions, CH-123, and have met university admissions requirements. Applications will be evaluated on a competitive basis and enrollment is limited.

New students are admitted into the program during the fall, spring, and winter quarters. The application deadline for Fall admission is April 1; the application deadline for Winter admission is September 1; the application deadline for Spring admission is December 15. Exceptions for late applications may be made on a case by case basis.

In addition to the general requirements of the university, specific requirements for admission to classified graduate status are:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;

  2. Completion of an undergraduate major in criminal justice, criminology, sociology, or in an allied field such as psychology, administration, or another social science, or recommendation for admission to the program by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Competence in the following prerequisite areas is expected, but not required for admission: criminological theory, law enforcement, corrections, research methods, and statistics. Applicants with deficiencies in these areas will be required to complete minimal prerequisites upon acceptance to the Program;
  3. Completion of the graduate entrance writing requirement;
  4. A minimum undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 overall and 3.0 ("B") in the major;
  5. Submission of any available GRE or submission of any available GRE scores in the event the applicant feels that such scores would enhance their chances of admission. Submission of such scores is not mandatory;
  6. Submission to the Criminal Justice MA Program Coordinator, three letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with the student's academic work and potential to complete the program successfully. Letters must come directly from the writer or be included in a placement file, and will be evaluated by criminal justice faculty members.

Admissions Process

Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy, a student must have:

  1. Achieved classified standing;
  2. Traditional Thesis M.A. Option: completed all required course work except thesis or
    Professional M.A. Option: completed all required course work except Comprehensive Examination;
  3. Completed all course work taken before advancement to candidacy with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 ("B"). Completed all course work with no more than one course with a grade as low as "C". If a second such grade is earned, the student will be dismissed from the program, but may petition the graduate admission committee for readmission. After reviewing the petition, the committee may allow readmision under such conditions as it deems appropriate. A third grade of "C" or lower will result in permanent dismissal from the program with no recourse to petition;
  4. For the traditional thesis option: made arrangements for three faculty members, in consultation with the criminal justice graduate coordinator, to serve as the student's graduate advisory committee, with one member designated to chair the committee;
  5. Submitted a formal program of graduate studies to the criminal justice graduate coordinator as approved by the graduate committee. This should be done no later than the end of the second quarter of graduate work;
  6. Petitioned the graduate committee, during the quarter in which all course work is to be completed, for formal advancement.

The graduate committee will then consider the student's scholastic performance and other circumstances and either grant advancement to candidacy, specify necessary preparatory studies, or recommend other courses of action.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. A minimum of 45 units of acceptable graduate level work, with at least 32 quarter units completed in residence at this university;
  2. Completion of course work and an acceptable thesis and final oral defense, or
    Completion of course work and registration in and completion of the comprehensive examination with a grade of credit;
  3. Any additional general requirements not cited above but listed under the “Graduate Study” section of the CSUSB Catalog and listed in the Graduate Student Handbook.

M.A. Degree Requirements

M.A. Course Descriptions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)