Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice

Rising concern over homeland security and increasing emphasis on education within law enforcement agencies have led to a greater demand for qualified criminal justice administrators and instructors nationwide. If you already have a bachelor's degree from a regionally or nationally accredited college and want to further your career, Kaplan University's Master of Science in Criminal Justice program offers a convenient, flexible opportunity to earn a criminal justice master’s degree.

Criminal Justice Master’s Program Highlights

Our online criminal justice master’s degree program is designed to provide you with the credentials for advancement in a rapidly evolving career field. Through our convenient courses, you can interact with industry professionals who are dedicated to helping you:

  • Analyze the causes of criminal behavior in various cultures around the world, with an emphasis on the causes of social deviance
  • Focus on organizational behavior; management and leadership of human resources; and design and structural processes in criminal justice organizations
  • Explore various research methods and focus on developing the skills needed to design and conduct applied research and evaluate data
  • Study recent legislation and case law at the state and federal levels in areas such as law enforcement, criminal procedure, civil and criminal liability, civil rights, employment law, and substance abuse
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Master of Science in Criminal Justice Concentrations

In addition to developing a broad foundation in criminal justice, this master's degree in criminal justice program is designed to enhance your knowledge in the concentration that best fits your career and educational goals. Earn your master’s degree in criminal justice and concentrate on one of the following areas:

  • Corrections: Further your expertise in the administrative and operational aspects of the U.S. correctional system, both institutional and community-based. Confront issues such as overcrowding, alternatives to incarceration, sentencing, inmate rights, and juvenile justice. Explore challenges in community-based corrections.
  • Global Issues in Criminal Justice: Explore the challenges of rapid globalization as it pertains to the criminal justice field. Analyze transnational crime, foreign justice systems, terrorism and related homeland security issues, and other contemporary international criminal justice issues.
  • Law: Examine legal principles and doctrines associated with criminal law, criminal procedure, evidentiary issues, comparative legal and justice systems, specialized criminal statutes, and employment law as they relate to professional practice in criminal justice.
  • Leadership and Executive Management: Explore theories and practices related to justice management, fiscal issues (with an emphasis on the preparation of budgets and grant applications), human resource development, and employment and policy law.
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Higher Education at the Highest Standards

Kaplan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and committed to the highest standards. Our specific programs hold additional industry-relevant approvals and accreditations.



How Do I Get Started?

Kaplan University offers multiple start dates, giving you greater flexibility with your education, life, and work schedules.

11

Oct

Online Start Date

October 11, 2017

29

Nov

Online Start Date

November 29, 2017

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Jan

Online Start Date

January 17, 2018

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Mar

Online Start Date

March 07, 2018

18

Apr

Online Start Date

April 18, 2018

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Jun

Online Start Date

June 06, 2018

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Jul

Online Start Date

July 18, 2018

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Sep

Online Start Date

September 05, 2018

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Oct

Online Start Date

October 17, 2018

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Dec

Online Start Date

December 05, 2018

Curriculum: Exam Track

Desired Track
Exam Track
  • Exam Track
  • Research Track
  • Core

    Total Core Credits: 30

    Total Program Credits: 55

    • CJ 501: CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY Change

      This course consists of an in-depth analysis of various explanations of criminal behavior. Readings include the original works of prominent authors from a broad range of disciplines related to crime, social deviance, and causation. Ethical and legal foundations in defining social deviance and crime are also considered. Specific focus is placed on applications of theory that address causes and correlations of criminal behavior in a variety of cultures throughout the world. This course is well suited for criminal justice practitioners, as students apply criminological theory to contemporary issues.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

    • CJ 503: ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR Change

      This course presents an in-depth analysis of the various dynamics facing criminal justice organizations in the context of professional practice, including, but not limited to, the theoretical concepts underlying organizational behavior, management and leadership of human resources, and design and structural processes. The scope includes fiscal accountability; personnel deployment; implementation of change; motivation and retention of personnel; the hiring, assignment, and promotion of personnel; organizational communication; professional development; and fundamental legal issues as they pertain to agency operations.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

    • CJ 505: CRITICAL ISSUES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE Change

      This course will address critical issues affecting the major tenets of the criminal justice profession, including, but not limited to, homeland security, training and education, ethics and morality in professional practice, and community-based law enforcement and corrections programs. Other current trends and any other critical issue facing the fields of policing, private security, and corrections are addressed as needed.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

