Criminal Justice (MS)

Our Master of Science degree is designed to produce graduates who have the research skills, theoretical and subject knowledge to obtain professional, managerial and research positions in a variety of justice-related fields and/or to pursue doctoral degrees in criminal justice or criminology. We offer our Master of Science degree program to serve the needs of four primary target audiences:

  • Students with a BS or BA degree seeking to further their education in criminal justice
  • Criminal justice professionals and researchers who wish to advance in their careers
  • Criminal justice and social justice advocates seeking the knowledge and skills to improve the quality of justice in their communities
  • Military personnel who want to enhance their skills and improve their employment marketability

What You Will Learn

Our department provides a variety of graduate courses related to criminology and criminal justice. Our core courses focus on criminal justice systems, criminological thought, statistical applications in criminal justice, and research methods in criminal justice. Students choose elective courses that address topics such as juvenile justice, community policing, prisons, victimology, race & justice, females & justice, criminal justice administration, corporate/government crime, and other important topics. For more information, please contact Dr. Zahra Shekarkhar, Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Criminal Justice (

Career Paths in Criminal Justice 

Having a master's degree in Criminal Justice can lead to meaningful employment and/or promotion in criminal justice and related fields. Our graduates work or seek employment as: victim advocates, law enforcement officers/agents (local, state, federal), instructors in community colleges, probation/parole officers (regional/federal), juvenile detention officers, youth mentors, correctional officers (regional/federal), crime analysts, legal researchers, reentry specialists (assisting residents who return from prison), social justice advocates, and other positions. Graduate students who plan to pursue a doctoral degree elsewhere can choose to write a master's thesis under the guidance of our faculty.

MSCJ Application Deadlines

For Fall semester: June 15

For Spring semester: November 15

For Summer semester: April 15

All application materials must be submitted by the deadlines.

In 2008, I was the first student to graduate from the Master of Science degree program in Criminal Justice at Fayetteville State University. Since the first moment I arrived in the Department of Criminal Justice at FSU, I was met with nothing but energy, enthusiasm, and open arms.
Dr. Radscheda Nobles
Master of Science in Criminal Justice, '08
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The Master of Science degree program in Criminal Justice requires 33-36 semester hours of graduate study in criminal justice. Students may take courses both on-campus and online and may choose among three of the following options for their course of study:

Thesis Option (33 Credit Hours)

Students who choose the Thesis Option complete 12 credit hours of required Criminal Justice courses (CRJC 501, CRJC 521, CRJC 540, and CRJC 550), 15 credit hours of criminal justice graduate elective courses, and 6 credit hours of thesis credit to write and defend the master's thesis (CRJC 698 and CRJC 699). 

Professional Option (33 Credit Hours)

Students who choose the Professional Option complete 12 credit hours of required Criminal Justice courses (CRJC 501, CRJC 521, CRJC 540, and CRJC 550), 18 credit hours of criminal justice graduate elective courses, and a 3-credit graduate capstone course (CRJC 680). 


Here are some of the courses that we offer:

  • Foundations in Criminal Justice Systems
  • Foundations of Criminological Thought
  • Statistics Applications in Criminal Justice
  • Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Race, Crime, and Justice
  • Females, Crime, and Justice
  • Qualitative Methods in Criminal Justice
  • Program Evaluation in Criminal Justice
  • Corporate and Government Crime
  • Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
Admissions Requirements
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • All undergraduate transcripts - official copies to be sent directly from the accredited institution to Fayetteville State University.
  • Two letters of recommendation from previous professors. If an applicant has been out of school for a number of years, letters from work references may be considered, if the reference can speak to an applicant's ability to succeed in a graduate academic program. Exception: Recommendation forms may be used in lieu of letters if: 1) the applicant has earned a bachelor's degree from FSU, and 2) the forms are completed by FSU professors.
  • Personal statement describing the applicant's career goals and how earning a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice will help the applicant achieve those goals.


To find out more about research, please go to each professor's individual page.