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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Criminal Justice

Master of Science in
Criminology and Criminal Justice

The master's degree in criminology and criminal justice requires 36 semester units of course work. The program consists of six core courses and a series of electives. The program is designed to be completed in a two-year, full-time traditional program on CSULB's campus. In addition, we offer an off-campus accelerated master's program to be completed in 18-19 months of classes offered on Saturdays.

Admissions to the Graduate Program

Quick-Links:

  • Part I: Application Deadlines

  • The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management admits students once per year for fall start dates. Only those applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college or university are eligible for admission. The deadlines are as follows:

    • CSU Mentor and Program Application Deadline: February 15, 2015
    • Application Fee Deadline: February 21, 2015
    • Transcript and Supporting Documents Deadline: March 7, 2015

    Note: March 7th is the date on which application files must be complete. Thus, applicants must be sure that we receive all of the required materials (e.g., letters of recommendation, official transcripts, application essay, etc.) by the applicable deadline. Because incomplete applications will not be reviewed, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their materials early.

  • Part II: The Admissions Process

    • Applying to the master's program in criminal justice at CSULB requires a dual application. One version of the application must be electronically submitted to the University using CSU Mentor. But being accepted to the University is only the first step; you must also be admitted to the master's program in criminology and criminal justice. That is accomplished by submitting all of the materials specified below either to Enrollment Services or to the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management's Graduate Advisor, whichever is indicated below.

    • When completing the online application at CSU Mentor:

      • the first item on the application form asks: TERM APPLYING FOR. Whether you are applying for the full-time, on-campus master's program or the accelerated, off-campus M.S.-E program, students should indicate the Fall semester and the year in which they desire to enroll (we do not admit students in the spring semester).

      • The second item asks: MAIN CAMPUS/OFF-CAMPUS CENTER. Applicants for the full-time, on-campus master's program should indicate "Main Campus"; applicants for the accelerated, off-campus M.S.-E program should indicate: “Special Session Degree Program.”

      • The third item asks: MAJOR/PROGRAM OBJECTIVE. Applicants for the full-time, on-campus master's program should indicate "Criminal Justice M.S."; applicants for the accelerated, off-campus master's program should indicate: “Criminal Justice M.S.-E.”

  • Part III: Admissions Requirements and Steps

  1. Complete a University Application via CSU Mentor.

    • When completing the electronic application, print-out two copies of the university application; then:

      • send a hard-copy of the completed application to the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management; and

      • keep a copy for your own records.
    • When applying for the off-campus accelerated program, please indicate this where it asks for "Program of Study."
  2. Send an official transcript from each college and/or university you attended (including transcripts from community colleges) to CSULB's Enrollment Services; you do not need to send a copy of your transcript to the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor.

    • Please Note: A minimum GPA of 2.5 overall is required for admission into CSULB's graduate programs. The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management, however, typically only accepts students who earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants with GPAs between 2.750 and 2.999 may be conditionally admitted to the master's program, if and only if, in the sound discretion of the Graduate Committee, the balance of the application strongly evidences the applicant will succeed in our graduate program.
  3. Submit two (2) letters of recommendation directly to the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor. Please Note: Letters from college professors who can address your research, writing, and analytical skills are strongly preferred. If, however, you are unable to get letters from former professors, then letters from work supervisors in the legal or criminal justice professions (who can similarly address your research, writing, and analytical skills) may be submitted. Please be sure to let your references know that their letters must be received by CSULB no later than the application deadline.

  4. Send a résumé directly to the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor. The résumé should describe your academic achievements (including honors and awards), extracurricular activities, as well as relevant work, internship, and volunteer experiences. Be sure to include the dates for all relevant experience.

  5. Additional Evidence of Suitability for Graduate Study -- Applicants must select one of the following three options to demonstrate their aptitude for graduate study:

    • Option A: The GRE -- We do not require applicants to take the GRE. But applicants are strongly encouraged to submit GRE scores to CSULB directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) as evidence of their aptitude for graduate study.

      • A score of 4.0 or higher (out of a maximum possible score of 6.0) on the GRE writing test is strongly preferred for unconditional admission to our master's program. Prospective applicants scoring 3.5 or lower on the analytic writing section of the GRE may nonetheless be conditionally admitted to the master's program if, in the sound discretion of the Graduate Committee, the balance of the application strongly evidences that the applicant will succeed in our graduate program.

      • The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management does not require any minimum scores on the verbal or quantitative sections of the GRE Revised General Test.

