Program at a Glance

  • Online and On Campus
  • Full-Time or Part-Time Study
  • 16 Credits
  • 8–12 Months to Completion
  • 4 Full-Time Faculty Members
  • Tuition & Fees Range—Part-Time Study*: $8,680-$10,180

*Based on 2023–2024 Boston University tuition and fees.

Hone Your Criminal Justice Skills with a Graduate Certificate

Available on campus and online, the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) is designed to provide the foundational knowledge of criminal justice needed to face contemporary criminal justice challenges and lead reforms. This certificate combines theory, ethics, and research to prepare students to effectively manage and assess criminal justice policies and programs. Ideal candidates for this certificate would be individuals currently holding, or who seek to hold, policy-making positions in the field of criminal justice, as well as professionals whose work intersects with matters of criminal justice policy, such as social workers, mental health practitioners, journalists, and public health professionals.

US News & World Report Best Online Programs - Criminal Justice 2024

#3 in 2024, and top 4 since 2015

MET’s online master’s degree in criminal justice is ranked #3 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2024.

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Criminal Justice Career Outlook

Criminal Justice Career Outlook

Top criminal justice careers in cybercrime, crime analysis, and management.

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“I chose BU MET for my graduate studies because it had everything I was looking for in a graduate program: world-renowned instructors, detailed focus on relevant subject matter (that is, topics relevant to current or recent criminal justice cases), and rave reviews by former students who found that the program really contributed to their success in their chosen fields.”Madeleine Nay (MET’18), Gang Intelligence Technician, Gang Intelligence Operations, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Why BU Should Be Your Top Choice for Criminal Justice Graduate Study

  • Active Learning Environment: Benefit from criminal justice coursework that employs case studies, simulations using real data, and hands-on problem solving to develop practical skills you can immediately apply on the job.
  • Engaged Faculty: Collaborate with faculty who have subject-matter expertise, research-based insight, and extensive field experience in law enforcement, corrections, cybercrime investigation and digital forensics, research and policy, forensic mental health, the judicial system, strategic management, and many other areas.
  • Extensive Network: Study alongside classmates whose diversity of criminal justice experience inspires discussion and debate, along with the opportunity to form valuable, long-lasting connections in the field.
  • 15:1 Class Ratio: Enjoy an exceptional student-to-instructor ratio, ensuring close interaction with faculty and access to support.
  • Valuable Resources: Make use of Boston University’s extensive resources, including the Center for Career Development, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Center for Antiracist Research, Initiative on Cities, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, George Sherman Union, and many others.
  • Flexible Options: Study at the pace that works for you, evenings on campus or fully online. Courses begin fall, spring, and summer; online courses have two starts per term.
  • Track Record: Learn from the best—BU MET has offered criminal justice education since 1973, introducing its master’s degree in criminal justice in 1980, which became BU’s first fully online program in 2002.
  • Fee Waiver: Current members of the American Jail Association (AJA) are eligible for a Graduate Application fee waiver ($25 for applications to the graduate certificate program).

Prepare for the Future of Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice graduate certificate is part of BU MET’s portfolio of criminal justice programs, which includes the Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) with concentrations in Crime Analysis, Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity, and Strategic Management, along with additional four-course graduate certificates in Crime Analysis, Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity, and Strategic Management in Criminal Justice.

Housed in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at MET, Boston University’s criminal justice programs prepare you to tackle contemporary challenges in the field, providing training in critical specialization areas and emphasizing practical, insightful, and adaptable knowledge that can be immediately applied on the job while informing your career growth for years to come.

Online or on campus, BU MET students of criminal justice come from all walks of life and comprise an intricate network of organizations. Whether you are pursuing or enhancing a criminal justice career, planning for a doctoral program, or considering a future in teaching, BU’s criminal justice programs will give you the foundation to navigate difficult issues, improve your practice, and open new possibilities for your future.

An Essential Foundation in Criminal Justice

Metropolitan College’s Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice will equip you with:

  • Advanced knowledge of, and ability to evaluate, criminological and criminal justice theories and their implications for public policy and practice.
  • Proficiency in research design and quantitative and qualitative analysis related to the evaluation of criminal justice practices, programs, and policies, and to the etiology of crime in applied settings.
  • Competence sufficient to evaluate and resolve the ethical issues in criminal justice practice and implement, manage, and lead organizational changes and reforms to prevent or respond effectively to them.
  • An ability to synthesize, evaluate, recognize implications and communicate effectively using scholarly sources of information connected to crime theory and policy.
  • An understanding of leadership theories and skills as they pertain to managing and leading criminal justice organizations.

Certificate-to-Degree Pathway

certificate to degree pathway chart

You can earn an MS in Criminal Justice by completing the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice along with four elective courses from the CJ master’s program. Students currently enrolled in a graduate certificate who are interested in transitioning into a master’s degree should contact their academic advisor to declare their interest in this pathway. A new master’s degree application is not required. Connect with a graduate admissions advisor at to learn more about this option.

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(Four courses/16 credits)

Plus one elective from the following list:

Any request for addition or substitution of elective courses requires approval from the department.

Criminal Justice Faculty

Tuition & Financial Assistance

Competitive Tuition

Our part-time rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education.

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Comprehensive Financial Assistance

Our services include scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans.

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BU MET programs offer the flexibility of part-time study, either on campus or online. Tuition, fees, and total program cost are determined by enrollment status. Course enrollment in this certificate program is 1–2 courses (4–8 credits) in a semester, and tuition is charged the part-time per-credit rate.

Criminal Justice Graduate Certificate (Online and On Campus)

Enrollment Status Part Time
Courses per Semester 2 courses
(8 credits)
Time to Degree 2 semesters
(8 months)
Tuition* $535-$955
per credit**
Fees per Semester* $60
Total Degree Cost* $8,680–

*Based on 2023–2024 Boston University tuition & fee rates.
**Cost per credit is determined by course number (100–599 = $535/credit, 600–999 = $955/credit).

Questions? Please contact us to hear from an Admissions Advisor who can help you determine the best enrollment pathway. For information regarding financial aid, visit BU MET’s Financial Aid page.

American Jail Association (AJA) members are eligible for a Graduate Application fee waiver ($25 for applications to the graduate certificate program), and should email with information confirming AJA membership.

Get Started

Please visit the BU MET admissions page for details on how to apply, financial assistance, tuition and fees, requirements for international students, and more.

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News & Events


March 18th, 2024 at: 10:30am - 11:00am

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April 2nd, 2024 at: 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Looking to the Future of Prison Education


April 3rd, 2024 at: 6:00pm - 6:45pm

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