    • CJ 525: APPLIED RESEARCH IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE Change

      This course will introduce you to applied research within the profession, which encourages adoption of the role of a reflective practitioner who seeks to simultaneously understand and change the professional setting. It will provide you with the skills needed to design and conduct ethical research studies on topics relevant in applied criminal justice settings. In order to accomplish these objectives, you will examine: the applied research process, the connection between theory and research, research ethics, the development of research literature reviews, sampling procedures, techniques for selecting and using appropriate data collection tools, steps for improving the validity and reliability of research, and the analysis of data.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

    • CJ 526: ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATIONS IN PUBLIC SAFETY Change

      Effective and appropriate communication is essential for success in the academic and professional worlds. Academic and Professional Communications in Public Safety is designed to prepare students for the rhetorical challenges found in their coursework, professional career, and the final capstone/research paper. Students will learn to clearly communicate complex and sophisticated materials to a wide variety of expert and nonexpert audiences using both written and oral techniques. This course will introduce students to the basic elements of academic and professional writing at the holistic and paragraph levels. Students will learn about audience and purpose as well as the graduate research, writing, and formatting process. These skills are coupled with an additional focus on the context, delivery, and medium through which students will communicate. Emphasis is also placed on accurately citing and quoting primary materials, organizational strategies, and grammar, editing, and usage skills.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

    • CJ 602: COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION Change

      As a final step in the Master of Criminal Justice, students who have chosen the comprehensive examination track take the examination. The comprehensive examination incorporates the program outcomes of the master’s degree. The exam is designed to assess a student's overall learning and mastery of the coursework in the program. Successful completion of the exam provides a measurement and acknowledgement of the effective learning experience of the student.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      Successful completion of all comprehensive exam-track core curriculum courses

  • Electives

    Total Electives Credits: 25

    Total Program Credits: 55

Curriculum: Concentration

Concentration
Select a Concentration
  • Select a Concentration
  • Corrections Concentration
  • Global Issues in Criminal Justice Concentration
  • Law Concentration
  • Leadership and Executive Management Concentration
  • Please Select a Concentration Above
  • Corrections Concentration

    Total Corrections Concentration Credits: 20

    Total Program Credits: 55

    • CJ 521: CRITICAL ISSUES IN CORRECTIONS Change

      This course provides a critical analysis of contemporary issues facing the U.S. correctional system. Students address issues such as the philosophies and theories that guide practice, community-based policies and practices, prison reform, special populations, recidivism, and legal mandates affecting the administration and operations of correctional facilities.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
    • CJ 522: COMPARATIVE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEMS Change

      The course addresses a variety of correctional issues from an international perspective, including, but not limited to, a comparative analysis of the philosophies and theories guiding practice, supervision, and treatment of prison populations with an emphasis on human rights, post-confinement intervention strategies, and legal standards governing practice.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
    • CJ 523: CRITICAL ISSUES IN JUVENILE JUSTICE Change

      This course is designed to explore the social context of delinquency, law, the history of the juvenile court, policing in juvenile justice, and court and corrections interventions with regard to children who have been victimized or are criminal. The course integrates scholarship and case law to investigate the many layers of the juvenile justice system, including how the juvenile court works and why it works the way it does. Upon completion, students will have much more than a cursory understanding of the juvenile justice system.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
    • CJ 524: COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS Change

      This course is designed to identify community-based corrections programs and to explore the issues relevant to the field of community-based corrections. The materials presented will draw upon scholarly and practical research to identify the programs commonly used, what "works," policy issues, services provided, costs, and who receives probation and parole. Boot camps, electronic monitoring, house arrest, day treatment, fines, community service, drug courts, and other alternatives will be discussed. Students will have the opportunity to debate and better understand the many challenges facing probation, parole, and community-based corrections

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
  • Global Issues in Criminal Justice Concentration

    Total Global Issues in Criminal Justice Concentration Credits: 20

    Total Program Credits: 55

    • CJ 509: COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS Change

      This course covers comparative foreign criminal justice systems, including the investigation and prosecution of international terrorists, the International Criminal Court, U.S. criminal cases affecting international relations, mutual assistance treaties, and issues concerning the formation of criminal justice systems in developing democracies. This course is especially beneficial for understanding global legal issues facing the criminal justice system.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

