Put yourself in a position to excel and advance with an affordable online Criminal Justice degree.

The Master of Science in Criminal Justice is designed to provide you with an advanced education that can help take your criminal justice or law enforcement career to the next level.

Gain expertise that will help you think strategically, manage time, and react confidently as an expert and professional in your field. Grow the skills needed to successfully pursue careers in a variety of environments including courts, corrections, parole and probation systems, and law enforcement.

Specializations
Aspen University students may choose to pursue a standard Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree or to customize their degree to better suit their career goals by specializing in one of the following areas:

Is this program right for me?
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree is ideal both for those who seek a graduate degree to prepare them for a career in a law enforcement related field and for seasoned professionals interested in pursuing an education that will help take their careers to the next level. Criminal justice students are given the advanced training needed to succeed in leadership and management roles in a variety of environments including courts, corrections, parole and probation systems, and law enforcement.

Admission Requirements

  • Application – A completed application.
  • Bachelor’s Degree Transcripts – Official transcript demonstrating a conferred bachelor’s degree from an institution that is accredited by a CHEA recognized accrediting body or an international equivalent.
  • Military Documentation (Optional) – A copy of the most recent orders; or a copy of DD214 (This can be requested from the National Archives.)

Forensic Sciences

This course examines the background and foundations of American criminal law, including United States Constitutional requirements, Federal and State court organization and jurisdiction, criminal law basics, and rules of evidence and procedure. Students study, in-depth, various categories of crimes and offenses, including assault, homicide, sex offenses, theft, arson, forgery, narcotics, extortion, traffic offenses, crimes affecting the judicial process and organized crime.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course provides a clear and legally based exploration of the criminal procedure. It takes an in-depth look at conducting searches and what goes in to obtaining a search warrant, conducting plain view, open fields and consent searches and frisk searches. It covers all aspects of confessions, suspect identifications, and entrapment. This course concludes with pretrial matters and the trial and jury process.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course builds on the undergraduate course in this area. While the use of technology by police grows slowly due to Constitutional concerns, police must try to adapt emerging technologies into policing. The goal of this course is for future and current police leaders to understand the availability of technology and how to direct its use by subordinate officers.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course explores criminology and the factors that affect it including Supreme Court rulings, and governmental policies. This course examines the nature and causes of crime, and the effects of crime on issues of law, community, and law enforcement. Students will explore the nature, extent, and patterns of crime; victims and victimization; and theories of crime causation.

3 Credits
Required Books

 This course is designed to assist students in becoming more effective in professional as well as personal life through the development of human relations skills. Emphasizing different aspects of human relations, this course covers such topics as career advancement, developing good work habits, and managing stress and personal problems. This course is ideal for managerial, professional, and technical workers who want to improve workplace and personal relationships.

3 Credits
Required Books

The Expert Testimony and Ethics course is designed for law enforcement professionals who may find themselves appointed to lead a forensics laboratory or to train lab workers in evidentiary procedures. A Crime Lab Manager may not be one of the actual crime lab scientists, but must be able to lead and teach others how to process evidence and protect the evidentiary chain of custody as well as testify to the court. They may also serve in an internal quality assurance capacity to inspect processes in the agency’s crime laboratory. The course discusses the various forms of evidence and ethics surrounding the handling of materials vital to a court case. 

3 Credits
Required Books

This course will provide students with an understanding of the American correctional system. It covers various topics including the history and law of corrections, punishment and rehabilitation of offenders, correctional practices ranging from probation to prison, and correctional trends. To begin, this course provides an overview of corrections, including the early history of correctional thought. Later, correctional law and the punishment of offenders will be examined, including the various types of correctional clients. Correctional practices including jails, probation, and intermediate sanctions and community corrections are explored. Corrections also covers incarceration, including the prison experience for men and women. This course reviews issues related to institutional management and programs; as well as once offenders are released from incarceration. This course explores supervision of offenders in the community, as well as corrections for juveniles. It also covers various trends including incarceration, race and ethnicity, and the death penalty. Finally, surveillance and control in the community are discussed, as well as community justice. The discussion will conclude with a look at the future of corrections.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course takes a comprehensive look at the field of forensic science, or criminalistics. Case studies and information about the most current technologies in forensic analysis are used to instruct students on the methods for properly identifying, collecting, and preserving crime scene evidence. Students study how to evaluate crime scene evidence by developing fingerprints, examining documentation, and identifying bullets. Students also explore the history and scope of forensic science and how it applies to laws that are enforced by police agencies in a criminal justice system.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course covers the skills necessary for gathering evidence from a crime scene and reconstructing what occurred. The course begins with the basic principles that apply to gathering evidence. Students study the different types of evidence, including fingerprints, hair, fiber, glass, paint, soil, arson accelerant, biological fluid stains, firearms, impressions, drugs, alcohol, and document evidence. The course concludes with how to use evidence to reconstruct the crime.

