The Master of Arts in Criminology, Law and Society is for students interested in acquiring the knowledge and skills to conduct high quality research that makes an impact on justice, law, and crime policy and advances social science. The Department of Criminology, Law and Society is internationally renowned for its applied research in policing, courts, and corrections, with particular emphases in organizational change, community partnerships, crime and place, rehabilitation and recidivism, and social justice. Our students gain enhanced skills in research methodology and statistics, and learn the latest criminal justice theories. They apply these skills and knowledge to their own original piece of empirical research in a master's thesis. The MA in Criminology, Law and Society program prepares students for advanced graduate study at the doctoral level and to pursue competitive, research-oriented positions in law enforcement, courts, corrections, and other government agencies, as well as advocacy and non-profit organizations.
Our top-ranked program takes advantage of the university's proximity to many justice organizations at the federal, state, and local levels in the Capital Region. The program provides a unique blend of rigorous research with real-world applications. Faculty work closely with leaders in the justice and security fields who give lectures, visit our classes, and can provide research opportunities. In partnership with faculty, practitioners, and organizations in the criminal justice system, our students learn about how to conduct original scholarship that can make the justice system fairer and more effective.
A further distinction of Mason’s criminology, law and society MA program is its multidisciplinary departmental faculty, whose wide-range of expertise—including in law, sociology, psychology, political science, and criminology—gives students a rich variety of perspectives. Likewise, our students range from recent graduates to mid-career professionals, and each benefit from their classmates’ different backgrounds and experience.
Prospective students who plan to pursue a doctoral degree in criminology, law and society should apply directly to the PhD program; they will earn the MA degree as an integral part of the doctorate.