An MA Degree in Criminology is offered in a joint program by the Sociology Department and the Forensic Sciences Department at GWU. The program is unique in combining training in traditional criminology, criminal justice, and forensic sciences.

The MA in Criminology is an academic program, weighted toward traditional criminology (with some forensic science training as well), and is not intended to train practitioners who wish to work in criminal justice or security agencies. Students interested in pursuing an MA in forensic sciences fields (e.g., traditional forensics, security management, crime in commerce, computer fraud) should consult the Forensic Sciences website.

General Requirements

All students must satisfactorily complete the following courses:

Research Methods

  • SOC 6230 Methods
  • SOC 6231 Data Analysis
  • SOC 6232 Qualitative Methodology OR
  • SOC 6240 Field Research in Organizational Settings


  • SOC 6238 Development of Sociological Theory OR
  • SOC 6239 Contemporary Sociological Theory


  • SOC 6258 Deviance & Control
  • SOC 6259 Criminology

Criminal Law

SOC 6257 Criminal Law for Forensic Scientists

Note: this is a new course number beginning Fall 2015, same as FORS 6224 (formerly FORS 6221)


Five courses, chosen from the following list. A minimum of two electives must be taken from Forensic Sciences. A minimum of one elective must be taken from Sociology (from the list below).

  • Any Forensic Sciences graduate course(s)
  • SOC 6260 Special Topics in Crime/Criminal Justice
  • SOC 6262 Corrections
  • SOC 6263 Race & Crime
  • SOC 6264 Organized Crime
  • SOC 6266 Gender & Criminal Justice
  • SOC 6273 The Sex Industry

Comprehensive Examination or Thesis

Either a Comprehensive Examination or Master's Thesis is required.

Comprehensive Examination: Written examination covering required research methods and criminology/criminal justice coursework.

Master’s Thesis: Substitute Soc 6998 and 6999 (Thesis Research) for two elective courses. The thesis is expected to be original research of publishable quality. The thesis committee will consist of two members, at least one selected from the Sociology faculty or the Forensic Science faculty.

Time to Complete Degree

Normally it takes two years for full-time students to complete their degrees. A part-time option (with a minimum of six credits per semester) is also available.

Program taught in:

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
2 years
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Sep 2019
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