Program Details

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

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Next Start Date:
Program Now Enrolling
Approx. Course Length:
Online: 8 weeks [More Info]
Total Program Credits:
40 Credits
Transfer Credits:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the program


Prepare to Lead

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement is an advanced degree program designed for individuals who are currently working in law enforcement and who want to earn positions of higher responsibility, or for individuals who want to move into law enforcement work.

As you immerse yourself in this College of Humanities and Social Sciences degree curriculum, you examine many advanced law enforcement themes, including how to justify crime prevention programs that are publically funded and assess contemporary crime trends. Students in the criminal justice master’s program also gain skills in leadership, public relations and risk management as it applies to law enforcement.

Degree Outcomes

Gain Advanced Tactics You Can Leverage

Graduates of the Master of Science in criminal justice gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced, contemporary law enforcement topics, including criminological theories, analysis of research and methodology of criminal justice topics, investigative procedure, forensic psychology and much more.

A capstone class concludes this criminal justice master's program and focuses on professional portfolio development and a final written proposal by the graduate. The portfolio contains the graduate's curriculum vitae, examples of writing from graduate courses, a statement of criminal justice philosophy, a five-year plan for professional goals and a research topic paper and written proposal.

What You Will Learn

Gain Greater Insight into Crime Prevention

Explore topics and activities that include:

  • Examination of peer-reviewed journal articles to gain an understanding the contemporary criminal justice system
  • Exploring themes that protect the public while rehabilitating criminals
  • Understanding criminal investigative procedures, including collection and preserving evidence
  • The role psychology plays in the legal justice system, including the use of criminal profilers and jury selection consultants
  • Collection and preservation of evidence, including effective chain of evidence
  • Ethics and liability for policing and corrections
  • Organizational behavior and leadership in criminal justice
  • Historical causes, strategies and terrorism tactics

Career Outcomes

Increase Your Ability as a Public Servant

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Law Enforcement is designed for individuals who currently work as a law enforcement, corrections or probation officer and who wish to move into a management or leadership role. Students seeking a criminal justice master's degree are looking to expand their understanding of the law, social order and justice.

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. In order to view the specific course content and credit length available for your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
40 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
40 credits

Program 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 expands the student’s understanding of the scope of criminological theories focused through contemporary peer-reviewed resources.

Course Description

This course enhances students’ understanding of criminal investigative procedure, collection and preservation of evidence, chain of custody concerns, computer forensics, investigative jurisdiction, administration, and use of information gathering techniques.

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. Additionally, coverage is provided for use of research design in community action.

Course Description

This course provides an objective study of the many roles psychology plays in the legal system, including expert witnesses, criminal profilers, and trial consultants for jury selection and child custody hearings.

Course Description

This course compares and contrasts traditional goals of punishment (rehabilitation, incapacitation, retribution, and deterrence) with the concepts of restorative justice. Topics include community service, victim assistance, victim-offender mediation, and restitution. Restorative justice seeks a balance between the need to rehabilitate offenders while executing a duty to protect the public.

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 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 provides insight into the historical causes, strategies, and tactics of terrorism, as well as counterterrorism planning and utilization of law enforcement assets to prevent, detect, and deter acts of terrorism. Also covered are constitutional issues regarding terrorism suspects, long-term detention, financial embargoes of private funds, and other issues pertinent to the modern political climate.

Course Description

This course explores the subcultures created by police and correctional officers. Topics include the need for building a subculture of mutual support and survival in a dangerous profession, dilemmas of new officers entering corrupt departments, and ways administrators can help police and correctional officers rediscover their community.

Course Description

This course is taken in the final term of the graduate program. It focuses on professional portfolio development and a final written proposal by the graduate. The portfolio will contain the graduate’s curriculum vitae, exemplars of writing from graduate courses, a statement of criminal justice philosophy, a 5-year plan for professional goals, and a research topic paper/written proposal. A final written proposal must focus on how the graduate will use the totality of the learning experience to examine and improve the criminal justice system at the federal, state, county, or city level. The proposal must exhibit adequate research, coordination within the extant layers of justice policy, realistic consideration of available resources, and a reasonable timeline of benchmarks.

Faculty Bios

Program Locations



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. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.

* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program’s published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution’s catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who graduated between 7/1 – 6/30 of the preceding year. The On-Time Completion rate is determined by the number of students in the cohort who completed the program within the published program length divided by the number of students in the cohort who graduated.

Online and Evening program disclosures

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