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Courses Criminal Justice

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

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Eight Required Courses


32 quarter credits

PSL7010, PSL7020, and PSL7030 taken in a prescribed sequence.

21st-Century Communication and Leadership

This course begins the three-course sequence designed to enhance professional communication, scholarly competencies, and leadership effectiveness. Learners apply theoretical models of leadership and interpersonal relations to practical situations in the workplace. Learners also use contemporary technology to communicate effectively as scholars and professionals in real-world situations.  Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
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
PSL7020 *
Professional Practice and Collaboration in a Diverse and Dynamic World

Learners in this course examine a variety of social and professional situations to build their skills in effective and creative collaboration across an organization. Learners analyze and benchmark best practices from an organizational, team, and individual perspective to create an environment of inclusivity and collaborative results. In addition, learners examine conflict management, diversity management, group dynamics, cultural competence, ethical decision making, followership, and social responsibility. Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent registration in PSL7010.

4 quarter credits
PSL7030 *
Introduction to Critical Analysis and Research

This course reinforces the leadership knowledge and skills gained during previous coursework, and enables learners to be more effective consumers of data and to better utilize research in applied and academic endeavors. Learners develop and demonstrate skills to evaluate source quality, credibility, and relevance to practice; assess research concepts and strengthen their ability to critically analyze; and apply information literacy, research ethics, and methods of inquiry. Prerequisite(s): PSL7010, completion of or concurrent registration in PSL7020.

4 quarter credits



Four Elective Courses



16 quarter credits

Recommended elective courses:

Corrections in the Criminal Justice System

This course introduces learners to corrections as a part of the criminal justice system. Learners examine the correctional philosophies of deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restitution; and integrate policy, research, and practice within corrections. Learners also analyze topics such as issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethics within corrections; and evaluate correctional programming, reentry, and government funding. 

4 quarter credits
Psychological Criminology

This course offers an introduction and overview of psychological theories of crime. Learners evaluate the history, trends, and empirical status of various psychological theories used to understand antisocial behavior across the life course, from problem behaviors in childhood to delinquency in adolescence to crime in adulthood. Learners assess psychological constructs and how they relate to offender typologies, including: Moffitt’s developmental taxonomy; psychiatric models such as oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder; and others. Learners also examine the salience of psychological constructs to prevention programs as well as intervention and treatment across law enforcement, judicial, and correctional settings.

4 quarter credits
Community Corrections

In this course, learners are introduced to community-based corrections, including probation, parole, and intermediate sanctions such as boot camps, deferred sentences, home detention, electronic monitoring, day reporting centers, and others. Learners investigate the history and development of community corrections, trends in the use of various community based sanctions, types of offenders who receive various sanctions based upon their criminal history and risk profiles, and current issues relating to community corrections.

4 quarter credits
Sociological Criminology

Learners in this course apply sociological theories of crime, including the history, trends, and empirical status of various sociological theories used to understand crime. Learners examine various social problems including poverty; unemployment; inequity in housing, health care, and education; urban blight; and racism in context of their relation to crime. Learners then integrate sociological theories.

4 quarter credits
Offender Treatment and Rehabilitation

Learners in this course analyze various approaches used to treat and rehabilitate criminal offenders, and examine the types of treatment and rehabilitation programs that are currently used in the field. Learners also evaluate the theoretical perspectives that guide effective treatment, and the research findings related to the success of treatment and rehabilitation programs that can be used to reduce recidivism among criminal offenders.

4 quarter credits
Life-Course and Biosocial Criminology

In this course, learners articulate life-course and biosocial theories of crime, including the history, trends, and empirical status of various life-course and biosocial theories used to understand crime. Learners also examine the various fields of study from which the theories developed, such as developmental psychology, sociology, biology, and genetics; and analyze the key findings that emerge from these perspectives as well as the controversies experts are currently debating.

4 quarter credits
Institutional Corrections

In this course, learners analyze classical and contemporary theories that support the confinement of criminal offenders. Learners examine inmate population demographics pertaining to offense class, gender, age, and minority status; and evaluate special populations of women, juveniles, elderly/infirmed, and the mentally ill. Learners also investigate the dichotomy of security versus rehabilitation and assess violence, gang recruitment, and radicalization.

4 quarter credits
Applied Criminological Theory for Scholar-Practitioners

Learners in this course apply theories from each of the major criminological schools (psychological, sociological, and life-course/ biosocial) to a potential research topic within the discipline. Learners demonstrate how different theories impact variables, research questions, and the entire research project, including data analysis. Learners also integrate theory with policy, programs, and practice.

4 quarter credits
Higher Education Landscape

In this course, learners analyze the current state of higher education and the roles and structures of higher education divisions within colleges and universities. Learners examine the inner workings of higher education including how finance, politics, governance, and the law affect the operation of higher education institutions. Learners also evaluate how current trends and issues influence higher education practice.

4 quarter credits
The Science of Adult Learning

This course presents the theory, principles, and effective practices of adult education. Learners build and demonstrate knowledge of the developmental characteristics of adult learners and interpret how culture, community, and society affect adult learning in a diverse society.

4 quarter credits
Teaching Strategies and Methods for Adult Learners

This course covers land-based teaching and digital environments with their various methods of delivery. Learners examine and apply teaching strategies and methods to enhance diverse adult learning styles.

4 quarter credits
Curriculum and Assessment

Learners in this course apply learning principles and effective practices to the design of curricula and assessment. Learners evaluate curricula and assessment of student learning outcomes for continuous improvement of the educational process.

4 quarter credits


Choose any graduate course(s).




48 quarter credits


* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.


If you have elective courses yet to satisfy in your program, you may be able to add a concentration and satisfy those degree requirements at the same time, with no additional program cost or time commitment. Concentrations available for this program include:

  • Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR)
  • Human Resource Management
  • Project Management

What can I expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

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Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which may help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this specialization.

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