Program Description

The BA in Criminology, Law and Society (CLS) offers a broad perspective and specialized knowledge on the justice system and social, human, and moral problems raised in the justice field. Core courses in the major provide the foundation for this understanding. Your choice of a concentration helps you tailor your degree to your particular interests and career goals.

What it costs:

All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.

Application Deadline

For all application information and deadlines, see the Admissions site.


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Program Summary

100% Percent Online

Program: Criminology, Law and Society

Degree: Undergraduate

College/School: College of Humanities and Social Sciences/School of Individualized Study

Credits: 120 total

Who should apply?

Students interested in developing specialized knowledge of the reality of the justice system and the impact the justice system has on lives of individuals and communities through law enforcement, the courts, and corrections should choose the CLS major. Students seeking to develop critical thinking skills particularly valuable for law school or graduate programs in Social Sciences, Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice, are also encouraged to apply.

Why choose George Mason?

Specific to this program

  • Develop core knowledge about the organization and operation of various institutions administering justice, such as police, courts, corrections, juvenile justice, as well as constitutional law and criminal justice ethics that serve as the foundation for these and other justice institutions.
  • Courses are taught by world-renowned scholars and professionals in the criminal justice system, including classes related to theories of criminology, law and society, judicial processes and the law, human rights and social justice, intelligence and homeland security, juvenile justice, hate crime, criminal psychology, policing, crime prevention, contemporary justice issues and reforms, and leadership.
  • Work with a dedicated advisor to progress through graduation, identify resources and opportunities to enhance your degree, and prepare for post-graduation plans.
  • Students in the online pathway are also invited to attend virtual programs and events offered by the department. Upcoming events are posted to the CLS website every semester.


The Criminology, Law & Society major requires 42 credits composed of Core and Elective courses.

All students take the following 15 credits/five Core Courses in the Major:

  • CRIM 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • CRIM 306 Criminal Justice Ethics
  • CRIM 315 Research Methods and Analysis in Criminology
  • CRIM 424 Constitutional Law: Criminal Process and Rights
  • CRIM 495 Capstone in Criminology, Law and Society

Students complete an additional 27 credits/nine courses of Electives in the Major. Courses are offered in the areas of criminal justice, law and society, and homeland security and justice. The complete list of approved electives is available in the university catalog.

Students can declare an optional concentration in Criminal Justice or Law and Society to showcase their area of interest within the field.

A minimum of 45 credits within the degree must be completed at the 300/400 level. A full overview of degree requirements is listed in the university catalog.

Note: While most courses can be completed asynchronously (no set meetings throughout the week), some courses may only be offered synchronously and require weekly meetings at specific times. Students are encouraged to meet with their assigned CLS advisor to plan out their course work each semester.

Various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Additionally, your current employer may provide tuition reimbursement opportunities for graduate studies.

Fields/positions that students will be qualified for after graduation.

CLS graduates have found successful job placements in the public and private sector. Here is a small sample of placements:

  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections
  • Courts
  • Investigations
  • Juvenile justice
  • Homeland security
  • Protective services
  • Other related social and human services

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