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LAKERS TOGETHERGrand Valley is preparing for successful learning experiences when classes resume on Aug. 31. Learn more about the plan for fall in this handbook.



Criminal Justice, M.S.

Students focus on crime and criminal justice administration from viewpoints grounded in the traditional humanities and the social sciences. Students receive thorough preparation in the arts and sciences as well as the practical knowledge and skills they will need in the criminal justice profession.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Median Annual Wage

Source: EMSI, 2020

Program Overview

The Master of Science in criminal justice (M.S.) degree is designed to prepare students to become highly capable criminal justice leaders, planners, practitioners and academicians who will continually improve the criminal justice system and profession.

The program is also designed to prepare those students who are planning to pursue doctoral degrees.

Why Study Criminal Justice at Grand Valley?

  • Faculty have practical experience, diverse specialties, strong academic credentials, and a vast knowledge of the criminal justice system.
  • Students receive a challenging, enriching, and applied academic experience.
  • Class sizes are small, students in the program come from various backgrounds, and there are numerous opportunities for students to work one-on-one with professors through graduate assistantships.

Location & Format

Classes for graduate students in this major meet downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

  • Face To Face


Students study a variety of criminal justice topics, including:

  • Criminology
  • Criminal justice leadership
  • Criminal justice policy
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Research methodology and statistics

Career Options

Graduates find employment in a variety of professions, including:

  • Law enforcement
  • Court administration
  • Correctional administration
  • Juvenile justice
  • Probation and parole
  • Private security
  • Social services
  • Public administration

Skills Employers Want

The M.S. in Criminal Justice degree at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings in the criminal justice field.

  • Law Enforcement
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Search Warrant
  • Auditing
  • Community Policing
  • Public Administration
  • Case Management
  • Enforcement

Source: EMSI, 2020

Application Deadline

Deadline for fall semester is May 1; winter deadline is November 1. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale calculated from the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  • Three letters of recommendation (at least two are from current or former professors).
  • A personal statement essay detailing academic preparation, background experiences and professional, educational and career goals for entry into a master's program in criminal justice, and any special topic areas that you would like to pursue at the master's level.
  • The Graduate Committee reserves the right to require additional information it deems appropriate, including GRE test scores and writing samples. The committee may also require applicants to appear for an oral interview. The decisions of the Graduate Committee are final.
  • Students who have not earned a degree in criminal justice or criminology may be required to take undergraduate criminal justice courses at the discretion of the MCJ graduate program director. Approved courses such as, introduction to criminal justice, criminology, research methods, and statistics are highly recommended.
  • Applications for fall admission should be received by May 1; winter admission applications should be received by November 1.

For More Information

School of Criminal Justice
289C Richard M. DeVos Center
(616) 331-7130

Graduate Admissions Office



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