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Frequently Asked Questions
Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Master of Science in Criminal Justice Home
Current Graduate Catalog
Graduate Admission and Program FAQs
Does the Graduate School accept photocopies, unsealed, or unofficial copies of transcripts?
A: No! The Graduate School can only accept officially sealed or electronic copies of transcripts.
Does the Graduate School require transcripts from all colleges or universities I attended?
A: Yes. Students must submit one official transcript from every institution previously attended including official transcripts from Clayton State University.
Q: What is the GRE?
A: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test widely used by graduate programs to assess a student’s readiness for graduate-level work. Please visit
for more information about the GRE.
Q: Is the GRE required?
A: Yes! The GRE is required for all students applying to the Master's program. Students may be considered for a GRE waiver only if they: (a) received a master's degree from a regionally accredited US institution or (b) have extensive practical experience in a criminal justice or related field.
Q: Is there a minimum GRE score students must meet to be admitted into the program?
There is no minimum GRE requirement for needed for admission into the Master’s program. However, a competitive GRE score is a cumulative (verbal and quantitative) 900-1000 points on the prior GRE (pre-2012) test and a cumulative score between 280-302 points on the current version of the GRE (post-2012).
Q: Is there a minimum GPA students must meet to be admitted into the program?
A: Yes. Students must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.9 or better
Will I still be considered for admission if I do not meet the minimum GPA requirement?
A: Yes. The faculty committee will review a student's GPA among their major related courses (primarily last two years of their undergraduate degree). Particular attention will be given to grades earned in undergraduate courses like Research Methods; Criminological Theory; and Senior Seminars or Practicums.
How are admissions decisions made?
A: The faculty committee utilizes a holistic approach when it comes to evaluating a student’s merit and preparedness for graduate school. Specifically, the committee with strongly consider a student’s GRE scores, overall GPA, GPA in major related courses, letters of recommendation that articulate a student’s academic strengths, writing samples, work experience, professional activities, and personal narrative statement. Overall, the committee is looking for evidence that a student possess the knowledge and determination needed to successfully complete the program and earn their Master’s degree.
Can I be admitted on probationary basis?
A: Yes. Students that do not meet the minimum GPA requirements, have lower than average GRE scores, weak writing samples, and so forth can be granted admission on a provisional basis. However, students with provisional status must earn a grade of B or better in all courses during their first two semesters, otherwise they will be subject to dismissal from the program.
Q: Does the program accept graduate credit from another institution?
A: Yes. The Director of the Master’s program can evaluate and approve graduate courses taken at another regionally accredited institution. However, the program
accept courses over five years old. In addition, only 6 credit hours (2 classes) of graduate classes can be accepted.
Q: Does the program require comprehensive exams to graduate?
A: Yes! All Master’s students must pass comprehensive exams in three content areas including (a) theory, (b) research methods, and (c) contemporary issues in criminal justice.
Q: Are students required to conduct a research project or thesis?
A: Yes! The Master’s program requires students to complete a capstone experience related to their area of concentration. Students in the Administration of Justice track must complete a research project or program evaluation analysis, while students pursuing the Criminology, Law, and Society concentration will be required to write a thesis research paper.
Q: How long does it take to complete the Criminal Justice Master’s program?
A: Students must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours within a six year period to earn their Master’s degree. Students are required to take 14 credit hours (6 classes) of core foundational classes, 12 credit hours (4 classes) of concentration specific courses (Administration of Justice
Criminology, Law, and Society concentration), 3 credit hours (1 class) of elective courses, and 4 to 6 hours of capstone coursework. For students in the Administration of Justice track, the capstone coursework consists of a program or policy evaluation proposal, while students within the Criminology, Law, and Society concentration will complete a research thesis for their capstone experience.
Q: What happens if I do not finish in six years?
A: Students who fail to earn their Master’s degree within six years must reapply for admission into the program and be admitted as a new student. In addition, students who fail to take any 5000-level or above course for two consecutive semester will be considered withdrawn from the program.
Q: Are students required to maintain a certain GPA while in the program?
A: In order to remain in good academic standing, and in order to complete the MSCJ program, an overall GPA of 3.0 (B) is required. Please be aware that only six credit hours (2 classes) of C (2.0 GPA) course grades can be accepted for credit towards completion of your MSCJ degree. Students are considered academically ineligible to continue in the MSCJ program if any of the following occur:
Grades of F, WF, or W are received in any two courses
• Grades of C or lower are received in 9 semester hours
• A grade of F is received in combination with 6 semester hours of C grades