Skip Navigation
search: People | Departments | Penn State | Web
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Criminal Justice (CRIMJ)

Program Home Page

Shaun Gabbidon, Program Chair
Penn State Harrisburg
777 W. Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057-4898

717-948-6322 (administrative assistant)
717-948-6484 (fax)

Degree Conferred:



The Graduate Faculty


The Program

The program reflects the numerous complexities of the discipline. It provides academic leadership for students to work within corrections, institutionalized and non-institutionalized settings, victim services, adult and juvenile services, policing and law enforcement, private security, courts, and other human service organizations serving the clients of these institutions. It also helps develop research acumen for those students who may wish to consider doctoral studies.

Strong ties developed in state, local, and federal level law enforcement, corrections, drug treatment, victimization, and crime control policy organizations provide research and learning opportunities for interested students.

The degree may be earned by full or part-time study. Most courses will be offered in the evening, although some will be offered during the day or on weekends.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

  • A completed Graduate School application for admission with the application fee.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A brief (two-page) statement of purpose or a writing sample.
  • Minimum GPA of a 3.0 for the last 60 credits of undergraduate study. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), or Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) are required if the GPA is less than 3.0. Note: All students who seek funding must take one of these standardized tests, preferably the GRE.
  • The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. Consult the English Proficiency section of the Graduate Bulletin Application and Admission Procedures page for more information.
  • Some foundational course work may be required for those students who did not major in criminal justice as an undergraduate. This decision will be made by the MACJ Program Coordinator after a close review of the undergraduate transcript.
  • In exceptional cases, the program may also approve admission by reason of special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

  1. The thesis track requires 30 credits. Six of the credits (CRIMJ 600) will be for the thesis.
  2. The master's paper track requires 30 credits. Three of these credits will be awarded for successful completion of a master's paper, for which a student will register for three credits of CRIMJ 594.
  3. All credits must be at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level, with a minimum of 18 credits at the 500 or 600 level. A minimum of 24 credits must be at the 500, 600, or 800 level.
  4. A minimum grade-point average of a 3.0 must be earned for course work taken as a graduate student.
  5. Students are required to take the following courses: CRIMJ 500, CRIMJ 501, CRIMJ 502, CRIMJ 503, and CRIMJ 504.
  6. Students must complete a 9 credit concentration. Students in the non-thesis track will also be required to complete an additional 3-credit elective. A list of courses required for each concentration and additional approved elective courses is maintained by the graduate program office.
  7. Students who believe they have completed a course substantially similar to one of the specific course requirements may apply to have their previous work evaluated for the purposes of exemption to that requirement. If approved, another course will be taken in place of that requirement.
  8. A maximum of 10 credits of completed graduate work may be transferred in from another accredited institution, subject to restrictions outlined in the Transfer Courses section of the Graduate Bulletin.


Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Student Aid section of the Graduate Bulletin. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.



Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 45-04-000

Review Date: 1/10/17

Faculty linked: 8/14/14

Contact info updated: 1/24/17


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Graduate Course Descriptions
  2. Graduate Programs
  3. Doctoral Degree Requirements
  4. Master's Degree Requirements
  5. Application and Admission Procedures
  6. Credit Certificate Programs
  7. General Information
  8. Tuition and Cost
  9. Intercollege
  10. Academic Information and Procedures
Skip PDF and Print Options

Print Options