Online Master's in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

What Is a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Degree at GCU?

The complex intersection of communities and criminal justice organizations is subject to change over time. Working professionals in law enforcement and criminal justice must stay current on changing demands to best serve their communities. Grand Canyon University’s (GCU) Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement provides students with a working framework for addressing 21st century topics.

Prepare to meet evolving challenges by examining key issues in crime analysis and strategic planning with this online law enforcement degree, offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Get an up-close look at crime prevention programs, contemporary crime trends and risk management in policing.

This online master’s in criminal justice degree is designed to enhance the career qualifications of working professionals who are already active in law enforcement. It can also prepare individuals for a career transition to the law enforcement and criminal justice field. This modern law enforcement master's degree program was thoughtfully developed to align with contemporary needs and challenges, based on guidance from local, state and federal law enforcement specialists.

What Will You Learn During a Master’s in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Degree Program?

The master’s in criminal justice program inspires students to work toward leadership positions in their fields. Students become skilled communicators who can reason with analytical clarity and convey information to a variety of stakeholders. As a private, Christian university, GCU emphasizes the role of values, morality and ethics in decision making and leadership responsibilities. Some of the courses for this program include:

  • Crime Analysis and Case Management
  • Strategic Analysis and Organizational Planning
  • Exploration of Law and Public Policy
  • Crime Prevention and Public Relations
  • Advanced Crime Analysis

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement degree curriculum begins with a survey of criminal behavior. Criminal profiling, psychopathology and crisis intervention are examined in the context of the criminal justice system. Students explore a holistic view of society, examining the interrelatedness of law and socioeconomic concerns. Other core competencies students will acquire include:

  • The detection of patterns in crime data and the examination of the techniques, trends and uses of crime analysis
  • The use of crime analysis in managing cases and preventing criminal activity
  • The relationship between the police and the public, with an emphasis on positive interactions, greater communication, and crime prevention
  • Strategic analysis and organizational planning practices to enhance agency performance

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Law Enforcement?

There will always be a need for well-educated professionals in the law enforcement and criminal justice fields. Police officers who earn a criminal justice and law enforcement degree emphasis may be equipped to pursue a high-level position in law enforcement, such as chief of police, senior officer, commander, shift supervisor, sergeant or lieutenant. Other careers that may be related to this degree include:

  • First-line supervisor of correctional officers
  • First-line supervisor of police and detectives
  • Criminal justice and law enforcement teacher

There are many other career possibilities for those with a law enforcement degree. Some graduates may choose an entrepreneurial path as a contractor. Skilled communicators may pursue a position as a liaison between the criminal justice system and local law enforcement entities.

Master’s in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Degree FAQs

Earning a master’s in law enforcement degree allows students to gain specialized knowledge in the criminal justice field. For those interested in areas such as forensics, special investigations, criminal rehabilitation or criminal profiling, a law enforcement master’s degree will cover these topics more in depth. The salaries that can accompany a higher degree also make a master’s in law enforcement worth considering.

At GCU, the online master’s in criminal justice degree allows students to work on their own schedules. Completion depends on how many credit hours one takes at a time. The program at GCU requires 38 credits to completion. There are 10 required courses, with the majority of classes being eight weeks long.

For those in the law enforcement field, the master's in criminal justice is the more common degree for graduate level study. A criminal justice degree provides students with a thorough understanding of how the criminal justice system works. Other relevant, advanced degrees include master’s in homeland security and master’s in cybersecurity.

While a master’s degree is not required to earn a job with the FBI, it can certainly help. One way a graduate degree can be beneficial is by reducing the experience requirements needed to apply for an FBI job. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree must also have two years of full-time work experience. Applicants who hold a master’s degree are eligible to apply with just one year of work experience. A master’s degree may also impact one’s earning potential with the FBI by being placed on a higher level of the federal pay grade scale. An advanced degree, alone, will not be enough to earn a position with the FBI, but it is worth the consideration.

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Total Credits: 38
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $575 per credit [More Info]

Course List

38 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
38 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course provides an examination of the relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system. Students develop an understanding of crisis intervention, criminal profiling, psychopathology, personality assessment, and related research methods.

Course Description

This course explores the interrelatedness of law and socioeconomic concerns and attempts to generate a holistic perspective of society and social control for those charged with the administration of justice.

Course Description

This course explores ethics in the context of criminal justice settings and situations. Various ethical questions are engaged to improve students’ decision-making skills. The responsibility of the individual to act ethically and legally when working in the criminal justice field is emphasized. Some attention is also given to the role of Christian Ethics in criminal justice.

Course Description

This course provides a fundamental analysis of research and a methodological evaluation of criminal justice topics. This course familiarizes students with aspects of statistical analysis and research design relevant to today’s justice environment using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The course focuses on the practical application of research rather than exclusively on the theoretical.

Course Description

This course explores contemporary law enforcement management by examining personality, values, groups, power dimensions, decision making, conflict management, change, and organization development.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive examination of the relationship between the police and the public. The course exposes students to strategies law enforcement personnel and agencies can use to develop positive relationships with the public. The relationship between greater communication, positive interactions, and crime prevention is explored.

Course Description

This course covers various aspects of crime analysis and how analysis can be used in managing cases and reducing crime. Data collection techniques as well as interpreting data for different purposes are addressed. Prerequisite: JUS-510.

Course Description

This course provides an advanced study of crime analysis techniques, trends, and uses. Finding patterns in crime data as well as communicating those patterns and trends for specific purposes is covered. This is an application based course to build useful skills in crime analysis. Prerequisite: JUS-636.

Course Description

This course provides an in-depth study of strategic analysis and organizational planning practices for law enforcement leaders. The course prepares students to assess needs, make decisions, create plans, and implement those plans to enhance agency performance.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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