Criminal Justice Master's Online


Our Master of Science in Criminal Justice Program approaches the study of crime and criminal justice from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing insights from sociology, criminology, psychology, and law. As a Master’s Degree student in Criminal Justice, you will graduate with an understanding of the conceptual and theoretical frameworks that: (1) informs the study of crime and criminal justice, (2) assesses problems through a rigorous research approach, and (3) facilitates improved policy analysis. Graduates are adept at understanding research-based knowledge and how it applies to real-world situations.  Although our students follow a variety of career paths, the skills learned in the program will help you with information gathering, processing, and problem solving regardless of your chosen career.

Our Online Master's program is ranked the 11th best in the country by US News & World Report (2017). The School of Criminal Justice is consistently ranked among the top 15 Best Criminal Justice Schools by US News & World Report and College Factual, holds a ranking as one of the top Best Doctoral Programs in the country, and is recognized as #1 in Research Productivity and Recognition by US News & World Report.


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Program Objectives

The Master’s in Criminal Justice curriculum is designed to achieve several core objectives:

  • Provide students with the conceptual and research skills needed to undertake advanced analyses of crime and the criminal justice system
  • Furnish law enforcement, corrections, and court practitioners with knowledge of justice administration, social science perspectives of human behavior, policy analysis, and criminal justice theory
  • Train those who will become leaders in the criminal justice system by providing the skills needed to upgrade levels of professional practice, improve standards, initiate fresh perspectives, and act as agents of change
  • Prepare social scientists to pursue careers in university and research settings

Career Paths

Former students have found the Master's degree to be useful in obtaining a wide range of employment with the criminal justice system. Our alumni are currently employed in positions such as:

  • lieutenant in the state police
  • city police officer
  • homeland security officer
  • chief of police in a small city
  • probation officer
  • border patrol officer
  • counselor in a halfway house
  • research analyst for a federal agency
  • drug enforcement agent
  • crime reporter
  • college professor

Admission Requirements

A background in criminal justice is not required for this program. Applicants will be considered for acceptance based on the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree (in any field of study) from a regionally accredited university
  • At least one positive professional or academic letter of recommendation
  • An overall 3.0 GPA (4.0 scale) or higher from all previous undergraduate course work

UC Advantage and
Special Opportunities

  • Eleven total courses (33 semester hours): Graduate in as few as two years of dedicated part-time study or one year of full-time study
  • Take only one course at a time in the part-time program (two courses in the full-time program)
  • Access courses and assignments any time, 24 hours a day, from any computer in the world
  • Curriculum that combines cutting-edge theory with real-world application
  • Three enrollment periods each year: fall, spring, and summer
  • Receive the same degree on-campus students receive
  • All courses taught by full-time University of Cincinnati faculty from the School of Criminal Justice

*** Please note: An overall 2.75 GPA or higher may be considered for acceptance with at least one of the following:

  • Five years of criminal justice work experience (does not include social work)
  • Nine hours of graduate course work with a 3.0 GPA or higher from a regionally accredited college or university 
  • A minimum combined score of approximately 300 on the verbal and quantitative parts of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

***Note: GRE scores are only valid for five years.

International applicants must have a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 (paper version) or 190 (electronic version) to be considered for acceptance.

Additional Information

Learn more about the Online Masters Degree program.