Criminal Justice Degrees

Earning an interdisciplinary major in criminal justice at GCU can benefit you by teaching you how to apply humanities and investigative skills to governmental concepts and practices — both ethically and effectively.


The number of new jobs estimated to open for police and detectives from 2022 to 20321

Explore GCU's Criminal Justice and Government Majors

Protecting the safety of our communities and the rights of our fellow citizens are at the heart of our country’s justice system. If you want a career that is focused on serving and protecting others, a major in criminal justice from Grand Canyon University can help set you on the right educational path to pursue your career goals in the following areas:

  • Government and public administration
  • Criminal justice
  • Forensic science
  • Social work

Criminal justice majors and legal studies programs can lead to similar careers paths, but it is important to learn the differences between the two fields. If you’re unsure which degree program is best suited for your career goals, view the criminal justice majors below and visit our legal studies page to see your degree options in both fields at GCU.

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There are 16,200 estimated new jobs expected to open for social and community service managers from 2022 to 2032.2

Become a criminal justice major at GCU to start your journey toward a career in service.


Learn to Initiate Change and Safety for Diverse Populations as a Criminal Justice Major

GCU provides all students with a Christian-driven curriculum founded on these key competencies:

  • Innovative thinking
  • Effective communication
  • Transformative leadership
  • Global contribution

When pursuing a criminal justice degree at GCU, you will have the opportunity to gain foundational skills in diplomacy for the diverse individuals and communities you will serve.

Accredited and Respected Criminal Justice Degrees

GCU has been institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1968. This accreditation covers GCU’s on-campus and online criminal justice programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As a major in criminal justice, you will receive a quality education taught by faculty who are knowledgeable in their fields.

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Campus, Evening and Online Criminal Justice Programs

GCU offers online law enforcement degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. If you have an interest in minimizing security threats on a larger scale, we welcome you to learn about our undergraduate and graduate degrees focused on emergency management and homeland security. These programs are offered online or through evening classes so you can advance your education as a working professional with more convenience.

GCU’s Commitment to Affordable Education

Nearly $130 million

In scholarships for online students3

Female financial aid representative meeting with female GCU student in office

Nearly $180 million

In scholarships received by campus students3

GCU is a private, Christian university that is committed to providing high-achieving students with access to an affordable education. Financing your major in criminal justice is an investment in your future, and GCU is here to help you get started on your degree with these convenient cost-estimating tools and resources:

Types of Criminal Justice Degrees at GCU

At GCU, you can pursue government related degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral levels. There are programs offered in government and public administration, criminal justice and social work.

Bachelor’s Criminal Justice Majors

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Criminal Justice Master’s Degrees

Male and female MS in Criminal Justice degree students walking in GCU hallway

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Certificates for Criminal Justice

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How Government Majors Can Help With Potential Career Growth

If you are already working in law enforcement, for example, and have your eye on a leadership position, such as corporal, sergeant, lieutenant or captain, a master’s degree or bachelor’s in law enforcement advancement can help you in your career goals.

When you pursue an advanced government major at GCU, you have the opportunity to specialize in an area that fits your interests. Our online Master of Public Administration (MPA) program offers emphases in government and policy, healthcare management and nonprofit management. These emphasis options are offered to GCU students as evening or online programs to help graduates pursue potential leadership positions such as:

  • Chief executive
  • City manager
  • Legislator
  • Social and community manager
  • General and operations manager
Bachelor's justice studies degree students talking with professor in classroom

MPA Emphasis Options

FAQs for Criminal Justice and Government Majors

Learn more by reading our answers to common questions about criminal justice, government, social work and public administration degrees.

Public administration and government majors learn leadership and development skills that are critical to managing public agencies and programs, such as healthcare agencies and nonprofit organizations. Legal studies majors, on the other hand, take a comprehensive look at the legal and justice systems and examine how both systems impact individuals and communities.

A legal studies program focuses on law, public policy and justice administration. Whereas a major in criminal justice examines how law enforcement agencies, court systems and the corrections system are organized, as well as how they function and what issues are prevalent within these systems. Students who plan to attend law school may benefit from either a legal studies program or a justice studies major.

At GCU, you can choose between a master’s in criminal justice with an emphasis in legal studies or in law enforcement. Although neither degree requires any math courses, both programs have a course in research methods that involves statistical analysis.

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Police and Detectives, retrieved on March 8, 2024.

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020-2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social and Community Service Managers, retrieved on Sept. 26, 2023.

3 Online scholarships awarded from January 2022 to October 2022.

Grand Canyon University’s campus, evening and online criminal justice programs offer flexibility and an opportunity for quality education to help you in today’s complex world.