The Kent State University Master’s in Criminal Justice hero
College of Arts and Sciences

Criminology and Criminal Justice

The Kent State University Master’s in Criminal Justice

Advance your career with a unique blend of theoretical and applied learning that will prepare you for a top-level role in policy or practice.

Course Delivery
100% online
Total Credits
Approximate Cost per Credit
$676 in state
$686 out of state
Time to Completion
Graduate in as few as 24 months
Big-picture Insights Propel Your Public Service Career

Kent State University’s online Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice helps you harness your analytical skills and professional drive for an impactful career in public service. Shape the justice system from the inside as a skilled criminologist or criminal law professional with the theoretical and practical insights gained in the interdisciplinary master’s in criminal justice.

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Get Your Degree. Live Your Life. At the Same Time.

Complete your degree in as few as two years with Kent State’s flexible online course delivery and sophisticated learning management system. Whether you’re a working professional or are continuing studies after earning your bachelor’s degree, the online master’s in criminology and criminal justice will help you take the next step in your career development without putting the rest of your life on hold.

  • 30 credits, consisting of 10 courses
  • 7-week-long courses, with two courses taken sequentially each semester
  • Graduate in as few as two years
  • Small class sizes encourage networking and collaboration
  • Three concentrations:
    • Global Security
    • Policing
    • Victimology
The program is designed for students to not just succeed but to succeed with excellence and a deep understanding of the subject. Taking only two courses in a semester while working full-time, I was able to graduate with honors with a well-rounded perspective of the subject that I will carry with me in all my future career endeavors.
Karima M., MA ’20
Make a Good Living While You Make a Difference

Careers in criminology and criminal justice offer interesting and challenging work and the satisfaction of helping protect and serve others while earning a good living. Whether you want to work in a research and policy-oriented role or work directly in crime prevention and law enforcement, your degree from a criminal justice master’s program could help you earn more.

Detectives & Criminal Investigators1
Median Salary: $83,640
Top 10% of Salaries: $105,540+
Average Salary: $67,002
Top Salaries: $173,000+
How much money can you make?

On average, those with master’s degrees make 18% more than those with bachelor’s degrees, and the estimated cost of Kent State’s master’s in criminal justice is under $23,000. If you want to serve your community while earning a good living, the criminal justice master’s program figures to be a great investment in your future.3

Global Security

two men in military uniform
Career Outcomes in Global Security
This concentration is designed to produce a new generation of analysts, policymakers and scholars knowledgeable about the wide range of international and national security problems and foreign policy issues. The Global Security concentration in our master’s in criminal justice prepares you for analytical, operational and leadership careers in global security in the public and private sectors.

Our graduates often pursue careers as:
  • U.S. Border Patrol Agents
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents
  • Drug Enforcement Administration Agents
  • U.S. Marshals
  • Special Agents
  • Analysts
  • Policymakers

This concentration focuses on issues related to global security, U.S. national security policy and strategy, transnational issues and the concerns of other countries and regions.

With an emphasis on traditional and emerging transnational security threats, the program will give you a strong foundation for success in the ever-changing, fast-paced and challenging international security field.

Global Security Program Outcomes

Our students graduate with a comprehensive foundation for understanding Intelligence and Counterintelligence (IC) as concepts, processes and careers. They’re versed in multiple topics related to global security, including:

  • Economic and industrial espionage
  • Trade secret thefts
  • Law, technology and cyber-crimes
  • Intellectual property theft


Career Outcomes in Policing
This concentration prepares you with theoretical frameworks to address emerging trends and issues in police work, and to help guide departments through transition and transformation. Learn more about potential roles and salaries for this concentration.

Our graduates often work in:
  • Police Departments
  • Sheriff’s Departments
  • Private Security
  • Departments of Corrections
  • City Governments

In the Policing concentration, you’ll examine the historical ideas of police service and the lessons that can be learned from them. You’ll explore the research that has challenged traditional ideas and the implications of that research for revision. Further, you’ll analyze the implications of contemporary research to guide new innovations in policies, management, strategies and tactics of police service delivery.

