M.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice - Traditional Program

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.


Some of our graduate courses have undergraduate prerequisites that must be taken before graduate students may enroll in them.

A.  The four (4) prerequisites are:

  1. CRJU 101. 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. Alternatively, students may take a qualifying exam demonstrating their understanding of the criminal justice system at a sufficient level to waive this requirement.
  2. CRJU 304. 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. Alternatively, students may take a qualifying exam demonstrating their understanding of basic criminological theory at a sufficient level to waive this requirement.
  3. CRJU 320. To register for CRJU 520: Research Methods, graduate students must have taken CRJU 320 or an equivalent undergraduate-level social scientific research methods course (in psychology, sociology, political science, or the like).
  4. CRJU 325. To register for CRJU 525: Advanced Statistics, graduate students must have taken CRJU 325 or equivalent undergraduate-level social scientific applied statistics course (in psychology, sociology, political science, or the like).

B.  Some substitutions for prerequisites are permissible (e.g., a course in theoretical juvenile delinquency or the psychology of criminal conduct may be substituted for criminological theory; applied statistics courses in mathematics may be substituted in lieu of a social scientific statistics course).  Contact the Graduate Advisor for details.

C.  Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to complete the four prerequisite courses before applying to our master’s programs since the completion of these courses is taken into consideration when making admissions decisions.  However, prospective students who have not completed one or more of these prerequisites may still be considered for conditional admission.  After successfully completing the prerequisite courses, conditional admitted students will have their status changed to be a duly-admitted graduate student.  Conditionally admitted students are advised, though, that any courses taken at CSULB to satisfy prerequisite requirements will be computed into their graduate GPA.

Applying to the master's program in criminology & criminal justice at CSULB requires the application and all supplemental materials (recommendation letters, résumé, state of purpose, and evidence of suitability for graduate study [writing sample]) be electronically submitted to Cal State Apply.

Please be advised that CSU does not offer application fee waivers for graduate applicants.

Completing the online application and being accepted to the University is only the first step; prospective students must also be admitted to the master's program in criminology & criminal justice.

The following documents must be uploaded to Cal State Apply in .pdf. Applications cannot be submitted unless all required documents have been uploaded. Please carefully review these instructions.

A. Program Application

Fill in and upload the MSCCJ Program Application Form(PDF) found on the program website. If you did not complete any of the following prerequisites, please state “will complete” on the form.  If you are currently enrolled in a prerequisite course and have not yet received a grade state “IP” for in progress on the form.

B. CV/Résumé

Upload an up-to-date CV/résumé that provides a summary of your academic background, degree(s), GPAs, training, certificates, awards, publications, presentations, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, internships, volunteer and work experiences, skills, and credentials.  Please include all preparation for a graduate program that you would like the admissions committee to consider.  It can be more than one page.

C. Statement of Purpose

In 3 to 5 double-spaced pages (i.e., 750 word minimum; 1,250 word maximum) discuss all of the following: 

  1. What motivates you to apply for a graduate degree? 
  2. What are your relevant research and practical experiences that qualify you for admission to our MS in criminology and criminal justice program? 
  3. What are your specific areas of interest in criminology or criminal justice practice, policy, and/or research? 
  4. With whom on our faculty would you like to work and why? 
  5. What are your personal goals and objectives for earning a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice?

D. Additional Evidence of Suitability for Graduate Study

Upload either a Writing Sample or an LSAT/GRE Test Score in a .pdf

  1. Writing Sample
    Submit one (15-25 page) or two (each 7-13 pages) writing samples that evidence your research, writing, and critical thinking abilities. Papers written for undergraduate or other coursework are permitted. Include a cover page that indicates the context (course name and number) and date of the writing sample. If you do not have a writing sample from a prior course that meets these criteria, you may prepare one related to current controversy in the criminology and criminal justice fields. If you are using two papers, you must combine them into one .pdf; you can only upload one document.
  2. Test Scores:
    • GRE: Submit scores to CSULB directly: University Code: 4389; Department Code: 2202; OR 
    • LSAT: Submit scores to CSULB directly: University Code: 4389; Department Code: 2202.
    • You may also upload the summaries under Test Scores below.  

