Andres C.

Master in Criminal Justice Leadership

Nadia L. - Class of 2020

Take Command of Your Law Enforcement Career

Today’s multifaceted criminal justice system demands ethical leaders who possess the critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address the complex issues and challenges of criminal justice in the 21st century. National University’s Master of Criminal Justice Leadership is designed to prepare you for in-demand careers in government at the local state, and federal levels.

In as few as 12 months, you can earn your Master’s in Criminal Justice Leadership and be ready to confidently pursue high-level positions in law enforcement management, correctional administration, security administration, criminal justice research, and teaching or training assignments.

NU’s flexible, online learning format is designed to accommodate the demanding schedules of adult learners. Our four-week courses allow you to focus on a single topic and conveniently fit learning into your busy lifestyle. If you’re ready to become a leader in criminal justice, NU is ready to prepare you with the industry-current credentials to achieve your career goals.

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12 Months to Your CCL MBA

CCL MBA can be completed in as quickly as 12 months (15 classes).

100% Online Classes

GMAT not required for admission.

Year-round Enrollment

Our admissions team reviews applications year-round.

$30 Million in Scholarships

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Become a leader in 21st-century law enforcement with National University’s accredited Master of Criminal Justice Leadership program. Learn more & apply online today.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Master’s in Criminal Justice Leadership program, you’ll have knowledge, skills, and capacities in the following areas:

  • Evaluate the managerial practices that have shaped the criminal justice professions
  • Analyze court decisions involving police or criminal justice agencies in terms of criminal sanctions
  • Analyze issues of police morale, motivation, retention, selection, and recruitment
  • Evaluate and determine what should be the consequences of unethical conduct by police officers
  • Evaluate and compare the American criminal justice system with other criminal justice systems
  • Evaluate disciplinary, theoretical, criminological, and philosophical foundations in the management of criminal justice
  • Develop oral, written, and technological communication for criminal justice professionals
  • Utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills to identify quality scholarship and research in the field of criminal justice

Click here for program-specific course information.

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Criminal justice is a broad field encompassing a diverse range of roles and responsibilities. From detectives and criminal investigators to social service counselors, corrections officers, and criminal justice educators, there’s a growing demand for senior-level leaders with industry-current knowledge and skills.

NU’s Master’s in Criminal Justice Leadership can prepare you for advancement in your current position or open up new opportunities in:

  • Law enforcement
  • Security & correction
  • Drug enforcement
  • Customs
  • Criminal investigation
  • State and local government
  • Community advocacy
  • Public policy

To earn NU’s MS in Criminal Justice, students must complete at least 54 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and provided the units have not been used to satisfy the requirements of an awarded degree.

For students in the BS in Criminal Justice Administration/MCJ transition program, the University will waive the criminal justice course(s) taken as part of the bachelor’s degree (see BS in Criminal Justice Administration transition program) if the grade earned is a “B” or higher but no graduate units will be awarded.

Students should refer to the section on graduate admission requirements for specific information regarding application and evaluation.

Core Requirements

Course Description Credits
CJA605 CJ Theory, Practice, and Policy 4.5
CJA608 Leadership in CJ 4.5
CJA615 Legal Issues in CJ 4.5
CJA624 Professional Ethics in CJ 4.5
CJA630 Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure 4.5
CJA645 Advanced Criminological Theory 4.5
CJA690A Capstone I 4.5
CJA690B Capstone II 4.5

Program Electives

Course Description Credits
CJA628 Critical Issues in CJ 4.5
CJA641 Comparative CJ Systems 4.5
CJA670 Violence and Victimization 4.5

For details and course listings for these concentrations, please visit our catalog.

While you don’t need a master’s degree to enter the field of criminal justice, advancing to a senior-level position usually requires advanced communications, critical thinking, leadership, and technology skills. Build these credentials, and you’ll be well positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for leaders across a broad range of criminal justice careers.*

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that industries with the highest published employment and wages for protective service occupations include:

  • Supervisors of correctional officers
  • Detectives and criminal investigators
  • Gambling surveillance officers
  • Supervisors of police and detectives

Careers specifically requiring a master’s in criminal justice can include educators such as associate or assistant professors, adjunct instructors, faculties at community colleges as well as some 4-year private and public colleges and universities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for police officers and detectives nationwide was $67,290 in 2020. Police and detective supervisors can make significantly more — a mean annual wage of $91,590 in 2017. California police officers have some of the highest salaries in the country, with an annual mean wage of $107,440.

The median annual pay for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was $55,690 in 2020.

Overall, employment of police and detectives is expected to grow 7 percent between 2020 and 2030.

National University offers a variety of course formats, including online, on-site, and hybrid courses. In this program, you will take:

  • On-site courses – This includes on-ground, in-person course instruction, which could be either on-site or at another learning site at a specific time, place, and location. On-site courses may have course information, work, or other education-related items delivered through online environments and tools.
  • Online courses – This includes instruction that is fully virtual and online, comprised of regular and substantive interaction between students and their instructors in either an asynchronous or synchronous format. Asynchronous online classrooms provide instruction, lessons, and coursework via an online learning management system that allows students to view instructional materials each week at times of their choice. Synchronous classes require students to log in, engage, and attend at specific times and dates, leveraging web and videoconferencing technologies to provide instruction, lessons, and coursework in real time.

Please note that the modality of any course may vary from the scheduling of any program-specific courses on a month-to-month basis.

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, on the internet, at

Contact Us

Take the first step by starting your application online today.
To speak to an enrollment advisor about this program, please email [email protected].

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Why Choose National University?

We’re proud to be a veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 185,000 alumni worldwide.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements in a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

*Positions may require additional experience, training and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program specific requirements. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

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