Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Earn your Master of Science in criminal justice degree online from South University. Our Master of Science in Criminal Justice is designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice or other related fields like psychology, criminology, business or public administration, anthropology, political science, or sociology. Our graduate level criminal justice courses dive into the historical and contemporary criminal justice system, examining relationships among law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. You’ll also cover ethics, research methods, leadership, planning and innovation, personnel administration and management, and criminology—all helping to prepare you for leadership positions in the field*. Through elective courses, you can focus in on specific interests such as juvenile justice, political terrorism, critical incident management, resource and agency coordination, homeland security, and community or institutional corrections.
*South University does not promise or guarantee employment.
Admissions criteria for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) Program
Graduate Admissions - Masters level
Prospective students are required to submit the following:
- Completion of application for admission
- Official transcripts for bachelor or graduate degree within 5 weeks* of the class start date. (All credentials earned outside the United States must be evaluated by a NACES or AICE-member credential evaluation service). Please speak with an admissions representative for more information.
Note: See program notes and specific requirements below for each graduate - masters level degree program
*Effective August 14, 2023 – Students beginning classes at Online Programs will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation.
Specific requirements for admission to classified graduate status are:
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
- Completion of application for admission.
- A 2.7 overall grade point average or higher on completed requirements for the baccalaureate degree, or, an earned graduate degree from an accredited institution with a CGPA of 3.0 or higher.
Foundational Undergraduate Courses for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Completion of an undergraduate statistics course (with a grade of C or better) is required for the Master of Science in Criminal Justice. If the student does not have the course as part of their undergraduate degree the course needs to be completed in the first two quarters of the program. Foundation undergraduate course credits do not count towards the total number of credits for graduation nor do they count in the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); however, they do count in determining the maximum time frame (MTF) and the Incremental Completion Rate (ICR). MSCJ students enrolled in foundation undergraduate course must successfully complete the course within their first three attempts or the student will be academically dismissed from the University.
For additional admissions information please see the admissions section here.
Applicants with an undergraduate degree CGPA of less than a 2.7, but not lower than a 2.3, or a graduate degree CGPA of less than 3.0, but not lower than a 2.7, will be considered for provisional admission. Students who do not attain a 3.0 GPA in the first quarter will be dismissed. Students cannot appeal the dismissal from the university as a result of failure to meet the conditions of provisional admission.
The student will choose four courses (16 credits) from the remaining graduate level criminal justice curriculum listed below or from other graduate offerings with the guidance and approval of the Program Director in Criminal Justice or appropriate Program Chair and with the advice of the related Program Director if courses from other programs are desired. The student should plan to take at least 50% of this part of the degree program in criminal justice courses. Students may construct an area of emphasis with the guidance of the Program Director or Chair or pursue a more general set of elective course courses. Students may emphasize a traditional area of the field such as Corrections or Homeland Security, but elective choices may also reflect the particular professional goals and aspirations of the student. Thus, courses in areas such as Public Administration, Business, or Clinical Mental Health Counseling may be included as desired and approved and if the student completes the required prerequisites for such courses. Please note that Financial Aid may not cover prerequisite courses. Please see the Coursework Taken Outside a Student's Degree Program Policy found in the Academic Affairs section of this catalog.
Acceptance into a South University Criminal Justice program or its completion does not imply or guarantee that a student will be able to obtain employment in law enforcement, corrections, probation/parole, or related fields. The student should contact the national, state, or local agency/institution in which the perspective student intends to gain employment for specific requirements and the application process.
Offered at Austin, Columbia, Online Programs, Richmond, Savannah, Tampa, Virginia Beach, and West Palm Beach.
Note: Not all Online Program offerings are available to residents of all U.S. states. Please contact an admissions representative for further information.
