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Criminal Justice

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice focuses on developing the professional skills necessary to assume leadership positions within the criminal justice field. This online master’s program addresses national and local security issues as well as effective countermeasures and subsequent changes in the U.S. criminal justice system. You will explore criminal law, juvenile and delinquent behavior, security, and terrorism in a post-9/11 world. Our criminal justice programs are among the most popular at the university, bringing you peer interactions and an expanded network of criminal justice professionals who are dedicated to safeguarding their communities and nation.

This program is taught by highly credentialed and experienced instructors, many who hold key positions in government agencies or criminal justice organizations.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Distinguish between the major systems of criminal justice and how the functions of police, prosecution, courts, and corrections interface.
  • Analyze the various biological and psychological theories and philosophies of criminal behavior as they influence modern developments in punishment, sentencing, and corrections.
  • Evaluate the various definitions, objectives, and issues of new or emergent criminal threats, such as terrorism, and how they compare and contrast with traditional criminal behavior theories.
  • Assess the rule of law and changes to it as it pertains to direct and indirect influence and impact on social reactions to crime, corrections, and victims of crime.
  • Critically examine landmark criminal justice cases, from the Supreme Court down to local levels, and determine their cultural, social, and economic impact.
  • Apply the concepts of professional and ethical behavior within the criminal justice system.

View learning outcomes assessment results.


Degree at a Glance


Concentrations are designed to help you group courses together so you can further specialize in your field and pursue a more focused path to degree completion. You will be asked to select a concentration when you enroll in this program.

Explore the concentrations available for this program.


Business Administration

Layers on business skills required for effective leadership and management in criminal justice organizations. Covers concepts of accounting principles, financial tools, and economic analysis for effective managerial decision making, while exploring the role of decision-making models and tools for resolving business problems.

Sample Courses

  • BUSN602 - Managerial Analysis
  • BUSN603 - Quantitative Analysis
  • BUSN625 - Applied Decision Making
  • BUSN620 - Strategic Management
  • MGMT605 - Leadership

Emergency Management and Disaster Management

Probes emergency management principles and theory, including hazard analysis, mitigation, planning, communication, response, recovery, terrorism, and the capabilities and limitations of the emergency management system. Covers effective interagency cooperation at the federal, state, and local levels.

Sample Courses

  • EDMG501 - Emergency Management and Public Law
  • EDMG560 - Crisis Action Planning
  • EDMG503 - Emergency and Disaster Planning and Management
  • EDMG509 - Interagency Disaster Management
  • EDMG502 - Emergency and Disaster Theory


This general concentration allows you to select from more than two dozen different concentration courses offered within this program, enabling you to create your own focused area of study. View course catalog for details.

View other concentrations in this program to see sample courses.

  • MATH530 - Applied Statistics
  • INTL623 - Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
  • INTL650 - Counterterrorism
  • CMRJ504 - Drugs, Justice, and Society
  • CMRJ518 - Deviant Behavior
  • CMRJ523 - Gangs and Gang Prevention
  • CMRJ527 - Crime and Mental Disorders

Admission Requirements

Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.

An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-777-9081 or

Graduate Tuition Rates 

Per credit hour: $350 | $325 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, APU offers a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

Paying for School

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Transfer Credits 

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

APU has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.