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Criminal Justice alum working at the capital.

Criminal Justice, M.S.

GVSU criminal justice students focus on the criminal justice system (police, courts, corrections) as well as crime, its victims, and responses to crime and violent behavior. Course curriculum is grounded in the traditional humanities and the social sciences, and includes a theoretical analysis of criminal behavior. Although they are schooled in the practical knowledge and skills they will need in the profession, students also receive thorough preparation in the arts and sciences.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The Master of Science in criminal justice (M.S.) degree is designed to prepare students to become highly ethical and capable leaders, specialists, and scholars, with an advanced and practical knowledge in criminology and criminal justice to prepare them for future work in their careers, classrooms, and/or communities.

The program is designed for both those looking to work in the criminal justice field, as well as those planning to pursue a Ph.D. in the social sciences.

Why Study Criminal Justice at Grand Valley?

  • Faculty members, who are nationally recognized for contributions in the discipline, have a unique combination of practical experience in the criminal justice system and an extensive record of scholarship.
  • The graduate program is more than just an extension of the undergraduate degree. Students will learn to be a master of the discipline and have opportunities to network with faculty and other professionals in the field.
  • Class sizes are small and there are many opportunities for students to work one-on-one with professors through graduate assistantships.
  • The innovative curriculum's blend of criminal justice theory and professional practice hones skills that can be applied right away.
  • The curriculum also prepares doctoral-seeking students with appropriate theoretical, research, analytical, and critical interpretation skills.

Career Insights

This tool shows an overview of potential career opportunities for this major. Actual salaries, employment opportunities, and job titles may change over time.

Location & Format

Classes for this program meet downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Some courses available online.



Students study a variety of criminal justice topics, including:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal justice policy
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Research methodology and statistics
  • Victimology
  • Contemporary issues in criminal justice

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The recommended deadline for fall semester start is June 1; recommended deadline for winter is November 1. Applications received past the deadline may still be reviewed in time for the start of the subsequent semester, but enrollment cannot be guaranteed. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to GVSU.

Admission Requirements

For general requirements for graduate admission, visit Grand Valley State University’s admission section of the online catalog.

Admission into the criminal justice program has additional requirements, which are available on this page.

If you have additional questions, please contact our graduate admissions office.

For More Information

School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies
289C Richard M. DeVos Center
(616) 331-7130

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director


John Walsh, Ph.D.
(616) 331-7131