Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice  Graduate

"When I decided to pursue my masters degree, UMass Lowell's program appealed to me because of the convenience of taking courses online. I have a young family and work full time and it made it more convenient for me to earn a graduate degree at this stage in my life."


Available entirely online!

With UMass Lowell's Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice, professionals in law enforcement, security and corrections are finding it more convenient than ever to pursue their master's degree while continuing to work. The University of Massachusetts Lowell, well-known for its high-quality Criminal Justice programs, offers a broad range of classes in leadership, administrative and management skills in crisis and emergency management, public policy, crime analysis, forensic psychology, and terrorism.

Students enrolled in the Criminal Justice program complete a total of 11 courses (33 credits). The core curriculum consists of five required courses dealing with theory, research, scholarship, quantitative analysis, and criminal justice administration. Students choose another six courses from a list of electives, allowing them to focus their studies on areas that are best suited to their own particular career goals and objectives.

The Online Master's Degree in Criminal Justice serves four types of students: a) those seeking a master's degree as a prerequisite for entry into the criminal justice field; b) those currently in service in the criminal justice system who wish to broaden their skills and obtain job-related knowledge and expertise; c) those currently in the criminal justice system seeking to specialize and/or work in some other area of the system; and d) those currently in the system or pre-service who wish to obtain the training and expertise necessary to meet the growing need for teaching criminal justice.

UMass Lowell's Master's Degree in Criminal Justice is designed to meet the changing needs of the criminal justice community. By promoting an integrated, academically rigorous, and empirically oriented curriculum, the program helps working criminal justice professionals, and those planning on entering the field, develop the repertoire of professional skills necessary to better manage their current positions, assume leadership roles and/or continue doctoral training in criminal justice.

Master's Degree in Criminal Justice - Curriculum Outline

Total Number of Courses Required for the Master's Degree in Criminal Justice: 11
Total Number of Credit Hours Required for the Degree: 33

Criminal Justice Required Core Courses

Total Core Courses Required: 5

  1. CRIM.5200 Administration of Justice - Available Summer 2017!
  2. CRIM.5010 Criminological Theory: Foundations - Available Summer 2017!
  3. CRIM.5900 Descriptive & Inferential Statistics - Available Summer 2017!
  4. CRIM.5910 Research Design - Available Summer 2017!
  5. CRIM.5210 Managing Justice Organizations
  6. OR
  7. CRIM.6130 Law and Public Policy - Available Summer 2017!
Criminal Justice Elective Courses:

Choose 6 electives from the following list of online courses:*

  1. CRIM.5700 Crisis and Emergency Management
  2. CRIM.6300 Victimology - Available Summer 2017!
  3. CRIM.5710 Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  4. CRIM.5220 Issues in Policing
  5. CRIM.5400 Criminal Profiling - Available Summer 2017!
  6. CRIM.5410 Forensic Psychology
  7. CRIM.6400 Criminal Mind and Behavior - Available Summer 2017!
  8. CRIM.6410 Mental Health & Criminal Justice
  9. CRIM.5720 Comparative Terrorism and Counterterrorism
  10. CRIM.5730 Threat Assessment and Risk Management
  11. CRIM.5600 Gender, Race and Crime
  12. CRIM.6550 Substance Abuse and Crime - Available Summer 2017!
  13. CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security - Available Summer 2017!
  14. CRIM.6510 Criminal Homicide - Available Summer 2017!
  15. CRIM.6940 Crime Analysis and Mapping
  16. CRIM.6310 Intimate Partner Violence - Available Summer 2017!
  17. CRIM.6320 Responding to Child Maltreatment
  18. CRIM.6500 Violence in America - Available Summer 2017!
  19. CRIM.6420 Sex Crimes and Offenders - Available Summer 2017!
  20. CRIM.6919 Directed Study in Criminal Justice

*Note: A larger selection of elective courses is available with courses held on-campus and at corporate locations, for those students who are interested in taking a mix of on-campus and online courses. Call 978-934-4106 or send an email to for the extended list of on-campus courses. Additional electives may be available online at a later date. Check back periodically for program updates.