    • CJ 512: TRANSNATIONAL CRIME Change

      This course focuses on the historical development and current status of various forms of transnational crime from the perspective of the international criminal justice community. Particular emphasis is given to issues of organized crime, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, and the current strategies for the containment of such activities.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

    • CJ 513: CRITICAL ISSUES IN TERRORISM Change

      This course is designed to provide students with a critical analysis and understanding of issues related to terrorism. This includes historical analyses of the causes and effects of social, political, economic, and religious conflict as they pertain to terrorist groups from source countries; protective intelligence gathering and associated legal issues; threat assessment; emergency first-responder plans and policies; counterterrorism tactics and strategies; cyberterrorism and the role of technology; and concerns for the future.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

    • CJ 522: COMPARATIVE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEMS Change

      The course addresses a variety of correctional issues from an international perspective, including, but not limited to, a comparative analysis of the philosophies and theories guiding practice, supervision, and treatment of prison populations with an emphasis on human rights, post-confinement intervention strategies, and legal standards governing practice.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

  • Law Concentration

    Total Law Concentration Credits: 20

    Total Program Credits: 55

    • CJ 506: ADVANCED TOPICS IN CRIMINAL LAW Change

      This course addresses complex issues related to substantive criminal law, focusing on the sources of modern criminal law, the purposes and types of laws, the interpretation of criminal laws, the categories of crime and penalties, the similar characteristics of criminal violations, the elements of complex crimes, and the types of criminal defenses. This course is best suited for those students working in the area of law enforcement/policing.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

    • CJ 508: EVIDENTIARY ISSUES IN CRIMINAL CASES Change

      This course involves the study of the Federal Rules of Evidence and similar state rules, as well as the requirements of the U.S. Constitution concerning the admission into evidence of testimonial and physical evidence at trial. Students examine such topics as the foundational requirements for the admission of real and demonstrative exhibits, the authentication of writings and business records, witness credibility, hearsay, privileges, expert testimony, victims' rights, and chain of custody. This course is particularly well suited for those criminal justice professionals whose jobs require them to testify in court on a regular basis.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

    • CJ 509: COMPARATIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMS Change

      This course covers comparative foreign criminal justice systems, including the investigation and prosecution of international terrorists, the International Criminal Court, U.S. criminal cases affecting international relations, mutual assistance treaties, and issues concerning the formation of criminal justice systems in developing democracies. This course is especially beneficial for understanding global legal issues facing the criminal justice system.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

    • CJ 510: SPECIALIZED CRIMINAL STATUTES AND COMPLEX INVESTIGATIONS Change

      This course involves the study of legislation and case law that affect the daily practice of criminal justice professionals in the context of investigative techniques and the prosecution of cases. Students examine such areas as white-collar crime; the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act; money laundering; health care fraud; wire, mail, and bank fraud; identity and access device fraud; securities fraud; insurance fraud; corporate criminal liability; tax enforcement; and public corruption. In addition, the USA PATRIOT Act, Title III wiretaps, and grand jury procedures are also discussed.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

  • Leadership and Executive Management Concentration

    Total Leadership and Executive Management Concentration Credits: 20

    Total Program Credits: 55

    • CJ 511: EMPLOYMENT AND POLICY LAW Change

      This course involves the study of specialized topics in substantive and procedural criminal law with a special emphasis on employment law, and how these legal issues impact ethics and leadership in criminal justice organizations. This course is well suited for command-level personnel in response to a variety of potential agency and personal liability issues.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
    • CJ 516: BUDGETING AND FINANCE FOR PUBLIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATORS Change

      This course is designed to familiarize students with public program budgeting and finance concepts from program conception to programevaluation. Special emphasis is given to methods of financing public programs and the preparation and management of budgets for the programs. This course is intended to provide students with an opportunity to learn and practice the technical aspects of program budgeting and finance in the public safety arena. 

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
    • CJ 519: ETHICS AND DIVERSITY IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE Change

      Discrimination in the workplace, prejudicial treatment of individuals by public officials, official misconduct, and a lack of individual and collective professional practice are all enduring issues that must be addressed by our criminal justice system. Accordingly, this course is designed to address these and other related issues at length, as well as offer strategies for improved individual and professional practice.

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      None

      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.
    • 500-LEVEL: PUBLIC SAFETY ELECTIVE Change

      Credits:

      5

      Prerequisites Required:

      N/A
      Concentration courses are completed within the open electives requirement of the degree plan.

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