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Criminal Justice Public Service

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Build your skill set as a criminal justice professional

Discover the tools to address complex issues associated with criminal justice, domestically and globally. The Capella online MS in Criminal Justice is designed to help you realize your potential in a wide range of criminal justice careers. Your coursework will include topics like criminal justice policy and administration and crime intelligence analysis.

This program is designed for professionals who want to take their careers further in areas such as security, law enforcement, corrections, federal, state and local government, or private sector work. 

At a Glance

  • Online 
  • 7 Core courses
  • 4 Elective courses
  • 1 Integrative project
  • 48 Total quarter credits
  • 12 Max transfer credits

Classes Start April 13th

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)

MS in Criminal Justice program highlights

Real-world skills

The criminal justice program is designed to meet and defend against today’s real-world challenges.

Built-in master’s-to-doctoral pathway

You can earn up to 40 credits, upon acceptance, toward a doctoral degree in criminal justice by completing your master’s courses.

No wasted time

The program is designed to teach critical skills, knowledge, theories, and abilities that employers want to add to their workforce.

Scholar-practitioner faculty

Faculty have extensive real-world experience in organizations such as the FBI, National Academy Associates, Secret Service, and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Meet the faculty »

91% of alumni agree Capella gave them the flexibility to graduate on schedule.

Source: Gallup Research Study, 2016

Learn the fundamentals

Hone your leadership and communication skills by exploring solutions to complex problems facing society today.

Get the support you need for success

You’ll never go it alone at Capella. Our dedicated support teams are waiting to help 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.


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.


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

Writing support

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

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. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. 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.


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

Ways to save

Affording your education shouldn’t be an obstacle to reaching your goals. We can help you find ways you can save

$3K toward your master's

Apply for a $3K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your master’s degree.

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.

Master’s in Criminal Justice sample courses

Our master’s in criminal justice program delves into human behavior, the corrections and judicial systems, and public policy. You’ll dive deeply 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

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. See what you can gain by pursuing a master’s in criminal justice degree at Capella. 

  • Understand how criminal justice theories apply to criminal justice policy.
  • Apply democratic principles to the criminal justice system.
  • Analyze legal, ethical, and diversity accountability.
  • Use theory to resolve criminal justice issues and make decisions.
  • Manage operations using the principles of strategic thinking.
  • Integrate research to inform policy and decision-making.

Criminal justice insights

When Disaster Strikes, the World Depends on Public Service Professionals

Explore the various roles that public service professionals play in protecting communities and individuals.

The Growing Use of Technology in Criminal Justice

Learn how technology has become a key factor in helping to solve crimes more efficiently and effectively.

Up Close and Personal with Public Service Leadership: Dean Charlyn Hilliman

See why Dean Charlyn Hilliman’s broad education background makes her a perfect fit to guide Capella’s School of Public Service Leadership.

Master’s of Criminal Justice professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the jobs and employment settings to consider with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Park ranger
  • Chief of police
  • Adjunct faculty of criminal justice courses
  • DEA agent
  • Probation officer
  • Parole officer

Employment settings to explore

  • Government- local, state, federal
  • College, university, and professional school
  • Justice, public order, and safety activity organizations

*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.