Program Requirements

The College of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers Master of Science (MS) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees.

Master of Science

The general requirement for the MS degree includes 33 hours of coursework. Of these, at least 24 hours must be taken within the College, and 21 of the 24 hours must be graded (not S/U). Students must earn at least a B (3.0) in each of the five required courses, or they must be repeated, if they wish to continue on to the Ph.D. program. They also must earn a “C” or better in required courses at the M.S. level as long as the overall GPA is at least a 3.0 for their master’s level work in order to graduate.

Master of Arts

The MA degree includes the same credit and grade point average requirements as the Master of Science. However, these students must complete 6 semester hours in humanities courses (non-CCJ elective courses). They must also demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language, which may be accomplished in any of the following ways:

  • Four years of a single language in high school
  • 12 semester hours of a single foreign language in a college or university with an earned average of 3.0 in those courses
  • Satisfactory performance on the Graduate School Foreign Language Test
  • Certification of proficiency by the appropriate FSU language department core, criminology electives, administration electives, internship, professional paper, and general electives. Those interested in learning more about this option should contact the College’s graduate coordinator.

Degree Tracks

There are two regular degree tracks or options of study within the Criminology and Criminal Justice MA or MS degree programs: a course work only option and a thesis option.

1. Course Work Only Option: The course work only option requires the completion of 33 credits of course work. Students may select to complete 33 hours of course work only or may choose to complete 27 credit hours of coursework along with 6 area paper credit hours or may choose to complete 24 credit hours with a 9 credit hour graduate internship. Students completing the area paper option are required to nominate a master’s directive committee, consisting of a major professor and two other faculty members. The committee supervises the preparation of the paper and must approve the paper’s format, though it need not conform to the University’s formal thesis guidelines. An oral defense of the paper is not a College requirement, though the student’s committee may request it.

Note: Students choosing the course work only or internship options who later decide to continue their studies may be admitted to the Ph.D. program after they have completed the thesis or area paper. The paper must be completed prior to the first semester of study.

2. Thesis Option: The thesis option requires the successful completion of 24 semester hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis credits. Unlike either of the other options, the minimum requirement for the thesis track is 30 credits. Students choosing to complete a thesis must identify a major professor and supervisory committee. This option requires an oral thesis defense and thesis submission in a University approved format.

General Requirements

The master’s degree is granted to those students who accomplish the following:

  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater in their master’s coursework
  • Earn a grade of ‘C’ or better in all core classes
  • Complete 30-33* hours of coursework with at least 24 hours in criminology and criminal justice, including 21 graded hours
  • Complete an area paper or thesis unless declared as a terminal masters student following a coursework-only degree track
  • Complete all requirements within seven years of initial enrollment (including transfer work)

Course Requirements

  • CCJ 5109 Theory in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • CCJ 5285 Survey of Criminal Justice Studies
  • CCJ 5606 Survey of Criminological Theories
  • CCJ 5705 Research Methods I
  • CCJ 5706 Statistics I
  • A total of at least 9 CCJ elective hours
  • 6-9 hours of classes in CCJ or in other departments

The University does not allow more than six credits to be transferred in from another graduate institution.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval Policy

Students are reminded to seek IRB approval prior to commencing any research involving human subjects. The student’s name must appear on the approval form as a PI or co-PI for the period of time when the student’s research was conducted. Failure to obtain the required approvals may result in the dissertation being permanently embargoes and unpublishable in any form.

University Time Limits for Degree Completion

Florida State University requires that work toward the master’s degree be completed within seven years of one’s initial enrollment. Any work transferred from another school is included in the seven-year rule.