Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program offers working professionals the flexible option of a fully online degree. You will learn from respected and experienced faculty as you work toward beginning or advancing your career in criminal justice, corrections, or law enforcement. You will receive a quality educational experience based on critical thinking, analysis, and research.

This graduate-level criminal justice degree is a 30-semester-hour program designed to provide you with the professional skills and knowledge essential for success in advanced placement within security and emergency management and crime scene investigation roles. University of North Alabama master’s in criminal justice graduates will be well positioned for promotion to positions of greater responsibility within their organizations or new opportunities. This on-campus or online criminal justice degree will also prepare you for continuing advanced study at the doctoral level or as you pursue teaching opportunities.


Time to Complete
Variable, but as few as 2 years


Mode Offered
Online and On-Campus



Master of Science in Criminal Justice Curriculum

Required Component  
Course Number: Course Title: Credit Hours:
CJ 618 Crime in America 3
CJ 640 Methods of Research in Criminal Justice 3
CJ 650 Criminological Theory 3
CJ 695 Thesis 6
Total  Required Hours 15
Elective Component  
Select 15 credits total from the following: 15
*Each course is 3 credit hours*
CJ 505 Criminal Investigation 
CJ 506 Forensic Investigation   
CJ 513 Public Organization and Bureaucratic Theory
CJ 515 Ethics in Administrative Leadership
CJ 522 PJL in TV and Film
CJ 530 Criminal Evidence   
CJ 534 Criminal Procedure   
CJ 550 Criminal Justice Policy and Administration  
CJ 580 Psychological Dimensions of Criminal Justice Practice   
CJ 591 Special Topics (can repeat this course for credit if title and topics are different)  
CJ 606 Contemporary Issues in Juvenile Justice   
CJ 610 Nature and Function of the American Judicial System   
CJ 614 Management and Policy in Criminal Justice Organizations   
CJ 622 Contemporary Issues in Corrections   
CJ 630 Victimology  
CJ 634 Advanced Criminal Procedure  
CJ 645 Advanced Statistical Procedure  
CJ 660 Comparative Criminal Justice  
CJ 690 Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement  
CJ 691 Special Topics (can repeat this course for credit if title and topics are different)  
CJ 699 Independent Study/Research  
Total Hours 30
A maximum of 15 hours can be taken at the 500 level. Students are not permitted to receive credit for a 500-level course if they received credit for the comparable senior-level undergraduate course. Up to six hours of electives without the CJ prefix may be taken with prior approval from the Department of Politics, Justice, Law, and Philosophy.


Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of criminal justice, our faculty members have a broad knowledge base and extensive experience in their fields, which include forensics, criminal justice, psychology and sociology, intelligence and security, political science, and emergency response and disaster management.

The faculty dedicated to the master’s in criminal justice include:

Wayne P. Bergeron, DSc, LTC (Retired), Security and Emergency Management Program Coordinator and Director, North Alabama Public Service Training Center

Jonathan E. Coats, PhD, MSCJ Graduate Program Coordinator

Justin J. Joseph, PhD, Criminal Justice Undergraduate Coordinator

Christopher Purser, PhD

Suzanna Taylor, MS, Forensics/Crime Scene Investigation Program Coordinator

What can I do with a graduate-level criminal justice degree?

By earning your master’s in criminal justice, you gain the professional skills and knowledge essential for success in advanced placement within security and emergency management and crime scene investigation roles. These could include, but are not limited to: FBI agent, secret service agent, criminal investigator, special agent, Deputy U.S. Marshal, local emergency management, treasury agent, criminal justice researcher, crime scene investigator, and risk management consultant.


“Having completed an accredited graduate degree has provided many advancement opportunities and will surely be an asset throughout my career. The faculty and staff are top-notch, eager to assist students in attaining their educational goals and highly accessible. I would certainly recommend UNA for working professionals and distance education students who seek a quality graduate program.”

-Willard C. Harrison IV

Admissions Requirements

Unconditional Admission:

  • Master’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution. Official transcript must reflect that degree was awarded. No test scores are required.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institution.
  • GPA of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Conditional Admission:

Any applicant failing to meet the requirements for unconditional admission to the master’s in criminal justice program may be conditionally admitted with recommendations of the graduate faculty in the department and approval of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Applicants granted conditional admittance must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the first nine hours (three courses) of completed graduate coursework. Failure to make this GPA requirement will result in the student being eliminated from the program.

View the full requirements here >>

Tuition and Aid

On Campus and Online: $495 per credit hour + fees. 
Non-resident: $990 per credit hour + fees. UNA in-state MSCJ tuition includes counties in Mississippi and Tennessee that are within 50 miles of campus.

2023-2024 Tuition Cost

Master of Science in Criminal Justice

On Campus and Online: $495 per credit hour plus fees.


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