Criminal Justice, MS (online)

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Behavioral Sciences
Police Program holds first graduation

In Short

You can enroll in the M.S. in Criminal Justice (online) program through the Professional Studies concentration or you can enroll in the 4+1 Criminal Justice program which allows you to complete your bachelors degree and earn a certificate of completion from the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) and then move into the 100% online master’s program curriculum and can complete the master’s degree in just one year.

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Program Overview

The role of the police officer is intellectually demanding, requiring officers to possess knowledge and skills in both substantive and procedural law, police procedures, problem solving, crisis management, written and oral communication, technology, and professionalism.

The M.S. Criminal Justice (online) program has two options:

4+1 Program

You can enroll in the 4+1 program and earn a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice, a certificate of completion from the Massachusetts Municipal training committee and a master's in criminal justice. These qualifications allow you to apply to any Massachusetts municipal police department, or that of any other state with a reciprocal agreement. You will complete a total of 36 credits for their master’s program. These credits include eight 3-credit courses that concentrate in criminal justice studies in addition to the 12 credit recruit officer course for Municipal Police Training Academy and certificate.

M.S. Criminal Justice, Professional Studies

This 36 credit program provides students with practical knowledge and skills based on current research in the field while also providing an understanding of ethical issues and dilemmas related to the profession. The program focuses on building student’s problem solving skills and their ability to analyze and understand data to assist with decision making. The program also provides students with experience in leadership and management to assist them in advancing in career areas such as law enforcement, corrections, social services and other public service related fields.

Students enrolled in the Professional Studies master’s program will complete a total of 36 credits. These credits include twelve 3-credit courses that concentrate in criminal justice studies.

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Career Opportunities

  • Law enforcement
  • Court System
  • Corrections

Total Credits

36 credits

Time Frame

The 4+1 program can be completed in 5 years.

The M.S. Criminal Justice, Professional Studies concentration can be completed in 1 year.

*Note - Students can take up to 6 years to complete master's portion of the program but most students complete within 1-2 years.

Curriculum and Other Information

  • Students in the 4+1 track will meet all of the requirements of the Municipal Police Training Academy.
  • Apply knowledge of the operations of the criminal justice system to real-life case scenarios and current events
  • Recognize and analyze ethical issues and dilemmas in the practice of criminal justice
  • Demonstrate the ability to research and analyze crime data and its impact on criminal justice policy
  • Identify the links between theoretical foundations of crime and delinquency and the development of criminal justice policy
  • Recognize diversity in society and how criminal justice professionals respond to the increasing diversity in society
  • Develop critical thinking skills and the ability to apply them to problem solving
  • Develop oral and written communications skills as well as the ability to use technology for communication purposes

Tuition and Fees

4+1 Program Admission

Candidates for admission must successfully complete the undergraduate Fitchburg State University Police Program (4+1) program with a minimum 2.50 GPA, and no grade lower than 2.0 in any of the required courses for MPTC certification.

M.S. Criminal Justice, Professional Studies Admission

  • Official transcript of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8.  If you attended Fitchburg State University, please add the school to the Academic History Tab, and Fitchburg State will upload your transcript to your application on your behalf. 
  • Personal statement. In a statement of no more than 300 words, please describe how earning a Master's degree in Criminal Justice would help you fulfill your personal and professional goals.
  • Professional resume and references. Please upload a professional resume that sets forth, at a minimum, your educational and employment history. On your resume, please include the names and contact information for three references. At least two must be individuals under whose supervision you have worked in a professional capacity.
  • Letters of recommendation. As long as you provide names and contact information for three professional references on your resume, you do not need to submit letters of recommendation. However, the CJ program reserves the right to request letters of recommendation if needed.  

Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis.

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