Curriculum: Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Curriculum: Master of Science in Criminal Justice
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curriculum icon Curriculum at a Glance

The comprehensive 11-course curriculum is designed to help you understand the conceptual and theoretical frameworks that inform the study of crime and criminal justice, assess problems through a rigorous research approach and conduct high-level policy analysis. The program will also help you to stay ahead of current trends in the areas of corrections, policing and criminology. Many graduates of our online Master’s in Criminal Justice degree program pursue careers in research and university settings or assume leadership roles in the criminal justice system.

Program Highlights

  • Graduate in as few as two years of dedicated part-time study or one year of full-time study
  • Eleven total courses (33 semester hours) taught 100% online
  • Six enrollment periods each year: 2 fall, 2 spring, 2 summer
  • Curriculum combines cutting-edge theory with real-world application


UC’s online Master’s in Criminal Justice degree program offers three distinct concentrations so you can pursue a general track or focus your degree in an area of criminal justice that is most relevant to you. Our innovative courses are constantly updated to teach students the immediately relevant information that is most important today.

  • Analysis of Criminal Behavior
  • Law Enforcement & Crime Prevention
  • Corrections and Offender Rehabilitation


The University of Cincinnati and all of its regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Related Degrees & Programs

In addition to our online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree, the University of Cincinnati also offers a BS in Criminal Justice and three Criminal Justice certificate programs.

Course Title / Description Credit
Seminar in Criminal Justice
Course: CJ7010
Credit: 3
This class is a graduate level introduction to thecriminal justice system. Focusing on three themes;due process vs. crime control, discretion, and thesystem nature of criminal justice, students investigate the structure and operations of the criminal justice system in the United States. The class specifically explores the flow of cases across various decision points from the police, through criminal courts, to corrections.
Seminar in Criminology
Course: CJ7020
Credit: 3
This course provides an introduction to and critical analysis of major criminological theories, including theories from the bio-social, life course, strain, control, learning, labelling,rational choice, routine activities, feminist, andcritical theory perspectives. The emphasis is on understanding the logical structure of these theories as well as their respective strengths andweaknesses. Special attention is devoted to the life course and bio-social perspectives.
Demonstration Project 1
Course: CJ7098
Credit: 3
This section is for graduate students not taking the comprehensive examination. Approval must be obtained by a sponsoring faculty member who agreesto supervise the process.
Basic Research Methods in Criminal Justice
Course: CJ7041
Credit: 3
This course is designed to provide master's level students with a broad introduction to different methods that researchers, evaluators, and practitioners use to create new knowledge, understand and criticize research, evaluate programs and policies, develop policy, and participate in social, political, criminological, and economic debates and discussions. These "tools" will be a bonus to whatever the student's career goals are because the ability to THINK (what) and SOLVE PROBLEMS (how and why) in a systematic, yet creative, fashion are valuable job market skills, especially given our international economy and global competition. In addition, these tools will also help you to design, execute, and review research or evaluation studies that are required in your respective current or next job (or promotion).
Applied Statistics in Criminal Justice
Course: CJ7040
Credit: 3
This course will introduce the statistical techniques used in the social sciences, including criminology and criminal justice, with emphasis placed on interpretation of results and computer applications. The course will include learning thelogic of, and how to calculate, different statistical techniques.
Correctional Theory and Policy
Course: CJ7060
Credit: 3
This course examines the evolution of correctionaltheory, its impact on policy, and its empirical status. An emphasis is placed on the use of evidence-based knowledge to shape correctional policy and practice.
Seminar in Correctional Rehabilitation
Course: CJ8060
Credit: 3
This course examines the theories, techniques, andpolicies of correctional treatment, with a focus on behavioral and cognitive behavioral approaches and various models of family therapy. Interventions for special populations (women offenders, substance abusers, sex offenders and the mentally ill) are also discussed. The course also examines varied models of correctional assessment, including classification, and risk andneeds assessments.
Special Topics in Policing
Course: CJ8099
Credit: 3
This course will provide an in-depth examination of various policing issues. Selection of issues will vary depending on the specific research interests of the instructor and students. Topics such as "best practices" in policing, use of force, race-based policing, the effectiveness of problem-oriented policing strategies, intelligence-led policing, and other current topics will be examined.
Special Topics in Corrections
Course: CJ8097
Credit: 3
This course section offers faculty the opportunityto present material not available in our regular curriculum. Faculty will present information on issues related to correctional policy and practice.
Advanced Crime Analysis
Course: CJ7051 
Credit: 3