The South University Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program is designed for individuals employed in the criminal justice system, as well as those in other careers, both public and private, who wish to acquire further education in criminal justice. Prerequisites are limited so that qualified students with bachelor's degrees in related fields such as criminology, psychology, business or public administration, anthropology, political science, sociology or related social sciences may enroll along with students who have undergraduate degrees in criminal justice.
The program is primarily designed to foster a learning community of criminal justice professionals who will use their knowledge within law enforcement, correctional, political, and legal arenas. Program graduates will be prepared to seek admission to doctoral programs in criminal justice, criminology, and related fields, as well as to seek advancement within law enforcement, correctional, local and state government, and legal institutions.
The goals of the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program are to provide students with:
- Professional skills necessary to assume leadership positions in the administration of criminal justice agencies.
- Advanced knowledge and understanding of criminal justice institutions and processes, and current criminal justice policy.
- Advanced knowledge and understanding of research methods and program evaluation techniques to effectively conduct and/or evaluate social policy research.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates will be able to:
- Demonstrate mastery of skills in the areas of theoretical and applied criminal justice as well as in managerial principles and practices to effectively solve a variety of real-life problems within a complex organization.
- Understand the relationship between crime theory, crime policy, and professional practice.
- Demonstrate interactive skills and learn behavioral strategies for improving systemic communication within and between criminal justice agencies.
- Demonstrate the ability to effectively interpret and make use of research methodology by completing a final research project prospectus on a topic related to professional practice in an actual criminal justice agency.
Upon completion of the program, you can choose to enter doctoral programs in related fields or to seek a leadership position within:
- law enforcement
- local and state government
- legal institutions
Haven’t experienced online learning before or wondering what it’s like to earn your degree online at South University? While the mode of learning is different from the traditional classroom experience with added convenience and flexibility, we hold the same high standards of academic excellence in the online classroom.
South University’s online programs combine a curriculum designed for student outcomes and a classroom designed for flexibility and engagement. Our online classroom learning platform, Brightspace, provides you with a host of features to enhance your learning experience, including:
- Advanced media content
- Personalized navigation
- Simplified online learning atmosphere
- Access to digital books
- Emailing and instant messaging options
We provide more than just an online classroom, bringing a range of campus experiences and services online. In addition, the online classroom is accessible on the go via mobile devices and with tools like the Pulse App. Pulse helps you stay connected and on track with your course by providing a number of features such as course calendars, readings and assignments, feedback and grades, and announcements.
Read more about online requirements here.
Latest News and Blogs
Feb 27, 2024
The Power of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others.
Feb 20, 2024
Thinking Social with Social Psychology
Social psychology is all about understanding how people think, feel, and act in relation to others around them.
Feb 14, 2024
Alumni Spotlight: Triplet Sisters Become a Trio of Nurses
Sisters Jean, Jeanet, and Jeanice Stephenson share a unique bond not only by being triplets, but also graduating South University's BSN program.
Feb 13, 2024
The Art of Negotiation: Mastering Business Deals
Whether you're vying for a higher salary, striking an agreement, or navigating a merger, mastering the art of negotiation can be a game-changer.
Feb 07, 2024
Alumni Spotlight: BSN Grad Excited for Her New Career
Nicole first learned about South University by word of mouth and later found the nursing program right for her. Read more about her story.
Feb 06, 2024
Finding Your Path: Criminal Justice Career Specializations
This blog post offers examples of common specializations and jobs within the criminal justice field so you can make plans for your potential future.
Fill out the form and a representative will contact you today to better understand your academic goals plus answer any questions you may have.
Campuses offer flexible learning formats* including: on-campus, virtual instructions, and online courses.
*Clinical, practicum, and externship requirements exist in certain programs and require field experiences. Learning formats may not be flexible.
Success! Your request was submitted. We'll be in touch soon!
In the meantime, you can view some of our FAQs
If you want to talk to an admissions representative ASAP, please contact us at 1-888-444-3404
Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers
We're committed to helping our graduates make an impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our Criminal Justice & Legal Studies graduates have to say.