Jun 17, 2024  
General Catalog 2023-2024 
General Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Criminology, M.S.

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Program Overview: The Master of Science (MS) degree in Criminology is a 30-unit, flexible program that provides students with theoretical and applied knowledge related to the field of criminology while also permitting students to pursue specialized areas of interest. The program is designed to prepare students for service and responsible administrative and professional positions in agencies in the criminal justice system. The program also prepares students for a wide variety of occupations, including in-service education, administrative education and management, community college teaching, pre-doctoral studies, and research. Since offering our first graduate course in 1957, our graduate program has become the most comprehensive master’s program in the discipline between Sacramento and Los Angeles. It is an advanced program that continues to draw applicants from across the United States and around the world.

Admissions to the Master of Science in Criminology Graduate Program: The Department of Criminology only admits new graduate students during the fall of each semester. To be considered for admission into the graduate program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4-point scale)
  2. Complete the online application process for the Department of Criminology and California State University, Fresno via Cal State Apply. In doing so, applicants will be asked to submit:
    • An official copy of their undergraduate transcripts
    • A statement of purpose, in which they will explain their reasons for wanting to pursue a master’s degree in Criminology, the benefits they expect to derive from their graduate studies, and highlight any relevant academic and/or practical experience.
    • Three letters of recommendation. Two of these three letters must come from academicians (e.g., former college professors/instructors) who can speak to your academic abilities at the college level. Applicants will provide email addresses for their letter writers via Cal State Apply and these individuals will then prompted to upload/submit their letters of recommendations with a provided link.

Criminology Graduate Program Application Filing Period: The deadline for applications to the graduate program is April 1st of each year. Incomplete applications and those received after April 1st will not be considered by the graduate admissions committee.

Graduate Electives (12 units)

The Department of Criminology offers four graduate elective courses each academic year that cover a variety of different topics. These graduate elective courses vary each year.

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Graduate students in the MS Criminology program must complete a culminating experience and can choose from the following: thesis, project, or the comprehensive exam. Each of these options has a require course associated with it that graduate students must complete:

Total: 30 Units

Graduate-Level Writing Competence. The university requires that students have graduate-level writing abilities before being advanced to candidacy for the master’s degree. The Graduate Writing Skills requirement for the graduate program in criminology is met by passing the writing component in the CRIM 200  course. Please see the program’s Graduate Writing Requirement Policy for more information.

Advancement to Candidacy Requirements

Graduate students in the MS Criminology program typically qualify for Advancement to Candidacy in the spring semester of their first year in the program. To do so, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold classified graduate standing
  2. Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all completed graduate coursework
  3. Have passed the graduate writing requirement (detailed above and in the department’s graduate handbook)


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