For Additional Information on this program, visit:

To Register for a Course

Call UMass Lowell Continuing Education at 1 (800) 480-3190

To Apply into the Degree Program

Visit the Graduate Admissions website for a graduate degree application form at or call 1 (800) 656-GRAD

Course Descriptions

CRIM.5010 Criminological Theory: Foundations

This course provides a detailed examination of the best known and most influential theories of crime causation. Topics include: theory construction, hypothesis testing, theory integration, and the links among theory, research, and policy. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5200 Administration of Justice

An examination of the components of the criminal justice system and a review of the administration of federal, state and local criminal justice agencies, including a focus on criminal law and procedure. 3 credits.

CRIM.5210 Managing Justice Organizations

A range of criminal justice management issues are addressed, including organizational structure, purpose, rewards and relationships, leadership and management styles, and the development of effective change strategies by criminal justice agencies. The complex role of the criminal justice manager in both the adult and juvenile justice system is emphasized. 3 credits.

CRIM.5220 Issues in Policing

An introduction to research on the police, both basic research and applied, evaluative research. Since police discretion was discovered in the 1950s, basic research has focused on factors that explain the discretionary use (and abuse) of police authority, and particularly on factors that would signify bias in police decision-making, and also on the mechanisms by which police may be held accountable to the public. Evaluative research, beginning with the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment in the 1970s, has been concerned with estimating the effects of programmatic and tactical innovations on social conditionssuch as crime, fear of crime, satisfaction with police services and quality of life. 3 credits.

CRIM.5400 Criminal Profiling

An overview of the development and characteristics of violent offenders, some of whom will evolve to become criminal psychopaths. The class provides an analytical understanding of the unique characteristics of serial criminals and the methodologies used to commit their crimes. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5410 Forensic Psychology

This course applies psychological theories, principles, and research to issues of concern to the criminal justice system with a special focus on the intersection of the mental health and criminal justice systems. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5600 Gender, Race and Crime

The implications of criminal laws, criminal justice practices and programs. Focus on inequalities based on gender, race and class. 3 credits.

CRIM.5700 Crisis and Emergency Management

This course will provide a broad introduction to the critical challenges of disaster management. The course will address past and present strategies for reducing and responding to hazards posed by both manmade and natural disasters. Emphasis will be placed on what we can learn from the history of disasters, and on how we can apply those lessons to the management of future events. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5710 Domestic Terrorism and Violent Extremism

This course examines the evolution and contemporary nature of domestic terrorist threats and violent extremist movements that the U.S. has confronted over the past several decades. Special attention is focused on right-wing militias, religious extremists, racial supremacist/hate groups, and extreme environmental and animal rights groups. Students will also learn about political and socioeconomic factors that enable a terrorist group's ideological resonance, prison radicalization, the role of the Internet in mobilizing individuals toward violent behavior, and the legal and criminal justice dimensions of responses to terrorism. 3 credits.

CRIM.5720 Comparative Terrorism and Counterterrorism

This course examines a broad spectrum of terrorist groups and counterterrorism responses in over a dozen countries, including Colombia, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Northern Ireland/UK, Pakistan, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Yemen. This comparative analysis will help students develop and understanding of patterns and trends within political violence (including radicalization, tactics, financing, targeting behavior, malevolent creativity, disengagement and de-radicalization) and the many different policies and strategies adopted by governments in response to terrorist threat. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5730 Threat Assessment and Risk Management

The goal of this course is to enhance understanding and increase expertise regarding risk management and the impact of terrorism on economic and other critical infrastructures in the United States. The course will provide the tools (operational and statistical) and technology required to mitigate these risks. A second purpose of the course is to examine and critically discuss current and future methods to create best practices in security management. 3 credits.

CRIM.5740 Overview of Homeland Security

The U.S. has embraced the homeland security monolith without a full understanding of what it encompasses. This course provides a comprehensive overview of homeland security and defense as undertaken in the United States since 9/11. The course critically examines the current body of knowledge with a specific focus on understanding security threats, sources, and reasons for these threats. The roles of the key players at the federal, state and local levels, the policies and procedures enacted since 9/11, and the homeland security system in practice are also examined. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.5900 Descriptive & Inferential Statistics

This course is a rigorous introduction to statistical inference: probability theory, confidence intervals, and hypothesis tests. The course also covers regression analysis, which is developed in a non-technical way, with an emphasis on interpretation of regression results, using examples from recent research. 3 credits.

