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Program Overview

Advance your career with the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Michigan State University. Currently ranked 10th in the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Program by U.S. News & World Report, MSU has been educating world-class professionals for more than 80 years.

Program faculty are currently active in fields such as policing, intelligence, counterterrorism, and in research on gender- and race-related issues in criminal justice. Whether you work in law enforcement, corrections, a federal agency or the corporate world, you'll graduate equipped with comprehensive knowledge of the modern criminal justice system theory, policy and practice.

The core curriculum focuses on social science research, historical and contemporary criminal justice issues, public policy creation, and new skills in communication and technology. From there, you can customize your education with an optional specialization in security management and a robust selection of electives on topics such as intelligence process, global crime, terrorism and corporate crime. Your degree culminates in an internship so you can graduate with experience putting your new skills to work.

Program Outcomes

By graduation you'll be prepared to:

  • Analyze and evaluate criminal justice research and crime data sources
  • Recognize the complex relationships between criminal justice theories, policies and practices
  • Recognize classical and contemporary literature germane to each phase of the criminal justice system
  • Understand the management of criminal justice agencies, including planning, policy impact and resource utilization
  • Communicate effectively, in verbal and written form and through the use of various digital technologies, including social media platforms

Career Outlook

You will graduate ready to stand out from the competition with more than a distinguished criminal justice degree. You'll also benefit from MSUs internship program, which can provide you with relevant, real-world work experience necessary for top roles. Utilize our alumni network to make industry connections and learn about job opportunities. Consider attending our annual recruiting events, featuring such prior attendees as the DEA, Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan State Police, U.S. Secret Service and many others.

Examples of careers you can prepare for include:

Intelligence Analyst: $68,921

Federal Special Agent: $86,442

Security Manager: $66,093

Prison Warden: $86,944

Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Officer: $61,085


1.Payscale (n.d.). Average Intelligence Analyst Salary. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from
2.Payscale (n.d.). Average Special Agent (Federal) Salary. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from
3.Payscale (n.d.). Average Security Manager Salary. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from
4.Payscale (n.d.). Average Prison Warden Salary. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from
5.Payscale (n.d.). Average Bank Secrecy Act-Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Officer Salary. Retrieved September 19, 2019, from



  • CJ 801 Crime Causation, Prevention, and Control 3 Credits
  • 812Criminal Justice Management Seminar3 Credits
  • CJ 810Proseminar in Criminal Justice3 Credits
  • CJ 811Design and Analysis in Criminal Justice Research3 Credits
  • CJ 887Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice Research3 Credits
  • CJ 896Policy Analysis under Conditions of Change6 Credits
  • CJ 896Oral Examination

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

    Official Transcript from each regionally accredited institution attended is required

  2. 3.0 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
  3. Previous work experience


  4. Taken the GRE
  5. Taken the TOEFL

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  6. 3 letters of recommendation

    Three letters of recommendation

  7. Official transcripts from all previous schools

To apply to this program:

  1. Complete a university graduate application (program code: 4702)
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Key Dates

Summer 2021

Application Deadline

February 1, 2021

Fall 2021

Application Deadline

May 21, 2021

Spring 2022

Application Deadline

September 21, 2021

Tuition & Fees

In State Tuition

  • $22,350
  • Total


As one of the top research universities in the world, Michigan State University has advanced the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years.

MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community.