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Pursue the Career You’ve Always Wanted With a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice

Getting a Master’s in Criminal Justice isn’t just a great way to deepen your knowledge and broaden your capacity for public service; it’s also an excellent opportunity to advance your career in this often challenging, yet intensely fulfilling field.

You likely already have experience about how the criminal justice system functions, along with a deep respect and thorough understanding of why it’s such a crucial component of public safety. Earning an online Master’s in Criminal Justice will ensure that you remain on the cutting edge of security, safety, and technology.

Our accredited online Criminal Justice graduate program will provide you with an advanced understanding of criminal justice, fraud, and law-enforcement theory, along with best practices, ethics, the tools and strategies used to prevent and respond to cybercrime, and decision-making skills required for combating international crime and terrorism.

As a leader in criminal justice, you may be called upon to evaluate community-based justice to prevent crime, address cybercrime, terrorism, or forensics issues, prevent and manage fraud, and evaluate how technology is used as a crime-fighting tool, and that’s exactly what CSU Global’s program will train you to do.

If criminal justice is your calling, then you should consider earning your master’s in the field, which could help you get you the job you deserve.


Career Outlook

NEARLY 60,000 RELATED JOB OPENINGS The BLS reports 59,100 openings for police and detectives projected each year, on average, from 2019-2029.


POLICE DETECTIVE, CORRECTIONS SUPERVISOR, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR More available career paths for criminal justice professionals, as reported by O*NET OnLine.

$65,170 AVERAGE SALARY According to the BLS, the average salary for police and detectives is more than $65k annually.

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Watch a Quick 2-Minute Overview

This short video covers a variety of topics, including:

  • Why you should consider getting an M.S. in Criminal Justice.
  • What you’ll learn in our online M.S. in Criminal Justice program.
  • Why you should pick CSU Global’s Criminal Justice Master’s Degree.

What Will You Learn From Our Master of Science in Criminal Justice Program?

Getting your Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from CSU Global will provide you with an advanced understanding of theory and best practices for management positions at both public and private sector organizations.

This program will train you to improve the effectiveness of criminal justice systems by addressing such topics as ethics, decision-making, and the impact of crime in society.

After completing the program’s core courses, you’ll be able to choose from a number of specializations that will allow you to develop more specific knowledge and experience in some of the most compelling areas of the criminal justice industry—including Fraud Management, a fast-growing industry in crime prevention and investigation, especially in the private sector.

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Skills You’ll Develop in Our Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Program 

CSU Global’s online Criminal Justice Master’s Degree will provide you with a richer, deeper understanding of critical topics in criminal justice, with curriculum addressing:

  • Technology.
  • Cyber crime.
  • International crime.
  • Terrorism.
  • Ethics.
  • Decision making.
  • The impact of crime in society.

Specific learning outcomes for this program also include being able to:

  • Describe crime and control from a range of theoretical and global perspectives.
  • Evaluate research design, data collection, and analytical method.
  • Discuss the roles, strategies, and impacts of effective leadership and management.
  • Evaluate the role of community-based justice in preventing crime.
  • Apply professional ethics and its importance in our criminal justice system.
  • Describe knowledge of high-tech and occupational crimes in cause, detection, investigation, prosecution, and prevention.
  • Evaluate how technology is used as an effective contemporary crime-fighting tool.

Finally, CSU Global’s partnership with important criminal justice agencies and associations ensures that our program and related specializations will provide the very latest information from the field, while also helping to build your professional network.

Our partner agencies include:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
  • Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF)
  • Alpha Phi Sigma Honors Society

What Online Criminal Justice Courses Will You Take?

The program consists of eight three-credit core courses as part of a full 36-credit master’s degree. Some Master of Criminal Justice students may also be required to take RES501 as part of their program if they have an undergraduate GPA below 3.00. In this case, the degree is 39 credits.

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Core Degree Courses (24 Credits)

