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Master of Criminal Justice

The NMSU Online Master of Criminal Justice (MCJ) degree program is designed to provide students with training in research methods and policy analysis as well as atheoretical foundation in our discipline.  The curriculum seeks to balance theoretical inquiry with applied knowledge.  The program includes an internship option for field experience and students take comprehensive exams to fulfill the degree requirements

Students are prepared for careers in the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system, victim services, non- and not-for profit organizations connected with criminal justice and social justice, careers in research, as well as for continued study in law school and doctoral programs in criminal justice and criminology.  Coursework covers research methods, data analysis, criminological theory, ethics, juvenile justice, punishment, women and crime, and race, crime and justice.

Explore the Master of Criminal Justice degree program

The mission of the Department of Criminal Justice is to offer quality undergraduate and graduate educational programming that provides students with valuable insights into the criminal justice system through a diverse and inter-disciplinary curriculum, experiential learning, and faculty-led research opportunities. The department supports and encourages scholarly, experiential, and applied research endeavors, including those involving collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies dealing with crime, law enforcement, corrections, justice studies, law, juvenile justice, social justice, immigration, punishment, and the borderlands.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

NMSU helps to keep your tuition costs affordable. But if you need financial help, NMSU is ready to work with you to determine the best ways to finance your education to earn your Master of Criminal Justice degree. Financial assistance includes loans, grants, and scholarship opportunities. To apply, use NMSU’s convenient Scholar Dollar$ one-stop scholarship application, which serves all students in the NMSU system. NMSU Online students are also eligible for loans and grants. The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more about financial aid opportunities at NMSU

Overview

Degree type: Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

College: College of Arts and Sciences

Department: Criminal Justice

Delivery formats: 100% online

Program Credits: 
36

Program Road Map: Full time (2 years) part-time (3 years)

Cost per credit hour:

  • Graduate online: $411.50*†
  • Active Military online: $250*†

Accredited by: NMSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

*For NMSU Online programs and courses, the per credit hour cost is listed above. Special tuition agreements (Western Undergraduate Exchange, Descubre, etc.) are not applicable to NMSU Online programs. Course fees still apply and are charged separately. Textbooks, uniforms, equipment, etc., are additional program costs. Additional per credit costs might be charged by the program, department or college.

†For on-campus students, find tuition and fees here.

Program Highlights

By pursuing your Master of Criminal Justice degree through NMSU Online, you will study in the Department of Criminal Justice, founded in 1962 and recognized as one of nation’s oldest programs for criminal justice degrees. It also is one of the largest academic departments in NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. NMSU Online also was ranked #43 nationally by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs.

In-Depth Learning
The mission of the Department of Criminal Justice is to offer quality undergraduate and graduate educational programs that provide students with valuable insights into the criminal justice system through a diverse and interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning, and faculty-led research opportunities.

Extensive Research
Majors in criminal justice develop the skills necessary for successful careers in criminal justice and criminology. The department supports and encourages scholarly, experiential, and applied research endeavors, including those involving collaboration with local, state and federal agencies dealing with crime, law enforcement, corrections, justice studies, law, juvenile justice, social justice, immigration, punishment and the borderlands.

Unique Regional Focus
The Department of Criminal Justice strives to be one of the nation’s premier academic units specializing in crime and criminal justice issues, including those of the Southwestern U.S. borderlands region. The criminal justice curriculum will continue to embrace this uniqueness toward supporting NMSU’s Federal Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), Minority Serving Institution (MSI), and Land Grant missions. The department seeks to equip traditional and non-traditional students with the tools necessary to excel as future professionals and leaders in the field of criminal justice.

Superior Faculty
Faculty members in the Department of Criminal Justice hold doctoral degrees from top programs nationwide including Arizona State University, University of California, Berkley, University of Missouri-Columbia, Sam Houston State University, University of Indiana at Pennsylvania, and NMSU. Criminal justice professors provide students with individualized, caring attention, and many have been honored for their teaching excellence.

Internships
Criminal justice majors who would like to explore in-depth specific aspects of the criminal justice system and receive on-the-job experience may choose to complete an internship. Students work with their advisor to properly set up an internship in order to earn academic credits. Criminal justice majors have interned at a variety of agencies in the criminal justice field including U.S. Probation and Parole, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Dona Ana Sheriff’s Department, Las Cruces Police Department, Department of Corrections, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), NM-HIDTA, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), NM 3rd Judicial District Court, and other agencies and employers.

Quick Fact

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $80,810 for legal and criminal justice occupations.

What can you do with a Criminal Justice degree from NMSU Online?

MCJ graduates from NMSU Online are part of a strong community of alumni representing a wide range of careers in criminal justice, including positions in premier agencies for law enforcement, corrections, and other fields across the country and around the world.

The Criminal Justice Mentoring Center
Criminal justice students can meet with professionals and prospective employers for career advice in our Criminal Justice Mentoring Center. The Center is staffed with practitioners from local, state and federal criminal justice agencies from around the country who provide students with mentoring, and advice on internships, employment and careers. This is a free service for students, and the department encourages the use of this resource to explore jobs with degrees in criminal justice and to prepare for careers in criminal justice.

Continued Graduate Studies and Law School
MCJ alumni have also gone on to top graduate schools for advanced study in criminal justice and criminology, including Arizona State University, University of Missouri - St. Louis, University of Nebraska and University of Maryland. Other MCJ graduates also have gone on to law school at the University of Arizona, Howard University, University of New Mexico, Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, The Catholic University of America, St. Mary’s University School of Law, and Lewis & Clark Law School.

Careers in Criminal Justice
Careers in criminal justice are found at the federal, state, county, and local levels, as well as in the private sector. Sample careers for graduates with criminal justice degrees are in law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, homeland security, private security, academia, legal services, the courts, and criminal justice case management. The law enforcement public sector includes careers for criminologists, police officers, probation and parole officers, and court administration. Learn more about criminal justice careers and salaries. Bachelor of Criminal Justice graduates have gone on to key positions in law enforcement, corrections, legal services and more. Examples of professional positions held by our graduates are:

  • Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Attorney, National Security Law Division of the U.S. Army Office of the Judge Advocate General
  • Misdemeanor Probation Officer
  • U.S. Postal Inspector
  • U.S. Probation Officer
  • Private Attorney
  • DEA Agent
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • University Faculty Member
  • State Court Judge
  • Victim Advocate

Program Curriculum

As a criminal justice student at NMSU Online, you’ll learn and develop a variety of real-world skills for future careers in criminal justice, including being prepared to:

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  • Critically analyze criminal justice systems to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills using logic, scholarly research and internships.
  • Develop a research-based working knowledge of the criminal justice field
  • Examine the role of power and control in the criminal justice system, including race, gender, social class, religion, sexual orientation, age and cultures, historical perspectives
  • Understand the importance of ethics in criminal justice through an understanding of justice

Here is a sampling of courses offered in the Masters of Criminal Justice degree:

  • Research Methods
  • Criminological Theory
  • CJ Policy Analysis and Plannins
  • Criminological Theory
  • Race, Crime & Justice
  • Ethics, Law and CJ
  • Juvenile Justice

Thinking about a Master of Criminal Justice degree with NMSU Online? Here are a few other programs you might be interested in exploring:  

  • Child Advocacy Studies (CAST)
  • Counseling and Community Psychology
  • Family and Child Science

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