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Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) degree is designed for professionals within the criminal justice system who want to advance their career or strengthen their knowledge.

Offered by the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Louisville, the criminal justice online master’s degree delivers a forward-thinking curriculum that builds unwavering crime fighters and justice advocates—helping you move yourself, and our society, forward. You will learn from award-winning faculty with extensive expertise in the criminal justice system, justice administration, theories of crime and delinquency, legal issues in criminal justice, and advanced statistics and research methods.

100% ONLINE COURSES

Complete your degree on your own time through fully online and accelerated classes

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36 CREDIT HOURS

Earn your degree in 12 courses: 5 core, 6 electives and 1 professional research paper.

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8 WEEK TERMS

Accelerated 8-week courses, help you balance your education, career and personal life.

Online learning video - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice

"Getting a master’s degree in criminal justice helps you elevate yourself in whatever trajectory that you’re in. Learning the leadership skills, and the legal parameters and ethical parameters within criminal justice, certainly will put you ahead of those who don’t have that."


CHERIE DAWSON-EDWARDS, PH.D.
DEPARTMENT CHAIR, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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How Much Will I Pay?

$764 per credit hour
$250 active duty military rate per credit hour

Tuition & Aid    

Tuition rate does not include costs associated with a specific course or program, such as textbooks

Highlights

  • Advance your leadership career and expand your expertise with courses in ethics, history, personnel management, corrections, cybercrime, juvenile justice, international terorrism, and with electives addressing capital punishment, violent crime, domestic violence, criminal justice in media, substance abuse and more!
  • Transfer up to 6 credit hours of graduate courses from other regionally-accredited universities.
  • Skip the GRE – not required for admission
  • Take classes 100% online and access learning tools from anywhere.
  • Complete your degree in just three intensive semesters with year-round courses and 8-week terms.

Outcomes

Careers in criminology and criminal justice are rewarding and jobs in this field are poised for growth—more than 11% between 2012 and 2022—with specialized occupations like Information Security Analyst and Political Scientist growing 36.5% and 21.3%, respectively (bls.gov).

  • Criminal investigator
  • Criminal records manager
  • Crime prevention specialist
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Corrections officer supervisor
  • Court case manager
  • Emergency management director
  • Juvenile justice supervisor
  • Police chief; Police commissioner
  • Probation and parole officer; supervisor
  • Security planning manager
  • Special agent (DEA; FBI)
  • U.S. Marshal
  • Victim advocate


Priority Deadline* Term Start Date
July 1 Fall I August
September 1 Fall II October
December 1 Spring I January
February 1 Spring II March
April 1 Summer May/June

*This program admits students on a rolling basis. The priority deadlines listed are recommended to help you best complete the application process, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. The department will continue to review applications as they become complete, and will admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start.

Admission

With 8-week terms and multiple starts per year, admission to the UofL online criminal justice master’s program is granted on a rolling basis. We encourage applicants to submit all required credentials 6 weeks prior to the beginning of a term (January, March, May, August, October).

Use the MSCJ Application Checklist [PDF] to review the requirement and steps you must take to complete your application.

Steps to Apply

  1. Complete application for admission
  2. Submit $65 non-refundable application fee
  3. Submit official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work from regionally-accredited institutions

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Two recommendation forms from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s academic or professional capabilities
  • Original essay identifying the applicant's background, professional interest and goals, and the applicant's motivation and potential for successful completion of graduate work

Send all materials to:
Graduate Admissions
University of Louisville
2211 S. Brook Street
Louisville, KY 40292
gradadm@louisville.edu

Credit Transfer

You may transfer up to six credit hours of coursework from a regionally-accredited college or university.

For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning enrollment counselor at 800.871.8635 or online@louisville.edu.


Start Your Application

The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice is a 36-credit hour program that requires 15 credit hours in core criminal justice courses, 18 credit hours in electives and one professional research paper (worth 3 credit hours).

Core Courses

Course Credit Hours
CJ 621 The Criminal Justice System 3
CJ 625 Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Management 3
CJ 643 Theories of Crime and Delinquency 3
CJ 649 Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice 3
CJ 650 Research Methods in Criminal Justice 3
Total Core Credits Required 15
CJ 698 Professional Research Paper 3

