Degree Overview

If you are a skilled, effective, and ethical leader, the field of Criminal Justice is a great fit. And our fully online Master of Criminal Justice program will prepare you for the next step in your career or path to earning a PhD.

Our MCJ program was established in 1989 and we were the first in Iowa to offer this degree online. Our program is continually strengthened by expert faculty who have deep experience in the field, and they focus on the relevant skills you need to be effective and successful.

Our curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts, and you will be taught in small classes designed with your success in mind. You will gain a theoretical foundation in criminal justice, allowing you to analyze the world and policies affecting your clients. You will also strengthen your writing and research skills, so you can effectively tackle grant writing and program development within your organization and community.

Our online Master of Criminal Justice program prepares you for positions in law enforcement or corrections management. Our accelerated format features eight-week classes, so you can finish your degree in as little as a year when you enroll full-time. Or, enroll as a part-time student and earn your degree in two years. Either way our fully-online format means you can balance your studies with your life.

Degree Details

  • Next Start Date:3/22/21
  • Est. Program Length*:1-2 years
  • Credit Hours:36
  • Course Length:8 weeks
  • Cost Per Credit Hour:$562

Who is This Degree For?

  • Young professionals currently working in the criminal justice industry who want to advance their careers.
  • Recent graduates looking for a graduate degree in criminal justice.
  • Individuals who are looking to earn an academic, theory-based criminal justice degree to help them advance into a PhD program.

Course Requirements

Required Courses

  • MCJ 500 Applied Criminological Theory
  • MCJ 503 Workshop
  • MCJ 504 Serial Homicide
  • MCJ 510 Crime Policy Analysis
  • MCJ 511 The Constitution and Law
  • MCJ 530 Data and Research in Criminal Justice
  • MCJ 550 Writing for the Criminal Justice Professional
  • MCJ 630 Leadership and Administration
  • MCJ 670 Juvenile Justice Survey
  • MCJ 671 Law Enforcement Survey
  • MCJ 672 Corrections Survey
  • MCJ 675 Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice

Career Outcomes

Corrections Officer Supervisor

As prison and jail populations increase, more corrections officers and supervisors are needed. With St. Ambrose’s online Master of Criminal Justice degree, you’ll learn the skills necessary to supervise and direct corrections staff and jailers in order to maximize facility efficiency.

Police and Detective Supervisor

Support police officers and detectives who protect your community and bring criminals to justice with St. Ambrose’s online Master of Criminal Justice degree. As a student, you’ll develop the right skills to properly manage operations of your community’s police force and ensure the individuals under your supervision have everything they need to succeed.


You’ve worked as a corrections officer and now you’re ready to explore the mind of a criminal. With our online Master of Criminal Justice degree, you’ll learn about the causes, effects and social impact of crime and what leads people to commit crime.

Why St. Ambrose?

  • Outcomes-based Education

    St. Ambrose University is focused on results: 90% of our 2016-17 undergraduates were employed in their field, attending graduate school, or contributing to their communities as volunteers within six months of graduating. Alumni of our graduate programs are leading worldwide corporations, hospitals, security firms, hospitals, non-profit organizations and more.

  • Outstanding Faculty

    You will learn from leading educators, practitioners, and researchers who support your educational and professional goals. Our faculty are focused on teaching first and are readily available to answer questions or help you dive deeper into a topic.

  • Affordability

    Our competitive tuition means you will get a deep and relevant education at an affordable price.

  • Core Values

    Ambrosians share a commitment to academic excellence, liberal arts, social justice, and service. Our students, alumni and faculty are actively contributing to their communities, professions, and the world. Join us, grow, and make an impact of your own.

Benefits of Learning Online

  • Flexible Schedule

    With our fully online format, you can balance your education around your busy life. Take advantage of a structure that puts your needs first.

  • Community

    Enjoy completing your studies in a community of peers from diverse backgrounds.

  • Become an Ambrosian

    Earn a St. Ambrose University online degree from anywhere in the world.

  • Experienced Faculty

    Our faculty have real-world experience and a passion for teaching. Make a connection and use it to help propel your career.

  • Competitive Tuition

    We offer competitive tuition and financial aid for our online programs.