M.A. Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for application to the program?

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.

How long does it take to complete the graduate program?

New students should arrange a meeting with the Graduate Coordinator by the end of their second quarter. The Graduate Coordinator will help each applicant in planning his or her program based on the student’s goals as well as his or her time constraints. Overall, full-time graduate students can complete the program in approximately two years; part-time students can complete the program from two to five years.

Can applicants be admitted, even conditionally?

Applicants can be admitted conditionally. These exceptional admissions are decided in accordance with current department and university policy and on a case-by-case basis. To continue in the graduate program, students on a conditional admission need to complete these required conditions in their first quarter.

Can applicants be admitted to the program even though they did their undergraduate work in another criminal justice program?

Yes. Our program receives applications from students who have majored in criminal justice programs at other universities as well as students who have majored in various disciplines. Applicants are expected to have successfully completed undergraduate courses in criminology, research methods, and statistics.

How is program eligibility determined? Is the undergraduate GPA a major consideration?

The Graduate Coordinator carefully considers the overall undergraduate GPA as well as the applicant’s GPA in his or her major. An applicant with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and a GPA of 3.0 or higher in his or her discipline is generally admitted. If the applicant has an overall undergraduate GPA lower than 3.0, the application decision is made by the Graduate Committee. Decisions regarding conditional admission, identification of any needed prerequisites, or other special circumstances are made on a case-by-case basis.

Can an applicant with an undergraduate degree in an area unrelated to criminal justice still be admitted into the program?

Yes. The applicant may have to some necessary prerequisites prior to formal admission into the graduate program.

If an applicant needs to take prerequisites, do they count towards the degree?

No. Prerequisite classes must be taken first and may not be used to fulfill the 45 unit graduate requirement.

How can an applicant check on the status of his or her application?

Applicants can log on to MyCoyote from the CSUSB homepage to check their application status.

Are most of the CSUSB criminal justice graduate students full-time or part-time? Have most of them recently graduated with a baccalaureate degree or are they currently professionals in the field?

While the general background of our students varies from term to term, overall approximately two-thirds of are graduate students are part-time; the remaining students are full-time. Most part-time students are professionals in the field; most of our full-time students are recent graduates of a baccalaureate degree program.

Does the program offer a degree in forensics?


If an applicant did poorly as an undergraduate student some years ago and is currently working in the field, does he or she have ANY chance of ever being admitted into the program?

Each applicant is considered on a case-by-case basis. Thus, it is difficult to answer this question with a standard answer. Under certain situations, an applicant may be required to complete additional undergraduate coursework or repeat an undergraduate course prior to being considered for admission.

What is the difference between the comprehensive exams and a thesis?

The comprehensive exams evaluate a student’s knowledge of criminal justice in various areas. The purpose of these exams is not to re-test students on courses they have already taken. Rather, it is essential that students show they have acquired the knowledge and skills commensurate with graduate study. A thesis usually entails a research study to test various hypotheses or explore different research questions. The thesis involves developing a prospectus, collecting and analyzing data, as well as writing up the results. After completing 20 units of graduate level courses, students will be asked what option they would like to pursue as well as develop a program plan that will be used as the basis for completing the program and advancement to candidacy. Faculty are available to discuss with students as to which option they should select.

How is it determined when a student would advance to candidacy?

Advancement to candidacy occurs after the completion of all coursework. Advancement to candidacy is the formal step when the Graduate Studies Program approves the formal filing of the program that the student and the Graduate Coordinator have agreed upon.

Can students take courses outside of the Department of Criminal Justice at California State University, San Bernardino and have them count towards their masters degree?

Yes. Up to twelve units may be taken from other departments, provided prior approval has been obtained from the Graduate Coordinator.

How will students know graduate program deadlines?

All university and departmental graduate deadlines are announced at the beginning of the term. It is the graduate student’s responsibility to keep apprised of these deadlines to ensure timely program completion.

What if a student drops out for a year or so and comes back? Will he or she lose courses already taken?

If a student leaves for more than one term, an application for readmission to the University is required. There is a seven year time limit for all graduate course work to be applied toward the masters degree. A student should plan to graduate within seven years after the first graduate course taken. If courses expire (beyond the seven year limit), it may be possible to apply these courses to the masters degree. However, it also may be necessary for the student to re-take some of the course work.