Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice is designed to serve the growing number of individuals in the criminal justice system who desire post baccalaureate education, as well as those in more traditional public and private employment who may wish to acquire further education in criminal justice.

After completion of all required courses, students choose either the thesis culminating experience or the comprehensive exam culminating experience. The thesis is designed for students who intend to pursue graduate studies beyond the M.A. level and those who are interested in conducting specific research projects in criminal justice. The comprehensive exam is geared for those with administratice and management goals. 

The program can serve a variety of student interests. It has been designed with a limited prerequisite requirement to enable students with baccalaureate degrees in related fields such as psychology, administration, anthropology, sociology or social sciences to enroll along with students with undergraduate degrees in criminal justice.

All of our required courses are offered online to accommodate various student schedules, whereas several of our elective courses may be held in the classroom.

The MA degree can be completed fully online or with a combination of online and classroom courses.

National Recognition

2018: Ranked #21 in “Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice Degree Program, 2018” (College Choice)

2018: Ranked #34 in “Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs” (U.S. News and World Report)

2018: Ranked #39 in "The Top 50 Institutions for Online Master of Criminal Justice Degree Programs" (Master's Programs Guide)

2017: Ranked #15 in “The 25 Best Online Master of Criminal Justice Degree Programs” (The Best Schools)

2016: Ranked #4 in “Most Affordable online Master’s in Criminal Justice Program” (Collegevaluesonline)

2016: Ranked #12 in “Best Online Masters in Criminal Justice Degree Program, 2016” (College Choice)

2015: Ranked #3 in “50 Best value Colleges for a Criminal Justice Degree, 2015” (Best Value Schools)

2015: Ranked # 17 in “50 Best Online Criminal Justice Programs, 2015” (Super Scholar)

2015: Ranked #20 in “Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs” (U.S. News and World Report)

Program Learning Outcomes

At the end of the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, students will have:

  1. Acquired an in-depth awareness of the criminal justice system and its components.
  2. Developed a working knowledge of research methods as used in the social sciences, with a particular emphasis on the basic skills necessary to conduct (and direct) research in criminal justice agencies.
  3. Developed an ability to employ advanced statistical tools, especially as they are applied in criminological research.
  4. An ability to apply the primary concepts and assumptions of the traditional and contemporary theories of crime.


The department has a highly qualified faculty that is nationally recognized. They received doctorates from the most prestigious programs in the field and they consistently publish in leading journals reporting on cutting-edge research. We also work with a number of criminal justice agencies in the region and nationally including the Riverside Probation Department, San Bernardino Probation Department, San Bernardino Police Department, Ontario Police Department, Fontana Police Department, Colton Police Department, and San Bernardino County Police Chiefs and Sheriff’s Association. Additionally, the department operates two research centers: the Criminal Justice Research Center and the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

View our Faculty & Staff section.