Graduate study in criminal justice provides the requisite knowledge and opportunity for individuals to (1) be competitive for administrative positions in the courts, corrections, law enforcement, security, probation and parole; (2) fill research positions in criminal justice agencies; (3) pursue advanced degrees (J.D. or Ph.D.); and (4) fill community college teaching positions in criminal justice.
The Master of Science degree in criminal justice will expand and increase individual competency, develop and mature thought processes, aid in gaining insights into professional leadership and knowledge, permit an exchange between students and faculty, and further the spirit of research and scholarship to enhance professional and personal development.
Students seeking admission to the Department of Criminal Justice Graduate Program should have an undergraduate degree and a desire for graduate study. Applicants must apply for admission to the Criminal Justice Department in addition to being admitted by Enrollment Services. Students must be accepted for admission by the Department before their program for a master's degree can be formulated. Students are not allowed to take graduate course work in criminal justice before being accepted to the program. The following items must be submitted:
Advancement to Candidacy
Note: Masters students who were admitted under a prior catalog year need to complete the course requirements specified in the catalog in effect at the time they advance to candidacy. All graduate students have the option of taking comprehensive examinations even if such exams were not listed as an option in the catalog at the time the student matriculated.
In addition to the core classes, students are required to complete 12 units of electives. These courses are to be selected after consultation with the graduate advisor. A maximum of 6 units may be taken from 300 or 400-level courses in Criminal Justice. Up to six units of graduate work may be transferred from another accredited university or another department in CSULB. Transfer credit must be a “B” or better. All students must earn a grade of “A” or “B” for each required course. Students may not have more than 6 units of “C” grades apply toward the master’s degree. Advancement to candidacy is necessary before Thesis I, Thesis II, or comprehensive exams can be taken.
The thesis is a supervised experience in the application of theory and analytical tools to an issue in criminology or criminal justice. The thesis should prepare students for further graduate work or research in the field. The project should provide an experience that is directly applicable to an occupation in the criminal justice field.
The thesis is a written product of the systematic study of a significant problem. It clearly identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendations. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. The coursework is supervised by a committee of three, including the Thesis Chair, who must be a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty member in the Criminal Justice Department and two other faculty members.