Policing Program Outcomes

Graduates of the MA with a concentration in Policing will have expertise in:

  • Various theories and research on police service
  • The nature of coercion in human interaction
  • The legitimate use of force by police
  • Various philosophies and research on the Standard Model of policing, Community-Oriented policing, and Problem-Oriented policing
  • Theories of police administration and the research corroborating or refuting their validity


counselor with teenager
Career Outcomes in Victimology
Become a force for victim assistance and restorative justice. In the Victimology concentration, you’ll learn to ensure humane, equitable justice by internalizing the specifics of culturally appropriate responses and interactions.

Our graduates often pursue careers in:
  • Victim Advocacy
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law Enforcement
  • Restorative Justice

The Victimology concentration in our criminal justice master’s program provides specialized knowledge of the treatment of crime victims within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, their legal rights, and victim assistance and restorative justice programs. You’ll prepare to develop and lead initiatives that help prevent victimization, engage in scientific victimological research and evaluation, and respond to victims in culturally appropriate ways. Read more about victimology.

Victimology Program Outcomes

Graduates will have fluency in:

  • The physical, emotional, and financial harm people suffer because of criminal activities
  • The impact of crime on victims
  • Measuring crime through victimization
  • Patterns of victim-offender relationships
  • The role of the victim within the criminal and juvenile justice systems
Admissions Requirements
  • Completed online application
  • Complete bachelor’s degree, with a GPA of 2.75 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), from an accredited university
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably academic)
  • Application fee: $45
  • Official transcript(s)
  • Goal statement
  • Resume/CV
  • The requirement for GRE scores has been temporarily waived
Important Dates
Application Deadline
Spring 2024 Term
First Day of Classes
Spring 2024 Term
Application Deadline
Summer 2024 Term
The application process is simple and we’re here to guide you through it.

Our Admissions Outreach Advisors are available to answer your questions regarding admissions requirements for the program. If you have questions, please email us at or call us toll-free at +1 330-672-8671.

Application FAQs

Create an account in the online application system to save your work and track the progress of materials submitted via the application system.

I am a U.S. citizen. Where should I send my application materials?

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, all required application materials should be sent to the Division of Graduate Studies at or by mail to:

Division of Graduate Studies
Kent State University
Cartwright Hall
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242

Please be sure to include your full name and Kent State ID (9-digit number starting with 8) on all submitted documents. For questions, contact Graduate Admissions at +1 330-672-2661 or

I am not a U.S. citizen. Where should I send my application materials?

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, all required documents should be submitted to the Office of Global Education at or by mail to:

Office of Global Education
Kent State University
106 Van Campen Hall
625 Loop Rd.
Kent, OH 44242

For questions, contact International Admissions at +1 330-672-7970 or

What Can You Expect From Kent State’s Master in Criminal Justice?

The online master‘s in criminology and criminal justice is comprised of three major components:

  • Six required courses, consisting of “breadth” classes and one course from the three concentration areas (21 credits)
  • Three additional courses from your chosen concentration (9 credits)
  • One required capstone project (3 credits)

The program is taught by a cadre of full-time, doctoral-level instructors who also have practical experience in diverse settings. Learn more about the faculty.

The goal of the MA degree is to enable you to write clear and concise analyses of issues, policies and research in the field that effectively communicate criminological knowledge and demonstrate a practical understanding of criminological theory.

We also prepare you to describe the roles of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and social class as they relate to crime and victimization; and use your knowledge to create public benefit by seeking connections between policies, crime and criminal behavior.

The online master’s in criminology and criminal justice curriculum is designed to impart:

  • Mastery of the significant empirical findings in the major areas of criminology and criminal justice
  • Appreciation for the use of the scientific method in the study of crime
  • Practical understanding of research methods used in the field and statistics in social science research
  • Basic skills in planning and conducting research projects, including evaluation research in particular

What is criminology?

Criminology studies the causes and consequences of criminal behavior; its main goal is to reduce crime by exploring social influences on criminal behavior. It is an intersectional discipline, meaning criminology students will study many disciplines, including law, psychology, sociology, and economics. For example, the prominent Australian criminologist Mary Francesca Bosworth studies race, gender, and citizenship in the context of incarceration. Her work aims to explore how prior experiences of poverty and abuse affect those in immigrant detention facilities, as well as how the experience of detention affects the future behavior of immigrants.

What is the difference between criminology and criminal justice?

Criminologists focus on reducing future crime by researching the causes and consequences of criminal behavior. Their work often results in recommendations for how laws and policies can be changed to reduce crime. Criminal justice professionals work to investigate crimes that have already occurred and uphold the law as written.

What skills do I need to succeed in this program?

Students in the online MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Program must be strong researchers, writers, and critical thinkers. Additionally, they will need to be able to manage their time well.

Who is the CCJ program for?

Current criminal justice professionals like police, border patrol, and corrections officers who are looking towards promotion; students with a military background who want a graduate degree to improve their chances of being accepted into a federal agency like the FBI, ATF, or Secret Service; social service professionals who frequently work with victims of crime; recent college graduates who want to research and teach criminology.

What can I do with a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice?

  • Criminal justice and law enforcement teachers, postsecondary
  • First-line supervisors of correctional officers
  • First-line supervisors of police and detectives
  • Victim advocate
  • Federal agent (will also need CCJ or military experience)
  • Criminologist (will need to continue on for a PhD)

What will I learn in Kent State’s Online Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice?

Graduates of this program will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a practical understanding of criminological theory by using it to understand crime and criminal behavior better, pose and attempt to answer research questions, and see its connection to crime policy.

2. Demonstrate mastery of the significant empirical findings in the major criminology and criminal justice areas.

3. Demonstrate an appreciation for using the scientific method in the study of crime, a practical understanding of research methods used in the field, and a practical understanding of statistics in social science research.

4. Develop basic skills in planning and conducting research projects, including evaluation research in particular.

5. Describe the role of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and social class as they relate to crime and victimization.

6. Effectively communicate criminological knowledge and write a clear and concise analysis of issues, policies, and research in the field.

CCJ Core Courses
7 Courses, 21 Credits


This course will address topics related to global security, including economic and industrial espionage, trade secret thefts, law and technology, and cyber-crimes. Industrial espionage and intellectual property theft, particularly through computer and other electronic technologies, are of increasing importance and have serious implications for the global economy, national and international security, and the control and regulation of white-collar crime. This course provides students with a comprehensive foundation for understanding Intelligence and Counterintelligence (IC) as concepts, processes, and careers.


Review of the origins, structure and functioning of law in relation to social context and process. Critical assessment of the use of law and legal institutions to address societal problems. Examination of the role that social inequality plays in crime and justice, nationally and internationally.


Study of the etiology of criminal and delinquent behavior, with an emphasis on major contemporary criminological theories. Includes critical analysis of relevant research and policy implications.


Study of scientific methods used in criminal justice and criminology, with an emphasis on application of techniques used in the field. Focus on skills needed to analyze and complete basic and evaluative research in criminology and criminal justice


This course introduces students to the analysis of U.S. criminal justice institutions. It examines methods of institutional analysis, theories of administration, and the application of these theories to the understanding of police, courts, and corrections.


Exploration of Victimology, the scientific study of the physical, emotional, and financial harm people suffer because of criminal activities. Examination of the impact of crime on victims, measuring crime through victimization, patterns of victim-offender relationships, and the role of the victim within the criminal and juvenile justice systems.


Capstone experience required of all MA students. An analysis of current issues in the legislative, policing, judicial and correctional components of the justice system. Students synthesize knowledge through the completion of an approved, written project that is analytical and research-based.

Global Security Concentration Courses
3 Courses, 9 Credits


This course will expose the students to the nexus between terrorism and homeland security as it relates to homeland security strategy, assessment, evaluation, preparation, responses, and recovery actions and mechanisms relating to terrorism and homeland security. There will be a focus on the importance of coordination of various assessments, plans, strategies and implementation of plans of action involving local, county, state, federal and international responses pertaining to terrorism and homeland security.


