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Criminal Justice Master of Science in Criminal Justice

School of Public Service Leadership

Make a Difference in Your Community

Do you want to make a difference in your community and increase your effectiveness in the field of criminal justice? Embark on earning an online master’s in criminal justice degree, and take your criminal justice career to the next level. Our curriculum will expand your skills and knowledge of all the facets involved in working with courts, corrections, and policing. Taking the theoretical knowledge gained through the coursework, you can confidently apply that knowledge while working with individuals, groups, and communities.

At a Glance

  • Online 
  • 7 Core Courses
  • 4 Elective Courses
  • 1 Integration Projects

Classes Start July 8th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

What you’ll learn

Develop Critical-Thinking Skills

Evaluate criminal justice theories and their application to criminal justice policy.

Expand Problem-Solving Ability

Apply criminal justice theories to criminal justice issues and decision-making. 

Synthesize & Execute Principles

Apply democratic principles to the criminal justice system.

Assess & Manage Operations

Apply principles of strategic thinking in managing operations of the criminal justice system. 

Promote Social Responsibility

Analyze legal, ethical, and diversity accountability in a criminal justice context.

Apply Research to Policy

Integrate valid, reliable, and ethical research to inform policy and decision-making in criminal justice.

Program features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Practical Research Application

You’ll gain advanced knowledge to make effective, evidence-based decisions that are based on research and not popular opinion.

Relevant, Real-World Learning

Engaging media simulations help you develop and practice skills in on-the-job, risk-free scenarios.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

Learn from faculty engaged in their professions, holding top academic credentials and teaching from real-world experience.

Learning Online Doesn’t Mean You’ll Learn Alone

From day one, you’ll interact in a multidisciplinary courseroom that mimics the real world. You’ll be paired with an expert instructor and writing coach who’ll help you develop the skills needed for success. 

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$540 per credit, 48 total quarter credits, 12 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Reduce your tuition by $3K

Enroll in your master's degree, apply for the scholarship, meet eligibility requirements, and receive up to $3K.

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample courses

Our master's in criminal justice program delves into human behavior, the corrections and judicial systems, and public policy. You’ll dive deep into ethnic and cultural awareness, intelligence-led policing, and criminal profiling.

Show course with description
CRJ7015 *
Criminal Justice Theory

This course focuses on the applications of both criminal justice and criminological theories by scholars and professionals in research, policy formation, and practice. Learners gain and apply an understanding of key criminal justice theories that pertain to the structures and operations of the criminal justice organizations, including law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Learners analyze and evaluate the behaviors of state officials, the legal apparatus, and criminal justice organizations. Learners assess trends in criminal control in relation to political processes, social groups, economic changes, and ideological factors. Prerequisite(s): PSL7020, completion of or concurrent registration in PSL7030. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer. 

4 quarter credits
CRJ7025 *
Justice, Security, and Democracy

This course introduces learners to the central functions of law enforcement agencies, the courts, and corrections in preserving and protecting the security, safety, rights, and liberties of their respective communities. Learners examine the principles of constitutional democracy, with particular focus on the roles and responsibilities of the criminal justice system. Learners analyze the complex reciprocal interactions and influences of politics, society, and the criminal justice system. Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent registration in CRJ7015; PSL7030.

4 quarter credits
CRJ7035 *
Criminal Justice Policy and Administration

This course focuses on the organizational challenges that criminal justice leadership typically encounters in contemporary society. Learners critically examine the intended and unintended effects of political, social, and legal policies and pressures on how criminal justice organizations function. Learners assess organizational and administrative theories, strategic models, and best practices for leadership and administration in criminal justice. Learners analyze innovative policies and change initiatives to achieve specific ethical and functional objectives. Prerequisite(s): CRJ7015, PSL7030.

4 quarter credits
CRJ7045 *
Crime Intelligence Analysis

In this course, learners assess the role and significance of community relationships in criminal investigations. Learners investigate current criminal justice information systems and computer applications in analysis and projection of crime patterns. Learners evaluate and apply approaches to resolve community crime problems through partnerships. Learners also analyze the effectiveness of a communitybased program related to criminal justice intelligence operations. Prerequisite(s): CRJ7015, PSL7030.

4 quarter credits
CRJ7095 *
Integrative Project for Criminal Justice

In this course, learners demonstrate proficiency in a specific area of criminal justice studies by applying learning from required and elective courses to develop an original project. Throughout the process, learners synthesize the interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives, approaches, and research methods addressed in the curriculum and write a paper, integrating academic literature with their project to demonstrate knowledge they have gained throughout the program. For MS in Criminal Justice learners only. Prerequisite(s): Completion of all required and elective coursework. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits


Concentrations let you hone in on your specific area of interest that can get you even closer to your exact career goals. The concentrations you earn will be included on your transcript.


Learn the philosophy of punishment and the scope of corrections programs, such as probation, parole, incarceration, and treatment.


Deepen your understanding of crime prevention, treatment programs, and criminal justice system interventions.

Higher Education

Prepare to teach using your personal teaching philosophy and applying ethical decision-making, multicultural competence, and more.

Continuity Management

Apply research and theory to inform policy and practice to design and manage resilient systems.

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Writing support

Sharpen your writing skills with our free tutoring services and other resources.

Relevant blog posts

The Growing Use of Technology in Criminal Justice

Technology has become a key factor in helping to solve crimes more efficiently and effectively.

When Disaster Strikes, the World Depends on Public Service Professionals

It takes a range of public service professionals, from law enforcement to case managers, to respond to a crisis.

Move forward in your career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our master’s in criminal justice degree. 

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Drug enforcement officer
  • Private investigator
  • Law enforcement officer, detective, investigator, commander or chief
  • Case worker or probation and parole officer
  • Prison warden
  • Community correctional worker
  • Deputy sheriff
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Correctional officer
  • Criminal investigator
  • Court officer, courtroom security, or bailiff
  • Probation, parole, correctional administrator, or commissioner

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Law enforcement organization—state, local, federal
  • Correctional facility or prison—state, local, federal
  • Municipal court system
  • Department of Corrections
  • Department of Probation and Parole Courts
  • Federal government agency
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • Bureau of Prisons
  • Drug enforcement administration
  • U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.