Prepare to take on leadership roles.
Explore trends. Protect lives. Impact the future of the criminal justice system. Are you looking to transition to a more senior position—or a second career—in the criminal justice field? Walden’s MS in Criminal Justice program is designed to give you a competitive edge while empowering you to influence positive, meaningful change in your organization and community.
Opt for our course-based format or choose our flexible, competency-based format designed to work around your busy schedule.
Gain skills that you can apply immediately on the job through media-rich coursework that focuses on current events, challenges, and opportunities in the criminal justice field.
Learn from distinguished faculty, including Dr. Jessie Lee, former executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).
Focus your studies on what interests you most by choosing one of eight highly relevant and in-demand specializations.
Tempo Competency-Based Learning™: Receive up to a $3,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on February 1, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.Get Started Now
Two Ways to Learn
Choose from two degree completion options.
The course-based format may be a good option for you if you prefer an instructor-led approach and learning on a predetermined schedule.
Tempo Competency-Based Learning™ is an alternative way to earn your Walden degree. It’s different from our standard course-based learning because you can work at a pace that makes sense for you, and progress once you’ve shown you understand a subject. With Tempo Learning®, you have the flexibility of online learning, plus the ability to personalize and control the length, cost, and pacing of your program. See below which specializations are offered in Tempo Competency-Based Learning in addition to our standard course-based learning.
Gain a unique blend of technology, homeland security, and management skills that you can apply immediately on the job or use to advance your career.
Explore the various theories and research that aim to answer the “why” behind criminal behavior.
Learn how technology is used in the commission of various crimes such as child sexual exploitation, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and human trafficking.
This specialization prepares you to build confident and capable teams and guide others during times of crisis.
Gain skills and knowledge that are essential to operating effectively in regions seeking to develop and modernize.
This specialization provides a foundation for evaluating and creating protective measures and policies that do not compromise individual rights and freedoms.
Examine the vital legal knowledge available to public policy practitioners as you examine legal concepts, cases, and current trends in law and policy.
This specialization provides a foundation for understanding anti-terrorism legislation and its impact on public policies.
Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
The online Master’s in Criminal Justice program helps prepare its graduates to:
- Utilize theory and research to analyze historical trends and current perspectives in criminal justice.
- Use research to evaluate factors related to crime and the impact of crime on criminal justice policies, practices, and procedures.
- Evaluate the impact of U.S. constitutional policy and procedures on the criminal justice system.
- Analyze the impact of the criminal justice process on victims and perpetrators.
- Synthesize principles from criminal justice theories, processes, and practices to promote social justice and positive social change.
- Compare the structural functions and interactions of law enforcement, courts, and corrections within the criminal justice system at the local, state, and federal levels.
- Discuss how criminal justice laws and policies are adopted, implemented, and evaluated.
What's the Career Impact of Earning Criminal Justice Master's Degree?
Graduates of the MS in Criminal Justice program will be well-prepared to seek leadership roles across an array of areas, including law enforcement, courts, corrections, and probation. Possible job titles include:
- Police or detective administrator
- First-line supervisor of police or detectives
- Transit or railroad police officer
- Corrections officer or jailer
- Detective or criminal investigator
- Probation officer/correctional treatment specialist
- Private detective or investigator
Career positions may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
FAQ About Walden’s Online MS in Criminal Justice Program
At Walden University, you can customize your online master’s in criminal justice program by focusing your studies on the issues that matter most to you. Walden offers a General Program and eight specializations. However, regardless of which specialization you choose, the program’s core courses will introduce you to:
- Contemporary views and theories of maladaptive and criminal behavior.
- Events that have significantly changed how the legal system interprets the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Code, and the U.S. Patriot Act.
- Research methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative methods, that professionals use to collect data and analyze trends in criminal justice.
- An in-depth analysis of the treatment of women and people of color as professionals, litigants, victims, and offenders in the criminal justice system.
- The relationship between victims and those who commit crimes against them.
The MS in Criminal Justice program at Walden University offers a number of specializations to help you better define your career. No matter what line of work you are interested in, there is probably a specialization to match your interests in the field. These specializations include:
- Law and Public Policy – In this specialization, you will examine court cases, discover how public policy practitioners conduct legal research, and be introduced to fundamentals as well as trends in public policy.
- Emergency Management – It is critical that professionals with the right education and training be involved when disaster strikes. This specialization can help you learn how to build a team of emergency responders who are well versed in helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.
- Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace – In this specialization you will focus on the causes of terrorism, including what drives someone to commit terrorist acts. You will also look at ways to prevent terrorism and how to respond to it.
Walden University offers an MS in Criminal Justice program for those who wish to further their education without changing their entire professional or social situation. The program is designed to help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to start or advance your career while completing the majority of coursework from home, on a schedule that works for you. Additionally, students who choose to earn their MS in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Public Management and Leadership at Walden can choose from a course-based or competency-based education format. Different from a standard course-based format, the competency-based format allows students to progress at their own pace and demonstrate their skills through competency assessments.
Criminal justice professionals confront tough challenges each day as they work to reduce crime, improve public safety, and protect and serve society. Whether it’s a job in law enforcement or criminology, working as a criminal investigator or forensic scientist, a career in criminal justice is an opportunity to make a meaningful difference. Criminal justice professionals regularly combat a variety of issues, including:
- Mental illness – Tackling mental health in the U.S. criminal justice system is a big job, and one law enforcement officers, criminologists, mental health providers, policymakers, and other professionals with careers in criminal justice are all working together to address.
- Drug crime – With the growing opioid epidemic, drug-related arrests are putting an even bigger strain on the American criminal justice system. Many professionals in criminal justice have dedicated their careers to fighting the war on drugs through better law enforcement, more effective policy, and new laws.
- Cybercrime – Data breaches. Extortion. Cyberstalking. Identity theft. With internet-related crimes on the rise in the U.S., cybercrime has become one of the fastest-growing areas of focus in the criminal justice system.
Reputation is key, and Walden University has been leading adult learning for the past 50 years. Convenience also matters, especially for working professionals, and Walden’s master’s program is delivered through a flexible online learning platform that allows you to complete coursework on your schedule. In addition, class sizes are small and students have access to a number of support services throughout their program. Diversity can play a big role in your education, too. Walden’s online learning community is made up of a diverse group of students from across the U.S. and beyond who share their unique perspectives and insights about criminal justice.