Core CJ Courses

Course [choose 6] Credit Hours
CJ 500 Crime and Criminal Justice in the Cinema 3
CJ 505 International Terrorism 3
CJ 507 Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design 3
CJ 509 Crime Analysis 3
CJ 516 Juvenile Justice Issues 3
CJ 519 Domestic & Family Violence 3
CJ 520 Capital Punishment 3
CJ 521 White Collar Crime 3
CJ 522 Serial Murder 3
CJ 523 Race and Gender Issues in Criminal Justice 3
CJ 530 Introduction to Homeland Security 3
CJ 531 Covert Operations in Policing 3
CJ 576 Managing Organization Performance 3
CJ 578 Criminal Justice Leadership 3
CJ 580 International Service Learning: CJ Seminar 3
CJ 596 Seminar in Criminal Justice 3
CJ 597 Ethics in Criminal Justice 3
CJ 602 Criminal Justice History 3
CJ 605 Police and Society 3
CJ 606 Personnel Management in Criminal Justice System 3
CJ 607 Seminar in Law and Justice 3
CJ 609 Economic Analysis of Crime 3
CJ 610 Theoretical Foundation of Corrections 3
CJ 611 Critical Issues in Corrections 3
CJ 612 Criminal Justice Administration: Police 3
CJ 613 Advanced Comparative Criminal Justice Systems 3
CJ 614 Seminar in Policing 3
CJ 626 Emergency Management 3
CJ 627 Computer & Cyber Crime 3
CJ 630 Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience 3
CJ 644 Seminar in Juvenile Justice 3
CJ 652 Constitutional Issues in Criminal Justice 3
CJ 653 Communities and Crime 3
CJ 655 International Perspectives on Violence 3
CJ 656 Crime Mapping 3
CJ 665 Special Topics in Justice and Criminology 3
CJ 670 Directed Studies/Readings 3


Sample Course Descriptions


CJ 621 The Criminal Justice System
A study of the criminal justice system in the United States. A systems approach to the study of criminal justice and the interrelationships of the various components of the system. Social and political issues related to the criminal justice system are examined in depth.


CJ 625 Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice Management
Examination of the legal issues within criminal justice management, the effects of constitutional provisions, statutes, ordinances and judicial decisions on justice administration. A discussion of the legal aspects of selection, promotion, assignment, and termination of justice employees.


CJ 643 Theories of Crime and Delinquency
A study of the psychological and sociological factors involved in criminal and delinquent behavior. The relationship of theory to the prevention and control of crime, treatment of offenders and administration of respective criminal justice agencies.


CJ 649 Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice
Focuses on the use of statistical techniques in criminal justice. Emphasis on the application and interpretation of the statistics. Utilization of statistical application computer systems.


CJ 650 Research Methods
The application of quantitative and qualitative analyses in criminal justice research. The concepts of validity, hypothesis, reliability, measurement, sampling, quasi-experimental construction, errors in reasoning, and statistics and approaches to the problems of the conduct of stringent and useful research.


CJ 500 Crime and Criminal Justice in the Cinema
Prerequisite: Senior standing. This course examines media representations of the criminal justice system in historical context and with global perspective to show the congruence and disparities between popular film and reality.


CJ 505 International Terrorism
Investigation of international terrorism and terrorist organizations, focusing on causes, operations, organization, funding, threats and futures. Biological, chemical, nuclear and cyberspace terrorism are explored. Features of the impact of the media on terrorism, counter-terrorism, use of technology and prevention.


CJ 507 Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
Introduction to the concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). Emphasis will be placed on opportunity theories of crime and their application as well as means through which crime can be prevented using the built environment to reduced crime opportunity.


CJ 509 Crime Analysis
Crime analysis is a fairly new topic in criminal justice education. This course provides students with an opportunity to apply theory to crime data while learning introductory techniques of crime analysis and mapping.


CJ 516 Juvenile Justice Issues
An interdisciplinary seminar. Focuses on issues pertinent to the criminal justice system that reflect conflicting perspectives. This course covers the juvenile justice system and related juvenile issues. Topics include an overview of the juvenile justice system, treatment and prevention programs, special areas and laws unique to juveniles, and other related topics.


CJ 519 Domestic and Family Violence
A course addressing issues relating to family violence, includes examination of partner abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse throughout the life-course.


CJ 520 Capital Punishment
Prerequisite: Senior standing or consent of instructor. Seminar of issues related to the death penalty, including: constitutional questions, the effect of death row incarceration, and public attitudes toward the death penalty. Research on Kentucky will be featured. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.


CJ 521 White Collar Crime
Prerequisite: CJ 200 and CJ 305, or consent of instructor. A study of white collar and occupational crime. Course will focus on the concept, theoretical explanations, the extent and nature of various types of white collar and occupational crime in both public and private sectors. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.


CJ 522 Serial Murder
Prerequisite: Senior standing or consent of instructor. Examination of serial murder in the United States. Topics include serial murder and its relation to race and gender; the myth of serial murder; the media and serial murder and profiling.


