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Online Master's Degree inCRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Your leadership role in criminal justice awaits.


Download the Program Sheet
Download the Program Sheet

To be a successful professional in criminal justice, you will need to understand how criminal justice organizations function, how to manage the people and issues that you will face regularly, and how to build programs and policies through community involvement and collaboration. CSU-Global's online Master of Criminal Justice degree prepares you for all of this and more.

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

  • Forensic Investigator
  • Private Detective
  • Loss Prevention Agent
  • Financial Investigator
  • Legal Investigator
  • Detective Sergeant
  • Judge or Magistrate

Earn Your Master's Degree In Criminal Justice

Building on your already strong foundation of knowledge of the criminal justice system, this online master’s degree program is designed to equip you with the knowledge and tools that you’ll need to advance in the industry.

In the master of criminal justice degree program, you will evaluate the role of an effective criminal justice manager, untangle the ethical issues facing law enforcement agencies and organizations, examine diversity issues, and develop solutions to common law and criminal justice related problems.

Possible Career Options with a Degree in Criminal Justice:

  • Special Agent
  • Detective
  • Investigator
  • Master Police Detective
  • Narcotics Detective


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. This program serves as a pathway to career advancement.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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.

View our learning outcomes assessment data.


All courses are taught by qualified instructors with current industry experience. Our instructors hold advanced degrees in their fields, and are specially trained to teach online, so you and your fellow students can think more critically about how the subject matter applies to real-world situations.

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Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the criminal justice field is growing at an average rate of 11 percent, the same as the average for all occupations. This means that earning your master’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement administration will give you a necessary advantage when searching for a job, and securing the career you want.

If you love…

  • Detective work
  • Uncovering clues
  • Verifying facts
  • Conducting surveillance
  • Collecting evidence
  • Investigating crimes
  • Analyzing and thinking creatively

…then you may enjoy working in the criminal justice field.

Fill out the short form to the right to request more information, and get started on earning your master's degree in Criminal Justice.

Degree Optimization

We provide students with career-relevant resources to help them succeed outside of the classroom. That's why we created Awards of Completion and Skills Endorsements, specific to our programs of study, spotlighting the knowledge, skills, and abilities that hiring managers find essential to success in the field. The Foundations of Criminal Justice Leadership and Applied Strategic Leadership in Criminal Justice Organizations are two of the awards you can receive as part of our criminal justice program.

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CSU-Global’s accredited Online Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice is designed to provide you with practical knowledge of the field. 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.)

  • 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.


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  • Fraud Management

    The Fraud Management program is ideal for financial specialists focused on the prevention of deceitful practices and activity through the effective management and protection of sensitive information.

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  • Global Management

    The Global Management program facilitates student’s awareness of topics present in global business, including communications, international accounting and finance, and economic aspects related to business decisions.

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  • Healthcare Administration

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  • Human Resource Management

    Students interested in furthering their careers in the field of human resources should consider this program, which provides organizational management skills with an emphasis on personnel, staff training and development, policy and procedures, and more. This program is designed as an HRCI certification prep course.

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  • Human Resource Performance

    Students who aim to improve an organization’s effectiveness through human resources should consider the Human Resource Performance program. Emphasis is on the successful management of organized labor employees in dynamic environments.

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  • Organizational Learning and Performance

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Cost and Schedule


Earning your master’s degree shows you have excellent critical thinking and decision making skills. Earning it at CSU-Global means you're already pretty good at it. Our promise to you is an affordable education with low tuition rates guaranteed not to increase for as long as you are enrolled, with no student fees or out-of-state tuition up charges. 

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We know you’re busy, but school can fit into your professional, family, and other life obligations. Our year-round, 100% online classes give you the flexibility to learn and study when it’s most convenient for you.

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Why CSU-Global?


Fill out the form below and we'll contact you and answer all of your questions.

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Through self-study and prior learning assessments

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Student Headshot - Scott Ryder"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


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