      • The GRE Revised General Test is offered year-round at computer-based test centers in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries. To see where you may take the computerized test, visit the ETS Test Center Listing web site.
    • Option B: The LSAT -- We do not require applicants to take the LSAT, but applicants who are considering pursuing a master's degree and a law degree are encouraged to submit LSAT scores to CSULB.

    • Option C: Evidence of Research Potential -- Applicants who prefer not to take any standardized tests may submit one or two writing samples that evidence their research, writing, and critical thinking abilities. We are particularly interested in writing samples in which applicants synthesized scholarly research in a formal literature review and analyzed actual data, either quantitatively or qualitatively. Papers between 15 and 25 pages in length are encouraged.
  6. Write a typewritten letter of intent (a formal application essay) between 3 and 5 double-spaced pages in length (i.e., 750 word minimum; 1,250 word maximum) and send it directly to the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor. This essay should address all of the following:

    • What motivates you to apply for a graduate degree?

    • What are your relevant research and practical experiences that qualify you for admission?

    • What are your specific areas of interests in criminal justice practice, policy, and/or research?

    • With whom on our faculty you would like to work and why?

    • What are your personal goals and objectives for earning a master's degree in criminal justice?

    Please be sure not to restate the information on your résumé. Rather, you should explain the underlying reasons why you seek a master's degree in criminology and criminal justice from CSULB (as opposed to earning a different graduate degree or a master's in criminal justice at another university offering the degree).

  • All of the items that are to be sent to the Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor (i.e., a hard copy of your online application, letters of recommendation, your résumé, your letter of intent/application essay, and writing sample) should be addressed to:
School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management
Criminology and Criminal Justice Graduate Advisor
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840

Please Note: When communicating by email, please do NOT send attachments without a brief note explaining who you are and what you are sending. Email with unexplained attachments will not be opened.

Part IV: Prerequisites and Competencies

It is important to note that some of our master's-level courses have undergraduate prerequisites that must be taken before graduate students may enroll. Some substitution for prerequisites are permissible; contact the Graduate Advisor for details.

The prerequisites are:

    1. Graduate students must have taken CRJU 101: Introduction to Criminal Justice in Society, or an equivalent introductory criminology/criminal justice course during their undergraduate careers that exposed them to the primary components of the criminal justice system (e.g., CRIM 101). Alternatively, students may take a qualifying exam demonstrating their understanding of the criminal justice system at a sufficient level to waive this requirement.

    2. In order to register for CRJU 504: Advanced Criminological Theory, graduate students must have taken CRJU 304: Criminological Theory or an equivalent undergraduate course in theoretical criminology (e.g., CRIM 404). Alternatively, students may take a qualifying exam demonstrating their understanding of basic criminological theory at a sufficient level to waive this requirement.

    3. In order to register for CRJU 520: Research Methods, graduate students must have taken CRJU 320 (or CRIM 480) or an equivalent undergraduate-level social scientific research methods course (in psychology, sociology, political science, or the like).

    4. In order to register for CRJU 525: Advanced Statistics, graduate students must have taken CRJU 325 (e.g., CRIM 303, PSY 110) or equivalent undergraduate-level social scientific applied statistics course (in psychology, sociology, political science, or the like).
    • Although these prerequisite classes are offered at CSULB, you may take them at any regionally-accredited college or university. If these classes are offered in departments other than criminology/criminal justice (e.g., sociology, psychology, political science), you will need the approval of the Graduate Advisor.

    • Please be advised that if you have not taken one or more of the prerequisites, you may still apply and be admitted to the M.S. in criminology and criminal justice. You will, however, need to take some of the prerequisite courses over the summer before you begin graduate study and then, if necessary, complete the remainder of the prerequisites during your first year in our master's program.
    • For students to be successful in our graduate seminar in law and social control (CRJU 555), they need to have taken a course in substantive criminal law (e.g., CRJU 340) and another in constitutional criminal procedure (e.g., CRJU 350). It is, therefore, strongly recommended that students applying to the M.S. program complete courses in these two areas during their undergraduate studies. If, however, a student lacks knowledge of criminal law and procedure upon admission to our master's program, that is not a problem. We will make arrangements for such students take graduate-level law courses as part of their electives while in our master's program.

Admissions Contact Information

For general inquires, questions about applying (including the status of an application), or other graduate admissions questions, please contact the Graduate Advisor.

Graduate Advisor

Aili Malm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840

Email: Aili.Malm@csulb.edu

If you need to see Dr. Malm, please read the instructions for making an appointment.

Please Note: When communicating by email, please do NOT send attachments without a brief note explaining who you are and what you are sending. Email with unexplained attachments will not be opened.