CJ 523 Race and Gender Issues in Criminal Justice
Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of faculty. This course will study the dynamics of racial discrimination and racial disparity in the U.S. and how it affects the criminal justice system. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.


CJ 530 Intro to Homeland Security
This course outlines the philosophy, purpose, and rationale for a separate governmental agency whose primary mission is focusing on domestic security. This course will also examine issues related to international and domestic terrorism and their effect(s) on trends in homeland security.


CJ 531 Covert Operations in Policing
This course is an introduction to intelligence in policing and law enforcement with an emphasis on three key topics: 1) Developing awareness and understanding of human intelligence (HUMINT) as a primary means of collecting information required to develop intelligence for solving, predicting, and hindering crime & criminal behavior. 2) Developing skills in selecting and using analytical tools used by law enforcement intelligence and crime analysts: association and activities matrices, link analysis diagrams, social network analysis, pattern wheel analysis, mind mapping, concept map, and others. 3) Understand the critical role of planning in law enforcement and the relationship between planning, operations and intelligence.


CJ 576 Managing Organizational Performance
Prerequisite: Consent of department chair. Examination of factors affecting the management of organizational performance. Designed to help participants develop conceptual diagnostic and problem solving skills required of strategic managers in contemporary law enforcement organizations.


CJ 578 Criminal Justice Leadership
Through the use of lectures and case studies (films), participants will be provided with a cognitive understanding of leadership that emphasizes the study of leadership models and theories. Study and evaluation of various leadership styles and processes. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication (WR).


CJ 580 International Service Learning: Criminal Justice Seminar
Prerequisite: Approval of program director. Study of criminology and criminal justice with a cross cultural perspective. Comparative criminal justice research regarding particular problems and issues in the host country will be conducted and examined. Travel outside the U.S. required.


CJ 596 Seminar in Criminal Justice
An interdisciplinary seminar. Focuses on issues pertinent to the criminal justice system that reflect conflicting perspectives.


CJ 597 Ethics in Criminal Justice
Prerequisite: Senior standing or consent of instructor. A study of the need for ethics in criminal justice. The aims of ethics, ethical theories and ethical issues related to law making, law breaking and law enforcement. Note: Approved for the Arts and Sciences upper-level requirement in written communication.


CJ 602 Criminal Justice History
A study of the historical development of criminal justice agencies in the United States. The origin and influence of various European concepts of criminal justice and how they relate to past and present ideas in the United States.


CJ 605 Police and Society
An examination of the police function as a component of the political system in the United States. The manner in which police give substance to the political system and are formed by it in turn. The interaction of the police with other governmental institutions in the political system.


CJ 606 Personnel Management in the Criminal Justice System
Focus is on contemporary personnel management problems confronting agencies in the criminal justice system. Both the historical and the theoretical developments of personnel management are analyzed. Alternatives to current management procedures and systems are presented.


CJ 607 Seminar in Law and Justice
Study of the premises, theories and research in the study of the relationship between law, society and justice. Emphasis is on the classics as well as selected modern and contemporary research.


CJ 609 Economic Analysis of Crime
A study of the economic scope of crime. The role of illegal gambling, loan sharking, labor racketeering, and legitimate business infiltration. The cost of crimes against property. The economic characteristic of high crime jurisdictions. Preventive programs and their costs.


CJ 610 Theoretical Foundation of Corrections
A study of the psychological, sociological, political, and economic factors which contributed to the concept of corrections. The evolution of correctional thought and its role in contemporary and future reforms.


CJ 611 Critical Issues in Corrections
In-depth examination of contemporary issues in sentencing and corrections in our society. Particular emphasis will be given to best practices: recent policies and programs that have been developed to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of sentencing and corrections within our society.


CJ 612 Criminal Justice Administration: Police
An examination of the functions of police in society; principles of law enforcement organizations, administration, policy formulation, and management of personnel; statutory limitations on authority and jurisdiction.


CJ 613 Advanced Comparative Criminal Justice
In-depth examination of international legal systems and their related criminal justice systems including analysis of patterns of international crime and global criminal justice issues.


CJ 614 Seminar in Policing
In-depth examination of contemporary issues facing police in our society. Particular emphasis will be given to police innovation: recent policies and programs that have been developed to enhance the police function of crime prevention (societal protection) and community relations (service).


CJ 626 Emergency Management
This course is an overview of emergency management in the United States and will focus on the four phases of the emergency management process: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.


CJ 627 Computer and Cyber Crime
This course examines advanced legal, policy and technical issues of computer, digital and electronic crime, including issues with digital & computational forensics, information security and privacy. Class participation, writing and oral presentations will be integral components of the course.


