Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Campus Locations Charlotte, Online
Also available 100% Online Yes
Other Format(s)
Credits Required for Graduation 45
Entry Terms Fall Quarter, Winter Quarter, Spring Quarter, Summer Quarter
Meets International Visa Requirements No


Criminal justice and security agencies are under increased scrutiny—challenged to provide efficient and effective services, be transparent in their interactions with the public, and respond to changing local, national, and world conditions. To be successful, justice system leaders need to think strategically, communicate locally, and act ethically while developing comprehensive (and often multi-jurisdictional) solutions to crime and terrorism problems.

In response, Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies—in collaboration with the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice—offers the Master of Science in Criminal Justice. This innovative online master’s degree provides a path to excellence for leaders in law enforcement, courts, private security, and corrections organizations. Academically distinctive, graduate courses in this program emphasize leadership, communication, and ethics—themes that are designed to enhance your leadership capacity and improve your career prospects.

Program Objectives

  • Gain a better understanding of the increasingly complex criminal justice environment
  • Understand the short- and long-term benefits of ethical decision making 
  • Identify and apply leadership theories and practices that contribute to the commitment of an effective, efficient, and equitable administration of public safety
  • Build a personal model of leadership that can be put into action in the workplace
  • Evaluate major substantive topics and criminal behavior trends, including street violence, gangs, guns, drugs, human trafficking, terrorism, and cyber crime
  • Examine current and emerging anticrime strategies such as community policing, intelligence-led policing, and multijurisdictional intelligence fusion operations.
  • Discover how technology can be utilized to prevent and respond to criminal activity

Interested in Learning More?

Watch Master of Science in Criminal Justice webinar.



Please note: Students who started this program prior to Fall 2017 should follow the curriculum reflected on their DegreeWorks audits via the self-service tab of their myNEU portal.  Please consult your advisor with any questions.

Foundation Courses (15 q.h.)

CJS 6020 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice Policy 3 q.h. 
CJS 6400 Administration of Justice 3 q.h.
CJS 6405 Criminological Theory for Criminal Justice Leaders 3 q.h.
CJS 6415 Legal Decision Making and Leadership 3 q.h.
CJS 6470 Criminal Justice Capstone (recommended as last course) 3 q.h.

Operations Courses (12 q.h.) 

Choose a minimum of four courses: 

CJS 6425 Research Methods 3 q.h.
CJS 6435 Program Evaluations 3 q.h.
CJS 6440 GIS, Evidence-Based Learning, and Policy 3 q.h.
CMN 6050 Crisis Communication  3 q.h.

Concentrations (18 q.h.)

Option 1: Choose one concentration and 3 q.h. of free elective courses from below concentration courses.

Option 2: Choose combination of 6 elective courses from below concentration courses.

Community and Family Justice Concentration (15 q.h.)

Complete five of the following courses:

CJS 6300 Communities and Crime 3 q.h.
CJS 6330 Youth Justice and Crime 3 q.h.
CJS 6340 Substance Abuse and Addictions 3 q.h.
CJS 6305 Criminal Behavior and the Family 3 q.h.
CJS 6135 Intimate Partner Violence 3 q.h.

Corrections Concentration (15 q.h.)

Complete five of the following courses:

CJS 6145 Correctional Rehabilitation  3 q.h. 
CJS 6300 Communities and Crime 3 q.h.
CJS 6315 Administration of the Adult and Juvenile Correctional Systems 3 q.h.
CJS 6325 Probation and Parole 3 q.h.
CJS 6320 Community Corrections 3 q.h.
CJS 6340 Substance Abuse and Addiction 3 q.h.

Global Criminal Justice Concentration (15 q.h.)

Complete five of the following courses:

CJS 6025  Genocide and War Crimes  3 q.h. 
CJS 6030  Organized Crime  3 q.h. 
CJS 6035 Corruption, Integrity, and Accountability  3 q.h. 
CJS 6040 Human Trafficking and Exploitation  3 q.h. 
CJS 6045 Policing Issues around the Globe 3 q.h.
CJS 6105 Domestic and International Terrorism 3 q.h.
CJS 6125 Issues in National Security 3 q.h.
GST 6300 Global Issues: Security and Terrorism 3 q.h.

Leadership Concentration (15 q.h.)

Complete the following four courses:

LDR 6100 Developing Your Leadership Capability  3 q.h. 
LDR 6110 Leading Teams 3 q.h.
LDR 6120 Organizational Leadership 3 q.h.
LDR 6150 Transforming Organizations 3 q.h. 

Complete one of the following courses:

LDR 6135 Ethical Leadership 3 q.h.
LDR 6140 Strategic Leadership 3 q.h.

Policing Concentration (15 q.h.)

Complete five of the following courses:

CJS 6035 Corruption, Integrity, and Accountability 3 q.h.
CJS 6045 Policing Issues Around the World 3 q.h.
CJS 6050 Models of Intelligence-Led Policing 3 q.h.
CJS 6205 Law Enforcement Management and Planning 3 q.h.
CJS 6300 Communities and Crime 3 q.h.
CJS 6420 U.S. Policing in the 21st Century  3 q.h. 