3 Credits
Required Books

Because of the advances in fingerprint technology and research, it is imperative for law enforcement personnel to keep their knowledge on the subject up-to-date. This course explores the latest techniques and findings in the science of fingerprinting. Students study how a fingerprint is formed, the techniques necessary for detecting fingerprints on a wide variety of surfaces, how to identify the fingerprint and issues related to fingerprint evidence.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course explores classical drug enforcement methods and the methods criminals use to avoid detection. This information is important for both law enforcement and counselors who deal with substance abusers. Students study how to conduct investigations in hotels/motels, airports, storage units, trains, commercial busses, parcels, and rental vehicles.

3 Credits
Required Books

The capstone project allows students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their courses to the work environment. This project is completely individualized; students are encouraged to select work-related projects that are of particular interest to them and that will result in professional growth and benefit the organization.

3 Credits

Law Enforcement Management

This course examines the background and foundations of American criminal law, including United States Constitutional requirements, Federal and State court organization and jurisdiction, criminal law basics, and rules of evidence and procedure. Students study, in-depth, various categories of crimes and offenses, including assault, homicide, sex offenses, theft, arson, forgery, narcotics, extortion, traffic offenses, crimes affecting the judicial process and organized crime.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course provides a clear and legally based exploration of the criminal procedure. It takes an in-depth look at conducting searches and what goes in to obtaining a search warrant, conducting plain view, open fields and consent searches and frisk searches. It covers all aspects of confessions, suspect identifications, and entrapment. This course concludes with pretrial matters and the trial and jury process.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course builds on the undergraduate course in this area. While the use of technology by police grows slowly due to Constitutional concerns, police must try to adapt emerging technologies into policing. The goal of this course is for future and current police leaders to understand the availability of technology and how to direct its use by subordinate officers.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course explores criminology and the factors that affect it including Supreme Court rulings, and governmental policies. This course examines the nature and causes of crime, and the effects of crime on issues of law, community, and law enforcement. Students will explore the nature, extent, and patterns of crime; victims and victimization; and theories of crime causation.

3 Credits
Required Books

 This course is designed to assist students in becoming more effective in professional as well as personal life through the development of human relations skills. Emphasizing different aspects of human relations, this course covers such topics as career advancement, developing good work habits, and managing stress and personal problems. This course is ideal for managerial, professional, and technical workers who want to improve workplace and personal relationships.

3 Credits
Required Books

Thousands of police officers across the country routinely come face to face with domestic violence. With little direction they face the challenges that researchers and academics ponder. Rarely are they part of the intellectual discourse on abuse and neglect; however, this course is focused on that goal. This course is meant to tear down myths about both victims and offenders. Women and men have been victimized. Elderly and children are present as both perpetrators and victims as well. Heterosexuals and homosexuals can both be violent; dating relationships can be dangerous. To leave anyone out is to ignore the pain and suffering that domestic violence brings.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course will provide students with an understanding of the American correctional system. It covers various topics including the history and law of corrections, punishment and rehabilitation of offenders, correctional practices ranging from probation to prison, and correctional trends. To begin, this course provides an overview of corrections, including the early history of correctional thought. Later, correctional law and the punishment of offenders will be examined, including the various types of correctional clients. Correctional practices including jails, probation, and intermediate sanctions and community corrections are explored. Corrections also covers incarceration, including the prison experience for men and women. This course reviews issues related to institutional management and programs; as well as once offenders are released from incarceration. This course explores supervision of offenders in the community, as well as corrections for juveniles. It also covers various trends including incarceration, race and ethnicity, and the death penalty. Finally, surveillance and control in the community are discussed, as well as community justice. The discussion will conclude with a look at the future of corrections.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course explores the behavioral and functional aspects of police management, and issues associated with modern law enforcement. Students study leadership styles, the organizational environment, workforce development, management planning, problem identification, management by objectives, productivity, and fiscal management. Additionally, there is focus on special issues such as the use of power and force, civil liability, accreditation, ethics, establishing a police presence in schools, and the use of an assessment center for identifying promotion candidates.

3 Credits
Required Books

Understanding the police use of force focuses on the extraordinary and rare event that develops when physical force is used by the police. Whenever police officers come into contact with citizens, there is always a chance that the encounter will digress to one in which force is used on a suspect. Fortunately, most police activities do not result in the use of forced, but those that do take on an interesting pattern of interaction between the officer and the citizen. This course tackles the research and summaries of a close statistical look into the use of force in law enforcement.

3 Credits
Required Books

Police administrators do not have any easy job. Society wants the police to fight crime, but is not sure how they want the police to go about doing this effectively. The basic duty of the police administrator is the reduce crime while still holding on to democratic ideals and values in an increasingly diverse culture.

3 Credits
Required Books

The course is about language evidence, not the more commonly known physical evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, or hair and fiber analysis. The areas of linguistics and communications have provided a powerful framework for law enforcement; there is no field of study that is broader or has more relationships with the rest of human existence since language is involved in virtually all of human activity. In much of life, the ability to make a good impression can be very useful. Unfortunately, there are also ways that some people can use language to create the impression that our words mean something that we really didn't intend. This course is focused toward forensic linguists, discourse analysts, criminologists, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges. It is the major intention of this course to show how powerful conversational strategies are used by law enforcement.