CJ 630 Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience
This course will address U.S. key infrastructures and assets, potential threats to these, their major vulnerabilities, methods used to assess these vulnerabilities and current U.S. policy pertaining to infrastructure and asset protection.


CJ 644 Seminar in Juvenile Justice
Theoretical and empirical study of the etiology, distribution and extent of delinquency; problems involved in measuring delinquency; role of the police, courts and legal statutes; critical examination of treatment and prevention programs.


Prerequisite: CJ 625 or instructor consent. An in depth study of the US Constitution and US Supreme Court including history, structure and application of Constitutional rights and privileges.


CJ 653 Communities and Crime This course explores community-level theory and research within criminology. We will trace the development of community-level criminological theory and research from the work of Shaw and McKay to the work of contemporary scholars. Our tracing of this development will involve exploration of theoretical and methodological issues such as: the conceptualization and measurement of social disorganization, structural versus cultural effects in community models, social versus physical environmental effects, the role of community disorder in community crime models, the role of fear in community crime models, macro-level interactions within community-level models of crime, and use of theoretical integration and multi-level models in community crime research.


CJ 655 International Perspectives on Violence
The course will discuss violence as a global phenomenon and will attempt to determine what is universal and what varies when cross-cultural comparisons of violent criminal behavior are made. In addition, the course will focus on the effects of globalization on the criminal justice field and will discuss important issues related to international crime, international law, and international law enforcement.


CJ 656 Crime Mapping
This course will investigate theories, concepts, principles, and tools involved in better understanding crime incidents and crime patterns. Included will be weekly lab work following step-by-step tutorials that will provide students with a working knowledge of mapping software. Analyzing and interpreting a high-frequency Louisville crime problem and identifying police-based crime prevention techniques from the literature will be the subject of a final research project.


CJ 665 Special Topics in Justice and Criminology
Study of contemporary issues concerning the philosophy, management, and operations of criminal justice agencies.


CJ 670 Directed Studies/Readings
Prerequisite: Consent of chair and instructor. Independent study or research project under the direction of a member of the faculty.


CJ 698 Professional Paper
Prerequisite: Consent of chair. Preparation of a paper of publishable quality based on research under the direction of a faculty member.


Community Service

Department of Criminal Justice faculty are involved in our community through service. This includes but is not limited to participation in the following organizations:

  • Metro Louisville Government
  • Metro Police Department
  • Education Committee Intervention Resource Center, Inc.
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Jefferson Count Medical Foundation
  • Family & Children First
  • Youth Alive
  • Kentucky Learning Disabilities Association
  • Louisville Metro Crime Commission
  • International Cultural Center
  • Kentucky State Police Trooper Island
  • Oldham County Police
  • Presbyterian Community Center
  • ProTecht, Secret Service Electronic Crimes Initiative
  • InfraGard, Public Private Partnership Security
    Coalition with FBI
  • Goodwill Industries


Department Grants

Our faculty has been awarded research grants totaling more than 4.5 million dollars. Granting agencies include:

  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. State Department
  • Kentucky Department of Corrections
  • National Institute of Justice
  • Louisville Metro Police Department
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections
  • National Institute of Corrections


Professional Organizations

The faculty are active members in the following professional organizations:

  • Southern Criminal Justice Association
  • American Society of Criminology
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • American Correctional Association (ACA)
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • National State Law Enforcement Accreditation Network
  • The Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Education
  • American Society for Industrial Security
  • National White Collar Crime Center
  • National Association of State Judicial Educators
  • International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Alpha Phi Sigma
  • National Hispanic Science Network
  • Society for Study of Social Problems
  • Business and Professional Women/USA
  • Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency
  • Kentucky Women's Law Enforcement
  • Military Police Regimented Association
  • Southern States Corrections Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police
  • National Consortium for White Collar Crime Research
  • American Criminal Justice Association’s Lambda Alpha Epsilon







    Featured Faculty


    Viviana Andreescu, Ph.D., Associate Professor

    Bradley Campbell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

    Cherie Dawson-Edwards, Ph.D., Associate Professor & Department Chair

    Benjamin W. Fisher, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

    Elizabeth L. Grossi, Ph.D., Associate Professor

    George E. Higgins, Ph.D., Professor

    Thomas W. Hughes, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor

    Deborah G. Keeling, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, College of A&S

    Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, Ph.D., Professor and Dean of College of A&S

    Michael M. Losavio, J.D., Assistant Professor

    Heather Ouellette, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Ph.D.

    Kristin Swartz, Ph.D., Vice Chair - Director of Graduate Studies

    Angela J. Thielo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

    Gennaro Vito, Ph.D., Professor,

    William F. Walsh, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

    Alex O. Widdowson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor