Master of Criminal Justice

100% Online Degree

Whether your goal is an upper-level career in law enforcement, security, corrections, or human services, St. Ambrose can prepare you to be a skilled, effective, and ethical leader.

Learn more about completing this degree online.

Our graduates work at the Center for Alcohol and Drug Services, Chicago Police Department, Families of Northeast Iowa, FBI, J&I Polygraph Investigations, and more.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Only MCJ Program in Iowa
  • 100% Online Degree
  • Skills That Lead to Leadership
  • Tailored to the Working Professional

students in class

two people talking

students in class

Earning your master's degree in criminal justice will be an interactive experience delivered by expert faculty. Coursework is balanced and multi-faceted so that you can achieve the career and leadership role you desire in law enforcement, security, corrections, or human services.

Read our MCJ Fact Sheet (pdf)

More Information About the Master of Criminal Justice Program

What will I learn?

Intended for the working professional in criminal justice, students can complete this degree totally online and within two years.

Courses include topics such as criminology theory, justice statistics, research methods, crime policy analysis, leadership, ethics, and more.

The curriculum addresses social justice topics including race, class, gender, and their impact on the criminal justice system – from arrest through sentencing.

In addition to coursework, your degree culminates with the creation of a portfolio that consists of term papers, exams, and class presentations which document all that you've achieved.

If your goal is to earn a graduate degree that focuses on analytics, data interpretation, and crime analysis, learn more about our Master of Science in Criminal Justice program.

Tell me more Ambrose Advantages
  • Students regularly submit their thesis work to conferences, for publication, or as evidence for a PhD application. Recent thesis titles include: "How Virtual Visitation Effects Criminality" and "Baselines for Racial Profiling."
  • Students can design their own course of study – within structured guidelines – for achieving a Criminal Justice master's degree. This personalization allows students to tailor their education and meet career goals.
  • A capstone class provides you with guided review of areas that will be covered on the comprehensive exams, including a review of statistics, methods, theory, and practice.
  • Best of all, our faculty share their experience in the classroom. They have extensive backgrounds in corrections, law, criminology, sociology, education, human services, and law enforcement. Many do consulting and conduct grant-funded research. Past research projects have focused on the treatment of women in the criminal justice and the prison systems; counseling and offender treatment; recidivism and treatment at halfway houses; gender issues and treatment; and the effect of race and gender in decision making.
What have alumni of this program done?
  • Maricela Guzman '06, '11 MCJ, is an Adult Probation Officer with Rock Island County (Illinois) Court Services. She interned there as a SAU student and says the opportunity led to the job. She provides resources and referrals to people, empowering them to become productive members of society.
  • Kim Anh Hua '12, '13 MCJ is an EB-5 Case Manager for CMB Regional Centers in Rock Island, which handles immigrant investing.
What is tuition for this program?

A limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships are available. Check with the program director for details.

In addition, the St. Ambrose University Financial Aid Office provides information on loans for graduate studies.

2020-21 Tuition

  • $970/credit hour/seated (some discounts may apply)
  • $562/credit hour/online

Refund Schedule: Students are obligated for the full amount of tuition for courses for which they are registered, subject to the refund schedule. Exact refund dates for each term are located in the campus Academic Calendar.

  • You have 10 days to make changes to your enrollment without penalty.
  • You will be charged 50% of tuition through the 20th day if you drop below 9 credit hours (full-time); or, if you are already a part-time student and you drop below your original enrolled credits. If you received financial aid of any kind, your package will be re-evaluated and possibly adjusted to reflect your new enrollment status.
  • Any changes made after the 20th day will result in a full charge of tuition.

This rule does not apply if you fully withdraw from the university. In that case, your tuition will be prorated based on the number of days attended.

Graduate Fees

2021-22 Fees

Graduate level students taking 9 or more credit hours $280/yr. ($140/semester)
Graduate level students taking 8 or less credit hours $140/yr. ($70/semester)

Master of Criminal Justice (36 credits)

Degree Requirements

Students must maintain a "B" average in all courses. Only two "C" grades are allowed with each offset by an "A." All courses plus an achievement portfolio must be completed.

Students are expected to make steady progress toward completing the degree within three years.

All courses are three credits each unless otherwise noted.

MCJ 500 Applied Criminological Theory
MCJ 503 Workshop
MCJ 504 Serial Homicide
MCJ 510 Crime Policy Analysis
MCJ 511 The Constitution and Law
MCJ 530 Data and Research in Criminal Justice
MCJ 550 Writing for the Criminal Justice Professional
MCJ 630 Leadership and Administration
MCJ 670 Juvenile Justice Survey
MCJ 671 Law Enforcement Survey
MCJ 672 Corrections Survey
MCJ 675 Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice

Click here to read course descriptions in the online course catalog

Plan to Graduate

Courses are delivered online and last eight weeks each.

Under each semester, choose two courses. There are no prerequisites, so students can take courses in any order. 

Year One and Year Two

Fall (Choose two)
MCJ 530Data and Research in Criminal Justice
MCJ 550 Writing for the Criminal Justice Professional
MCJ 670 Juvenile Justice Survey
MCJ 671 Law Enforcement Survey

Spring (Choose two)
MCJ 504 Serial Homicide
MCJ 510 Crime Policy Analysis
MCJ 630 Leadership and Administration
MCJ 672 Corrections Survey

Summer (Choose two)
MCJ 500 Applied Criminological Theory
MCJ 503 Workshop
MCJ 511 The Constitution and Law
MCJ 675 Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice

Read course descriptions

Ready to Apply?

Take the next step toward earning your master's degree in Criminal Justice and apply to our program.

Brian Flisk, Master of Criminal Justice, Class of 2017

Current Occupation: Investigator at Cooney and Conway, Chicago | "I loved the small class sizes," he said. "I loved the sense of community. St. Ambrose felt like home on the first day, and it has been so ever since."

Grant Miller Cutout Mobile Image Grant Miller Cutout Image

Grant Miller

Criminal Justice and Master of Criminal Justice,Director of Security for JLL, Chicago,Class of 2013

High expectations and a deep, relevant education gave Grant Miller the skills he needed to achieve. And, our acelerated BA-MCJ program allowed him to earn both degrees in just five years.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info


Chris Barnum, PhD, Program Director

Master of Criminal Justice
Ambrose Hall 306
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

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