Fall 2024 Application Deadline:

June 1, 2024 (see below for application process)

Designed for working adults who need maximum scheduling flexibility, the Criminal Justice M.A. at Stanislaus State uses a hybrid format to provide an intensive study of theory and practice in the field of criminal justice. The program fosters independent learning and enables students to contribute intellectually to the corrections, law enforcement, and administration of justice professions.

Small class sizes mean maximum access to your instructors. In this effective setting, students learn to manage components of the criminal justice system through coursework in areas such as correctional systems; law enforcement; court systems; criminal justice and criminology theory; domestic violence; gender, race, and crime; constitutional law; criminal justice research; and management and leadership in criminal justice.

Finally, we work with an assortment of local, state and federal criminal justice agencies, and not for profit organizations as part of our internship program.

Most students complete the program in just two years. You will graduate with a full understanding of advanced criminal justice systems that will enable you to critically analyze and solve problems based on applied research methods. If you currently work in the criminal justice system, or want to enter this challenging and rewarding field, and have a bachelor’s degree, this program is designed to meet your needs.

The Master’s in Criminal program prepares post-graduates for a variety of careers within the field of criminal justice, including but not limited to; criminal justice administration (i.e., policing, corrections, courts, juvenile justice), higher education, including teaching and doctoral programs, research and policy centers, public service, community-based organizations, and not-for-profit agencies.

The Master's in Criminal Justice curriculum draws upon faculty expertise in a variety of specialized areas, which students can study in more depth through electives, independent study, and thesis papers. Our faculty are teacher/scholars whose research interests and publications examine the following topics;

  • Mass Incarceration
  • Urban Policing and Police Practices
  • Prisoner Rights and Reentry
  • Constitutional Law and Procedure
  • Investigations
  • Offender Reintegration
  • Public Health
  • Hate Crimes
  • Immigration Control
  • Philosophy/Theory of Crime
  • Juvenile Justice (including Law and Procedure)
  • Crime Mapping
  • Forensic Science and Psychology
  • Crime in Latin America
  • Drug Policy
  • Comparative Criminal Justice

Program Requirements

Core Courses

Complete 21 core course units for the Criminal Justice Master of Arts degree

Course # Course
CJ 5000 Advanced Criminological Theory
CJ 5001 Critical Analysis of the Criminal Justice System
CJ 5101 Criminal Justice Planning and Program Evaluation; or CJ5150 - Emergent Issues in Criminal Justice
CJ 5200 Applied Data Analysis
CJ 5201 Research Strategies in Criminal Justice
CJ 5290 Management of Criminal Justice Organizations
CJ 5600 Instructional Strategies in Criminal Justice

Elective Courses

Complete 12 elective units for the Criminal Justice Master of Arts degree

Course # Course
CJ 5250 Qualitative Research in Criminal Law
CJ 5320 Critical Examination of Criminal Law
CJ 5325 Advanced Seminar in Domestic Violence and Intimate Abuse
CJ 5330 Investigating Death & Dying in the CJ System
CJ 5340 Constitutional Law in Criminal Justice Seminar
CJ 5420 Women, Crime, and Justice
CJ 5555 Theory of Crime and Punishment
CJ 5940 Graduate Internship in Criminal Justice
CJ 5960 Criminal Justice Project
CJ 5980 Individual Study
CJ 5990 Master’s Thesis

Culminating Experience

Students electing to do a project as their culminating experience must take CJ 5960 for 3 elective units. Students electing to do a thesis must take CJ 5990 for 6 elective units. Students electing to take a comprehensive examination must complete 33 units of coursework. (21 core and 12 elective).

Master’s in CJ Program Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university
  2. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  3. A grade of B or better in an upper-division research and methodology course

Other requirements may apply. Please refer to the online Course Catalog.

Interested in Applying?

Application to our graduate program at CSU Stanislaus is completed online: Students must apply to the Graduate School and upload all required documents as listed below. Qualified individuals holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university may apply to the Graduate School.

Each applicant must upload the following directly to the Cal State Apply application:

  • Complete the Cal State Apply Application
  • Official transcripts from each college or university attended. International students must have transcripts evaluated by an approved institution.
  • Letter of intent
  • Writing sample
  • Three letters of reference

Application Process

The online electronic application process is handled through CalState Apply where you will be applying to both the University and the Department in one process.


Updated: April 16, 2024