Program Details

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

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Total Program Credits & Course Length:
Total Program Credits: 38
Online: 8 weeks [ More Info ]
Transfer Credits:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the program
Program Tuition Rate:
Online: $515 per credit. [ More Info ]
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Gain Real-World Preparation for Career Advancement

Legal experts hold an important role in every society; established crime prevention, punishment and restorative justice systems are essential for a healthy community to preserve a sense of safety and security. Grand Canyon University’s (GCU) application-based Master of Science in Criminal Justice with an Emphasis in Legal Studies program focuses on building legal-related contemporary and practical skills in crime analysis and strategic planning to meet current community demands. Students develop skills necessary to consult in criminal justice organizations with an emphasis on real-world preparation, which may lead to networking, internship and career opportunities.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers this advanced masters in legal studies degree program to help professionals in law enforcement and other decision makers address issues in public policy, social research and justice administration in the public sphere. Expand your specialized skills in order to move into positions of greater responsibilities and leadership, or gain essential information if you are law school-bound.

A capstone class concludes this masters in legal studies online degree and focuses on professional portfolio development and a final written proposal. The portfolio contains your 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.

Degree Outcomes

Gain Expertise in Contemporary Legal Issues

As a student in this masters in legal studies degree, you will examine current legal topics, including research and methodological evaluation of criminal justice policy; historical and contemporary questions of constitutional criminal law; legal research; organization behavior; leadership; and law and public policy.

What You Will Learn

Serve Your Community as a Legal Expert

Students in the masters in legal studies online program will delve further into crime analysis, statistical analysis, critical reasoning and practical application beyond theory. Throughout learning experiences, students create artifacts to serve as a writing or analytical sample in preparation for career advancement. The highly rigorous curriculum also covers community correctional and legal program development, locating funding, grant writing and driving resources in different ways for diverse sectors.

Areas of study include:

  • Relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system
  • Interrelatedness of law and socioeconomic concerns
  • Ethics in context of criminal justice settings and situations
  • Criminal justice-related analysis of research and methodological evaluation
  • Contemporary law enforcement management
  • Comprehensive study of the constitutional system
  • Legal research and communication

Career Outcomes

Lead in a Legal Career

Since legal issues are encountered in nearly every profession, the masters degree in criminal justice may help you seek employment in a variety of fields. Law enforcement officers and individuals in government positions may pursue this degree in order to gain the skills necessary for management or leadership positions. The curriculum and coursework in this legal studies degree also helps prepare you for law school or expand your career with the independence to pursue self-employment or entrepreneurial goals.

Program Domains

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. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
38 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
38 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 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 is designed to provide an overview of our constitutional system of criminal jurisprudence. The course provides a comprehensive study of various constitutional amendments and case law as they relate to criminal law. The importance of constitutional rights for the citizens of the United States is also explored.

Course Description

This course teaches students how to do legal research using both hardcopy and electronic resources. Presented from the perspective of a law specialist working for a client, this course allows students to consider a client’s legal issues and to discover how to locate resources that address the problem, including statutes, regulations, court orders, court decisions, and secondary sources.

Course Description

This course explores a variety of legal correspondence methods used to communicate with different persons and agencies within the legal community. The course provides practical application in legal communication methods. Prerequisite: JUS-635.

Course Description

This course is designed to assist students in exploring the different ways consulting can be used to capitalize on the legal knowledge and skills they have obtained. Consulting opportunities in the legal field, as well as the process and procedures of consulting are addressed.

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.


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.

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

* 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 started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length.

Online and Evening program disclosures (20 months)

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