Justice Studies, MS

The Masters of Science degree in Justice Studies is designed for future scholars and change agents seeking understanding of the concept of justice and strategies for conducting research and evaluating policies that promote social change. Justice Studies MS students study a wide range of topics at the local, national, and international level, gaining the training needed to analyze social, economic, cultural, political, and legal inequalities and promote pathways to more just societies.

This program is unique compared with other justice-­related programs in that it is housed in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, placing students in the center of a transdisciplinary learning environment led by passionate scholars dedicated to working with students to create social innovations to change the world. 

Graduates of the Justice Studies MS program are prepared to work in justice-related organizations, teach in community colleges, pursue doctoral programs, and research in the justice field.

PDF icon Learn more about our Justice Studies program

2 year program
30 credit hours
25 faculty members

Degree Overview

The 30-hour master’s program in Justice Studies is an innovative liberal arts program that places social justice at the center of study. Our interdisciplinary program educates future scholars and change agents ready to address today’s complex social problems with social science skills and insights from the humanities. Our programs provide students with the scholarly training needed to sustain sophisticated analyses of socio‐cultural, economic, legal, and educational inequalities, and the strategies and policies needed to address them.


Students complete the degree with a culminating experience; either a thesis or an applied project.

Applied Project Track:

Students must compete Research (3 credit hours)


JUS 593 Applied Project (3 credit hours)

The applied project constitutes the culmination of a student’s degree. It reflects the research area ofspecialization identified by the student in consultation with the applied project chair. The student will present anddefend the project in an oral examination, conducted by the chair.

Thesis Track:

Students Must take 6 hours of JUS 599 thesis.

The thesis constitutes the culmination of a student’s degree. It reflects the research area of specialization identified bythe student in consultation with the advisory committee or applied project chair. The student will present and defend theproject in an oral examination, conducted by the advisor committee. All thesis must undergo Graduate College format review and are officially documented and archived.

How to apply

The application process for the Justice Studies MS is completed online through the ASU Graduate Admissions Portal. Prospective students must submit the admission application form along with the fee and official transcripts. 

Application instructions

A complete application for the Justice Studies MS must include the following required materials:

1. ASU Graduate Admission Services application

2. Non-refundable application fee as specified by ASU Graduate Admission Services

3. Official copies of transcripts from all college and universities where you have earned a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree. Please see additional details for mailing options.

4. Resume or curriculum vitae

5. Statement of purpose: Approximately 1-and-a-half to two pages, double spaced, outlining areas of interest, educational and career goals

6. Writing Sample: 10-15 pages. Your writing sample should reflect academic thinking and writing skills.

7. Letters of Recommendation: Three letters from recommenders who can speak to your strengths and weaknesses for graduate study, intellectual ability, and other relevant accomplishments that highlight ability to complete a graduate degree in Justice Studies. Academic references are preferred.

8. Students whose native language is not English must meet ASU’s English proficiency requirements. English proficiency requirements can be found here: https://international.asu.edu/graduate/proficiency

ASU Graduate Admissions requires that all successful applicants hold at least a 3.00/4.00 GPA in the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate coursework.

GRE or other official test scores are not required for this program.

Applicants can now upload unofficial transcripts to the application in the Graduate Application portal. This is the only method by which applicants will be allowed to submit unofficial transcripts. An applicant may wish to submit unofficial transcripts in order to help the application move to “committee review” status quicker and doing so can help ensure that an application is completed by the priority deadline. However, if admitted, students are required to provide official transcripts to the university.

Except for official transcripts, all of the application components above can be uploaded directly through the ASU Graduate Admission Services online application process. Transcripts need to be physically mailed to ASU Graduate Admission Services at the address below:

To expedite the processing of your application, please write your application reference number on all documents and envelopes submitted to ASU. Materials submitted without your application reference number will delay the processing of your application.

If sending by stamped mail:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
PO Box 871004 
Tempe, AZ 85287-1004

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
1150 East University Drive Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281


The School of Social Transformation accepts applications for the Justice Studies MS for both fall and spring semester starts.

Deadline to submit an application for fall is the prior December 15.
Deadline to submit an application for Spring is the prior September 15.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the priority deadline until the cohort is full.


The Justice Studies MS curriculum includes required core and self-selected elective courses. Core courses help build the theoretical foundations and research toolkit, which enable students to gain expertise in substantive areas of research. Students work closely with a mentor to complete required coursework and successfully complete and defend the culminating experience. Students complete the degree with either a thesis or an applied project.

A minimum of 30 hours is required. 

Requirements and electives


Core courses




Culminating Experience 


Total hours required


Courses and electives

Each student's program is developed in concert with the advisory committee. The required foundation courses provide students with a fundamental understanding of the theories, methods and analytic techniques associated with the study of justice.

To satisfy the thesis requirement for the degree, candidates must write a thesis and defend it in an oral examination conducted by the student's advisory committee. Students in this option are not required to take JUS 592 Research.

Students who elect to complete the applied project option will have to enroll in three credit hours of JUS 592 Research prior to enrolling in JUS 593 Applied Project. Candidates pursuing the applied project option must present their applied project and defend it in an oral examination conducted by the faculty member who supervises the project and the graduate programs director or designated representative. The applied project typically includes a brief literature review to identify the nature of the issue or problem and a description of the methodology used and, if relevant, of the program studied, followed by an analysis.

JUS 500  Research Methods 

Theories and methods of qualitative and quantitative research; development of

research most relevant to justice data and problems 


JUS 501  Justice Theory 

Classical and contemporary theories of social, economic, political and criminal justice; assessment of relevance tocontemporary justice issues.


JUS 509  Statistical Problems in Justice Research 

Statistical methods specific to Justice and Social Inquiry. Successful completion of undergraduate course in statisticalanalysis of data is strongly advised before taking JUS 509. Students who have not taken undergraduate statistics may be required to take (without graduate credit) an appropriate undergraduate course upon entering the program.


JUS 521  Qualitative Data Analysis 

Analyzes qualitative data (e.g., field notes, in-­‐depth interview transcripts and document analysis); coding programs,presenting qualitative research.

MS students are required to complete three graduate level JUS electives courses (9 credits). Students can choose to pursue 3 or 6 JUS 584 internship credits max in place of seminar elective credits.

JUS 592 Research (3 credit hours)

Students complete the degree with a culminating experience; either a thesis or an applied project.


Applied Project Track: 

Research (3 credit hours)

JUS 593 Applied Project (3 credit hours) 

Thesis Track: 

JUS 599 thesis (6 credit hours)