Graduate Program Requirements

Admission to the University

Admission to California State University, Fresno graduate standing is the prerequisite to admission to the Department of Criminology Graduate Program. This requires that the GRE be taken prior to a student being admitted into the graduate criminology course work, or to graduate status. Please visit the Division of Graduate Studies website for more information on applying to the University.

Admission to the Department

    • An acceptable baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (on a 4 point scale) in the last 60 semester units attempted.
    • A baccalaureate degree equivalent to the degree in Criminology at California State University, Fresno and prerequisite course work with a minimum grade of “B”.
    • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The Department must receive GRE scores before final admission by the Department can be determined.
    • A completed Application for Graduate Study in Criminology form.
    • Three (3) academic/professional Letters of Recommendation with the Recommendation Form attached.
    • A personal essay focusing on the statement of purpose.

Completion Requirements

You will need the following to complete the application process:

    • Advancement to candidacy.
    • Completion of 30 units of course requirements.
    • Completion of either; thesis (CRIM 299) project (CRIM 298) or successful completion of the Departmental Comprehensive Examination.

Additional Information

  • Completion of the above will allow a student to be admitted with classified standing (full admission).
  • Conditional classified standing may be granted to students who are deficient due to the lack of prerequisite baccalaureate course work. Any serious deficiencies, those where substitutions cannot be made, must be made up during the first semester of graduate study.
  • The following content represents prerequisite knowledge for entry into the Criminology Graduate Program. A meeting with the graduate coordinator is suggested for clarification. If students lack the required knowledge, they may take the following courses which may not be used toward the master’s degree:
    • CRIM 100: Criminology; sociological, biological, psychological theories of crime causation; crime measurement; schools of criminology; crime typologies. Graduating criminology seniors have first priority; other students may receive priority status by permission of instructor.
    • CRIM 102: Criminal Justice Organization and Management; fundamentals of organization/management theory, principles, and processes relating to the operation and functioning of the criminal justice system, including victim services agencies.
    • CRIM 117: Criminal Legal Process; specific emphasis on the laws of arrest, search and seizure, interrogation and confession, procedure prior to and during trial, postconviction procedures, limitations on criminal prosecutions and juvenile proceedings.
    • CRIM 170: Research Methods Research methodology; use of library resources; electronic resources; preparation and handling of materials in criminology; written report required.

Advancement to Candidacy

Classified graduate standing gives a student permission to work towards qualifying for candidacy. Advancement to candidacy gives a student permission to proceed toward qualifying for the degree. Requirements for advancement to candidacy include the following:

  1. Classified graduate standing
  2. If a student is not classified by the semester in which a minimum of ten units to be used toward the master’s degree is completed, then not more than ten units (including transfer and post-baccalaureate credit) completed before achieving full classified standing at California State University, Fresno, may be listed on the Petition for Advancement to Candidacy. Work taken during the semester of classification is considered to be completed in classified standing and may be listed on the Petition for Advancement to Candidacy. (Master in Science Info Sheet.doc Revised September, 2011)
  3. Completion of any additional prerequisites which the adviser specifies in writing.
  4. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (both overall and at California State University, Fresno) on all upper division and graduate course work from the date of embarking on the first course of the proposed master’s degree program.
  5. Completion of core courses.
  6. Submission to the Office of the Dean, Division of Graduate Studies and Research, of the properly signed petition for advancement to candidacy.
  7. Advancement to candidacy must be attained no later than the semester (or summer) preceding the semester (or summer) in which the student applies for, and is granted, the master’s degree, and prior to the semester in which they register for the culminating course (CRIM 298 or 299) or plan to take the comprehensive examination. The student is responsible for adhering to deadlines established by the Graduate Division for the submission of Advancement forms. Approximate deadlines are: October 1 (spring) and March 1 (fall). Students may not expect to be advanced to candidacy and to graduate in the same semester. (This does not apply to students who plan to complete the degree within one academic year.)
  8. In keeping with the University Writing Skills Requirement, all graduate students must demonstrate their competence with regard to writing skills prior to advancement to candidacy. This is met by passing the writing component of CRIM 200.
  9. All required work must be completed within five years of the first course work.

Completion of Required Course Work

Under the direction of a graduate adviser, each student prepares and submits a coherent program individually designed within the following framework:

Required courses in Criminology 200 level (see specific requirements) 15 units

Electives in criminology or related areas 200 level 15 units

At least 21 units must be California State University, Fresno resident credit, excluding credit by examination and 300 level course work

TOTAL: 30 units

Specific Requirements

Thesis or Project Program: CRIM 200 (Research Methods in Criminology), 201 (Advanced Criminological Theory), 202 (Law and the Criminal Justice System), 203 (Criminal Justice Systems), 204 (Quantitative Methods and Analysis), and 298 (Project) or 299 (Thesis).

Non-Thesis Program: CRIM 200 (Research Methods in Criminology), 201 (Advanced Criminological Theory), 202 (Law and the Criminal Justice System), 203 (Criminal Justice Systems), 204 (Quantitative Methods and Analysis), 295 (Controversial Issues in Crime, Criminology and Law), and successful completion of the comprehensive examination.

  1. Project or Thesis
    • Recommended for those who intend to continue graduate education.
  2. Must have been advanced to candidacy.
  3. Complete core courses: CRIM 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, and 15 additional units of 200 level courses (total 27 units).
  4. Complete 298 Project (3 units) or 299 Thesis (3 units). Prepare, complete, and submit an acceptable project or thesis for the Master of Science degree.

Committee assignment:

  • Project (298) students will be assigned a committee of at least two Department of Criminology graduate faculty.
  • Thesis (299) students select a three-person committee, two of whom must be Department of Criminology faculty. After approval, the Chairman of the Graduate Committee will contact the faculty involved and if everyone is in agreement, assign the committee as requested.
  • Must meet all conditions as required by committee chair (Project 298 or Thesis 299)

Comprehensive Examination

  • Recommended for those who do not plan graduate education beyond the M.S. degree.
  • Must have been advanced to candidacy.
  • Complete core courses: CRIM 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 295 (total 18 units).
  • Successfully complete a comprehensive examination which is usually scheduled at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Exact time and date will be announced well in advance of the examination.

The above summarizes the major requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Criminology. Please refer to the California State University general catalog and the Division of Graduate Studies for more detailed information on program requirements and restrictions.