Master of Criminal Justice

School of Public Affairs

Overview

Degree: MCJ

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

Provides students interested in a comprehensive professional graduate education in criminology and criminal justice with an in-depth understanding of existing structures, practices, and challenges.

Program Details

Interest Categories: Criminology & Law Public Administration & Policy

Campus: CU Denver


Part of an academic and professional field of study, the MCJ program prepares students to administer, analyze, evaluate and facilitate improvements in the rationality and responsiveness of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Research design capability is emphasized alongside skills required for analyzing empirical data and innovating in crime control and prevention. Students who advance through the program acquire strategies and skills necessary for promoting individual, organizational and social change.

General Requirements

Review CU Denver's Graduate Academic Policies.

Program Requirements

  • The Master of Criminal Justice degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework.
  • A maximum of 9 transfer credit hours may be applied to the degree requirements.
  • No more than 6 credit hours of independent study can be applied toward the degree.
  • Students at the University are expected to maintain progress in their degree program, as defined by being in "good academic standing." Good academic standing requires minimally a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on all University of Colorado course work.

Required Courses

Students must complete the five required courses below, for a total of 15 credit hours. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

  • CRJU 5001 - Criminal Justice Systems, Policies, and Practice (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 5002 - Criminological Theory (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 5003 - Research Methods (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 5004 - Statistics for Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 5005 - Law & Society (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses

In addition to the required courses, students must complete 18 credit hours of elective courses. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

  • CRJU 5220 - The American Jury System
  • CRJU 5250 - Criminal Offenders
  • CRJU 5260 - Crime and Literature
  • CRJU 5270 - Case Studies in Criminal Justice
  • CRJU 5301 - Crime and the Media
  • CRJU 5320 - Police Administration
  • CRJU 5331 - Crime Analysis and GIS
  • CRJU 5391 - Sex Offenders and Offenses
  • CRJU 5410 - Victimology
  • CRJU 5420 - Violence in Society
  • CRJU 5430 - Drugs, Alcohol, and Crime
  • CRJU 5510 - Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement
  • CRJU 5520 - Corrections
  • CRJU 5530 - Community Corrections
  • CRJU 5540 - Juvenile Justice
  • CRJU 5550 - Criminal Justice Policy and Planning
  • CRJU 5551 - Courts, Law & Justice
  • CRJU 5552 - Criminal Justice Ethics
  • CRJU 5553 - Women, Crime and Justice
  • CRJU 5555 - Profiling Criminal Behavior
  • CRJU 5571 - The Social Organization of Crime
  • CRJU 5572 - Race, Crime, and Justice
  • CRJU 5574 - White Collar Crime
  • CRJU 5575 - The Mentally Disordered Offender
  • CRJU 5576 - Social Science in the Criminal Justice System
  • CRJU 6600 - Special Topics in Criminal Justice

Internship

Students who have not had one year of criminal justice experience following the awarding of their bachelor's degree are required to complete a three-credit internship. A minimum of 240 hours of supervised work is required to earn 3 hours of credit. Students must have completed 18 credit hours with a GPA of 3.0 prior to enrolling in the internship course.

  • CRJU 6910 - Internship (3 credit hours)

Capstone Option

With the exception of those pursuing the thesis option, all MCJ students must complete the capstone course during the last semester of their degree program. All core classes must be completed before taking the capstone. The capstone cannot be taken during the summer semester.

  • CRJU 5361 - Capstone Seminar (3 credit hours)

Thesis Option

With the exception of those pursuing the capstone option, all MCJ students must complete a thesis. Students must receive the approval of both a faculty advisor and the director of the criminal justice program to complete a thesis for 3-6 semester hours in lieu of CRJU 5361 - Capstone Seminar. Also, students must complete all core courses and at least 30 credit hours before becoming eligible to register for the thesis.

  • CRJU 6950 - Master's Thesis (3 - 6 credit hours)

Areas of Concentration

A student may choose to complete a concentration in crime analysis studies as part of the MCJ program. The analytic skills learned in this concentration are not industry-specific and easily can be transferred to non-criminal justice and criminology related fields. Students must complete five courses, for a total of 15 credit hours.

