Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)
The field of criminal justice is changing. Technological advancements, coupled with contemporary world events, have created an ever-increasing need for criminal justice professionals who have insight into the sociological, legal, theoretical, and practical arenas of law enforcement.
The Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program is designed for those who want to advance in the field of criminal justice, enter it, or simply gain a deeper understanding of this fascinating discipline. Students in the online MS in Criminal Justice program have the option of choosing a concentration in Crime Analysis, Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity or Strategic Management.
An MSCJ degree from Boston University’s Metropolitan College will give you a competitive edge whether you plan to enhance your career, teach, apply to law school, or pursue a doctorate. Degree candidates will take courses where they will analyze criminal behavior, apply principles of leadership in organizational settings, learn theories of social control, and gain an informed perspective of law enforcement, the judicial system, and corrections. Ever evolving and often misunderstood, crime and justice are central to the moral fabric and social cohesion of society.
Students who complete the master’s degree in Criminal Justice will be able to demonstrate:
- 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 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.
Why Choose BU’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice?
- In 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked BU's Criminal Justice master's program #2 among the Best Online Master's in Criminal Justice Programs. The program has ranked in the top 4 each year since 2015.
- The master’s in Criminal Justice was Boston University’s first online program, launched in 2002.
- Students learn from leading criminal justice faculty with extensive field experience and scholarship in policing, the judicial system, and corrections.
- In the online classroom, students are able to network with a global community of criminal justice professionals.
10% increase in jobs through 2026
$80,180 median annual pay in 2018
Information Security Analysts
28% increase in jobs through 2026
$95,510 median annual pay in 2017
Private Detectives and Investigators
11% increase in jobs through 2026
$50,700 median annual pay in 2017
Police and Detectives
7% increase in jobs through 2026
$62,960 median annual pay in 2017
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
6% increase in jobs through 2026
$51,4100 median annual pay in 2017
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary
10–14% increase in jobs through 2026
$61,900 median annual pay in 2018
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2017-18 Edition
Boston University Metropolitan College (MET) offers competitive tuition rates that meet the needs of part-time students seeking an affordable education. These rates are substantially lower than those of the traditional, full-time residential programs yet provide access to the same high-quality BU education. To learn more about current tuition rates, visit the MET website.
Comprehensive financial assistance services are available at MET, including scholarships, graduate loans, and payment plans. There is no cost to apply for financial assistance, and you may qualify for a student loan regardless of your income. Learn more.
The online Master of Science in Criminal Justice consists of eight courses (32 credits): four required courses and a choice of four electives.
Students may choose the following concentrations:
Current members of the American Jail Association (AJA) are eligible for a Graduate Application fee waiver ($85 for applications to the master’s program), and should email email@example.com with information confirming AJA membership.
The Boston University online Master of Science in Criminal Justice will provide you with an in-depth examination of crime and justice, including theories, trends, and policies, in fewer than two years of study. You focus on only one course at a time by taking two seven-week courses per semester. This course delivery method is designed for working professionals to make the most efficient use of their time, and to maximize the learning experience.
(Four courses/16 credits)
METCJ570 Criminology and Crime Policy
This course explores potential answers to complex and important questions about criminal behavior by drawing on the social science of criminology. Criminology is the interdisciplinary study of the development of law, criminal phenomena and societal responses to crime. The course has two primary focuses: 1) to explore and evaluate major explanations or theories of crime and 2) understand and evaluate the policy implications of major crime problems. Because criminology is interdisciplinary, students will examine theories that are grounded in a range of academic perspectives, including sociological, biological, political, psychological and economic explanations for crime. These theories will be centered on important public policy debates about a host of contemporary problems, including: firearm violence, high post- incarceration recidivism, opioid use disorder crisis and human trafficking. Course lectures and discussions focus on the historical development of the theories, their major assumptions and propositions, their relevance for public policy and practice. As the course progresses through each explanation for crime, students will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the validity of different explanations for crime as well as criminal justice policies and practices that they support. [4 credits]
METCJ571 Criminal Justice Administration and Ethics
This course will introduce students to the concepts of criminal justice administration and ethics. Students will learn about: the management of justice organizations in the United States, and the various debates as to how best to carry out crime control. Topics covered include: organizational theory and structure, professional ethics, leadership and management styles, organizational deviance and socialization, employee motivation, and management responses to stress and burnout. The course is designed to help students understand the characteristics of effective leadership and policy implementation in the field of criminal justice. Students will also have the opportunity to analyze ethical dilemmas commonly confronted in criminal justice work. [4 credits]
METCJ590 Research and Evaluation Methods