This course teaches students about the practice of crime analysis in law enforcement. Students will learn the terminology, principles, and techniques crime analysts use in everyday practice. A major component of this class is learning how to perform advanced analytical techniques employed by crime analysts using software programs such as ArcGIS 10.3, Excel 2013, and CrimeStat IV, or other versions as appropriate. (Prerequisites: CJ7040 or equivalent, and CJ7050)

Theory and Practice of Crime Prevention
Course: CJ7070 
Credit: 3

This course is designed to provide an exploration of the various approaches to reducing crime as well as the theories that inform those approaches. We will focus most fully on situational approaches to crime prevention, though we will also explore crime prevention through social development, community-based crime prevention. We will also examine how policing intersects with these various approaches to crime prevention.

Theory and Practice of Law Enforcement
Course: CJ7080 
Credit: 3

This is an introductory course on policing for graduate students. The course explores the origins of policing, especially the British antecedents of American police, and explanations for the development and structure of contemporary police. The current state of policing in America is examined, as are continuing and emerging issues in policing and law enforcement. The future of American policing is considered and assessed.

Applied Crime Prevention
Course: CJ8074 
Credit: 3

This course covers the fundamental theories of environmental criminology (AKA Crime Science) – rational choice perspectives, advanced routine activity theory, crime pattern theory, situational crime prevention, and problem-oriented policing – and shows how these theories can be used to diagnose the causes of specific crime problems, develop and implement solutions to these problems, and evaluate the effectiveness of solutions. It also examines criminal adaptation to prevention and how this can be measured and countered.

Introduction to Crime Mapping
Course: CJ7050
Credit: 3
This course is designed to teach the elementary skills and techniques of Geographic Information Science (GIS), with a focus on crime analysis, using ESRI ArcGIS 10.1, or similar software package. ArcGIS is a software platform that is used to apply geography to solving problems and making decisions. In addition to GIS techniques, we will be covering basic data preparation procedures, as well as a brief survey of various types of crime data and how to acquire such data. Topics to be covered will include querying, editing, designing, analyzing, and building map systems utilizing crime data. Analysis techniques will cover both attribute table and spatial data operations such as table relates and joins, spatial aggregation, and buffer analysis.
Course: CJ6012
Credit: 3
This course is designed to provide master's level students with a broad introduction to the various types of criminal conduct associated with computers and the Internet. As a student in this class you will be exposed to techniques associatedwith digital forensics and will assess criminological theories of crime as they relate todigital crime and terrorism. Additionally, you will examine a number of the national and international laws and policies related to cybercrime including the diverse steps that have been taken to increase digital security around theglobe. Familiarity with computers and the Internetwill help you progress through the course, but expertise is not required nor expected.
Terrorism and Homeland Security
Course: CJ7055
Credit: 3
This course provides an overview of the various components related to an empirical understanding of terrorism. The course will also review the development of homeland security in America as it relates to terrorism and situate this development within various perspectives. Emphasis in this course will be placed on critical assessment of ideologically-based viewpoints of terrorism and homeland security. Scientific empiricism will guide the student's journey of the variety of topics that will be covered in this course.
Seminar in White-Collar Crime
Course: CJ8072
Credit: 3
This course provides a detailed examination of white-collar crime. The primary goals are to provide an introduction to the field of white-collar crime and identify the main research issues and directions that currently dominate thisarea of study. The course reviews the history of the field and its relevance to mainstream criminology. It identifies the distinguishing charcteristics of white-collar crime. Selected forms of white-collar crime are investigated. Methods of controlling white-collar crime, including civil, administrative, criminal justice and situational crime prevention techniques, are explored.
Biosocial Factors in Serial Offending
Course: CJ8028 
Credit: 3

This course provides an introduction to the biosocial perspective on criminal offending. The primary goal is to introduce students to the current state of knowledge on biosocial factors that affect human behavior, especially serious, repeated criminal behavior. The course will explain the structures of the brain and their functioning. The literature on behavioral and molecular genetics as it relates to criminal offending and antisocial behavior will be reviewed. The characteristics of psychopathology and the biological and social factors that lead to this condition will be explored in depth.

Seminar in Victimology
Course: CJ8073
Credit: 3
The materials presented in this graduate-level seminar provide an overview of key research areas in victimology. Among the goals of this course areto provide students with a critical understanding and appreciation of the development and current state of victimology theory, measurement, and empirical results.
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