Declare Major or Minor

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All majors offered in the Department of Justice Studies are impacted, which means that there are additional admissions criteria to declare one of these as your major.

There are two open application periods each year for matriculated students who wish to change their major to Justice Studies or Forensic Science. The open application period for Spring 2024 is from February 2nd to March 29th, they are reviewed once per month. Open application period for Fall 2025 are to be announced. 

Admission Criteria

Each Fall and Spring, the number of open spaces in the Forensic Science and Justice Studies majors will be determined (usually November and March). Applicants will be ranked by GPA and admitted until the number of open slots at the time is filled, or all qualified students are taken.

Justice Studies

Take the following courses and pass them with a C or better:

Qualifying Courses

  1. Under 50 units: 6 units of GE Basic Skills.
    Over 50 units: also pass the WST
  2. 6 units of GE Area D, Social Science

Support Courses

  1. JS 10 - Introduction to Justice Studies, or
    JS 12 - Introduction to Legal Studies, or
    JS 25 - Introduction to Human Rights and Justice.
  2. GE Area B4, Statistics
    • JS 15 - Introductory Statistics to Justice Studies, or
    • Stat 95 - Elementary Statistics

Forensic Science

Take the following courses and pass them with a C or better:

Qualifying Courses

  1. Under 50 units: 3 units of GE Basic Skills
    Over 50 units: also pass the WST

Support Courses

  1. FS 11 - Survey of Forensic Science
  2. GE Area B4, Statistics
    • JS 15 - Introductory Statistics to Justice Studies, or 
    • Stat 95 - Elementary Statistics
  3. BIOL 30 - Principles of Biology I, or
    CHEM 1A - General Chemistry

How to Apply for the Major

If you will have met the minimum criteria by the end of the semester during which you are applying for the major, prepare and submit an application packet. 

The packet must include the following four items:

  1. Change of Major Form
  2. Copies of Unofficial Transcript(s)
    • from all colleges you attended (SJSU, community college, other four-year universities)
  3. Letter of Intent 
    • usually about a page explaining your reason for declaring or changing your major to Forensic Science or Justice Studies.
  4. Personalized Graduation Plan
    • Students with fewer than 90 units of coursework must turn in an informal personalized plan to graduate. This must be a semester-by-semester plan showing how many courses will be taken and in what areas, and identifying all required courses, until completion of the degree. Download a sample graduation plan [pdf].
    • Students with more than 90 units of coursework must complete a filled out but UNSIGNED major form, detailing specific courses that will be applied toward graduation in the major and in which semesters those courses will be taken. This major form is treated as a contract. If accepted into the major, the student will be required to apply to graduate. It will not be signed until and unless you are accepted into the major. 

All paperwork must be filled out completely and submitted to the Department of Justice Studies Office in MH 524. Electronic submissions in PDF can be sent to

Have a Back-Up Plan

Look for a second field outside of Justice Studies or Forensic Science that really interests you, and start taking courses in that field (e.g. biology and/or chemistry; think of it as pursuing the field as a minor). If you do not qualify for the Justice Studies or Forensic Science major, you may be able to switch to that field as your major. You can still minor in Justice Studies or Forensic Studies, then your major and minor will make a good combination with good career potential.

How to Apply for the Minor

The Department of Justice Studies offers four minors:

Steps to Declare and Complete the Minor

Submit the appropriate Request for Addition / Change of Major or Minor petition form (less than 90 units or more than 90 units) to the minor advisor, along with other required documentation listed on the form. Visit the Office of Registrar website to download the petition form.

Enroll in courses as specified by the Minor Form and log course completions on form. When selecting substantive elective courses in the minor, we encourage students to choose courses that also fulfill other university requirements.

When applying for graduation, submit a completed Minor Form and unofficial transcripts to the minor advisor. Students should complete this process at the same time they apply for graduation with their major. The Minor Form must be approved by the Department of Justice Studies.