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Criminal Justice, M.S. Impact

Criminal Justice, M.S.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice program focuses on the criminal justice system, its organizational components and processes and its legal and public policy contexts.

The program includes instruction in criminal law and policy, police and correctional systems organization, the administration of justice and the judiciary, and public attitudes regarding a wide range of criminal justice issues. The program provides students with advanced theoretical, legal, and methodological training for applied, research, teaching, management and administrative careers in local, state, and federal agencies. Many students choose to pursue graduate education while working in the field. Others choose to pursue doctoral study following graduation. Some students enter the graduate program immediately following the completion of a baccalaureate degree, while others come back after being out of school for many years. This creates a diverse cohort of motivated individuals who support and assist one another through interactive online education. Graduates and current students have worked for state and federal agencies as probation and parole officers, in corrections, in law enforcement and for organizations like the National White Collar Crime Center and Fusion Center. 

Criminal Justice graduate students will learn about:

  • Criminal law and policy
  • Police and correctional systems organization
  • Administration of justice and the judiciary system
  • Public attitudes regarding criminal justice issues

Our faculty members in the Criminal Justice graduate degree program are as diverse as our students in their experiences.  They’ve worked in federal and state agencies.  They also have strong ties to local, state and national personnel and organizations.

Courses now offered in 8-week sessions! To further accommodate the unique needs of adult learners, the MS in CJ program now offers 8-week sessions, allowing students to focus on only one or two courses at a time in manageable short-term sessions. During each fall and spring term, there will be one required course offered in each of the two 8-week sessions. Electives will also be offered in each 8-week session. Theses and Capstone courses span the entire semester. Elective courses are also offered in convenient, 5-week summer terms. 

Career Opportunities

Graduates and current students have worked for state and federal agencies as probation and parole officers, in corrections, in law enforcement and for organizations like the National White Collar Crime Center and Fusion Center.  Career opportunities for Example

  • Global intelligence
  • Forensics
  • Legal research
  • Corrections

Choose Your Track

The thesis track will involve the 18 required hours, six hours of elective classes, and six hours of thesis work. Students interested in the thesis track must get approval from the program director and have a committee in place prior to registering for thesis courses.

  • 18 Hours - Required Courses
  • 6 Hours - Elective Courses
  • Thesis I and Thesis II

The Capstone Track will involve the 18 required hours, nine hours of elective classes, and the Capstone Course.

  • 18 Hours - Required Courses
  • 9 Hours - Elective Courses
  • 3 Hours - Capstone Course

Contact Info

Dr. Jeri Kirby

Graduate Director of the College of Liberal Arts

 110A Hardway Hall


2020 Most Affordable Online Colleges Master's - Criminal Justice Online U

Admissions & Program Requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements to a master's program at Fairmont State University students applying to the master’s program in criminal justice must meet the following requirements:

  • Unconditional admission:
    • Possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
    • GPA of 3.00 or higher – includes all transcripts from all previous degrees and matriculation
    • Complete a writing sample:
      • An approximately 5-10 page paper that demonstrates strong writing skills. Such as an undergraduate capstone project or research paper.
      • OR if the applicant does not have a past paper the following topics should be used
        • Why the applicant is interested in earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree,
        • What the applicant’s career and field experiences have been thus far, and
        • What the applicant believes to be the most important issue in criminal justice today.
      • This paper needs to be submitted in APA format and the last section should include peer reviewed resources from empirical/scholarly literature. The writing sample has replaced the use of the GRE for the criminal justice program; GRE scores are not required for admission to the MS in CJ program. If you have any questions regarding the writing sample please contact the graduate director.
    • It is strongly recommended that students applying to the MS in CJ program take undergraduate research methods and statistics courses.
    • Submit two letters of recommendation – at least one of which must be from someone unaffiliated with Fairmont State University. (e.g, current or former work supervisors, those who can speak to your character and ability to manage graduate level study).
    • Provisional Admission may be granted for students who do not meet a portion of the admission requirements. For example, if a student graduated with a 3.0 GPA but had not taken statistics, this could be taken concurrently with graduate enrollment within the first 9 hours of graduate study.

Continuation in a program of study for provisionally admitted students will be determined based on performance in the first 9 credit hours.  Provisionally admitted students must hold a minimum grade point average of 3.0 with no grade lower than “B” in any graduate course.  Provisionally admitted students may not have a grade of “I” or “W” in the first 9 credit hours.