Online Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice

Additional academy training and education not provided by Purdue Global may be required for law enforcement positions.

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Program at a Glance

  • Gain the knowledge and credentials to pursue supervisory and administrative positions in the criminal justice field.
  • Take advantage of the flexibility of online learning and study on a schedule that’s convenient for you. 
  • Apply critical-thinking skills to real-world scenarios through an applied research project.
  • Learn from professors who bring real-world experience to the courses they teach.
Upcoming Start Dates

Course Effort
15 Hours per Week
Course Length
10-Week Terms
Average Completion
1.5 years
Of Full-Time Study
Credits Required
(37 Semester Credits)
Cost per Credit
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Master of Science in Criminal Justice Overview

Purdue Global’s online master’s degree in criminal justice is designed to strengthen your leadership skills and prepare you to take on new challenges in a rapidly changing field. The criminal justice industry needs qualified leaders, public servants, and change agents dedicated to protecting our communities, our nation, and our world. 

Courses in the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice are designed to prepare you for advanced opportunities and explore:

  • Organizational behavior, management and leadership of human resources, and design and structural processes in criminal justice organizations
  • Research methods and the skills needed to design and conduct applied research and evaluate data
  • Causes of criminal behavior in various cultures around the world
  • Recent legislation and case law at the state and federal levels

Opportunities for Professional Development

Online discussion boards allow you to engage with students from around the country and learn from their experiences. You can also take advantage of the Graduate Resource Center, a self-paced course that includes information on professional memberships and clubs, career services, social networking, and more.

See the University Catalog for policy and degree plan information specific to this program.

Distinguished. Experienced. Committed.

As one of the largest providers of public safety programs in the United States, we’ve supported the career and educational advancement of many dedicated criminal justice professionals like yourself. You’ll join a wide network of students, alumni, faculty, and employers.

Applied Research Project

A hands-on final project enables you to put your learning to work by analyzing real-world criminal justice issues and challenges.

Purdue Global Is Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

The HLC ( is an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required to enroll in a master’s degree program. You will need to provide an official transcript that shows completion of your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, though an unofficial copy may be provided during the application process. Refer to the University Catalog or speak to an Advisor to learn more.

Ways to Save

  • Transfer Credits

    Earn credit for prior coursework completed at eligible institutions.

    Save Time and Money on Your Degree

  • Financial Aid

    Title IV federal financial aid is available for many of our degree programs.

    Financial Aid FAQ

  • Corporate Partner Benefits

    Employees of Purdue Global partner organizations may be eligible for special tuition reductions.

    Employee Savings and Benefits

  • Military Tuition Reduction

    17–30% reduction per credit for current servicemembers, 14% per credit for veterans for graduate programs.

    Tuition Savings for Military

  • International Tuition Reduction

    International students living outside of the United States are eligible for a 25% tuition reduction.

    International Tuition and Benefits

Program Cost Estimator

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What Courses Will I Take?

Curriculum in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice focuses on criminological and management theories, organizational behavior, and research methods related to the field.

See All Criminal Justice Courses
Sample Courses
  • Criminological Theory
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Critical Issues in Criminal Justice
  • Socially Responsible Leadership in Public Safety

Program Requirements

  • Core Credits
  • Major Credits
  • Elective Credits
  • Total Credits

Career Opportunities

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the protective service field is projected to grow.* Talented candidates with the right advanced degree, leadership abilities, and program management, budgeting, and policy-making skills can shape their professional futures as well as the future of the industry.

As a graduate, you can pursue a variety of leadership and advanced criminal justice career opportunities in organizations such as federal, state, and local government agencies; courtrooms; postsecondary educational institutions; police departments; regional loss prevention departments; and academia including universities or colleges.

Top 5 Skills Employers Are Looking for:

  1. Active Listening
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Speaking
  4. Monitoring
  5. Social Perceptiveness

Top Jobs With This Degree

Labor market, salary, and projected growth information are supplied by Emsi. Average salary range is based on national data. Projected growth represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018–2030) at the state level and is based on your geographic location. Actual outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience, and opportunities for employment. Purdue Global cannot guarantee employment placement, salary level, or career advancement.

Prior experience may be necessary for leadership positions. Local, state, and federal law enforcement jobs may require additional training or education including additional state-approved higher education beyond the Purdue Global degree. This program was not designed to meet any specific state’s requirements, and Purdue Global makes no representations or warranties as to whether the degree or any individual courses meet such requirements. Refer to the University Catalog for additional information. Graduates of Purdue Global criminal justice programs are not eligible to attend police academies in Minnesota.

Get to Know Our Faculty

Purdue Global faculty members are real-world practitioners who bring knowledge gained through the powerful combination of higher learning and industry experience.

View Criminal Justice and Fire Science Faculty Directory
grad hat icon 98% Faculty members who have advanced degrees
diploma icon 51% Faculty members who hold a doctorate
tablet icon 395 Faculty publications in 2021–2022
student at desk icon More Than 38,000 Professional development hours logged by faculty in 2021–2022

Statistics include all Purdue Global faculty members and are not school- or program-specific calculations. Source: Purdue Global Office of Reporting and Analysis, July 2022. 2021–2022 academic year.

Earn an Executive Juris Doctor Degree 1 Year Sooner

Upon graduating, you can apply some of your courses toward an Executive Juris Doctor (EJD) degree at Concord Law School. Save up to $9,888 in tuition and graduate a year sooner. You could earn both a master’s and EJD degree in as few as 3.5 years.‡ See which courses transfer.

Unlike the JD, which prepares you to sit for the bar exam and practice law, the online EJD is designed to help you build legal expertise to use in your career.

Program Brochure

Download our brochure to learn more about our Master of Science in Criminal Justice and the benefits of earning your degree at Purdue Global.


*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Protective Service Occupations, National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Largest Providers of Public Safety Programs: Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 2018–2019 Total Degrees and Certificates Conferred, First Major, Criminology; Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services, Based on total number of degrees and certificates granted by Purdue Global compared to other Title IV institutions.

Purdue Global alumni are eligible for a 20% tuition reduction on Concord programs. Tuition savings calculated as 24 credit hours x reduced per credit tuition rate of $412 = $9,888. Savings will vary based on the courses completed in the student’s master’s degree program. Credits apply toward open elective and/or specialty electives in the EJD program.

Time savings based on a student who applies 24 credit hours toward the 3-year EJD program; remaining 48 credits can be completed in 2 years of study. MSCJ can be completed in 1.5 years of study when adhering to the recommended course-load each term, taking courses in sequence, and without interruptions such as a leave of absence.