Security Concentration (15 q.h.)

Complete five of the following courses:

CJS 6010 Advanced Principles of Security Management and Threat Assessment 3 q.h.
CJS 6005 Legal and Regulatory Issues for Security Management 3 q.h.
CJS 6035 Corruption, Integrity, and Accountability  3 q.h. 
CJS 6045  Policing Issues around the Globe 3 q.h. 
CJS 6105 Domestic and International Terrorism 3 q.h.
CJS 6125 Issues in National Security 3 q.h.
GST 6300 Global Issues: Security and Terrorism  3 q.h. 


Open Elective (3 q.h.)

INT 6943 Integrative Experiential Learning 3 q.h.


Required minimum credit hours: 45 q.h.

Admissions Requirements

Below are the official Admissions Requirements for this program.

  • Online application
  • Statement of purpose (500-1000 words): identifying your educational goals and expectations from the program; please be aware that the University's academic policy on plagiarism applies to applicant's statement of purpose
  • Professional resume: Current resume that displays job responsibilities, relevant experience, and education history
  • Two letters of recommendation: from individual(s) with either academic or professional knowledge of your capabilities, such as a faculty member, current employer, mentor, or colleague
  • Official undergraduate degree documentation
  • Proof of English language proficiency: ONLY for students for whom English is not their primary language: English language proficiency guidelines
  • Website Transcript Copy: To submit and complete your application you are able to upload your unofficial transcript directly to your online application. It can be uploaded in PDF format directly to the online application. Please ensure that the scanned documents are readable and include all courses, grades, (i.e. marks, scores, etc.) and credits completed to date. The scanned documents should also include information pertaining to the institution's grading scale. If accepted, you will additionally need to provide your official transcript. In order for a transcript to be "official," it must be in a sealed envelope from the transferring college or university.

For general admissions information and recommended admissions deadlines, Graduate Admissions.

All requirements must be received prior to review.


Estimated total tuition for this program is $30,195.00.

Tuition for individual courses is based on the number of quarter hours. Most courses are 3-6 quarter hours. See Graduate Tuition Rates for details.

Use our Tuition Calculator below to see if transfer credit or tuition reimbursement from your employer could reduce your total tuition.

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Degree Type


Please note: The estimated total tuition is based on tuition rates for Academic Year 2017-18 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time.

*A maximum of 9 quarter hours of graduate- or doctoral-level credit obtained at another institution may be awarded as Advanced Graduate Credit to the Doctor of Education program.

Student Profile

Who Will Your Classmates Be?

Designed for individuals with three or more years of experience in the criminal justice field, this program improves students’ leadership skills—preparing them to assume future leadership positions.

This broad-based program provides skills and knowledge that can be applied across a wide variety of criminal justice organizations.

Typical job titles include:

  • Community service officers
  • Youth outreach professionals
  • Police officers
  • Private security officers
  • Probation and parole officers

An undergraduate degree is required.

Career Outlook

Put Your Degree to Work

Technological advances have created a host of exciting career opportunities in the criminal justice field. While there has always been a consistent need for criminal justice professionals, the field is growing at a faster-than-average rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—with significant need for leaders with skills in technology, risk management, and budgeting.

The U.S. Department of Labor categorizes the earning capacity in criminal justice jobs as very good with the median yearly earnings in the various departments related to criminal justice ranging from $42,020 to $78,230.

Learning Outcomes

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Specialized Knowledge
    Articulate significant challenges involved in practicing in the complex criminal justice environment; identify critical topics and trends, including industry responses to current and emerging anticrime strategies.
  2. Broad and Integrative Knowledge
    Design and execute an applied or investigative work that draws on the perspectives and methods of other fields of study and assesses the resulting advantages and challenges of these perspectives and methods in criminal justice.
  3. Applied and Collaborative Learning
    Create a new anticrime public safety strategic plan based on the knowledge, theory, operations, and practice in the field of criminal justice.
  4. Civic and Global Learning
    Assess and develop a position on a policy related to a current and major topic in criminal behavior trend, anticrime strategy, or public safety, taking into account both scholarship, positions, and narratives of relevant interest groups.
  5. Experiential Learning
    Synthesize and transfer learning to new, complex situations within course work or beyond the classroom via experiential opportunities within the program.

Talk to an Enrollment Coach

We can walk you through your program options and the application process.


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Next Term Starts
  • Summer Graduate
    Jul 10, 2017 (4-, 6-, and 8-week classes)
    Aug 7, 2017 (4-week classes)
  • Fall Undergraduate
    Sep 4, 2017 (7.5- and 15-week classes)
    Oct 25, 2017 (7.5-week classes)
  • Fall Graduate
    Sep 18, 2017 (6- and 12-week classes)
    Oct 30, 2017 (6-week classes)

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