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Making Communities Safer

MA in Criminal Justice

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Complete in 15 months

Earn your degree in just over a year

No entrance exams

The GRE and GMAT are not required

100% online program

Take classes anywhere at any time, you decide

Online Master of Arts: Criminal Justice

Why Choose Mount Mercy for My Criminal Justice Master’s?

Mount Mercy’s online criminal justice master’s degree program strengthens your professional talents as a critical thinker, ethical problem solver, effective communicator, and informed evaluator of criminal justice policies and programs.

Coursework focuses on helping you develop a deep understanding of the complex issues surrounding crime and justice, with elective courses focused on current and emerging issues in your area of interest.

When you graduate, you’ll be prepared to effectively address social needs by working with communities through preventive and proactive interventions. When you receive your Master of Criminal Justice degree, you’ll be ready to work towards achieving fair, ethical, and responsible justice.

When they go back to the workplace, [students] can use their knowledge to help guide and direct policy.

— Dr. Amanda Humphrey
Criminal Justice Program Director

What Is It Like to Earn a Criminal Justice Degree Online?

Program Length and Milestones

  • Start in August or February
  • Finish in 15 months (30 credit hours)
  • Earn up to three fieldwork elective credits while working
  • Non-thesis capstone course


Applications are accepted year round. No entrance exams (GRE, GMAT) are required.

How Will Mount Mercy’s Online Criminal Justice Master’s Fit My Schedule?

You can view your classes any time during a given week, and weekly deadlines help you stay on track.

Classes are offered online in accelerated 5- and 10-week courses. Full-time Master of Criminal Justice students can finish in 15 months.

How Will I Interact with Instructors and Classmates?

You’ll complete your coursework entirely within Mount Mercy’s application-based online portal while enjoying opportunities to connect with your instructors and classmates through:

  • Discussion forums
  • Project-based work (both group and individual)
  • Online office hours or supplemental video sessions

Course content is delivered through a variety of formats:

  • Written lectures and readings
  • PowerPoints with audio
  • Instructor video recordings

What Will I Learn in Mount Mercy’s Criminal Justice Master’s Program?

When you graduate, you will be better able to:

  • Think critically, solve problems ethically, communicate effectively, and evaluate criminal justice policies and programs
  • Work toward achieving fair, ethical, and responsible justice
  • Work with communities to develop preventive, proactive interventions that address social needs

What Career Opportunities Could I Have with a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

This program prepares you to launch or advance a career within law enforcement, corrections, parole, probation, and other areas in the criminal justice field. It is an educational degree, so additional qualifications may be necessary when seeking employment with a law enforcement agency.

Graduates from Mount Mercy’s criminal justice program have followed a variety of paths, pursuing careers in organizations such as:

  • Linn County Juvenile Detention Center
  • Cedar Rapids Police Department
  • U.S. military
  • Local and state law enforcement agencies
  • Iowa Department of Corrections

What Salary Might I Earn with a Master of Criminal Justice Degree?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2016 median annual salary for police and detectives was $61,600. The number of these jobs is projected to grow by 7 percent through 2026.

Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017

What Courses Will I Take?

  • Core Courses
    • Administration of Justice
    • Non-Thesis Capstone
    • Theory of Justice
    • Research and Statistics for Criminal Justice
  • Criminal Justice Electives

    Elective courses provide options for focusing on your specific areas of interest. They change each year to focus on emerging issues. Example courses include:

    • Civil Liability in Criminal Justice
    • Criminal Justice and Security Relationships
    • Drugs and Crime
    • Field Experience in Criminal Justice
    • Homeland Security
    • Human Rights and Social Inequities
    • International Policing
    • Juvenile Justice
    • Special Topics in Crime and Justice
    • Victimology
  • Special Topics and Fieldwork

    You can elect to earn credit for your fieldwork, and you may choose to take certain special-topics courses from Mount Mercy’s MBA, MSL, and/or MFT programs (not all courses are available online). Sample special topics electives include:

    • Human Trafficking
    • Sex Offenders
    • Terrorism

How Much Does a Master’s in Criminal Justice Cost?


Cost per online credit

10% off

Tuition discount for employees of partner organizations

No Fees

Beyond tuition and books

Up to 12

transferrable graduate credit hours which saves time and money!

Financial Aid

Mount Mercy encourages you to apply for federal, state, and other kinds of financial assistance.

  • Federal and state grants and loans
  • Tuition reimbursement from employers
  • 10% tuition discount for employees of partner organizations
  • Veterans’ benefits such as the Yellow Ribbon program and G.I. Bill®

Find out more about financial aid ›

Transfer Credit Policies

Transfer up to 12 graduate credit hours from another accredited institution.

How Do I Get Started?

Get in Touch with an Enrollment Coach

Learn more about this program and get answers to any other questions you may have about Mount Mercy.

  • Call (877) 643-6181 to speak with a Mount Mercy enrollment coach
  • Email to set up a time to talk
  • Click Request Info and an enrollment coach will contact you

Request Info

Apply for Admission

Already know Mount Mercy is right for you? Start your application online today. It takes about 10 minutes and there’s no application fee.

Apply Now