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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 legal 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 emphasizes ethics, responsibility and social dynamics in addition to the theory and practice of criminal justice procedures and research methods 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.

How Much Will I Pay?

Tuition & Aid    

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


  • 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 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.



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

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

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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."


What will I learn as an M.S. in Criminal Justice student?s

The expertise you’ll develop as a student in the criminal justice master’s program will enable you to become an advocate of justice. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of ethics, history, personnel management, corrections, cybercrime, juvenile justice, international terrorism and more. Specific expertise gained from the program includes:

  • Comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships of all the various components – as well as the social and political issues – related to the criminal justice system.
  • Awareness of the effects of constitutional provisions, statutes, ordinances and judicial decisions on justice administration and criminal justice management.

What can I do with an M.S. in Criminal Justice?

Some of the career opportunities available to M.S. in Criminal Justice graduates are:

  • 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

Relevantly, the 2019-2029 occupational outlook for police officers and detectives is expected to grow 5% nationwide, which is faster than the average national occupation growth rate and have a median annual salary of $67,290 (bls.gov). The occupational outlook for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists within the same timeframe is expected to grow 4% nationwide, which is as fast as the national average and has a median annual salary of $55,690 (bls.gov).


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

Note: We admit students on a rolling basis. The preferred deadlines help you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We review applications as they become complete, and admit students for a specific term up to the day classes start. We recommend you work on and submit your complete application well in advance of the preferred deadline, as obtaining transcripts and other materials may take more time.


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).

For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at online@louisville.edu.

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 accredited institutions*
  4. Check for Scholarships


Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution*
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis)
  • 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

Credit Transfer

You may transfer up to six credit hours of coursework from an accredited college or university.*

*See the Graduate School Transfer of Credit Policy for more information.

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 510 Managing Conflict, Change and Justice 3
CJ 516 Juvenile Justice Issues 3
CJ 517 Gangs in America 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
CJ 690 Practicum 3


Sample Course Descriptions

Student Organizations and Opportunities for Involvement

Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Phi Sigma stream all of their meetings as well as their lunch and learns. Visit our website to learn of any additional new ways that you, as an online student, can be connected with our on-campus students and faculty.


The Department of Criminal Justice faculty actively engage in community service. These partnerships provide opportunities for internships and networking that enhance the student experience.

  • Metro Louisville Government
  • Alcohol Beverage Control
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
    Firearms & Explosives
  • Anne Braden Institute of Social Justice
  • Center for Women and Families
  • Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Crime Analysis/Real Time Center
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Department of Corrections
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • International Service Learning Program
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
    (JCPS) Advisory Board for Public Safety
  • Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training
  • Kentucky Department of Insurance Fraud Investigation
  • Office of Homeland Security
  • Kentucky Court of Justice
  • Kentucky Derby Festival
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Louisville Metro Police Department
  • Medical Examiners Office
  • Public/Private Security/Loss Prevention
  • Restorative Justice
  • Think IR
  • UL Police Department
  • U.S. Marshal Service
  • U.S. Postal Inspectors
  • U.S. Secret Service

Department Grants

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

  • Vanderbilt University
  • John Jay College
  • Office of the Attorney General-Kentucky
  • Kentucky Administrative Offices of the Courts
  • DHHS Department of Homeland Security
  • Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice
  • University of Maryland
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Kentucky Department of Corrections
  • National Institute of Justice
  • Louisville Metro Police Department

Professional Organizations

The faculty are active members in the following professional organizations:

  • National Sheriff's Association
  • Midwest Criminal Justice Association
  • NSA-Education
  • NSA-Cyber Security
  • European Society of Criminology
  • Southern Criminal Justice Association
  • American Society of Criminology
  • Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences
  • American Correctional Association (ACA)
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Alpha Phi Sigma
  • Society for Study of Social Problems
  • Kentucky Council on Crime and
  • American Bar Association
  • Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police
  • American Criminal Justice Association

    Featured Faculty

    • What is the criminal justice or legal system?

      Many people automatically think of police officers, but the field encompasses much more than law enforcement. The legal system includes law officers, court systems, corrections, and victim advocacy.

    • Will I earn my degree from UofL?

      Yes. The “Master of Science” will be granted by the University of Louisville and represented as such on the diploma.

    • Is UofL’s Heathcare Leadership program accredited?

      Yes, the University of Louisville is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).

    • When can I begin this program?

      This program offers 5 starts per year: 2 in Fall, 2 in Spring and 1 in Summer.

    • Is Tuition Assistance available for active-duty military?

      Yes, Tuition Assistance (TA) is currently available for active-duty military at the rate of $250 per credit hour (subject to change without prior notice).