Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies

Since legal issues are encountered in nearly all professions, the Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies degree is ideal for those with a variety of career interests. If you’re a law enforcement officer or work in government positions, you may pursue this degree to ascend toward management or leadership positions. Or use the curriculum and course work within a legal studies degree to help you prepare for a law degree in the future.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies degree program includes a study of the following topics: criminological theories; research and a methodological evaluation of criminal justice topics; historic and contemporary questions of constitutional rights; the roles psychology plays in the legal system; a comparison of the traditional goals of punishment with the concepts of restorative justice; legal research; organizational behavior and leadership in criminal justice; exploration of law and public policy; and international law in an increasingly interconnected world.

Earn your criminal justice degree online for maximum flexibility and convenience to continue working while enrolled in classes. These courses in legal research, various types of law, criminology, justice and psychology serve as an excellent precursor to law school. They also expand your communication (especially written), critical thinking and research skills, while challenging you to develop objective, reasoning and analytical abilities to help our legal system become more effective and efficient in the future.

The capstone class that concludes this legal studies degree which focuses on professional portfolio development and a final written proposal outlining how your knowledge and experiences will help you thrive within, or improve the criminal justice system in your community, city, state or country. The criminal justice degree portfolio contains your curriculum vitae, examples of your writing from graduate courses, your criminal justice philosophy, a 5-year plan for your professional goals and a research proposal.

This program is offered in the following formats or locations:


The dynamic capabilities of GCUs online curriculum offer considerable flexibility and convenience for career oriented professionals who are pursuing their educational goals. Full time faculty members, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Our small class sizes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Classes begin frequently.

Online and Evening program disclosures      

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.