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SNHU graduate Jean Besson walking in the city. With the text Jean Besson '14

Master's in Criminal Justice Online MS Degree Programs

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Register By: April 15 Classes Start: April 17

Advance in Criminal Justice

  • $627/credit (36 credits total)
  • Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
  • Complete in as few as 15 months, or at your own pace
  • Learn from criminal justice professionals
  • Accredited by NECHE
  • 24/7 online accessibility – attend class when and where it's convenient

Online Master's in Criminal Justice Program Overview

Become a leader in public safety with a Master of Science (MS) in Criminal Justice. This online degree program gives you the know-how to apply the latest research, leadership strategies and criminological theories for effective decision-making in the U.S. justice system. Whether you're looking to advance your career in local law enforcement, aiming to work for a federal government agency or want to help set public policy, a master's in criminal justice can help you gain the skills you need to be a leader in today's ever-changing criminal justice field.

Students may either pursue a general track – ideal for those who want to craft their own focus through elective classes – or choose between concentrations in public safety administration or advanced counterterrorism and homeland security.

The master’s in criminal justice online degree is a 36-credit program that focuses on management, leadership, data analysis and budgeting skills. Depending on your electives, your criminal justice program may also touch on business law and ethical business practices.

Through your courses in the master’s in criminal justice online program, you’ll:

  • Learn what administrators, managers and other leaders in today’s criminal justice system need to know
  • Learn from experts with years of experience in the field, bringing credibility and relevance to your education
  • Gain a stronger understanding of finance, accounting and the economic systems in which cyber and financial crimes are growing

Graduates will be prepared for a wide range of careers and advancement opportunities. You'll come away with the skills you need to stand out during the hiring process in both public and private sectors.

You'll learn key skills, including: Resource planning, consensus building, ethical leadership and business management.

Concentration Options

Career Outlook

This master's in criminal justice degree could help prepare you for a number of different roles once you graduate. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 3% job growth for police officers and detectives; 3% growth for emergency management directors and 12% growth for social and community service managers through 2031.1 Demand may vary by location, but a continued need for public safety bodes well for new prospects.

Earning your master's degree can be a significant advantage in career advancement and promotion to senior responsibility roles in the criminal justice field. Graduates of the criminal justice online program will likely find a wide variety of positions available to them, including those in:

  • State and local government
  • Law enforcement
  • Security and corrections
  • Community advocacy
  • Public policy

Start Your Journey Toward an Online Criminal Justice Degree

Courses & Curriculum

The curriculum for the master’s in criminal justice online has been designed by working criminal justice professionals and is taught by faculty members with years of practical experience.

Dr. Sheryl Victorian with the text Dr. Sheryl VictorianTake, for example, Dr. Sheryl Victorian, a police chief and SNHU instructor with nearly a quarter century of law enforcement experience. In 2021, she was named Chief of Police of the Waco, Texas police department, after serving, in various leadership roles, for 28 years with the Houston, TX police department.

Beyond being highly qualified, Victorian brings a fearless commitment to exploring, discussing and actively taking part in some of the most pressing law enforcement issues of our time – specifically, police-community relations.

"In order for us to build trust in our communities, we need to build relationships," Victorian said. "We need their help and their support. I think it's incumbent on the police department to be proactive in building those relationships."

In her local community, that means finding opportunities to engage with the public. One way she did this was through the Houston PD's Positive Interaction Program, which invites city residents to a station house each month to learn about various aspects of the department. This gives residents a chance to meet and build relationships with local law enforcement and start a dialogue addressing specific concerns they have within their neighborhoods.

She is just one of many faculty members who finds a way to leverage their experiences in a meaningful way for students. Others, who have backgrounds in the NYPD or the FBI, add their own lens to critical conversations about criminal justice.

Many courses also include field-authentic assignments with videos, simulations, national data and role-playing exercises. The program’s capstone course allows students to work on relevant research projects with law enforcement or other agencies, ensuring real-world experience prior to graduation.

"I’m really proud of the way SNHU has developed their courses to be more realistic and more helpful," said Mark Evenson, former chief of police in Brentwood, CA, and adjunct faculty member in SNHU's criminal justice program. "They do a much better job preparing people for careers in criminal justice than other schools that I’ve seen.”

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Graduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 15 credits 
Degree/Certificates $1,881 $627 $9,405 
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
$1,410 $470 $7,050 

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs:
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

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