Online Master's Degree in CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Be on the Cutting Edge as a Criminal Justice Leader

It’s a field that can be intensely fulfilling, often challenging, and always to the benefit of the public good. As a leader in criminal justice, your job responsibilities could include the following:

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Evaluating community-based justice in preventing crime.

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Fraud prevention and management.

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Address cybercrime, terrorism, or forensics.

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Evaluate how technology is used as a crime-fighting tool.

Additional Resources



Learn more about criminal justiceDownload the Program sheet

What will I learn in this degree?

The online master’s in criminal justice provides an advanced understanding of theory and best practices of individuals in management positions of both public and private sector organizations. The curriculum addresses topics including ethics, decision-making, and the impact of crime in society to improve the effectiveness of criminal justice systems. Students can choose a number of specialization areas to complete the degree requirement after taking the core courses, depending on the personal interest and professional need, including Fraud Management -- a fast-growing industry in crime prevention and investigation, especially in the private sector. 

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Courses in this Degree

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.

Core Degree Courses (27 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. 

View Available Specializations

How much will my degree cost?

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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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REGIONALLY ACCREDITED

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

#3 Best Online Master's in Law Enforcement Administration

Best Colleges has ranked CSU Global #3 for its Online Master's in Law Enforcement program.

#5 & Best Curriculum

Online Masters has ranked CSU Global #5 for its Online Master's in Criminal Justice program.

“GOLD SCHOOL” OF DISTINCTION

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.

TOP MILITARY-FRIENDLY ONLINE COLLEGE

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

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“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.”

SCOTT RYDER

Student

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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ACCELERATED COURSES

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Learn Valuable Skills

This program provides an advanced understanding of theory and best practices of individuals in management positions of criminal justice, fraud management, and law enforcement organizations. The curriculum addresses topics including technology, cyber crime, international crime, terrorism, ethics, decision making, and the impact of crime in society to improve the effectiveness of criminal justice systems. Additional learning outcomes include:

  • 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 a highly effective contemporary crime-fighting tool.

Career Outlook

Forensic Investigator, Loss Prevention Agent, Judge, or Magistrate

Job titles you might achieve with a master’s degree in criminal justice.

7,500

Expected related job openings in criminal justice due to growth, replacement, and retirement through 2026, according to the BLS.

$60,840 Average Salary

According to the BLS, the average salary for police officers, investigators, and corrections supervisors is more than $60k annually.

Police Detective, Corrections Supervisor, Private Investigator

More available career paths for criminal justice professionals, as reported by O*NET OnLine.

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