Apr 21, 2024  
2009-2010 Academic Catalog 
2009-2010 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Criminal Justice M.A.

Peter Nelligan, Ph.D., Program Director
(209) 667-3030

View information for the Department of Criminal Justice .

The master’s degree in Criminal Justice builds upon the strong preparatory undergraduate Criminal Justice program with its blending of liberal arts, sciences, and applied components. Further, the relationship between the criminal justice undergraduate and graduate programs is integral in serving the educational goals of the region and the state of California and in contributing in complementary ways to building an excellent, comprehensive university. Building upon its commitment to excellence of teaching and learning in the undergraduate program, the primary responsibilities of the master’s program in Criminal Justice include, but are not limited to, the advancement of scholarly research and preparation for students to teach in higher education. In accordance with the philosophical underpinning and institutional commitments, the primary goals of the graduate program in Criminal Justice are to:

  • meet the public and private demand for academically-prepared and professionally-competent criminal justice practitioners;
  • provide academic emphases in research and data analysis as well as criminology while adding a unique emphasis on teaching criminal justice at the post-secondary level;
  • increase cultural, linguistic, and gender diversity among criminal justice practitioners in order to address the needs of a culturally and linguistically diverse community; and
  • advance the University’s mission by expanding students’ intellectual horizons, helping them reach their potentials, and encouraging a passion for lifelong learning.

Prerequisites for Admission

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university.
  2. At least 15 pre-baccalaureate units in criminal justice, criminology, and/or related discipline as approved by the program director.
  3. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
  4. A grade of B or better in an upper-division research and methodology course.
  5. Three letters of reference.
  6. A 1-2 page letter of intent specifying the applicant’s interest in the program, academic and professional background in preparation of graduate study, motivation to advance in the field of criminal justice through study, and intent to study full-time or part-time.
  7. A sample of the applicant’s written work (ideally a library research paper, a theoretical research paper, or an empirical research paper/ proposal in the undergraduate major).
  8. International students who have not received their undergraduate degrees from institutions in which English is the principal method of instruction must submit minimum scores of 550 total and part scores of 54 on the Test of Written English as a Second Language (TOEFL) or 213 total and part scores of 21 on the computer TOEFL.
  9. Applications for the Criminal Justice Program received by April 1 will receive priority consideration for admission the following fall semester. Notification of acceptance will be issued by June 1.

Requirements for Program Continuation

  1. Maintain a 3.0 GPA in all courses attempted, with no grade lower than a C–.
  2. Maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  3. Follow all University-wide requirements. The students are responsible for obtaining current copies of these regulations and complying with the criteria listed.

If, following the completion of the required coursework, students have not yet finished the master’s thesis, they are required to register for CJ 7005 (0 units) in any semester in which they are working under direct faculty supervision or using University facilities to complete the thesis, or submitting the thesis for University approval.

Learning Objectives

CSU Stanislaus pledges to make explicit its learning objectives for students and to design a method for evaluating academic program quality. Thus, students graduating from this program shall have demonstrated the following learning objectives:

  • Acquired advanced knowledge, skills, and values associated with the discipline of criminal justice and characteristic of learned individuals possessing a master’s degree.
  • Demonstrated enhanced oral and written communication skills, complemented by the ability to access and analyze information from a myriad of print and mediated-technological sources.
  • Demonstrated ability to be analytical and integrative, capable of critical thought, and creative in the exploration of the discipline of criminal justice.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as individual researcher/scholars, but also in collaboration with others in contributing to the research of the field of criminal justice.
  • Demonstrated advanced knowledge of the global world, multiple perspectives, and intercultural competence as applied to criminal justice professions.
  • Enhanced understanding of pedagogy for teaching and learning at a community college or university.
  • Demonstrated adherence to standards of professional ethics for criminal justice professionals.

Program Requirements

Complete the University requirements for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, which consists of 21 required course units, 15 elective units, and a comprehensive examination, project, or thesis.

2. Electives:

(15 units)

Complete 15 units of electives from the following courses. Students electing to do a project as their culminating experience must take CJ 5960 for 3 units. Students electing to do a thesis must take CJ 5990 for 6 units. Students electing to take a comprehensive examination complete 36 units of other coursework.


*CJ 5940 Graduate Internship in Criminal Justice is required for students who do not have substantial work-related experience in the field of criminal justice.

3. Thesis or Project:

Successful completion of a thesis or project fulfills the Graduate Writing Proficiency Requirement.  Students electing to take a comprehensive examination must submit, at the time of the comprehensive, at least two substantial papers, written during graduate courses, to be evaluated for writing proficiency. Demonstration of an acceptable level of writing proficiency is considered a part of the comprehensive examination.

Other Curricular Offerings: 4000-level courses

Students may substitute a maximum of 6 elective units of 4000-level criminal justice course work with the approval of the graduate director. These units may not have been used to fulfill requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Graduate students enrolled in 4000-level courses will complete supplemental assignments and will be assessed by differential grading standards commensurate with graduate-level work.

Courses from Related Disciplines

With the approval of the graduate director, students may substitute in their program a maximum of 6 graduate elective units from other disciplines such as psychology, sociology, public administration, or social work.