The skills used in research method have become central to many positions within criminal justice administration and related areas. Not only are professionals required to understand and critically evaluate the program and policy science in their field to make decisions, they often employ methodological skills in program and policy development, implementation, management and assessment. This course takes students through the research process from question development to administration and reporting. It emphasizes applied research situations and settings and specifically program evaluation and assessment. After examining various research design models, the course focuses on specific techniques that inform both quantitative and qualitative evaluation studies. These include sampling procedures, survey design, interview techniques, participant observation and case studies and process evaluations. [4 credits]
METCJ591 Applied Analytical Methods
Evidence-based and data-driven approaches to crime problems are the industry standard among criminal justice agencies and non-governmental organizations. This course will cover a variety of statistical "tools" from three broad areas: (1) descriptive statistics, (2) inferential statistics and hypothesis testing, and (3) measures of association. Students will learn how to develop research questions, describe and draw conclusions from quantitative data, and interpret statistical research findings, and be able to present these findings to a variety of audiences in a clear and accurate way -- to be able to "tell a story" with numbers. In addition, students will develop a proficiency working with large data sets and conducting analysis with a critical lens, using the analytical software -- Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) -- commonly used in criminal justice and related fields. [4 credits]
(Four courses/16 credits)
Students who are not choosing a concentration must select four courses from the following list:
METCJ510 Special Topics in Criminal Justice
CJ510 is the designation for "Special Topics in Criminal Justice". The subject matter for CJ510 courses changes from semester to semester, and more than one CJ510 can be offered in a given semester. For course descriptions, please contact the Department or the Graduate Student Advisor, Professor Cronin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2018 -- Special Topic: "Crime and Intelligence"
Crime and Intelligence will examine how major city law enforcement agencies have prioritized the importance of intelligence in their day to day operations. Students will learn about the role of the Crime Analyst and how they provide both tactical and strategic advantages to Department leadership to help them make informed decisions. There will be time focused on new innovations like Real Time Crime Centers and it's use of technology to give street officers an advantage at crime scenes. The class will learn about the National Fusion Center Network that was created post 9-11 to allow local police to share information with each other as well as with Federal Agencies to avoid another major terrorist attack. Instructors and guest speakers will be former and current practitioners who've implemented and executed intelligence operations locally and nationally. [4 credits]
This course is designed to help students understand and apply the nature of computer crime in the criminal justice field. Several theories (both micro-level and macro-level) will be presented and will be analyzed in depth and applied to computer crime cases both past and present. Students will see how major theories have been re-developed to be applied to computer crime, and by using these theories, students will both develop and explore different strategies for future law enforcement. Students will be presented with common types of fraudulent schemes, as well as several laws that have been enacted and developed specifically for computer crime. In addition, causes, victimization, legal issues, control strategies, and societal costs regarding the "computer-crime" problem will be explored and evaluated. [4 credits]
METCJ612 Crime and Intelligence Analysis
Contemporary law enforcement agencies regularly employ crime and intelligence analysis to develop and inform effective responses to crime. This course provides an in-depth examination of crime and intelligence analysis techniques. It also explores the role of the crime and intelligence analyst within law enforcement organizations and processes, the historical evolution of this approach, key legal and policy issues, and challenges to implementation. Students have the opportunity to apply these skills to case study simulations involving an array of common crime problems and cases using real-world examples and sources of information. [4 credits]
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the discipline of victimology, an emerging area of specialization in the field of criminology. Emphasis will focus on crime victims and their plight, the relationships between crime victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, business, politicians, special interest groups, and social movements. The issues of Justice and Redress from the perspective of the victim as well as general society will be stressed. An overview of victim prevention programs and victim assistance programs will be presented. Topics such as the Restorative Justice Model, Victim Repayment, and Victim/Offender Mediation will be included in the course content. While the course follows an interdisciplinary approach and is designed for general interest and appeal, it has particular relevance for students drawn from disciplinary interests in the fields of criminal justice, psychology, sociology, education, health care administration, and political science. [4 credits]
METCJ631 Youth Crime Problems
Throughout this course, students will analyze the policy issues concerning juvenile justice and youth crime. Emphasis will be put on the scope and nature of youth crime and the young offender, as well as juvenile justice procedures, programs and institutional roles. Over the semester, students will also be asked to consider delinquency prevention programs, violent offenders, dispositional alternatives, and crimes against youth. [4 credits]
METCJ632 White-Collar Crime
The purpose of this course is to examine the nature and extent of corporate and white-collar crime, including detection, deterrence, and criminal liability sanctions, as well as, the social and legal changes related to corporate illegality. Students will use case materials which address securities fraud, money "laundering", professional deviance, and political corruption, in addition to other topics. Students will also analyze policy responses including RICO and other laws, regulations and court processing. [4 credits]
This course will include a general introduction to the overt as well as underlying ideology, history, reasons and causes of terrorism. Both domestic and international terrorism will be discussed. Domestic hate groups will also receive particular attention. The roles of politics and the media will be discussed. Students will be exposed to the philosophies of terrorists and terrorism. Counter terrorism will also be discussed at length. Students are expected to participate actively in the course. There will be written assignments, a midterm, a class presentation, and a final paper. [4 credits]
