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College of Psychology and Community Services:
MS in Criminal Justice

Walden University’s MS in Criminal Justice program will prepare students to effectively work within criminal justice agencies, governmental organizations, and the private sector. The programs comprise a core of contemporary theory and practice as well as the study of national and international issues in the administration of criminal justice. This includes the intersections of management of local, state, and federal criminal justice systems. Thus, it provides the ability to practically apply knowledge and skills that will impact society. With a unique blend of criminal behavioral theory, human services, technology, homeland security, and management, the program will provide students with critical 21st-century skills.


Note: The MS in Criminal Justice program is offered in two different learning modalities: the course-based modality and the competency-based modality, Tempo Learning®.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Utilize theory and research to analyze historical trends and current perspectives in criminal justice.
  2. Use research to evaluate factors related to crime and the impact of crime on criminal justice policies, practices, and procedures.
  3. Evaluate the impact of U.S. constitutional policy and procedures on the criminal justice system.
  4. Analyze the impact of the criminal justice process on victims and perpetrators.
  5. Synthesize principles from criminal justice theories, processes, and practices to promote social justice and positive social change.
  6. Compare the structural functions and interactions of law enforcement, courts, and corrections within the criminal justice system at the local, state, and federal level.
  7. Discuss how criminal justice laws and policies are adopted, implemented, and evaluated.

Course-Based Program

Degree Requirements

  • General Program: 48 total quarter credits
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (25 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
  • Capstone course (5 credits)


Foundation Course (3 credits)

Core Courses (25 credits)

  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Specialization Courses (15 credits)

These courses are dependent upon the particular specialization. Please see the course list on each specialization page. For the General program, choose any three Criminal Justice specialization courses.

Capstone Course (5 credits)

Course Sequence

The recommended course sequence is as follows:

Quarter Course Credits
Quarter 1

CRJS 6002 - Foundations of Graduate Study

3 credits

CRJS 6137 - The Nature of Crime and Criminology

5 credits
Quarter 2

CRJS 6215 - Controversies in Criminal Justice

5 credits

CRJS 6216 - Criminal Justice Research

5 credits
Quarter 3

CRJS 6511 - Special Populations

5 credits

CRJS 6203 - Victimology

5 credits
Quarter 4 Specialization Course 1 5 credits
Specialization Course 2 5 credits
Quarter 5 Specialization Course 3 5 credits

CRJS 6910 - Capstone: Criminal Justice Ethics and Social Justice

5 credits

Tempo Learning® Program

Tempo Learning® is Walden’s competency-based education modality, an alternative way of earning a Walden degree offered for some Walden programs. Instead of courses, the Walden Tempo Learning® program is comprised of competencies and rigorous assessments. Students progress through the Tempo Learning® model by successfully passing competency assessments. A student must successfully achieve or master all competency assessments to graduate from the program.

Students earn the same Walden degree whether they choose the course-based or the competency-based modality.

Degree Requirements

  • 48 total quarter credits
  • Foundation course (3 credits)
  • Core courses (25 credits)
  • Specialization courses (15 credits)
  • Capstone course (5 credits)

Core Curriculum

Foundation Competencies (3 credits)

  • FD001 Professional Goals
    Identify professional goals.
  • FD002 Introduction to Criminal Justice Research
    Summarize criminal justice research.
  • FD003 Social Change
    Identify time management skills.

Core Competencies (25 credits)

  • NC001 Foundations of Criminal Theories and Practices
    Demonstrate an understanding of foundational theories and practices in criminology.
  • NC002 Contemporary Views and Theories of Criminal Behavior
    Explain contemporary views and theories of criminal behavior.
  • NC003 Criminal Profiling
    Apply theories of criminal profiling and groups.
  • NC004 Ethics in Corrections
    Promote ethical incarceration practices and treatment of offenders.
  • NC005 Rehabilitation
    Promote diversion, reentry, probation and parole, and rehabilitation treatment programs.
  • CO001 Contemporary Policies and Practices
    Interpret U.S. legal policies and practices related to the criminal justice system.
  • CO002 Issues in Criminal Justice
    Demonstrate knowledge of policies and practices related to contemporary issues challenging the criminal justice system.
  • CO003 Media
    Evaluate the influence of media and/or social media on crime and criminal justice.
  • CO004 Corrections Reform Policy
    Develop a corrections reform policy by applying knowledge of the history, theory, practice, and the legal environment of the reentry process.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • RS001 Root Causes of Crime
    Explain root causes of crime from data.
  • RS002 Impact of Crime on Communities
    Analyze the impact of crime on communities.
  • RS003 Research Methodologies
    Apply qualitative and quantitative research methods for conducting and analyzing criminal justice/criminology research.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.
  • VC001 Impact of Crime on Individuals and Communities
    Apply principles of victimology to address its causes and effects and promote social change.
  • VC002 Criminology Theory
    Analyze biological, psychological, social, and structural variables that contribute to offender and victim typologies.
  • VC003 Community Work
    Demonstrate the ability to work with the community and public forums.
  • VC004 Victim Services
    Demonstrate an understanding of types of services and supports available to victims.
  • Students may take this as a non-degree course.

Specialization Competencies (15 credits)

Capstone Competency (5 credits)

  • ES001 Ethics and Social Justice
    Demonstrate the ability to make recommendations for applying laws, policies, professional standards, and codes of ethics in complex and ambiguous social justice situations.