CRIM.5910 Research Design

Research design is a graduate-level introduction to methodology as used in criminology/criminal justice. The course surveys the research design enterprise and covers a host of issues on the measurement and collection of data, and other procedures that influence whether a research study will lead the investigator to scientifically rigorous information. This course explains various strategies for devising social science studies, compares the relative benefits of various designs, and identifies the tools necessary to conduct studies that will yield data worthy of analysis and interpretation. This material will be valuable for students who will conduct research and administrators who must evaluate the research of others. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6130 Law and Public Policy

The course is an introduction to crime and the efforts to control crime through public policy. We explore the foundations of the policy-making process at the federal, state, and local levels. The course also considers broad theoretical applications pertaining to public opinion, national culture, and comparative analyses among Western democracies and their differing approaches to crime. This course employs a variety of learning tools, from roundtable discussions to policy cases. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6300 Victimology

This course examines the study of crime victims and of the patterns, impact, and formal responses to criminal victimization. Particular attention is given to research issues such as measurement of victimization, fear of crime and related measures, and conducting research with victimized populations, as well as discussion of current issues in the field of Victimology. Substantive topics may include theories of victimization, the overlap between victims and offenders, social-psychological and other impacts of victimization on primary and secondary victims, media coverage of victimization, and evaluation of prevention and intervention programs for victims (criminal justice system based programs and others). 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6310 Intimate Partner Violence

An examination of the nature and extent of intimate partner violence and an analysis of the causes and consequences of violence between partners as well as the latest research regarding the criminal justice response. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6320 Responding to Child Maltreatment

Introduction to empirical findings and theoretical perspectives concerned with the maltreatment of children and youth. Includes an examination of prevalence rates, risk factors, consequences, and system responses. 3 credits.

CRIM.6400 Criminal Mind and Behavior

This course is designed to address a broad range of topics relevant to criminal behavior and the development of the so called criminal personality. Factors that are considered to influence the evolution of criminal mentality are examined and the laws and the past and current response of the criminal justice system to repeat offenders are explored. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6410 Mental Health & Criminal Justice

The course focuses on how and why individuals with serious mental illness become involved in the criminal justice system, and on how the criminal justice and public mental health systems respond to that involvement. Topics include law enforcement responses, court-based strategies, mental health and corrections, community supervision of individuals with mental illness, violence and mental disorder, and unique challenges associated with female and juvenile populations. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6420 Sex Crimes and Offenders

This course examines the nature of sex offenses as well as the mind of the sex offender, and focuses on motives, possible victims, and rehabilitation. The responses of the mental health and criminal justice systems are examined and the effectiveness of those responses is assessed. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6500 Violence in America

This course provides an in-depth analysis of the causes, context, and control of a wide range of violent crimes. Topics covered in this class include: Murder, rape, robbery, assault, and violence in the helping professions, the workplace, school, gang violence, cult violence, and institutional violence. For each form of violence, we examine issues related to(1) the extent of the problem, characteristics of the crime, victim, and offender, (2) causation, (3) crime prevention, and (4)crime control strategies. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6510 Criminal Homicide

A survey of the nature and extent of criminal homicide. There will be five main components: statutory definitions of homicide; theories of homicide; homicide rates over time and across jurisdictions; trends and patterns in homicide characteristics; and cross-cultural comparisons. Homicide is an important topic in criminology for three reasons: (1) it is the crime of greatest severity in any penal code; (2) it is a fairly reliable barometer of all violent crime; and (3) at a national level, no other crime is measured as accurately, precisely, and comprehensively. 3 credits.

CRIM.6550 Substance Abuse and Crime

This course examines the dynamics of substance abuse, the interrelationship between substance abuse and crime, and the use of both criminal and civil law to deal with the problems posed by substance abuse. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CSCE Graduate Restrictions

CRIM.6919 Directed Study in Criminal Justice

This course is designed as an independent study of a subject not offered in the standard curriculum. 3 credits.

CRIM.6940 Crime Analysis and Mapping

This course examines the use of new technologies to analyze crime patterns and develop crime prevention strategies. Students study theories that explain the geographic distribution of crime and learn how to use Geographic Information Systems to study crime in ways that draw upon theory as well as how to apply GIS techniques in the law enforcement and corrections fields. 3 credits.

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