M.S. Justice Studies (Program Requirements)


The Department of Justice Studies at San José State University, California, offers a full-time two-year or part-time three-year Master's program drawing upon criminology, criminal justice, sociology, political science, psychology, law, and history.

Areas of teaching and research in the Department include criminal justice & criminology; policing; law & society; human rights; policy evaluation; juvenile justice; immigration; punishment & society; race theory; history; forensic science.

The Master's program, with its emphasis on theory, history, policy evaluation, research and comparative analysis, prepares students for careers in criminal justice administration, public institutions, grassroots community organizations and nonprofit agencies, as well as for doctoral programs and research positions in public agencies.


At the end of a Master’s degree program in the Department of Justice Studies, students should be able to:

  1. Express a level of academic preparation that enables them to pursue advanced postgraduate degrees in justice-related areas.
  2. Employ interdisciplinary perspectives on systems of inequality and concepts of justice that will enable them to  develop research-informed solutions to contemporary social problems.
  3. Engage in transformative social praxis (action informed by theory, theory revised by action and experience) within local communities, organizations, and institutions
  4. Articulate scholarly-grounded perspectives on issues of justice through academic, professional and social media.
  5. Become actors of social change through a critical understanding of the local and global dimensions of social injustice.


The curriculum addresses a broad range of issues in the fields of Criminology, History, Social Justice, Criminal Justice, and Human Rights. Students in our program can choose one of two tracks:

  1. The Pre-Doctoral Track is designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D., and requires the completion of a thesis.
  2. The Professional/Policy Track is designed for students interested in working directly with public and private justice-related agencies, and culminates with a Master’s Internship and Evaluation Project.

Each option requires 36 units of coursework in a broad range of disciplinary areas. The program can be completed in 2 years attending full time, but must be completed within 7 years.


To be admitted to candidacy for the Master of Science degree in Justice Studies, students must meet the general university requirements for admission to candidacy outlined in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog. The University requires that all graduate students demonstrate competency in written English as a condition for advancement to candidacy. Please refer to the SJSU catalog section titled "Competency in Written English" for details. For graduate courses that meet the competency in written English requirement, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website atwww.sjsu.edu/gape. In addition, the following departmental requirements apply:

1. A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better, and

2. Completion of completion of 9 units of credit of core classes (JS 201, JS 202, JS 203, JS 204, JS 207, and JS 211) with a grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better, and

3. Obtain an approved Master's Degree Program from the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research done in consultation with the department's graduate coordinator.

As soon as admitted to classified standing, demonstrated "Competency in Written English" and having completed 12 units of graduate study the student should meet with the department's graduate coordinator to draft an approved program. This program must identify thirty-six (36) units of course work as outlined in the following list of course requirements.

Course Requirements

Core Courses


36 Total Units

18 Units

JS 201, Justice and Social Theory 3  
JS 202, Survey of Research Methods 3  
JS 203, Seminar in Applied Statistics in Justice 3  
JS 204, Justice Organizations, Ethics & Change 3  
JS 207, Seminar in Qualitative Research Methods 3  
JS 211, Historical Issues in Justice Studies 3  

Elective Courses


15 or 12 Units

JS 205, Seminar in Law and Courts 3  
JS 206, Seminar in Juvenile Justice 3  
JS 208, Seminar: Punishment & Society 3  
JS 209, Seminar in Police and Social Control 3  
JS 212, Local & Global Perspectives on Human Rights 3  
JS 214, Seminar: Social Movement, Community Organizing, and Social Justice 3  
JS 218, Seminar: Immigration, Law & Justice 3  
JS 220, Seminar: Criminological Theory 3  
JS 221, Seminar: Deviance & Social Control 3  
JS 222, Seminar: Penal Policies & Justice 3  
JS 223, Seminar: Comparative Criminology & Criminal Justice 3  
JS 281, Justice Practicum 3  
JS 288, Seminar in Special Topics 3  
JS 298, Special Study 3  

Culminating Experience


3 or 6 Units

Plan A (with Thesis): JS 299, Master's Thesis

Plan B (without Thesis): JS 297, Program Evaluation Project