The Master of Science in Criminal Justice at Grand Valley

Grand Valley State University's Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice is offered through the School of Criminal Justice in the College of Community and Public Service. The program prepares graduate students to become highly capable additions to the justice system, and is designed to prepare those students who are planning to pursue doctoral degrees.

The Master of Criminal Justice degree program includes 18 hours of required courses, 15-18 hours of guided electives, and an option to choose between a comprehensive exam and a six-hour thesis requirement. In addition, those without work experience in criminal justice or private security are strongly encouraged to take a three-hour graduate internship course.

Why Study Criminal Justice at Grand Valley?

Leaders. Graduates are prepared as highly capable criminal justice leaders, planners, activists, and academicians who continuously improve the criminal justice system and profession.

Interdisciplinary. Courses are designed to meet the needs of scholars, managers and administrators in law enforcement, adult corrections, juvenile justice, and private security.

Comprehensive. The curriculum encompasses applied concepts of ethics, political and social justice, historical analysis of institutions and policy, leadership and management, theories, and research.

Small Class Sizes. 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.

Courses Offered

The Criminal Justice, M.S. program is a minimum of 33-36 credits. Students study a variety of criminal justice topics, including:

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

See the full course list.


The Criminal Justice M.S. application deadlines are May 1 for the Fall semester and November 1 for the Winter semester. The $30 application fee is waived for undergraduate alumni of Grand Valley.

View the Admissions Requirements for Criminal Justice


For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the costs portion of the GVSU Financial Aid website. For financial support, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU Financial Support website.

Note: Grand Valley does not charge a higher tuition rate based on residency. Tuition is based on the program in which you chose to enroll. 

Page last modified July 9, 2018