  • RES501* Fundamentals of Research and Writing
    This course is only required for students who are accepted into this program with an undergraduate GPA below 3.00. The primary purpose of this course is to help students entering graduate level programs at CSU-Global develop awareness of current and effective research and writing practices with the goal of implementing such practices into their writing and research projects. Students will learn what constitutes graduate level writing and research as well as how to communicate with colleagues in online professional forums. Students will also learn to effectively integrate writing and research skills into the writing projects they will pursue throughout their graduate level programs.
  • CRJ500 Criminological Theory
    In this course, students will gain an understanding of the major schools of thought about crime causation (sociological, psychological, and biological) and identify the primary positions of each theoretical approach. In addition students will examine the role of theories in reasoning and organizing studies of crime and control, and discerns policy implications of various theories. In completing the course, students will gain/improve their library research skills and acquaint themselves with APA style and citing sources.
  • CRJ530 Ethics, Justice, and Social Control
    In this course, students explore the study of theory, practice, and applications of ethics in criminal justice. Students engage in a philosophical undertaking that seeks to understand and justify moral standards and policies and practices that are presently applied to the occupations that comprise the criminal justice system. The course fosters the students understanding of economics, ethics, law, and power towards constructs of morality.
  • CRJ540 Criminal Justice Policy Development and Analysis
    This course explores the process of policy making in the justice system, including an examination of the ways policy decisions impact criminal justice organizations. Students will learn the fundamentals of the policy process, including agenda setting, implementation, and evaluation. Students will also explore the impact of media and other external forces on setting the policy agenda at the local, state, and federal levels. This course will prepare the student for further inquiry into policy making and the policy process, providing a solid foundation for students to understand the role of policy in justice system practices.
  • CRJ545 Restorative Justice: A Social Movement
    In this course, students will explore restorative justice, which has emerged on the international scene as an umbrella concept and social movement. Topics include empirical evidence for restorative justice, critical issues and gaps in theory and practice, and the integrity and overall direction of the movement. Students will explore the needs and roles of key stakeholders (victim, offenders, communities, and justice systems), the values and assumptions of the movement (including its spiritual and religious roots), and current practices in the United States and beyond.
  • CRJ550 Administration and Management of Criminal Justice Organizations
    In this course, students will learn about the theories of organizational behavior and the management of justice organizations. Students will examine challenges facing criminal justice leaders who manage resources and employees who are responsible for public safety. Class discussions will expand students' understanding of what differentiates criminal justice organizations from private and other, public, organizations.
  • CRJ570 Applied Research for Criminal Justice Professionals
    In this course, students will develop a practical understanding of the most common research tools and techniques used by public and private sector criminal justice organizations. Students are able to contextualize criminal behavior while developing skills using tools for resource allocation within criminal justice agencies. The course also explores both traditional and more contemporary approaches to research.
  • CRJ575 Analytical Methods
    In this course, students will gain a strong foundation for applying analytical skills and reasoning in the criminal justice environment. Students will gain a working knowledge of conducting, critically evaluating, and reporting statistical analyses for studies in criminology and the criminal justice fields. The emphasis will be on hypothesis testing with bivariate statistical methods and the linear regression model.
  • CRJ580 Criminal Justice Capstone Experience
    In this course, students will understand and integrate research and components of crime and justice administration/management as learned throughout the Master of Criminal Justice program. Students evaluate a social intervention or justice policy by reviewing research evidence and making proper recommendations. The course centers on the completion of an evidence-based capstone work that will serve as the essential foundation of a professional portfolio. Students will utilize all learned skills, theories, techniques, and knowledge learned through their academic program and apply them within many areas of this course. Prerequisite: All core and specialization courses. Course not eligible for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credit.
  • CRJ595** Criminal Justice Internship
    In this course, students participate on the staff of a criminal justice or related service agency under the co-supervision of faculty and agency personnel. Weekly journals and a mid-term report are required and combine theory and observation of professional practice. Other course requirements include a mid-term conference with the faculty internship coordinator and evaluation of the on-site supervisor. On-site hours are determined by credit hours. Prerequisite: Students must successfully complete three courses (nine credits) prior to taking the internship. * CRJ595 is an optional course that students may select if they currently work in a criminal justice setting. See the Academic Catalog for additional information.

*Master’s Plus - Some Master of Criminal Justice students may also be required to take RES501 as part of their program if they have an undergraduate GPA below 3.00. In this case, the degree is 39 credits.

**CRJ is an optional course that students may select if they currently work in a criminal justice setting. Students will be required to pass a criminal background check, including fingerprinting, prior to taking CRJ. This course may not be available in all states; see the State Specific Authorization Policy Under Admissions Policies.

Degree Specialization (12 Credits)

When you earn your master's degree through CSU Global, you will customize it with a graduate specialization in a subject that matches your professional goals or personal interests. 

Most Popular Specializations:

Additional Available Specializations for this Program:

Download the Specializations Chart
View a list of all CSU Global specializations and the degree programs they can be paired with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should You Consider a Master’s in Criminal Justice?

Getting your Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice may help advance your career by making you eligible for better, more leadership-oriented roles at criminal justice organizations, including private companies, public corporations, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal government agencies.

Criminal Justice Master’s programs prepare you to take charge as a leader in this intensely fulfilling, often challenging, and critically important field responsible for protecting public safety and securing private property.

