Graduate FAQ

Masters Program – General

What prerequisites are required to enter the program? 
The Graduate Committee strongly recommends that every incoming student have successfully completed both a social science statistics and social science methodology course before entering the graduate program.

Do I need a criminal justice undergraduate degree?
No, although a social science background is generally helpful for entering students, the Graduate Program accepts students from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds.

How long will it take to complete the program?
The program length is 18 months. Generally, full-time students entering in the fall will complete their coursework at the conclusion of the following fall semester.

Do I have to take the GRE?
All applicants must take the General Test of the Graduate Record Exam.

What is the application deadline?

February 1 is the priority deadline for MS applications for the Fall semester; August 1 is the final deadline for MS applications for the Fall semester, and December 1 is the final deadline for MS applications for the Spring semester.

I’m not sure I want to go full-time into the program. Can I take one course as a non-matriculated student?
Any student wishing to take a course must complete the application materials.

Once I apply, how do I check the status of my application?

Once your application is submitted, applicants may long onto the application website with their secure password and check the status of their application.

What research opportunities are there in this graduate program?
There are several opportunities to engage in ongoing research. First, the graduate program employs a limited number of stipend graduate assistants each year. In these positions, students may be assigned to work with a faculty member of their own research or to assist with teaching duties and in return, receive a stipend and tuition waiver. Also, the graduate program is closely linked (by both faculty and staff) to both the Institute on Race and Justice and the Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research. Often, graduate students with a strong academic record may be hired to work on one of the multiple research projects ongoing at these centers.

What career opportunities are there for graduates of the Master’s Program?
Our alumni work in a variety of different criminal justice and social service settings, often in positions of leadership. Law enforcement, corrections, the legal community, social services, juvenile justice, security, and research and development are just a few of the areas in which students have gone on to work. In addition, each year a percentage of our students go on to pursue a terminal degree (Ph.D. or Juris Doctorate).

Is a thesis required of all the Master’s students?
No. Although students who know they wish to pursue a further graduate degree may want to complete a thesis, this is not a requirement of the program.


What types of internships have graduate students completed in the past? Below is a sampling of internships placements secured by students in the past:

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • Boston School Police, Safety Services
  • United States Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Boston Police Department
  • Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services
  • United States Marshals Service
  • United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Massachusetts Office of the Fire Marshal
  • Massachusetts State Police
  • United States Attorney’s Office
  • Massachusetts Parole Board
  • Massachusetts Department of Probation
  • United States Postal Inspector
  • Massachusetts Department of Youth Services

What types of projects have graduate students completed in the past?
Below is a brief sample of the type and scope of the projects completed by students in the past:

  • Internship: Boston Police Department’s Research Unit
    Project: Working under the supervision of the Boston Police Department’s senior research analyst, the student assisted in conducting an exhaustive review of literature pertaining to homicide. Specifically, the student researched and composed the review of literature section for the Department’s study on homicide in the city of Boston. In addition to the literature review, the student continued his internship into the spring quarter where he assisted with the data analysis portion of the study.
  • Internship: Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab
    Project: Working under the supervision of the state’s medical examiner, the student completed a rotation through each of the various operational units of the facility in order to understand the utility of each. The student then developed a survey instrument for use in the evaluation of the state’s outreach and training program in regard to issues such as the collection, preservation and packaging of evidence for submission to the lab. At the conclusion of his internship, the student provided the agency with a written evaluation/critique on the usefulness of the training program, and made suggestions as to how to improve future presentations.
  • Internship: Boston Police Department’s Homicide Unit: Cold Case Squad
    Project: Working under the supervision of the Captain of the Department’s Cold Case Squad, the student completed a research paper exploring trends in the rates, types and victim-offender relationship of homicides annually.

Where can I find information on acquiring an internship?
The Graduate Office has a listing of many internship placement possibilities with local criminal justice agencies. Although it is the individual student’s responsibility to identify and secure their internship placement, the Graduate Program staff can often assist students with their questions in regard to securing a field placement that meets their needs, while achieving the course and credit hour requirements prescribed by the Graduate Committee. Students are not required to complete an internship with an agency already connected to the graduate school, and may seek placement with any agency that will accept interns. Students must, however, complete the Internship Placement Form and have it approved by both their internship supervisor and the Director of the Graduate Program.

What qualifies as an internship?
An internship is more than securing a field placement and logging hours in at the office. Students are required to complete a pre-defined project and to submit a written report upon completion of their internship placement. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will grade the written report/project on a pass or fail basis.

What are the benefits of completing an internship versus traditional coursework?
Although internship placements are usually unpaid, the experience does allow the student to familiarize themselves with the organizational structure of criminal justice agencies, as well as provide an opportunity to apply classroom lessons to practical experiences. The internship also provides students with the opportunity to take advantage of Northeastern University’s commitment to practice oriented education. In addition to the practical lessons learned through field placement, students electing to complete an internship have the opportunity to make contacts in the criminal justice field and to build their resume while enrolled in the graduate program.

Although the full list of benefits varies between each individual’s experiences, it is important to remember that the agencies selected by the student are gaining a valuable asset to their organization. Graduate interns provide their host agencies with the educational and professional experiences necessary to assist on a wide array of projects, as well as providing a fresh look at the issue at hand and the competence to positively affect the outcome of any given duty.

Once I have secured an internship placement, what do I do next?
Once you have identified an agency that suits your interests, you must contact them directly to check on their ability to accept interns. Once this is established, you must complete an Internship Placement Form detailing the scope of your assignment. After you have identified the scope of your project, the form must be signed by you internship supervisor, and approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Once you have received approval from the Director of the Graduate Program, you must register with the University to receive credit for your assignment. In addition, as part of an internship placement, you are required to spend 8 to 10 hours per week at your field placement (or the equivalent of one classroom meeting per week).

What are the requirements for completing an internship?
Students must satisfy both a credit hour and a written/project requirement in order to satisfactorily complete an internship assignment. Student electing an internship should consider such factors as transportation to and from their field placement, the workload requirements of their other courses and their ability to complete an independent internship project.

  • Contact

    For information about the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University:

    Call (617) 373-3327