Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminology
The Master of Science degree in Criminology is a 30-unit, flexible program which provides a solid core in the field of Criminology while permitting students to pursue specialized areas of interest. The program is designed to prepare students for service and responsible administrative and professional positions in agencies in the criminal justice system. The program also prepares students for a wide variety of occupations including in-service education; administrative education and management; community college teaching; pre-doctoral studies; and research. Since offering our first graduate criminology course in 1957, the master's program has become the most comprehensive master's program in the discipline between Sacramento and Los Angeles. It is an advanced program that now draws students from all over the United States.
For more information regarding our graduate program, please contact our graduate program coordinator, Dr. Jordan Pickering.
Interested in learning more about the requirements to earn a graduate degree in Criminology from Fresno State? Please visit our "Prospective Students" page to read about our degree requirements.
The Department of Criminology admits new graduate students during the fall of each academic year. To apply for Fall 2024 admission, applicants will need to submit all of their application materials via Cal State Apply by April 1, 2024.
To be considered for admission to the graduate program in the Department of Criminology at California State University, Fresno, applicants must:
- Have earned 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
Complete the application for graduate study in criminology (which is part of the online application via Cal State Apply)
- Submit three academic/professional letters of recommendation (to be completed via Cal State Apply). At least two of the three letters of recommendations must be provided by academicians (e.g., college professors or instructors) who can speak directly to your academic capabilities at the college level
- Submit a statement of purpose
- This is a typed statement of about 500-750 words explaining your reasons for wanting to pursue a master's degree in Criminology and the benefits you expect to derive from your graduate studies
To learn more about the admissions process and requirements, please visit our admissions page.
Our graduate students have the opportunity to learn from, and work along side of, our faculty members. The Department of Criminology is proud to have a large faculty, all with varying and diverse research interests.
Would you like to learn more about our graduate program? Do you have questions about the program, requirements, admissions, etc.? If so, consider attending one of the virtual information sessions hosted by our program coordinator, Dr. Pickering.
- Wednesday, December 6th from 5pm-6pm PST
- Please email Dr. Pickering to request the Zoom link for this virtual session (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Dates and times for these virtual sessions will be posted once they have been scheduled
Are you eligible to advance to candidacy? When should you apply for graduation? What are the thesis deadlines for the semester?
Important dates for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 are below:
- The last day to apply to advance to candidacy to graduate in Spring 2024 is September 11, 2023
- Students planning to graduate in Fall 2023 must file for graduation by September 1, 2023
- Students planning to complete their thesis in Fall 2023 must have passed their oral defense and submit and the final, committee-approved version of their thesis to DRGS by November 3, 2023
- Students planning to graduate in Spring 2024 must file for graduation by February 2, 2024
- Students planning to complete their thesis in Spring 2024 must have passed their oral defense and submit and the final, committee-approved version of their thesis to DRGS by April 2, 2024
The Department of Criminology offers required and elective courses each semester. Our required courses are on a set Fall/Spring semester schedule, while our graduate elective courses vary depending on faculty availability and students' interests.
Fall 2023 Course Offerings:
- CRIM 200: Research Methods in Criminology
- CRIM 201: Advanced Criminological Theory
- CRIM 203: Criminal Justice Systems
- CRIM 270T: Punishment & Corrections
- CRIM 295: Controversial Issues in Crime, Criminology, & Law
[Tentative] Spring 2024 Course Offerings:
- CRIM 202: Law & the Criminal Justice System
- CRIM 204: Quantitative Methods & Analysis
- CRIM 270T: Psychology & the Criminal Justice System
- CRIM 275: Victimology & Social Change
Candidates for the Master of Science degree in Criminology will meet the university’s requirement for demonstrating graduate-level competence in written English by satisfactorily preparing and completing a scholarly research paper related to the area of criminology. This paper will be completed as part of the course requirements for CRIM 200 (Research Methods in Criminology). Writing competency will be assessed using a four-point (4.0) scoring scale. To demonstrate competency, the student must score a three (3.0) or higher in each of three areas:
- Style and format
- Content and organization
Students’ research papers will then be evaluated by graduate faculty. Inability to demonstrate competence will necessitate remediation, which may require (but is not limited to): additional coursework, experiences in the Writing Center, tutoring and/or independent study. The student must demonstrate writing competence to be advanced to candidacy.
Students can read more about our department's graduate writing requirement, as well as access the grading rubric for the requirement, in the graduate program handbook:
Soon after graduate students attain “classified graduate standing,” they should plan to achieve advancement to candidacy. This is a critical step in the graduate degree process, as it establishes an official list of coursework to be used toward the completion of the degree. The program of study will be reviewed and approved by both the Department of Criminology and the dean of the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. Once a student has been advanced to candidacy, he or she has official permission to proceed toward qualifying for their master’s degree.
To advance to candidacy, graduate students must meet the following criteria:
- Achieve classified graduate standing
- Complete at least 9 units at Fresno State in the graduate program in Criminology and be in good standing
- Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all coursework on their advancement to candidacy petition
- Pass the graduate writing requirement for the Criminology program
Students who are eligible to advance to candidacy are encouraged to meet with Dr. Pickering in order to complete the necessary paperwork.
Please visit the Division of Research and Graduate Studies webpage to learn more about this process and to access the advancement to candidacy form:
When graduate students are nearing the completion of their degree requirements, it is their responsibility to adhere to the university's graduation application deadlines. These deadlines vary each semester. As such, graduate students are encouraged to monitor their email accounts for relevant information pertaining to graduation distributed by the Division of Research and Graduate Studies.
Please visit their website to find out more about graduation deadlines and how to file for graduation with the university:
In addition to the Department of Criminology, graduate students have access to a variety of resources across campus. Below are links to a few campus resources that can be utilized by our graduate students at Fresno State:
Contact the Graduate Coordinator
Dr. Jordan Pickering
Department of Criminology:
Attn: Graduate Program
2576 E. San Ramon Ave, M/S ST104
Fresno, CA 93740-8039
Academic year: 8:00am-5:00pm
Closed for lunch: 12:00pm-1:00pm