If you want to be on the cutting edge of the industry and you’re looking to land a leadership role, then deepening your knowledge and broadening your capacity for serving the public by getting your Criminal Justice Master’s Degree is an excellent idea.

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Getting a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice will prepare you for a variety of leadership roles in the field by helping ensure that you can provide value to any organization from day one.

Your Criminal Justice Master’s program will train you to improve criminal justice processes and organizations by providing you with a wealth of new knowledge, skills and abilities, including:

  • Describing crime and control achieved via criminal justice systems across a range of theoretical and global perspectives.
  • Discussing the roles, strategies, and impacts of effective criminal justice leadership and management.
  • Evaluating the role of community-based criminal justice programs in preventing crime.
  • Applying professional ethics to, and understanding their importance and impact on our criminal justice system.
  • Describing knowledge of high-technology and occupational crimes in cause, detection, investigation, prosecution, and prevention.
  • Evaluating how technology can be used as a highly effective tool for fighting crime.

What Jobs Can You Get With an M.S. Degree in Criminal Justice?

Master’s courses in Criminal Justice will hone your skills and abilities for protecting the public and personal property by enhancing your understanding of best practices in criminal justice, fraud detection and prevention, and law-enforcement management.

Your increased understanding and awareness of the effective use of criminal justice best practices and leadership strategies will improve your eligibility for assuming a variety of important managerial-level roles, helping you develop a career that could lead to a top role in the field, like:

Can You Get an Accredited Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Online?

Yes. CSU Global’s online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission—which has the highest accreditation standards and is only awarded following an investigation by independent, external auditors.

Regional accreditation ensures that CSU Global keeps its promises to students, including:

  • Ensuring that the degree prepares students for relevant careers in the field.
  • Providing financial and other assistance to students who want it.
  • Employing faculty members who are adequately qualified to teach their courses.
  • Using ethical strategies to attract prospective students.

Our 100% online accredited Criminal Justice Master’s program was designed to help you juggle education, work, and family responsibilities, with no requirements for showing up at set times or physical locations, monthly class starts, and accelerated eight-week courses.

Is a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Really Worth It?

Yes. Completing a Master’s Program in Criminal Justice is a valuable investment in your career, and could play a significant role in helping contribute to your overall career advancement.

Whether you want to work for a private company, public corporation, nonprofit organization, federal, state or local government agency, the criminal justice and leadership skills you hone in our M.S. in Criminal Justice program will prepare you to take charge and improve the effectiveness of criminal justice organizations and systems.

With our program’s emphasis on leadership and our partnership with leading criminal justice agencies and organizations like FEMA, IAEM, ACFE, CAIF and the Alpha Phi Sigma Honors Society, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your professional network while picking up the skills, abilities and understanding needed to attain a leadership role in the industry.

Why Should You Choose CSU Global’s Online Master’s in Criminal Justice?

CSU Global’s online Criminal Justice Master’s program is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and considered to be one of the best criminal justice graduate programs, having recently won several prestigious awards, including:

  • A #1 ranking for 25 Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice for 2020 by Best Masters Programs.
  • A #4 ranking for The 20 Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs 2020” from Online Course Report.
  • A Gold School of Distinction award from Best Colleges, making us one of only 15 schools to receive gold rankings, out of more than 2,000 online degree programs.

How much will my degree cost?

Tuition Rates

Your education should increase your earning potential, not your monthly bills.

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Financial Aid

You may be eligible to receive financial aid to help cover the cost of your education.

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Why You Should Earn Your Online Master’s Degree

Earning your online master’s degree through CSU Global provides you with more than just the diploma you need to get noticed. With an emphasis on real world concepts and career-relevant skills, you get training and experience along with your credit hours. Additionally, CSU Global strives to make your education as affordable as possible. With our Tuition Guarantee, your tuition rate won’t increase over time! Instead, you’ll enjoy the same low rate for the duration of your enrollment at CSU Global.

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Regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) means your degree comes from a top quality, trusted university.

#1 Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice

Best Masters Programs has ranked CSU Global #1 of 25 Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice for 2020

#4 Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice

Online Course Report ranked CSU Global #4 of 20 Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Degree Programs 2020


In Best Colleges’ Schools of Distinction standings, CSU Global earns one of only 15 gold rankings, out of more than 2,000 online degree programs.


Guide to Online Schools identifies CSU Global as one of the top military-friendly online institutions.

“The pride I have in achieving a Masters Degree from CSU Global provided me with the confidence to attain the career plan I had envisioned.”



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