METCJ701 Crime and Punishment
Police officers, corrections officers, probation and parole officers, youth service officers, federal law enforcement agents, and court professionals are all called upon on a daily basis to make critical decisions that significantly affect the lives of those entrusted to them. Students in this course will consider applications of ethical actions as they pertain to issues of social justice. Toward that end, we will forge a strong notion of our definition of just what constitutes social justice. [4 credits]
METCJ710 Applied Digital Forensic Investigation
This course is designed to engage students for conducting successful forensic examinations of digital devices and computer networks with hands-on-experience within the Virtual Security Lab. The course introduces EnCase forensic software, which has received the high acceptance rate in a court of law as an expert witness. The course aims to cover various cybercrime topics and digital forensic investigation practices using digital evidence samples. In the process of learning, students will explore the nature of specific cybercrime and be able to successfully analyze and document the digital evidence related to the crime. [4 credits]
METCJ711 Criminal Justice Policy and Planning
This course will introduce you to the concepts of criminal justice policy and planning. You will be introduced to two major theories of planning and apply them to criminal justice settings. Additionally, you will learn the techniques for analyzing problems, developing programs and policies resulting from problem analysis, along with program and policy monitoring and evaluation. [4 credits]
METCJ720 Trauma and Crisis Intervention
Trauma and Crisis Intervention examines the psychological impact of trauma on individuals and society. This course will address the important role trauma plays in criminal justice settings, providing a practical understanding of trauma and trauma informed care. This understanding will serve to benefit practitioners in this field. The course will cover key issues in trauma and crisis intervention, addressing both theory and practice. The course examines the social, cultural and political environments in which trauma, trauma research and treatment occur. This course provides an introduction and overview of the field of traumatic stress studies including the nature of trauma, responses to trauma and treatment for disorders of traumatic stress. A variety of traumas will be examined (childhood abuse and neglect, ongoing and complex trauma, interpersonal trauma, international trauma, etc.) In addition, trauma will be explored in a variety of contexts. Students will gain an understanding of the impact of trauma and crisis intervention both within the United States as well as globally. The capacity to foster resilience in survivors as well as the importance of self-care in reducing vicarious trauma will be stressed.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of trauma and crisis response for students who may work in a variety of criminal justice settings. The course will be geared toward and benefit both mental health practitioners as well as those working in law enforcement and correctional settings. The field of criminal justice more generally is clearly moving toward recognition of the importance of trauma informed care and services. The course will address trauma theory and practice in a practical way. The course will be interactive in nature and derive course work and material from real world examples. [4 credits]
METCJ725 Forensic Behavior Analysis
This course will examine the fascinating world of forensic psychology. It will examine the way in which the law and mental health intersect and forensic psychologists help the court in addressing a variety of cases and issues. The course will explore how expert opinions are formed and provided on a variety of issues including; not guilty by reason of mental illness pleas, competency to stand trial, prediction of future violence, sexual predators; psychopaths, the forcible medication of mentally ill patients, and civil commitment. The difference between sound and "junk" science will be discussed. [4 credits]
METCJ750 Policing in a Democratic Society
Police agencies play a critical role in a democratic society. While seeking to maintain order, enforce the law and deliver services effectively, police agencies are held accountable to a wide-variety of values by a number of powerful stakeholders. Police leaders, managers, and other personnel must understand the complexities of the police role in society, the political and legal constraints placed on them in addition to being experts in effective, evidence-based approaches to dealing with crime problems in the community. By applying theory, policy, and evaluation literature to the cutting-edge practices in the field, this course provides students with an advanced understanding in the field of police leadership, management, strategy, and accountability within a democratic society. 4 cr. [4 credits]
METCJ801 Special Project in Criminal Justice
Individual faculty supervision of an independent student project demonstrating application of previous program coursework to a selected topic, issue, or theme in criminal justice. [4 credits]
MET prioritizes the review and admission of applications submitted earlier in the rolling admission process. You are encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible and no later than the priority application deadlines for each term.
Applicants must have an earned bachelor’s degree, in any field of study, from a regionally accredited college/university (or the international equivalent) prior to enrollment at Metropolitan College. The following materials are required for a complete application:
Mary Ellen Mastrorilli
Associate Professor of the Practice
Chair, Applied Social Sciences
PhD, Northeastern University; MPA, Suffolk University; BA, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Professor of the Practice
Director, Cybercrime and Cybersecurity
PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; MS, Boston University; BS, Northeastern University
Shea W. Cronin
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice
Associate Chair, Applied Social Sciences
PhD, American University; BS, Northeastern University
Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice
PhD, Northeastern University; MA, University of Denver; BA, University of Vermont
To learn more or to contact an enrollment advisor before you get started, request information using the button below and tell us a little about yourself. Someone will be in touch to answer any questions you may have about the program and detail the next steps in earning your degree. You can also start your application or register for a course at Metropolitan College.