MA in Criminal Justice

Positioning Graduates for Success: New Tuition Grant

Special Tuition: In recognition of the impact that graduates of this program will have on the public good, FDU's MA in Criminal Justice program offers special pricing that is approximately one-third less than regular graduate tuition rates.

One-third (33.3%) off tuition for all students accepted into MA in Criminal Justice


Master of Arts in Criminal Justice is designed to skillfully integrate theory and practice into a holistic, engaging, and challenging course of study that provides students with advanced knowledge and understanding of the United States Criminal Justice System. Designed to position graduates for success, the program focuses on developing appreciable knowledge and understanding of crime and the criminal justice system, as well as developing discernable skill sets and competencies necessary for pursuing and/or advancing one's professional career, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, effective communications, social research, and professional development.

The 36-credit program can be completed in less than 18 months for full-time students, and 18 to 24 months for part-time students. The program is available through traditional campus based courses offered in late afternoon and evening hours during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Many courses are also available online.

Degree Requirements

The program requires a total of 36 credits, equaling a total of 12 courses (3 credits each). The core curriculum, which consists of 18 credits, is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system, including methods of conducting academic research and statistics and data analysis. The remaining 18 credits afford students the opportunity to select courses that meet their areas of interest and specialization.

Required Courses

The program's core curriculum provides a foundation in the concepts of social order and control, the legal and philosophical principles of the U.S. Constitution, the legislation of criminal laws, the theoretical causality of criminal behavior, crime prevention, the treatment and remediation of criminality, the analysis of society's changing response to crime, the development and influence of public policy on the administration of justice, and the scientific methods for conducting social research and statistical analysis.

The following six (6) courses (18 credits) represent the core curriculum for the Masters in Criminal Justice and are required of all students in the program.

  • CRIM6000 Professional Seminar in Criminal Justice
  • CRIM6005 Advanced Criminological Theory
  • CRIM6010 U.S. Constitution, Public Policy and Criminal Justice
  • CRIM6025 Social Science Research Methods
  • CRIM8000 Critical Analysis of Criminal Justice

Professional Seminar in Criminal Justice (CRIM 6000) must be taken within a student's first 3-9 credits of graduate courses. It is recommended that students take Statistics and Data Analysis (CRIM 6020) before taking Research Methods (CRIM 6015)

Elective Courses

Recognizing student's needs and interests for professional development and acquiring specialized knowledge and understanding, the curriculum provides students the option to select from a wide array of courses in fulfilling 18 of the 36 credit program. Such courses examine the role and influence of politics within the criminal justice system, ethics, public policy, policy analysis, social justice and victimization, risk reduction, comparative criminal justice systems, transnational crime, leadership, and emerging issues in crime and justice. Students can also select courses that focus on a host of specializations that include leadership, social service advocacy, learning theory and practice, college instruction, and professional development. The final course in the curriculum, which entails a Master's Research Project, affords students the opportunity to conduct independent research in areas of particular interest and application.

Students can choose from any of the following courses in fulfilling their remaining 18 credits. All elective course selections must be made in consultation with the academic advisor.

Advanced Internship

An area of particular interest to students is its Advanced Internship Program, which affords students the opportunity to gain credit and valuable experience working in the field. The program features nearly 200 different venues within local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies, as well as many private and non-profit organizations that serve and support the criminal justice system.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program is based on an applicant's demonstrated interest, aptitude, and motivation to successfully undertake and complete Master's level studies. This will be determined by the following minimal requirements and indicators:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, which may be waived.
  • Performance on the Graduate Record Examination, which may be waived.
  • A 250-500 word personal essay expressing one's interest for applying to the program
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's interest and ability to undertake graduate level studies
  • Personalized interviews may be considered by the Department's Admission Committee.
  • Applicants under consideration may be required to complete an abbreviated research paper that demonstrate their ability for effective writing

Waivers for applicants who do not meet the grade point average or standardized test scores will be considered on an individual basis.

MA Program Outcomes

The Learning Outcomes for students majoring in criminal justice consist of the following:

Knowledge and Understanding

Consistent with and in addition to the criteria established by the Academy of Criminal Justices Sciences (ACJS), students will acquire a thorough knowledge and understanding of (1) administration of justice, (2) U.S. Constitution, U.S. government, political system, and public policy, (3) corrections, (4) criminological theory, (5) law adjudication, (6) law enforcement, and (7) research and analytic methods.

Content Area Knowledge and Understanding
Administration of Justice Contemporary criminal justice system, major systems of social control and their policies and practices; victimology; juvenile justice; comparative criminal justice

U.S. Constitution

U.S. Government

Politics & Public Policy

U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, nomenclature and operations of U.S. government, major political parties and ideologies, and influence of public policy on criminal justice
Corrections History, theory, practice and legal environment, development of correctional philosophy, incarceration, diversions, community-based corrections, treatment of offenders
Criminological Theory The nature and causes of crime, typologies, offenders, and victims
Law Adjudication Criminal law, criminal procedures, prosecution, defense, and court procedures and decision-making
Law Enforcement History, theory, practice and legal environment, police organization, discretion, and subculture
Research and Analytic Methods Quantitative - including statistics - and qualitative, methods for conducting and analyzing criminal justice research in a manner appropriate for undergraduate students

Critical Thinking

Students will learn and demonstrate critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and the scientific approach to problem solving by selecting and organizing information, identifying assumptions and causal relationships, distinguish between verifiable facts and value claims, determine the credibility of sources, distinguish between warranted or unwarranted reasons or conclusions, detect biases, and evaluate appropriate problem solving strategies, their feasibility and efficacy.

Effective Communication

Students will be able to communicate effectively, in writing and verbally, the conventions of the English language in a clear, concise, articulate, literate, and professional manner consistent with those of college writing and those specific to the discipline of law and criminal justice.

Information and Technological Literacy

Students will be able to demonstrate information literacy and technological competency utilizing the most current computer-based library computer systems and academic databases, governmental resources, and other bono-fide informational resources to facilitate the study of criminal justice and criminology.

Students will possess the knowledge, understanding, and ability to employ state-of-the-art technologies common to academia and the criminal justice profession to conduct research and present their findings in writing, orally, and visually.

Ethical and Professional Behavior

Students will learn to identify, evaluate, assess, and employ appropriate legal, ethical, and professional behaviors and practices within all aspects of their life, including, but not limited to an academic and criminal justice environment.

Students will learn to recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of different social, racial, cultural, socio-cultural and international diversity to better prepare them for diverse people and ideas within criminal justice and criminology.