Criminal Justice
Master of Science (MS)
Online Degree Program

The Master of Science online degree program in Criminal Justice is designed to provide professionals with the theories, principles, and best practices utilized in the criminal justice field.

Designed For You

The California Coast University online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program was designed for complete flexibility for the student. All courses are self-paced and completed 100% online.

  • Low tuition with interest-free payment plans as low as $100/month.
  • Flexible programs designed to fit into your busy schedule. Self-paced study with no group projects, set meeting times, or exam dates.
  • The program is not structured in semesters, quarters, or terms. It is designed to allow students to begin their online studies at any time of the year.
  • CCU offers a tuition discount for Active Duty Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, Government Employees, and CCU Graduates.
    We also offer a 10% discount for Corporate Partner employees. For more information on how to become a Corporate Partner, see our Corporate Partnership Information Page.
    *Employment verification is required. Offer good for students who enrolled after April 2018 and were offered discount at time of enrollment. Offer is not retroactive for students already enrolled. Discount and/or prices subject to change and/or cancellation at any time without notice. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount(s).
View Program Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

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Explore The Program

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program consists of 13 total courses, followed by a final Comprehensive Examination.
The required courses are comprised of: 13 Core Courses .
There are 39 total semester units in this program.

13 Core Courses

For the online Master of Science in Criminal Justice (M.S.) degree program, the following 13 courses must be fulfilled. Click on course title to expand and read more.

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ID Course Name Units
BAM 515 Organizational Behavior  3

Organizational Behavior provides students with an in-depth review of various theories and research on the behavior, structure, and process of organizations. Formal organizations and their structure will be critically examined, and human motivations and their constructive application to oneself and others will be explored. Applicable behavioral science theories will be analyzed and students will be able to effectively apply the relevant concepts to the management of organizations.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Assess how and why organizational behavior determines the effectiveness of an organization.
  • Analyze research areas of organizational behavior such as learning, motivation, leadership, group behavior and communication.
  • Evaluate the nature of power and organizational politics.
  • Consider the relationship between organizational design and an organization’s structure.
  • Examine the various theories and models that explain why and how people and groups behave as they do.
BCJ 501 Criminological Theory  3

Criminological Theory examines crime and criminological theory by taking a direct approach to the question of why people commit crimes. It begins with an overview of the key elements of the study of crime and criminology including law, public policy, research literature and the philosophical origins of crime theories. These theories are then broken down to their basic elements and causal processes in order to be explored.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Examine the key elements of crime and criminology as it pertains to law, public policy and the origins of crime theories.
  • Analyze criminological theories to determine their causal processes.
  • Evaluate the implications of each criminological theory as it applies to the administration of justice.
  • Predict the future of crime theory by examining whether or not new theories are needed.
BCJ 510 Drugs, Justice and Society  3

Drugs, Justice and Society is a study of substance abuse in our society. Topics include the history and classification of drug abuse and the social, physical, and psychological impact of drug abuse. Upon completion, students should be able to identify various types of drugs, their effects on human behavior and society, and treatment modalities.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Differentiate various types of drugs and their impact on individuals.
  • Recognize the social implications of drug use in society.
  • Compare different types of drug treatments and interventions used in the Criminal Justice System.
BCJ 515 Criminal Justice Administration  3

Criminal Justice Administration explores the field from a systems perspective that looks at administrative issues and practices for all three branches: police, courts and corrections. In addition to addressing the practical aspects of justice administration, the course will examine technological advances and future trends. Issues faced by the courts and justice system will also be examined.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Examine administrative principles as they apply to criminal justice agencies.
  • Analyze the major conceptions of justice and the ways these conceptions affect the manner in which social and legal systems are constituted.
  • Examine theoretical perspectives with a view to understanding the relationships between various institutions and the administration of justice.
  • Analyze the development of various criminal justice agency policies and procedures from a multicultural perspective.
BCJ 530 Multicultural Issues in Law Enforcement  3

