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Master’s Degrees | Criminal Justice

Online Master of Criminal Justice

The field of criminal justice is evolving. You’re accomplished in law enforcement, have built a successful career on your bachelor’s degree, and aspire to transform the field. The University of Mississippi designed our online Master of Criminal Justice for distinguished, motivated individuals like you.

Our online Master of Criminal Justice is one of the most flexible, customizable, and accessible programs of its type in the country. Tailor your degree to your goals. Select from two emphasis areas, and expand your knowledge with electives. Through the accelerated, asynchronous format, complete this credential in one year’s time, refining your skills around your current career and responsibilities and applying new information to enrich your current role.

As with our on-ground master’s program, the 100% online Master of Criminal Justice at Ole Miss is led by excellent faculty, including Dr. Wesley Jennings, the world’s top criminologist in terms of peer-reviewed scholarly publications.

Our faculty’s expert perspectives shaped a program that gives you the tools to apply evidence-based policy and practice in the criminal justice world, accessing a more competitive job market, including positions at federal agencies and in team leadership roles.

MCJ Program Objectives

The excellence of our on-ground Master of Criminal Justice program shapes the fully online version. Basing our course offerings on market research, we launched the 100% online program in 2020, striving to provide an unmatched criminal justice education to a wider swath of individuals and train tomorrow’s response teams.

The Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies’ team of nationally recognized experts continues to advance the field with their own research in crime and justice policy, applied criminology, international crime, restorative justice, and racial disparities. Their always-evolving perspectives influence a structure that builds off your bachelor’s degree and prepares you both for advanced opportunities and to later pursue a doctoral degree.

Our program’s core equips you with a foundation in applied methodological and theoretical knowledge—essential for policy analysis and guiding others with evidence-based decisions. Through this comprehensive and flexible baseline:

  • Receive a first-class education, from a department at the forefront of applied research;
  • Broaden your backgroundwith research-based and empirical evidence ready to apply in the field and influencing current advocacy and policy efforts;
  • Learn from experts to address existing criminal justice challenges and transform future leadership, homeland security, and emergency management policies;
  • Hone and polish your critical thinking, scholarly analysis, communication, and ethical reasoning skills; and
  • Uncover advanced information and experiences to unlock the next rank of law enforcement, including in government agencies and the private sector.

Online Master of Criminal Justice Curriculum

We’ll guide you through your educational journey while fostering your innate leadership skills with a 30-credit curriculum blending advanced criminal justice concepts with higher-level knowledge gained through a specialization. Reach your goals sooner by working through the curriculum in five eight-week sessions spaced over three semesters.

Begin with a 12-credit core consisting of four foundational courses before proceeding onto four (4) electives. A two (2) course-sequence (6 credits) capstone project serves as the culmination of your education. Bridging your studies with your career aspirations, you’ll research and evaluate a criminal justice or emergency management and homeland security issue to produce a systematic review paper—the first step toward establishing your authority in the field.

Establish a direction for your career by selecting a specialization from one of two emphases, Criminal Justice Leadership or Homeland Security and Emergency Management. These courses account for three out of the five required electives. With the remaining two electives, you’ll have the opportunity to branch out and explore other criminal justice areas, enhancing your knowledge for a multifaceted, detailed perspective of law enforcement.

Our Criminal Justice Leadership concentration acknowledges barriers to leadership roles—among them, the time and resources to expand your credentials with a master’s degree.

You have the drive and a list of accolades to your name. Empowering you through this next stage, this emphasis area elevates your knowledge and experience with a stronger understanding of evidence-based decision making, leadership theory in the context of law enforcement, effective personnel management techniques, budgeting, and finance. Learn more about our Criminal Justice Leadership emphasis.

You envision yourself as more than a volunteer during disaster relief efforts. You’re leading the charge, directing motions, and drawing communities together. We’ve based this emphasis on the increasing need for experienced homeland security and emergency management professionals and encourage you to make an impact with a thorough understanding of disaster preparedness and emergency response policy concerning terrorism, public safety, and natural disasters. Learn more about our Homeland Security and Emergency Management emphasis.

Careers with a Master of Criminal Justice Degree

The growing complexities in the criminal justice field results in a wide range of opportunities. Evidence-based research is influencing long-standing traditional policy and procedure approaches. The next generation of criminal justice professionals is at the forefront of driving change and making an impact. Emergency management and homeland security, as rapidly changing fields, call for leaders who can navigate uncertainty.

Become integral to criminal investigations as a forensic science technician or a private detective. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions are expected to see an 8% and 14% increase in demand from 2019 to 2029, respectively.

Over the past 30 years, careers in disaster relief have also seen steady gains. Among them, local, state, and federal organizations are expected to need 4% more emergency management directors by 2029.

Similarly, a wealth of positions exists for individuals aspiring to a career in homeland security. Use your talents and make an impact as an agent, specialist, or officer in Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration, US Secret Service, or another state or federal organization.

Applied Sciences Unveils Online MCJ

New flexible course delivery method improves accessibility to advanced degree for working adults

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Sgt. Shipp Honored as OPD’s Top Cop of 2019

Shipp named OPD’s 2019 R.L. Bob Jones Officer of the Year at department’s annual awards banquet

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Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Faculty

View recent scholarly journal articles authored or co-authored by our esteemed MCJ faculty

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Shape Your Future with an Online Master of Criminal Justice from Ole Miss

Serve your community with expert leadership through the Ole Miss Online Master of Criminal Justice degree. Contact our Coordinator of Advising, Recruitment, and Retention Andy King to set up an appointment to talk more about the program, your interests and needs, and your future.

Request more information