E. Transcripts​

  1. Official Transcripts
    One set of official transcripts from the university where you earned or will earn your BA/BS degree must be sent from the university electronically to ES-IDPTrans@csulb.edu OR postal mail to:

    Enrollment Services/Admissions
    California State University, Long Beach
    1250 Bellflower Blvd.
    Long Beach, CA 90840-0106

    Once you submit your Cal State Apply application, please follow-up with ES-IDPTrans@csulb.edu to ensure transcripts have been received and linked to your Cal State Apply application.

    Note: DO NOT send transcripts to the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program.  Official transcripts must be sent to CSULB’s Enrollment Services.
  2. Unofficial Transcripts
    Upload the unofficial transcript from the institution where you earned (or will earn) your bachelor’s degree and the unofficial transcripts from the institutions where you completed the prerequisite courses (see the MSCCJ program application form).

    If you have 5 or more unofficial transcripts to upload, please combine the remainder into one document, as only 4 documents may be uploaded.

F. Two Letters of Recommendation

In Cal Sate Apply, you must provide the names and email addresses for two referees (those writing you a recommendation letter) with your application. These should be academics, professors, and/or professionals who can evaluate your potential to succeed in graduate school.  

Please advise your referees that they will receive an email from “Calstateapply@liaisoncas.com” with a link to submit a confidential letter of reference. Please inform your recommenders to “be on the lookout” for this email in their inbox and in their spam or junk folders. Recommenders must submit their recommendations in Cal State Apply.

Frequently check your portal to ensure letters have been submitted and contact those recommenders who have yet to complete the recommendation. If your recommenders do not submit letters by the application deadline, your application will be incomplete and will not be reviewed. 

G. International (Foreign) Admission Requirements

International applicants are subject to the same admission criteria as domestic applicants (presented above) plus a minimum of one of the following:

  • TOEFL Score of 100 for the Internet-based or 600 for the paper-based exam, or
  • IELTS Exam Score of 7, or
  • Cambridge Assessment Score of 180 (C1), or
  • Duolingo Score of 120, or
  • Pearson English Score of 65, or
  • Eiken Score of 1, or
  • Received bachelor’s/undergraduate degree from an country listed on the Center for Professional and International Education website.

You may submit a summary of these scores under Test Scores below.

Please visit the Center for Professional and International Education website to view the most current CSULB International Admissions information.

Note: Those seeking an F-1 Student VISA are only able to apply to the face-to-face (on-campus) master’s in criminology and criminal justice program.  Unfortunately, the fully online program is not an option for F-1 VISA students due to the VISA regulations.  


Please note: A minimum GPA of 2.5 overall is required for admission into CSULB's graduate programs. However, the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management typically only accepts students who earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Applicants with GPAs between 2.5 and 3.0 will be considered for admission but must present a strong application to compensate for the low GPA (e.g., unusually strong letters of recommendation; high GRE scores; years of experience in criminal justice field; volunteer or internship experience, organizational leadership positions).

The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management admits students once per year for Fall start dates. The Cal State Apply application, transcripts, test scores, if applicable, and supporting documents(CV/Résumé and Writing Sample(s) combined into one .pdf or .docx document and the Statement of Purpose in a separate .pdf or .docx document), and recommendation letters must be uploaded to Cal State Apply by April 1st for the traditional program and May 31st for the online program. 

The deadlines listed above are the dates on which application files must be complete. Applications that are incomplete by the due date will not be reviewed. Applicants are, therefore, strongly encouraged to submit their application materials early.

The Graduate Committee of the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management reviews all complete applications shortly after the application deadline.  Applicants to either master’s program should expect to be notified of the Committee’s decision no later than May 15th.