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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.

Why Choose Walden?

A degree on your terms

Opt for our course-based format or choose our flexible, competency-based format designed to work around your busy schedule.

Readily Applicable Skills

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.

Distinguished Faculty

Learn from distinguished faculty, including Dr. Jessie Lee, former executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).

Eight Specializations

Focus your studies on what interests you most by choosing one of eight highly relevant and in-demand specializations.

Program Savings

Tempo Learning®: Receive up to a $500 Grant and fourth subscription period at no tuition cost based on your progress if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on October 3, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Program Details

Curriculum – General Program Specialization

Course Code Title Credits
CRJS 6002
Foundations of Graduate Study

Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as a scholar-practitioner and social change agent. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop a program of study and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence.

(3 cr.)
CRJS 6137
The Nature of Crime and Criminology

Students in this course are introduced to contemporary views and theories of maladaptive and criminal behavior. They examine a broad conceptualization of criminal behavior from an interdisciplinary perspective as well as theories and application of criminal profiling. Students also explore specific views of criminal behavior germane to groups, such as psychopaths, serial offenders, and sexually violent predators. At the end of this course, students will have an understanding of the theories and practices that are the foundations of the field of criminology.

(5 cr.)
CRJS 6215
Controversies in Criminal Justice

Justice is at the heart of the U.S. democratic system, yet opposing viewpoints surrounding and within the system often muddle interpretations of the law and the development of policies to promote and enforce justice. In this course, students examine events that have significantly changed how the legal system interprets the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Code, and the U.S. Patriot Act, for example, the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. They learn how social and historical changes have shifted perspectives and sparked debates on expanding the rights of government versus safeguarding personal civil rights and civil liberties. Through discussion with peers, assessment of contemporary articles, and examination of Supreme Course cases, students have the opportunity to reflect on and potentially broaden their own opinions and perspectives on current criminal justice affairs in regard to issues of law enforcement, public perception, policy development, and ethics.

(5 cr.)
CRJS 6216
Criminal Justice Research

Criminal justice encompasses many roles and responsibilities, including responding to victims, punishing or rehabilitating criminals, and developing laws and policies. To carry out these tasks effectively and responsibly, taking into account current trends and ethical considerations, criminal justice professionals need to understand underlying factors, such as the root causes of crime and the impact of crime on communities. In this course, students examine a range of research methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative methods, that professionals use to collect data and analyze trends in criminal justice. They examine models, metrics, and tools used to evaluate criminal justice programs and policies, and they assess the strengths and limitations of research methods. Students also learn about threats to the validity of data and consider the legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods.

(5 cr.)
CRJS 6511
Special Populations

Students in this course are provided with an in-depth analysis of the treatment of women and people of color as professionals, litigants, victims, and offenders in the criminal justice system. Students examine the systemic outcomes of the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, and gender for these groups as they relate to social justice and social inequality. Through critical examination of readings and data analysis, students learn about the complexity of the historical relationship between these groups and the U.S. criminal justice system and broader social context.

(5 cr.)
CRJS 6203

What is the relationship between victims and those who commit crimes against them, and how does the criminal justice system protect and respond to victims of crime? In this course, students have the opportunity to answer such questions through a comprehensive assessment of victimology, a relatively new discipline in the field of criminal justice. Students examine victim patterns and tendencies and learn how victims interact with the police and the legal system. They also examine how factors of class, race, and sexual orientation affect the perception of the victim by different constituents, including the public, the court system, and the media. Students assess and discuss the concept of primary and secondary victims and gain practical insight on a range of services and resources available to all types of victims.

(5 cr.)
Specialization Course 1
Specialization Course 2
Specialization Course 3
CRJS 6910
Capstone: Criminal Justice Ethics and Social Justice

Ethical behavior is an essential element of leadership. In this course, students examine the philosophy of ethics as well as responsibility and social justice—the basic tenets of public service. Through a combination of seminal texts and contemporary case studies, students explore the complex social, political, and ethical challenges leaders face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse constituents. Course topics focus upon ethics and social justice involving economic disparity, political power, and social privilege. Students analyze current social trends related to the ethical and social justice issues of a global community. Throughout the course, students assess emerging or persistent ethical and social justice issues and make recommendations for resolving specific dilemmas.

(5 cr.)

Admission Requirements

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.

Two Ways To Learn

In the Public Management and Leadership specialization you can choose from two degree completion options that are both designed for working professionals.

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 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.

With Tempo Learning, you may be able to complete your MS in Criminal Justice degree in 5 months for under $7,000 with Tempo Learning.*

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* Based on the fastest pace of our top 25% transfer students. Your actual total program time and costs will depend on your individual pace and transfer credits. A student’s pace is usually determined by their experience with the subject, ability to work independently, and available time.

Tuition and Fees

General Program Specialization

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 48 quarter credit hours $518 per quarter hour $24,864
Technology Fee Per quarter $165 $825


*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 24 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

Learn more

Program Savings

Tempo Learning®: Receive up to a $500 Grant and fourth subscription period at no tuition cost based on your progress if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on October 3, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now


General Program

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.

Behavioral Sciences

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.

Emergency Management

This specialization prepares you to build confident and capable teams and guide others during times of crisis.

International/Global Criminal Justice Issues

Gain skills and knowledge that are essential to operating effectively in regions seeking to develop and modernize.

Homeland Security Policy and Coordination

This specialization provides a foundation for evaluating and creating protective measures and policies that do not compromise individual rights and freedoms.

Law and Public Policy

Examine the vital legal knowledge available to public policy practitioners as you examine legal concepts, cases, and current trends in law and policy.

Public Management and Leadership

This specialization prepares you to develop strategies for managing change in public organizations.

Also available in Tempo Learning®!

Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace

This specialization provides a foundation for understanding anti-terrorism legislation and its impact on public policies.

Program Outcomes

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.

Learning Outcomes

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.



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