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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.


Additional Information

  • 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.

Completion Requirements

For the M.S. in Criminology degree, you must complete the following:

    • 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.

  • 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.