This course examines the origins and evolution of modern terrorism, challenges posed by terrorist groups to states and to the international system, and strategies employed to confront and combat terrorism. The course will assess a wide variety of terrorist organizations, and explore the psychological, socioeconomic, political, and religious causes of terrorist violence past and present. The course will also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of various counter-terrorism efforts.


In this class, vulnerabilities of computer networks and techniques for protecting networks and data are discussed. Basic elements of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography, secure e-commerce, involving secure transmission, authentication, digital signatures, digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) are presented. This course provides students with an introduction to the field of information security risk assessment. The course will incorporate cases in risk analysis derived from actual state and law enforcement agencies or private firms.

Policing Concentration Courses
3 Courses, 9 Credits


This course introduces students to theories of organization and administration and their application to the administration of justice institutions. The course is divided into two sections: (1) theories of administration and organization and (2) application of theories to management of police functions. Includes use of theories to diagnose and reform justice institutions.


The fundamental question of this course is how to create the most effective police organization. This course examines the various theories and research on police service. Examines the nature of coercion in human interaction and the legitimate use of force by police. Study of the various philosophies and research on the Standard Model of policing, Community-Oriented Policing, and Problem-Oriented Policing. Reviews theories of police administration and the research corroborating or refuting the validity of those theories.


Analysis of police practices and functions at the municipal, state, and federal level. Examination of emerging trends and issues in policing. Review of changes in police department policies and research on problem-solving in policing.

Victimology Concentration Courses
3 Courses, 9 Credits


An overview of the law as it pertains to human service agencies, as well as on the relationships between such agencies and the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Focused attention will be given to agencies that closely connect with vulnerable populations (such as children and the poor) and those that work closely with policing and corrections (such as mental health agencies and halfway houses).


An inquiry into the theories and research in restorative justice, as well as an assessment of victim assistance protocols and programs. Examine restorative justice and victim assistance initiatives that provide an alternative framework for dealing with crime that places victim needs in a primary position, while addressing legal concerns and interagency differences.


An analysis of the legal rights of victims of crime at state and federal levels as well as a review of how these laws relate to the treatment of victims within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, with particular focus on the courts and correctional institutions. Relevant legislative and Constitutional changes and challenges are also addressed.

Course Requirements

To participate in this online program, you will need a computer and broadband Internet connection. Your program may have further requirements that include the ability to record video and audio. If you have questions regarding technology requirements for the program, please contact your Admissions Outreach Advisor at or call us toll-free at +1 330-672-8671.

Once you are admitted to the program, your Admissions Outreach Advisor will craft your personalized degree plan, giving you a clear course sequence and path to graduation.

Exclusive Opportunity for KSU Undergraduates: The Accelerated MA in CCJ Degree Option

Launch your career sooner than you expected to. In Kent State’s criminology and criminal justice program, juniors and seniors with qualifying GPAs can apply up to 12 credit hours of coursework toward the CCJ bachelor’s and master’s degrees. By earning double credits, you’ll earn your online MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice earlier than anticipated, save money on tuition and fees, and be prepared to dive into your career ahead of your classmates and ahead of schedule. For more information, please contact your Admissions Outreach Advisor at or call us toll-free at +1 330-672-8671.

Tuition and Financial Aid
Ohio ResidentsOut of State
Per Credit Hour$676$686
Approximate Program Cost$22,308$22,638

An additional distance learning fee for all students enrolled in a distance learning course is $15 per credit hour. Program tuition and costs are estimated and subject to change. For comprehensive tuition information, please refer to the tuition rates posted on the Bursar’s website.

We recognize that pursuing a graduate degree is a significant investment. Your Admissions Outreach Advisor can answer your questions on program costs, discuss how a Kent State degree compares to others and connect you with financial aid representatives when you are ready to discuss your financial options.

Call Us

Please contact an Admissions Outreach Advisor for more information on tuition and fees either by email at or toll-free at +1 330-672-8671.

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