Required Courses:

  • CRJU 5325/PUAD 5007 - Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 5331 - Law Enforcement Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU 6600 - Intelligence Writing and Briefing -OR- ENGL 5175 - Writing in the Social Sciences (3 credit hours)

Additional courses must be approved by the concentration director.

A student may choose to complete a concentration in disasters, hazards and emergency management as part of the MPA or MCJ program. This concentration provides advanced education in the management of emergencies, hazards, disasters, and community resilience. The DHEM program is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to work, or are currently working, in the field of natural and man-made hazards, community resilience, and, emergency management. Students must complete 12 credit hours to earn the concentration.

Students must complete the following course, for a total of 3 credit hours:

  • CRJU/PUAD 5720 - Public Policies for Hazards and Disasters (3 credit hours)

In addition, students must complete another course from the list below (all three courses are recommended) for a total of 3 credit hours:

  • CRJU/PUAD 5650 - Public Service in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU/PUAD 5655 - Principles of Emergency Management (3 credit hours)
  • URPL 6645 - Planning for Disasters and Climate Change (3 credit hours)

Additionally, students must complete two elective courses for a total of 6 credits. View the program completion plan for a list of approved electives. Other electives may be taken with approval from the concentration director. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

A student may choose to complete a concentration in emergency management and homeland security as part of the MPA or MCJ program. This graduate concentration provides advanced education in the management of emergencies, hazards, disasters and homeland security. Students completing the concentration will have the knowledge and skills necessary to assess and manage a broad range of hazards and disasters, and to understand the policy environment in which emergency management occurs. A total of 12 credits in needed to complete the concentration.

Students must complete the following course, for a total of 3 credit hours:

  • CRJU 5650/PUAD 5650 - Public Service in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (3 credit hours)

In addition, students must complete at least one other course from the list below for a total of 3 credit hours:

  • CRJU/PUAD 5655 - Principles of Emergency Management (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU/PUAD 5720 - Public Policies of Hazards and Disasters (3 credit hours)
  • URPL 6645 - Disaster and Climate Change Planning (3 credit hours)
Additionally, students must complete two elective courses for a total of 6 credits. View the program completion plan for a list of approved electives. Other electives may be taken with approval from the concentration director. The elective courses may be drawn from the students' particular areas of interest, such as policy and management, spatial analysis and quantitative assessment, or public safety. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

A student may choose to complete a concentration in gender-based violence studies as part of the MPA or MCJ program. The gender-based violence program of study provides an interdisciplinary perspective on crime, the formulation of laws and codes, and the criminal legal system and its intersection with gender and violence. Students participate in a required combination of intensive in-person and online hybrid courses that meet periodically throughout a two-year period.

Students must complete the following four courses for a total of 12 credit hours. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

  • CRJU/PUAD 5910* - Nature and Scope of Interpersonal Violence (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU/PUAD 5920* - The Psychology of Interpersonal Violence (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU/PUAD 5930* - Interpersonal Violence Law and Policy (3 credit hours)
  • CRJU/PUAD 5940* - Interpersonal Violence Leadership, Advocacy, and Social Change (3 credit hours)

*Tuition is assessed at $2,800 per course for students who require hotel accommodation. Students who do not require hotel accommodation will be assessed tuition of $1,700 per course.

Recommended Completion Time:2 Years

Max Transfer Credits:9

Max Credits Per Year:In most cases, students wishing to take more than 18 credit hours per semester (12 in the summer session) must have the overload approved by the dean.

Required Credits for Completion:36

Admission Requirements


View the admissions requirements for the School of Public Affairs.

Application​ deadlines


Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: May 1

Fourth in the nation

MCJ ranked fourth in the nation by College Consensus

Our Master of Criminal Justice program has been ranked fourth in the nation, according to College Consensus’ rankings for Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice for 2020. Learn more.

24th in the nation

MCJ-number-24-ranking-2021

Our Master of Criminal Justice program has been ranked 24th in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report's Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs rankings for 2021. Learn more.

Learning Objectives

Students will become innovative thinkers and skilled professionals in the field of criminology and criminal justice by mastering five main competencies.