Multicultural Issues in Law Enforcement examines the multitude of racial, ethnic and cultural issues related to law enforcement in society. In addition, the course addresses strategies for refining law enforcement attitudes, behaviors, methods and tools for social advancement, community betterment and conflict reduction.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate demographic trends of various racial, ethnic and cultural groups in the United States.
  • Assess the responses of law enforcement agencies to these demographic trends.
  • Compare and contrast the characteristics of different racial, ethnic and cultural groups as they relate to law enforcement.
  • Distinguish the issues of multicultural law enforcement.
BCJ 545 Computer Crime  3

Computer Crime surveys the nature and characteristics of the many dimensions of digital crime and digital terrorism, terms which have emerged and grown rapidly since the World Wide Web has become the basis for global information, business, and government transactions.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the current issues, trends, and problems in digital crime and digital terrorism.
  • Distinguish between computer crime, criminal hacking, and noncriminal hacking.
  • Examine the evolution of digital crime from rogue individuals to sophisticated criminal organizations engaged in the illegal activity.
  • Evaluate how computer technologies and the increasing use of the Internet have affected identity and fraud crimes.
BCJ 553 Supervision in Law Enforcement  3

Supervision in Law Enforcement focuses on leadership theories and practices in police supervision. Students will develop the competencies and skills to confidently utilize these principles in their personal and professional lives. This course also emphasizes methods and techniques in leadership for successful and effective supervision in law enforcement.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze classical and contemporary leadership theories.
  • Examine the importance of managerial leadership skills.
  • Judge the major managerial issues faced by American police departments.
  • Assess the wide variety of services offered by law enforcement.
  • Evaluate key terminology related to police management.
BCJ 562 Police Administration and Management  3

Police Administration and Management examines the evolution of American policing and modern organizational issues. Students will be exposed to the procedures, politics, and human relations issues that police supervisors and administrators must understand in order to succeed.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Compare the relationships and inter-dependency between the major components of the law enforcement community as each of the nation’s police agencies attempt to provide services to their respective jurisdictions as efficiently and effectively as possible in a post-9/11 environment.
  • Judge the major managerial issues faced by American police departments.
  • Assess the wide variety of services offered by law enforcement.
  • Evaluate key terminology related to police management.
BCJ 563 Criminal Justice Policy  3

Criminal Justice Policy addresses crime control and/or prevention and the policies that arise from the need to address crime and deliver justice. The course examines each of the various actors in the public policy process at the federal, state and local level. By the end of the course, students will be able to comprehend the justification, logic, and evidence for specific crime policies, as well as analyze the factors that influence policymaking.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the relationship between criminal justice and public policy.
  • Examine the various steps by which a crime issue becomes a criminal justice policy.
  • Assess strategies used by the police, the courts and the correctional system in various crime control efforts.
  • Compare the effectiveness of various crime control policies.
BCJ 565 Deviant Behavior  3

Deviant Behavior examines deviance from key sociological perspectives and theories. The course provides real-world examples of deviance throughout to encourage critical thinking about deviant behavior and its impact at the personal level and on society as a whole.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Assess the importance of social norms and the classification of deviant behavior.
  • Evaluate the role that individuals in society play when creating deviance.
  • Discuss the various extensions and criticisms of anomie theory.
  • Assess the role of group and subcultural components in producing substance abuse.
  • Distinguish between the normative, reactionist or relativist, and critical conception of deviance.
  • Discuss labeling theory as it applies to mental illness and juvenile delinquency.
BCJ 575 Terrorism and Homeland Security  3

Terrorism and Homeland Security provides a theoretical and conceptual framework that enables students to understand how terrorism arises and how it functions. The most sophisticated theories by the best terrorist analysts in the world are discussed, while still focusing on the domestic and international threat of terrorism and the basic security issues surrounding terrorism today.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Contrast individual and cultural perspectives of terrorism.
  • Explain why there are so many definitions of terrorism.
  • State the key dilemmas facing terrorist organizations.
  • Identify the levels of involvement with a terrorist organization.
  • Describe and give examples of the three major categories of threats or hazards.
  • Describe broad trends in terrorism, including general statistics about frequency, location, and targets of attacks.
BCJ 582 Correctional Counseling  3

