Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content


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

Prospective students will need to complete their application to the graduate program online via Cal State Apply. Applicants will be prompted to provide documentation of the admission requirements below through Cal State Apply:

  • 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 
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The Department must receive GRE scores before final admission by the Department can be determined. 
    • NOTE: The Division of Graduate Studies has temporarily suspended the GRE requirement for Fall 2021 admission.
  • 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

For more information about application deadlines, requirements, and the application process, please visit our "How to Apply" webpage.


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.
  • It is suggested that applicants have completed the courses below (or equivalent from another institution) prior to beginning our graduate program:
    • 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.It is suggested that an applicant complete the courses below (or equivalent courses from another institution) prior to beginning our graduate program:

  • It is strongly recommended that applicants have completed an undergraduate-level research methods course (equivalent to CRIM 170 in our undergraduate program) prior to beginning our graduate program
    • CRIM 170: Research Methods Research methodology; use of library resources; electronic resources; preparation and handling of materials in criminology; written report required.

The aforementioned courses are offered by our department, but students may have taken equivalent undergraduate courses at another institution. A meeting with the graduate coordinator is suggested for clarification (if needed). 

Completion Requirements

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

  • Advancement to candidacy
  • Completion of 30 units of course requirements:
    • 15 units from required graduate courses: CRIM 200, CRIM 201, CRIM 202, CRIM 203, CRIM 204
    • 12 units from four graduate elective courses
    • 3 units from one culminating experience option
      • Completion of either: thesis (CRIM 299) project (CRIM 298) or successful completion of the departmental comprehensive examination (CRIM 295)
  • Project (298) students will be superivsed by at least one Department of Criminology graduate faculty member.
  • Thesis (299) students select a three-person committee, two of whom must be Department of Criminology faculty. This committee will consist of one faculty member who will serve as chair, followed by two additional faculty members. After the student has found his or her three committee members, the chair of the student's thesis committee will contact the other two faculty members who have agreed to serve in this capacity and assign the thesis committee as requested.
  • The student must meet all conditions as required by committee chair (Project 298 or Thesis 299)

Comprehensive Examination

  • Recommended for those who do not plan on continuing their graduate education beyond the M.S. degree and/or pursuing an research-focused occupation
  • Prior to completing the comprehesnive exam, students:
    • Must have been advanced to candidacy
    • Must have completed all of the required core courses: CRIM 200, 201, 202, 203, 204 (total of 15 units) and CRIM 295, the required course for this culminating experience option (total of 3 units)
  • The comprehensive examination 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 by the graduate coordiantor.

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

M.S. in criminology resource Links

Advancement to Candidacy

Financial Aid

Graduate Admissions

Graduate Program Handbook (Criminology)

International Students