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Online Criminal Justice Master's Courses

Curriculum Details

36 total credits required

Anna Maria College’s online Master of Science in Criminal Justice consists of 36 credit hours and 12 total courses. It is delivered in a flexible online format and can be completed in one year or less.

Required courses are focused on areas most relevant to experienced criminal justice professionals including ethics, research design, statistical analysis and criminology. At the end of your program, you will also complete either a capstone project or a research-based thesis.

Program Options

You can customize your studies by adding a specialization to your program. Options include Leadership and Administration, Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Students who have previously completed a master’s degree also have the option to pursue a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies.

Students who have graduated from a qualified police academy can enroll in the Mid-Career Track, where their previous experience can count for up to six credits toward their degree. These students complete a streamlined curriculum and can finish their degree in 10 months.

Criminal Justice Core Courses


Examines ethical principles as they apply to the many practical problems that confront criminal justice professionals in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. Uses case studies to illustrate ethical reasoning and examine issues of social justice.

Designed to enhance students’ awareness of the fundamentals of research and research design. Students are required to complete work that demonstrates their ability to conceptualize ideas in criminal justice and apply methods for exploring those ideas.

Focuses on probability and statistics with an emphasis on data analysis, including univariate and multivariate techniques. Statistical problem solving is engaged using various data sources.

Presents major theories of crime and criminality. Theories are analyzed by common sense, logic, evidence, policy utility and compatibility with one another. Theories will be examined through a discussion of measures, correlates and popular beliefs regarding the prevalence, causes and continuance of criminal offending.

Choose One:


Designed to give students the chance to apply the knowledge and skills that they have acquired throughout their graduate education to real-world situations. A capstone project is designed for those entering directly into a specific field, without plan for postgraduate study.

Designed to give students the opportunity to do focused research on a topic from their respective field of study. Applied research is designed primarily for those planning to continue to doctoral or other postgraduate studies.

General Track Electives


Analyzes the experiences of and responses to domestic violence. The course will examine the causes and effects of violence within various family structures and interpersonal relationships. Theoretical and legal analysis will be a focus as well as research and systematic response. Research data, as well as case studies, will be utilized to help illustrate and further explore the various forms of violence in intimate relations.

Considers of the effects of psychotropic substances on individual and societal human behavior. Students will study the history of drug use in the United States, and the development of regulatory and enforcement policies and practices. The behaviors studied will chronicle the effects of drug abuse upon individuals. Societal behaviors, domestic and international, that result from widespread use or trafficking of illegal drugs will also be examined.

Examines those forces in a society that shape thinking and group attitudes. Gives special consideration to diverse issues related to the breakdown of the family structure, domestic violence, child abuse, problems of the economically deprived, race and ethnic relations, the homeless, the mentally ill, and alcoholism and drug abuse.

Focuses on the global phenomena of workplace and school violence, how these forms of violence can be prevented, and what can be done to limit the harm and help those who have been directly or indirectly affected. These issues will be addressed using a multidisciplinary, contextual approach, drawing on theory and research from psychology, law, sociology, business, education, criminal justice, human services, history, and political science.

This course focuses on the study and analysis of human behavior patterns. Special consideration is given to the role of the emergency services department management team member as a leader and motivator of people.

Rotating topics in Criminal Justice.

Considers the evolution of the study of Victimology from a historical perspective. It will focus on the scientific study of the physical, emotional and financial harm people suffer as victims in our society. The course will also examine the public’s political, social, cultural and economic reactions to victimization.

Leadership and Administration Specialization Courses


Examines ethical principles as they apply to the many practical problems that confront criminal justice professionals in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. Uses case studies to illustrate ethical reasoning and examine issues of social justice.

Facilitates critical thinking about the approaches to the delivery of public safety services through an examination of the processes of developing and implementing law and policies. Includes the study of the complexities of the political process and of behaviors and attitudes of individuals in various agencies in an attempt to understand and assess planning decisions.

Rotating topics in Criminal Justice.

Select four advisor-approved electives to complete your program.

Homeland Security Specialization Courses


This course explains the history of building national security, its mission and its role. Through a consideration of best practices and the balance between security and liberty, it examines the organizational structures and resources required to defend the homeland. This course provides an overview of DHS operations including mission, operational planning, execution and evaluation, security and communications, intelligence collection and reporting, critical infrastructure protection, and ethical, social and economic issues including the need to address victimization and fear.

An analysis of the threat of domestic terrorism in the United States from hate groups, Eco terrorist, “lone wolves” and extremist groups.

This course examines, through a risk and vulnerability assessment of the global terrorism phenomenon, various international groups’ culture, history, ideology and motivation, capabilities, methods and activities within contexts of political, ethical, social and legal issues. Included in this examination is the emergence and growth of extremist and terrorist groups such as AlQaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist networks. Particular attention will be focused on U.S. foreign policy, media impact, intelligence cycles, acts and procedures at governmental, state, and community levels.

This course will identify and analyze best practices in multiagency cooperation, including the roles of local, state, and federal law enforcement, intelligence, and emergency management agencies in conjunction with the public sector as required for collective welfare and implementation of the Homeland Security Act. The role of technology and communication is included as well as an analysis of the Patriot Act, its practice, and its ethical, social and legal implications for American life today.

Select three advisor-approved electives to complete your program.

Emergency Management Specialization Courses


Introduces operations frameworks in the United States such as the National Response Framework and other frameworks used by NGOs, the military, and international organizations are compared. The need for organization, pre-planning, and coordination are integrated with the need to expand structures and adapts plans when handling complex incidents and large, preplanned events.

This course deals with emerging topics in the field of emergency management based on current involved to include major emergencies, disaster and emerging trends.

Select five advisor-approved electives to complete your program.

Students who already have a master’s degree can also pursue a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) alongside their Master’s in Criminal Justice degree. There are no required classes for CAGS; instead, students choose four course from areas of study such as leadership in law enforcement, fraud investigation, domestic violence, and more.

Program Outcomes

When you finish your online master’s in criminal justice, you’ll be able to:

Transfer Credits

We accept up to six transfer credits into the online master’s in criminal justice program. Transferring in your previously earned credits can help you save time and money by finishing your degree faster.

You can learn more by calling us at 877-265-3201 to speak with one of our program managers about a personalized evaluation of your transcripts.

Certificate Option

To pursue the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (12 credits), applicants must have a master’s degree. There are no required classes. Instead, students choose four courses from areas of study such as:

  • Leadership in law enforcement
  • Criminal justice administration and leadership
  • Fraud investigation
  • Financial crimes
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Restorative justice
  • Juvenile justice
  • Corrections and rehabilitation
  • Research, statistics and methodology

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