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The MS in Criminal Justice prepares students to acquire jobs or advance their careers in the field of criminal justice policy and practice. Students receive the scientific foundations and practical insights required to evaluate, select, and implement criminal justice policies and practices that are effective, efficient, and fair. They also learn data analysis skills that equip them with the knowledge required for many policy-oriented and front-line operational positions. Criminal Justice, MS graduates are prepared to be leaders and change agents in the criminal justice field. 


Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For information specific to the MS degree in criminal justice, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental website.


For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Transfer Credits

Students who have prior graduate coursework that has not been applied to another degree may request to have a maximum of 12 of these graduate credits transferred to their degree program, with approval of the graduate director and dean and in accordance with AP .6.5.2 Reduction of Credits.

Reduction of Credits

Students entering the master's program with a previously conferred graduate degree in a related discipline may request that the required credits for the MS degree be reduced by a maximum of 12 credits with approval of the graduate director and dean and in accordance with AP .6.5.3 Transfer of Credit.

Satisfactory Progress

Students who fail to make satisfactory progress may be terminated from the program. Satisfactory progress in the MS in criminal justice is defined as maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.00 with the minimum grade of B- in all courses. Students who receive a grade below B- will receive an academic warning the first time and a letter of termination the second time.

Banner Code: LA-MS-CJUS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Core Courses 

CRIM 511Evidence-based Crime and Justice Policy3
CRIM 512Implementing Crime and Justice Policy3
CRIM 513Leadership in Justice Organizations3
CRIM 514Legal and Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice3
CRIM 515Criminal Justice Research Methods and Data Analysis3
CRIM 516Evaluation of Crime and Justice Policies and Practices3
CRIM 517Research Practicum in Justice Policy and Practice3
Total Credits21


Select three courses from the following:9
Justice Organizations and Processes
Policing in a Democratic Society
The Constitution, Criminal Procedure, and Security
Law and Social Control
Conduct of Justice Organizations at the Street Level
Crime Analysis
Politics of Crime Policy
Crime and Place
Special Topics
Total Credits9

Bachelor's Degree (any)/Criminal Justice, Accelerated MS


The accelerated M.S. in Criminal Justice is designed for high achieving undergraduate students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in any field and who also wish to obtain a master's of science in criminal justice. Students can earn both degrees with a total of 144 credits rather than the usual 150 credits, and in as few as five years. Students gain enhanced knowledge and skills in the criminal justice field for career development or to help prepare for competitive, sought-after positions. The program takes advantage of the university's proximity to many justice organizations at the federal, state, and local levels in the capital region. The curriculum is designed to give students the skills to work with justice and security agencies in the region. For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.  

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For information specific to this degree, see the departmental website. 

Accelerated Option Requirements

Students who have been accepted into the accelerated master's program can take up to 6 graduate credits (any course except CRIM 517 Research Practicum in Justice Policy and Practice) while still in undergraduate status and those credits will be applied to both degrees (BA or BS and MS), as long as they get at least a minimum grade of B in each course. Once admitted to the accelerated master's pathway, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 in all course work. Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, they submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form and are admitted to graduate status. 

As graduate students, accelerated master's students have an advanced standing. They must meet all master's degree requirements, except the two courses (6 credits) they completed as undergraduates. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Reserve Graduate Credit

Students can take an additional 6 credits of graduate courses while still undergraduates, and those credits will be applied only to the master's degree (reserve credits). To apply these credits to the master's degree, students should use the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form.

The ability to take courses for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department.  Permission is normally granted only to qualified Mason seniors within 15 hours of graduation. See AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.