This is an archived copy of the 2019-2020 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

The MA in Criminology, Law and Society prepares students to conduct high-quality scientific research in the criminal justice field. Students learn cutting-edge social science methods and data analysis skills for advancing knowledge in the social sciences and for making a difference in the development and evaluation of justice policies and practices. The MA in Criminology, Law and Society prepares students to pursue advanced graduate studies at the doctoral level or for positions that require rigorous research skills.

For a related program, see Criminology, Law and Society, PhD


Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Admission section of this catalog. For information specific to the MA in criminology, law and society, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental web site.


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

Transfer Credits

Students who have prior graduate course work 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 the Academic Policies section of this catalog.

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 MA degree be reduced by a maximum of 12 credits with approval of the graduate director and dean and in accordance with the Graduate Policies section of this catalog.

Satisfactory Progress

Each new student is assigned a faculty advisor who helps develop a program of study. The advisor and faculty assess the progress of all students annually. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress may be terminated from the program. Satisfactory progress in the MA in criminology, law and society 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-MA-CLS

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Required Coursework

Core Courses

CRIM 700Values, Ethics, and Criminal Justice Policy3
CRIM 710Criminological Theory3
CRIM 720Law and Social Science3
CRIM 740Justice Organizations3
CRIM 760Evidence-Based Crime Policy3
Total Credits15

Analytical Methods Courses

CRIM 780Research Methods3
CRIM 782Statistics I3
CRIM 783Statistics II3
Total Credits9


Students must apply 6 credits of thesis to the degree. A thesis proposal must be submitted to the graduate director prior to registering for thesis credits. The master's thesis must be defended orally before a committee of three faculty appointed by the graduate director. 

Students must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in CRIM 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment as specified in Academic Policies.

CRIM 799Master's Thesis6