Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (Online)

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (M.A.C.J.) program is a fully online graduate program that provides individuals who have a four-year degree from an accredited institution of higher education an opportunity to obtain a graduate degree in criminal justice.

The curriculum greatly expands on criminal justice coursework learned at the undergraduate level but also provides a sufficient foundation for people who do not have a degree in criminal justice that will enhance their ability to matriculate to graduation. Coursework will equip students with knowledge of system components, crime trends, criminological theory, and criminal justice policy, combined with a thorough understanding of the scientific method and the importance of ethics associated with the use of human subjects in the scholarly research enterprise.

The M.A.C.J. program also includes practical and career-based training. Students have various opportunities to customize their educational experience by developing specialization areas, interning at criminal justice agencies, and participating in independent research. The degree will be finalized with a culminating experience via the successful completion of a thesis project, comprehensive exams, or capstone course that incorporates students’ critical analysis of theory and policy to crime and criminal justice phenomena.

Program Goals

The M.A.C.J. Program seeks to:

  • Prepare students for the criminal justice or criminal justice-related field of work through graduate-level education with a focus on the enhancement of knowledge, communication and critical thinking skills, and ethical decision making.
  • Ensure that students are able to understand the role of the scientific enterprise and its importance to policy development in the field of criminal justice.
  • Graduate students with an understanding about the issues related to diversity within the field of criminal justice.
    Prepare interested students for success in doctoral-level studies.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts associated with the MACJ course content.
  • Students will demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills through participating in collaborative and problem-based learning activities.
  • Students will produce quality written documents and deliver professional-level presentations.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize the social science scholarly literature.
  • Students will apply ethical philosophies in the discussion of an ethical issue.
  • Students will apply knowledge of the theories behind statistical formulas to the analysis of social science data.


For those individuals who have completed a four-year degree from an accredited institution, there are no prerequisites. There are no restrictions related to the discipline associated with the completed undergraduate degree.

Admission to the Program

All applications for the online Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program are considered ready for review after the materials listed below have been received by the Adult and Graduate Studies office:

  • A completed application form.
  • Official transcripts of all colleges and universities attended.
  • Graduation from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one of which must be from a current or former university professor).
  • A brief essay (700-1000 words) that addresses why the applicant is interested in the M.A.C.J. program, as well as their motivation to complete the degree.
  • Minimum GPA of a 3.0 is required although the program may also approve admission by reason of special backgrounds, abilities, or interests.

Admission Deadline

This program has rolling admission, that is, no specific deadline. Note that it may take 4-6 weeks to receive transcripts and process an application.


Photo of adult student with dark hair wearing glasses and a black and white shirt.Click the image  of our recent graduate, Sonja Saunooke Chandler, to watch a video about
the MACJ program and the impact it has had on her life.


Dr. Kweilin Lucas
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
(828) 689-1500

Apply to M.A.C.J.

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