3 Credits
Required Books

The capstone project allows students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their courses to the work environment. This project is completely individualized; students are encouraged to select work-related projects that are of particular interest to them and that will result in professional growth and benefit the organization.

3 Credits

Terrorism and Homeland Security

This course examines the background and foundations of American criminal law, including United States Constitutional requirements, Federal and State court organization and jurisdiction, criminal law basics, and rules of evidence and procedure. Students study, in-depth, various categories of crimes and offenses, including assault, homicide, sex offenses, theft, arson, forgery, narcotics, extortion, traffic offenses, crimes affecting the judicial process and organized crime.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course provides a clear and legally based exploration of the criminal procedure. It takes an in-depth look at conducting searches and what goes in to obtaining a search warrant, conducting plain view, open fields and consent searches and frisk searches. It covers all aspects of confessions, suspect identifications, and entrapment. This course concludes with pretrial matters and the trial and jury process.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course builds on the undergraduate course in this area. While the use of technology by police grows slowly due to Constitutional concerns, police must try to adapt emerging technologies into policing. The goal of this course is for future and current police leaders to understand the availability of technology and how to direct its use by subordinate officers.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course explores criminology and the factors that affect it including Supreme Court rulings, and governmental policies. This course examines the nature and causes of crime, and the effects of crime on issues of law, community, and law enforcement. Students will explore the nature, extent, and patterns of crime; victims and victimization; and theories of crime causation.

3 Credits
Required Books

 This course is designed to assist students in becoming more effective in professional as well as personal life through the development of human relations skills. Emphasizing different aspects of human relations, this course covers such topics as career advancement, developing good work habits, and managing stress and personal problems. This course is ideal for managerial, professional, and technical workers who want to improve workplace and personal relationships.

3 Credits
Required Books

The course prepares learners to plan and lead in emergency management incidents. For this course, all references to emergency management practices are based on those formed in the United States. Emergency management has evolved over the last two decades to encompass not only natural disasters, but also manmade calamities. Law enforcement leaders must quickly determine the scope and severity of disasters to ensure they can respond in ways that minimize danger to both the public and critical personnel responding to the event. The course discusses full-spectrum threat responses at the federal, state, and local levels to increase multi-level preparedness and integrated response.  Learners will earn new or validate existing FEMA training in emergency response.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course will provide students with an understanding of the American correctional system. It covers various topics including the history and law of corrections, punishment and rehabilitation of offenders, correctional practices ranging from probation to prison, and correctional trends. To begin, this course provides an overview of corrections, including the early history of correctional thought. Later, correctional law and the punishment of offenders will be examined, including the various types of correctional clients. Correctional practices including jails, probation, and intermediate sanctions and community corrections are explored. Corrections also covers incarceration, including the prison experience for men and women. This course reviews issues related to institutional management and programs; as well as once offenders are released from incarceration. This course explores supervision of offenders in the community, as well as corrections for juveniles. It also covers various trends including incarceration, race and ethnicity, and the death penalty. Finally, surveillance and control in the community are discussed, as well as community justice. The discussion will conclude with a look at the future of corrections.

3 Credits
Required Books

Terrorism began receiving increased attention on university and college campuses as the number of American casualties grew from terrorist violence in the 1990s. This course introduces criminal justice and other social science students to the field of terrorism. It is designed to understand the world of terrorism and provide knowledge as a foundation for further understanding. Issues in terrorism are emotionally charged. This course is written for those who will counter terrorism with the purpose to explain many points of view without taking sides. This is true whether examining issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the controversy surrounding the USA Patriot Act.

3 Credits
Required Books

Understanding the police use of force focuses on the extraordinary and rare event that develops when physical force is used by the police. Whenever police officers come into contact with citizens, there is always a chance that the encounter will digress to one in which force is used on a suspect. Fortunately, most police activities do not result in the use of forced, but those that do take on an interesting pattern of interaction between the officer and the citizen. This course tackles the research and summaries of a close statistical look into the use of force in law enforcement.

3 Credits
Required Books

This course provides students with an understanding of police field operations from a leadership perspective. It covers various topics including community policing, communications, field procedures, traffic direction and enforcement, preliminary investigations, interviewing, arrest, search, custody, and use of force, reporting and records, and stress in the workplace.

3 Credits
Required Books

Of all the topics taught in law enforcement academies and criminal justice training centers throughout the United States, one of the critical topics that always seem to get poor, little or even no attention at all is a course on the principles of interview and interrogation. For that reason, this University is offering Kinesic Interviewing to equip the criminal justice student with a complete and practical set of procedures and techniques needed for interviewing and interrogation. It is vital to any case that investigators obtain essential information from victims, witnesses, informants, and confessions from suspects in such a way as to stand up to court scrutiny.

3 Credits
Required Books

The capstone project allows students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their courses to the work environment. This project is completely individualized; students are encouraged to select work-related projects that are of particular interest to them and that will result in professional growth and benefit the organization.

3 Credits