Graduate Program Policies


There are many University and Department policies and forms that must be minded in order to successfully navigate degree completion. This page is intended to provide information about the most relevant policies, and links to the most commonly needed forms. There are two University pages that are particularly helpful in these two areas:

Change of Classification Status

Graduate students who are "conditionally classified" (i.e. have prerequisites) may wish to change their status to "classified" after taking all the prerequisite courses. To do this, they may submit the Change of Classification in Master's Program form [pdf], signed by the Graduate Coordinator Ericka Adams. Moving to classified status is required for candidacy. However, the Graduate Coordinator's signature on the candidacy form indicates confirmation that all conditions have been fulfilled, allowing the conditional status to be lifted, and establishing the classified status. Therefore, the "change of classification" form is not needed in most cases.

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to Candidacy, students must meet the following four conditions:

  1. Be in classified standing
  2. Have passed the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), which is fullfilled through the completion of JS 201.
  3. Have completed 9 units of core or required courses with a grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better
  4. Have a grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better in all other graduate coursework

Submit the Petition for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy, signed by the Graduate Coordinator Ericka Adams to advance to Candidacy.

Retaking Courses and Disqualification

Students must earn a CR or C or better grade (C- not allowed) in all Candidacy courses. The Department of Justice Studies allows students to retake only one of the core courses if the required C or better grade is not achieved. Students must also maintain a 3.0 GPA, or they may be put on academic probation by the University. Failure to raise the GPA to a 3.0 or above after being placed on academic probation may then result in being academically disqualified from SJSU. Justice Studies generally does not readmit those who are disqualified from the program.

Petitions for Dropping Courses

In general, a course withdrawal may be petitioned (and granted) only for serious and compelling reasons clearly beyond the student’s control. Use the Graduate Petition for Course Drop / Semester Withdrawal to drop or withdraw. Do not use the undergraduate form.

Elective Courses Outside of the Graduate Program

Elective courses can only be taken outside of the Justice Studies curriculum with approval by the Graduate Coordinator. Only graduate-level courses may be used for credit toward the degree.

Supervision Courses and Application Forms

Supervisory courses require graduate coordinator approval to enroll. These include JS 281, JS 297, JS 298, and JS 299. Students must submit a form to the graduate coordinator to gain permission to take them.

JS 281 - Justice Practicum

Supervised placement in a justice organization or agency in a position emphasizing analytical and research skills and / or managerial responsibilities. Culminating research or policy paper required. Download the application form [pdf] and submit to the Graduate Coordinator.

JS 298 - Special Study

Advanced individual research not covered in a regular course and not related to the project or the thesis topic. Download the application form [pdf] and submit to the Graduate Coordinator.

JS 299 - Thesis Option (Plan A)

Download the application form [pdf] and submit to the Graduate Coordinator with a brief written statement describing the thesis topic (requires thesis advisor signature).

JS 297 - Project Option (Plan B)

Download the application form [pdf] and submit to the Graduate Coordinator with a brief written statement describing the thesis topic (requires project supervisor signature).

Graduate Assistants

There are two ways in which graduate students may gain professional experience by working with faculty. The first is a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) which is strictly a learning experience and provides course credit. The second is called a Graduate Assistant or (GA) which is a work assignment that pays a salary.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Graduate Teaching Assistantships are ideal for MS students who interested in teaching in the future. They are formed when a student and faculty member agree to have the student assist with teaching an undergraduate course. This position is intended for the benefit of the student, and should provide an education on teaching the course topic and strategies for effective teaching. The student must get permission from the Graduate Coordinator to be a GTA and should enroll in JS 298.

Interested students must submit the Graduate Teaching Assistant Form and the JS 298 Application Form.

Graduate Assistant (GA)

Graduate Assistants (GAs) help faculty with a variety of tasks and work under their supervision. GAs are assigned to faculty members and are expected to work for each according to the time allocated to each (e.g., 4 faculty members at 5 hours each). Total work hours shall generally not exceed 20 hours a week. Assigned duties may be performed on or off campus depending on the instructions of the assigned faculty.

While being a GA adds value to the student experience—by enhancing the educational experience and by assisting with professional socialization—the primary objective of the assistantship is to provide help to the faculty.

Students wishing to assist professors in a mentoring / learning relationship should arrange to be an unpaid Graduate Teaching Assistant or a research assistant, also by taking JS 298.

Download the GA Position Flyer for more information.

Interested students must submit a Graduate Assistant (GA) Position Application to the Justice Studies Department along with the following:

  • unofficial transcripts
  • personal statement
  • resume

A call for applications is distributed to graduate students in the weeks prior to the semester of employment. Interested students may also contact the Graduate Coordinator to inquire about open positions.

The GA one regulated by the University and a collective bargaining agreement. Download the Senate Policy on GAs [pdf].