Apr 24, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024

School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics

Information about the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics


Location: Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Room 244
Phone:  (323) 343-4610     Fax: (323) 343-4646
Email: crimstaff@calstatela.edu
WebsiteSchool of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics


Name: Katharine Tellis
Email: ktellis@calstatela.edu
Phone: (323) 343-4623


Professors: Lisa Graziano, Denise Herz, Katherine Roberts, Bill Sanders, Katharine Tellis (Director).
Associate Professors: Jane Gauthier, Jay Vargas, Akhila Ananth, Carly Dierkhising;
Assistant Professors: Frances Abderhalden, Gabriel Ferreyra, Shichun (Asminet) Ling, Xiaohan Mei, Khadija Monk, Carlena Orosco, Joshua Ruffin.

Overview of the Department

Cal State LA’s School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics is a leading program in the study of criminal justice and criminalistics in California. Our faculty are dedicated to bridging research, policy, and practice in the classroom and through their research.

Our faculty’s interests and backgrounds include a variety of disciplines, which inspires a diverse and comprehensive examination of the issues related to crime, forensic science, the criminal justice system, and social justice. 

The School is located in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility shared with operating crime labs for the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The building offers classrooms equipped with the latest technology as well as modern laboratories which provide students the opportunity to fully engage in their educational experience.

We offer several degree programs, including:

  • A Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice;
  • A Minor in Criminal Justice;
  • A Master of Science Degree in Criminalistics.

Students in our criminal justice programs learn and discuss the causes and correlates of crime, how the criminal justice system operates, critical issues related to criminal justice, and how to improve our responses to crime.  Students in our criminalistics programs learn and discuss forensic science perspectives and apply scientific concepts uniquely related to the forensic sciences, such as crime-scene reconstruction, the legal integrity of scientific evidence, courtroom testimony, and individualization of physical evidence. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs are highly competitive programs that require students to apply directly to the School as well as to the University.  The number of undergraduate and graduate students accepted each year is limited and is based on applicants’ previous and current academic performance. 

Mission Statement

The School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics contributes to student success and to the advancement of practice and policy by:

Core Values

Providing students with specialized knowledge and skills to become well-informed and engaged justice professionals.
Creating meaningful learning experiences by integrating technologies, civic engagement, and service learning into courses.
Creating partnerships to provide service and conduct applied research to inform 21st century policy and practice.
Being capable of making rational decisions and held responsible for personal behavior.
Fostering responsible and effective communication practices.
Embracing, establishing, and promoting intersectional differences throughout traditional social structures to ensure justice in the 21st Century. This includes embracing difference, variety or multiformity of the workplace and community.
Promoting all forms of justice, public awareness, and continuing education while under our care.

Code of Ethics

We, the students, faculty, and staff of the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct that reflect the following values:
• Be held accountable
• Convey actions and behaviors that make a positive difference to peers and community
• Meet ethical obligations and duties to others
• Be vulnerable and truthful with ourselves
• Be open and truthful in our relationships with others
• Hold each other responsible with regard to honesty
• Regard for the learning environment, policies, rules, and diversity
• Respect and follow the School, College, and University’s rules and regulations
• Display conduct that reflects positively upon the School, College, and University
• Treat everyone with civility and dignity
• Make decisions incorporating the multifaceted nature of an issue
• Consider all points of view when resolving conflict
• Treat all people equitably
• Provide equitable access to resources
• Incorporate diverse readings and research perspectives
• Exhibit behavior that reflects the standard we would like to see in the justice systems
• Abide by the University’s Code of Conduct and report behavior that violates the University’s Code of Ethics
• Make decisions/take actions in the best interest of the School, College, and University
• Enforce the standards of the School, College, and University
• Discipline of individuals who fail uphold the standards of the School, College, and University

Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Programs

The School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics offers a Forensic Investigation Specialist certificate program-in partnership with the California Forensic Science Institute-focusing on crime scene investigation and friction ridge examination

Admission to the Program

  • Students must complete a university application in order to be admitted into a graduate studies program. In addition to university requirements for admission to graduate study, applicants must satisfy specific school requirements before admission to either the criminalistics or criminal justice graduate degree programs. Application forms to the school are available on the school website and in the school office.
  • Please refer to the departmental website for current application dates. New criminalistics and criminal justice graduate students are accepted only in the fall semester of each academic year.Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be submitted with the school application in addition to the transcripts required by the Office of University Admission and Outreach. Students must also arrange to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and to have their GRE scores sent directly to the school by the Educational Testing Service. An acceptable GRE score is required for consideration. Students must also submit two letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Applicants may be admitted to the M.S. degree program in Classified or Conditionally Classified Standing. Classified Standing is granted to accepted applicants who have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last 90 quarter units (or last 60 semester units) and 3.0 in the undergraduate major. Conditionally Classified Students must achieve a 3.0 grade point average after completing four qualifying courses (that have been approved by the Graduate Advisor) by the end of their second semester of graduate study in order to be granted Classified Standing. See the School website for a detailed description of the requirements.
  • Applicants must satisfy both university and school requirements before admission to the criminalistics graduate degree program. Acceptance to the University does not guarantee acceptance to the School. The application must be completed and submitted online through Cal State Apply.
  • Please note that new criminalistics graduate students are accepted only in the fall semester of each academic year.
  • Grade Point Average: For admission to the Criminalistics Graduate Program, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last 60 semester units (or last 90 quarter units) and 3.0 in the undergraduate major are required for consideration.
  • Transcripts: Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be submitted with the application.
  • The School’s Graduate Admissions Committee will not consider applications to the Criminalistics Graduate Program until all of the above conditions are met.


    Degree - UndergraduateDegree - MinorDegree - Graduate


      Criminal Justice (Undergraduate)Criminalistics (Graduate)Criminalistics (Undergraduate)