Correctional Counseling offers a strong practitioner orientation, enabling students to become proficient in providing basic correctional counseling services to the offender population. This course provides basic information on underlying theoretical perspectives among a variety of counseling approaches and addresses the details of the counseling and treatment process itself, explaining exactly how correctional counseling is done in the field.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the various means of training and supervision associated with correctional counseling.
  • Examine the stages of supervision and treatment planning process.
  • Analyze the basic rights of offenders who may be engaged in the correctional counseling process.
  • Examine the topics that should be covered when delivering culturally competent interventions to offenders.
GRM 597 The Research Process  3

The Research Process is a required course for all of the master’s degree programs offered at the University. This course provides an overview of the various research methods, research design, guidance in planning research strategy, and documentation of research data. It also explores and analyzes examples of research from many different disciplines, the development and use of computer-aided research, writing skills, and logical argumentation techniques required in the research field.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competencies comparable to those achieved within traditional institutions of higher learning that require resident instruction and evaluation.
  • Exhibit a broad comprehension of research methodologies utilized in the social sciences, health sciences, government, business, and other related fields.
  • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate the knowledge acquired in this subject area and apply it in practical situations.
BCJ 598 Final Comprehensive Examination  0

Students enrolled in the Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree program will complete a Final Comprehensive Examination. The final examination is a combination of essay, short answer and multiple choice examination questions, requiring students to integrate knowledge acquired across the educational program. The Final Comprehensive Examination is graded on a pass/no pass basis. Students may repeat any portion until they receive a passing score.

Prerequisites to Admission:

An applicant must have earned a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice or a Bachelor Degree in another field may be considered if the Admission Committee evaluation indicates that the applicant has the necessary foundation to succeed in the program.

FAQ About Coursework

Required units may be satisfied in the following ways:

  • California Coast University has developed comprehensive Study Guides, for each course, that are designed to coordinate and sequence the learning materials within the required textbook. The following points will help to illustrate how the Study Guides are designed:

    • Study Guides are based on specific college level textbooks, which may be obtained from local bookstores, the publisher, or the University's Rental Library.
    • Each Study Guide is organized with a complete syllabus, along with instructional materials to guide the student chapter by chapter through the corresponding textbook.
    • Each Study Guide contains an overview and summary of all textbook chapters, along with a listing of important keywords (with definitions), and self-tests (with answers) on key points.
    • Study Guides include 4 unit exams equally spaced throughout the instructional materials, one writing assignment per unit, and the final examination.
    • Examinations are designed to test the student on the information contained within the preceding chapters.
    • All tests have no time limit and may be completed as open book tests.
  • Transcripts of previously completed master's level academic work are evaluated and credit may be transferred to meet existing coursework requirements. The following guidelines are utilized when accepting transfer credit for a master's degree program:

    • Master's degree students may receive transfer credit for up 6 semester units of previously completed coursework.
    • Courses must have been completed at a college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education or its foreign equivalent.
    • Transfer grades earned must be equivalent to a letter grade of B (3.0 GPA) or higher.
    • No specialized training or experiential learning credit can be awarded at the graduate level.
  • During the admissions process, all professional experience is reviewed to determine if an applicant has sufficient occupational experience to warrant completing a Challenge Examination in lieu of a Study Guide for a particular course. The following factors are considered:

    • An applicant may be offered an opportunity to complete a Challenge Examination if the candidate's occupational expertise appears to be comparable to the objectives identified for a particular course.
    • Successfully passing a Challenge Examination will demonstrate an acceptable level of competence for that course.
    • If a student does not pass a Challenge Examination they are assigned a Study Guide for completion.
    • The maximum amount of Challenge Examinations allowed for each program level are: Associate 4; Bachelor's 10; Master's 2; Doctorate 0; and Certificates 1.