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

Online Master's in Criminal Justice

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Total Courses
Cost per Credit
1.5 years
Average Completion*
15 Hours/Week
Course Effort

Master’s in Criminal Justice Overview

It’s time to move your criminal justice career forward. Earn your master’s degree and gain the knowledge and credentials to move into supervisory and administrative positions in the field.

  • Take courses 100% online while balancing the demands of your career.
  • Become a leader and change agent who can serve and protect our communities in the dynamic and fast-evolving criminal justice landscape.
  • Apply critical-thinking skills to real-world scenarios through an applied research project.
  • Learn from professors who are experienced criminal justice leaders who know what it takes to make it in this field.
  • Strengthen your leadership skills and prepare to take on new challenges in a rapidly changing field.
  • Study criminological theory and ethics and morality at one of the largest providers of public safety programs in the U.S.

Build the Expertise That Employers — and Communities — Need

  • Learn about organizational behavior, management, leadership of human resources, and the design and structural processes in criminal justice organizations.
  • Master the research methods and the skills needed to design and conduct applied research and evaluate data.
  • Understand the causes of criminal behavior in various cultures around the world.
  • Examine recent legislation and case law at the state and federal levels.
View Program Detail Plan and Policies

See Notes and Conditions below for important information.

Practical, Hands-On Learning

Put your classroom knowledge to work by analyzing real, current criminal justice issues and challenges in a final applied research project.

Purdue Global Is Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission

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

Professional Development, Networking, and Connections

Join a community of support. Engage with criminal justice professionals from around the country and learn from their diverse experiences. You can also take advantage of the graduate resource center, as well as professional memberships and clubs, career services, leadership opportunities, and more.

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required to enroll in a graduate 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.

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.

Sample Courses

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

Program Requirements

Core Credits
Major Credits
Elective Credits
Total Credits

Upcoming Start Dates

We offer multiple start dates to give you flexibility in your education, life, and work schedules.

Ways to Save on Time and Tuition

Purdue Global works with students to find ways to reduce costs and make education more accessible. Contact us to learn about opportunities to save on your educational costs.

Transfer Credits

Earn credit for prior coursework completed at eligible institutions.

Financial Aid

Learn about federal financial aid programs available for many of our degree programs.

Corporate Partner Benefits

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

Military Tuition Reduction

Graduate tuition savings for military include a 17–30% reduction per credit for current servicemembers and 14% per credit for veterans for graduate programs.

International Tuition Reduction

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

View the total cost of attendance for your program.

Calculate Your Time and Cost

Estimate how much your prior learning credits can reduce your tuition and time to graduation.

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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.

Average Salary


General labor market and salary data are provided by Lightcast and may not represent the outcomes experienced by Purdue Global graduates in these programs. Purdue Global graduates in these programs may earn salaries substantially different or less than the amounts listed above. Salary and employment outcomes vary by geographic area, previous work experience, education, and opportunities for employment that are outside of Purdue Global's control.

Lightcast average salary ranges can be explored further using Lightcast’s SkillsMatch tool. Purdue Global does not 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.

See Notes and Conditions below for important information.

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 Purdue Global 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.

Download the Program Brochure

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

Prepare yourself for success with a master’s degree in criminal justice.

See Notes and Conditions below for important information.

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.


Faculty members who have advanced degrees


Faculty members who hold a doctorate


Faculty publications in 2021–2022

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.

Your Path to Success Begins Here

Connect with an Advisor to explore program requirements, curriculum, credit for prior learning process, and financial aid options.


*Estimated Graduation Date and Average Completion: Estimated graduation date is based on the assumption that you will enroll in time to begin classes on the next upcoming start date, will remain enrolled for each consecutive term, and will maintain satisfactory academic standing in each term to progress toward completion of your program. Completion time is based on a full-time schedule. Programs will take longer for part-time students to complete.

100% Online: Some Purdue Global programs are not 100% online; some programs require you to gain hands-on experience in a real-world work environment. Contact an Admissions Advisor for additional information.

Job Growth—Protective Services Occupations: 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), 2021–2022 Total Degrees and Certificates Conferred, First Major, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services, Based on total number of degrees and certificates granted by Purdue Global compared to other degree-granting institutions.

Purdue Global Law School EJD Degree—MSCJ: Purdue Global alumni are eligible for a 20% tuition reduction on Purdue Global Law School 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.