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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Criminal Justice

On-Campus, Traditional 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.

Admissions to the Graduate Program

Application Process

Applying to the master's program in criminology & criminal justice at CSULB requires the application and supporting materials to 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.

Application Materials

All of the following materials must be uploaded before the applicable deadline:

University Application – A complete University Application must be submitted electronically via Cal State Apply. Please note that if you are applying for the M.S.-Online, please indicate this where it asks for “Program of Study.”  When completing the electronic application online, be sure to print-out two copies of the university application; then:

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

  • Option 1: 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. University Code: 4389; Department Code: 2202.
  • 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 2: 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 3: 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.

Letters of Recommendation – We must receive two (2) current letters of recommendation. Letters from college professors who can address an applicant’s research, writing, and analytical skills are strongly preferred. If, however, an applicant is unable to obtain letters from former professors, then letters from work supervisors who can similarly address research, writing, and analytical skills may be submitted. Please be sure to let references know that their letters of recommendation must be received by CSULB no later than the March application deadline.

Transcripts – Applicants must submit one set of official transcripts from each and every college and university attended, including those from community colleges. Official transcripts must be sent from those institutions directly to CSULB's Enrollment Services via mail or email (  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 which helps to compensate for the low GPA (e.g., unusually strong letters of recommendation; high GRE scores; years of experience in criminal justice field; etc.).

Résumé – Applicants must submit a résumé, which describes the applicant’s academic achievements (including honors, awards, and extracurricular activities), as well as the applicant’s relevant work, internship, and volunteer experiences.

Essay – Applicants must submit 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). 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 criminology or 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 criminology & 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 & criminal justice from CSULB (as opposed to earning a different graduate degree or a master's in criminology & criminal justice at another university offering the degree).

International (Foreign) Admission Requirements – International Students are subject to the same admission criteria as non-international students (presented above) plus a minimum TOEFL Score of 100 for the Internet-based exam or 600 for the paper- based exam.


Application Deadline:  March 15

The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management admits students once per year for fall start dates. The Cal State Apply application, transcripts, supporting documents (personal statement, recommendation letters, résumé, and evidence of research potential) must be uploaded to Cal State Apply by March 15th.


No Review of Incomplete Applications

The deadline listed above is the date 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.


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

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


If you need to see Dr. Perrone, 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.

Important Documents for Current Master's Students

GS 700:

  • Please press here for information about the need for continuing students to enroll in GS 700 after they have completed all coursework, but have not yet completed their master's capstone experience.

Graduate Student Handbook:

Current Forms: