M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration
Credit Hours
Month Completion
Class Type
Next Start Date
Apr 1, 2024
Placement Tests
GMAT/GRE not required for admission
Embedded Credentials
Graduate Certificate

Drive difference-making reform with a master’s in criminal justice

As our society evolves, so does the threat to law and order. From the treatment of youth in the criminal justice system to the prevention and prosecution of cybercrime, today’s criminal justice leaders are in uncharted territory. The M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration at Franklin arms in-career professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the criminal justice system. Theory-to-practice coursework equips graduates to apply knowledge to solve present-day challenges at the local, state or federal level. 

Program Availability

On Site

Contemporary Curriculum

Evaluate and study trending criminal justice topics.

14-Month Completion

Earn your degree and prepare for advancement faster.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Learn from the Best

Benefit from the experience of your instructors – seasoned, in-field practitioners.

Master's in Criminal Justice Overview

Build your skillset to take on unprecedented criminal justice challenges

From harsh sentencing laws and mass incarceration to pill mills and the opioid epidemic, our criminal justice system faces unparalleled challenges that affect broad cross-sections of society. While the need for reform may be obvious, a plan for much-needed change is not.  

Enter a new generation of criminal justice leadership. With the transfer-friendly master's in Criminal Justice program, graduates will be prepared to apply criminal justice theory to develop effective and sustainable programs. By evaluating critical issues in criminal justice administration and management, forward-thinking professionals will be able to formulate reform plans that are relevant to all participants in the system – citizens, victims, defendants, law enforcement and the courts. For early and mid-career practitioners, a master’s degree can be stepping stone to promotion. For more seasoned professionals, the Criminal Justice master's program is a valuable pathway to teaching at the community college level after retirement.  

Develop industry knowledge and needed skills to advance in your field

Franklin’s Criminal Justice master's degree program prepares you to build leadership skills in relevant areas of crime analysis, advanced policing and crime control, victimology, advanced penology, and intelligence analysis. By learning to apply best-practice theories of crime causation and prevention from psychological, sociological and biological perspectives, you will sharpen your analytical and problem-solving skills and prepare for advancement in a variety of local, state, federal or nonprofit agencies. As part of your coursework, you will examine current-day challenges and learn to develop real solutions suited for the complexities of a decentralized criminal justice system.

Earn a Criminal Justice master’s degree with a theory-to-practice focus

As a student in the online Criminal Justice master's degree program, you will learn to analyze and solve broader societal and criminal justice issues through actual application of theory and strategies. You will broaden your skillset through applied projects like optional field experiences and required assignments that include criminal trial analysis, agency analysis and research.  Along the way, you will be exposed to key legal and ethical issues impacting criminal justice, including liability, discretionary decision-making, racial profiling, and failure to train and equip.

Gain exposure to trending criminal justice topics

Through your coursework – real-world scenarios related to punishment and administration of justice in the United States – you will tackle key societal issues like inner-city crime, community relations and use of force. Throughout the program, you will evaluate and study topics and subject areas influencing policing to become a practitioner who can operate successfully in turbulent situations to achieve a positive result. As part of your criminal justice master’s degree capstone, you will put your newfound knowledge to work and gain real world experience by analyzing an important administrative policy implementation problem and developing a plan to add address it.

Learn from seasoned criminal justice experts

At Franklin, experts influence every aspect of your education. To ensure you get a relevant, high-quality education, we engage our academic advisory board comprised of criminal justice leaders to help us shape the curriculum for the program.  Moreover, the faculty, who teach your courses, bring significant in-field experience from multiple criminal justice areas to the classroom. In addition to institutional membership in the American Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and association with the American Society of Criminology, all program faculty are dedicated to your success by making themselves available to you. Lastly, you can count on student-centered coaching throughout the program to help you overcome obstacles to completion along the way.

Finish your online Criminal Justice master's degree program in as few as 14 months 

At Franklin, you can get started sooner and finish fast. You can build on your experience – and keep your full-time job – with flexible online courses that don’t interrupt your life. Lastly, you’ll be prepared for advancement or whatever comes next with a relevant master’s degree in as few as 14 months.

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Future Start Dates

Start dates for individual programs may vary and are subject to change. Please request free information & speak with an admission advisor for the latest program start dates.

Spring 2024
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Mar 22
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May 10
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Jun 21
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Fall 2024
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Sep 20
Fall 2024
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Nov 1
Spring 2025
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Dec 27
Spring 2025
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Feb 7
Spring 2025
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Mar 21

Your Best Value M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration

Choose Franklin's M.A. in Criminal Justice and get a high-quality degree that fits your life and your budget.

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98% of graduating students would recommend Franklin to their family, friends and/or colleagues.

Source: Franklin University, Office of Career Development Student Satisfaction Survey (Summer 2023)


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Master's in Criminal Justice Courses & Curriculum

32 Semester Hours
Major Area Required
CJAD 620 - Stats and Rsch Methods for Crim Just (4)

This course examines various statistical techniques and research design methods applied to crime, criminal justice, and agency administration issues. This course will prepare students to be intelligent consumers of reported research, to interpret statistical analysis, to report criminal justice agency performance results, and to identify and use various criminal justice statistical data sources in print and electronic form.

CJAD 700 - Effective Administration of Justice (4)

Within the scope of the foundations of justice and administration and social, financial, legal and political opportunities and challenges, students will apply strategic decision making strategies to analyze the communicative structures, practices, and performance of organizations in the administration of justice. Specific goals, challenges, and leadership theories will be holistically summarized and synthesized to develop solutions within the courts, law enforcement, and corrections, in both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Applied perspectives in ethical leadership functions that respond to organizational problems and objectives through best-practices will also be addressed. As future leaders, students will, moreover, demonstrate fluency in employee rights and issues and apply budgeting strategies to maximize agency goals. Additional outcomes will address program planning, implementation, and evaluation, as well as appraisal of new technological advancements utilizing articulated and relevant criteria.

CJAD 710 - Adult & Juvenile Systems of Justice (4)

As a student in this course, you will analyze complex and multi-systemic adult and juvenile systems of justice and social control mechanisms on both a micro and macro level. Attention will be given to innovative initiatives and best-practices from across the nation with a view toward positive social change. Technology for effective cross-system collaboration will also be addressed, as will the role of constitutional protections and constraints on arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration.

CJAD 720 - Criminology Theory & Solutions to Crime (4)

Students will evaluate contemporary criminology theories and apply them to formulate prevention, treatment, and crime control models, within a framework of cultural diversity. Crime data relationships and patterns will also be integrated with biological, psychological, and sociological theories of criminal behavior in a critical evaluation of contemporary criminological theories. Policy formation and implementation will also be addressed.

PUAD 745 - Strategy, Collaboration, & Communication (4)

Students learn to think strategically about leading organizations operating in a public environment where collaboration is required to achieve organizational goals. The course focuses on using strategic and network management concepts and tools to improve organizational performance and advance the public interest. The importance of strategically managing organizational communication is also examined. Finally, students develop skills for effectively communicating strategic planning methods, approaches, and decisions with colleagues, elected officials, the media, and the public.

PUAD 790 - Public Administration Capstone (4)

Students use the public administration concepts and tools learned in prior courses to analyze an important administrative or policy implementation problem and propose a course of action for effectively addressing it. The course emphasizes applying relevant concepts and tools to analyze the problem and then synthesizing the conclusions to create a written analysis and proposal for addressing the problem.

CJAD 730 - Adult & Juvenile Penology (4)

Students evaluate contemporary prison and punishment models and theories of punishment. Students compare and contrast prison systems and develop solutions to penology challenges, such as overcrowding and the detrimental impacts of prison life. Finally, students analyze penal administration and accountability.

OR CJAD 740 - Strategic Policing & Contemporary Crime Control Strategies (4)

Students learn how criminal justice policy issues are framed, identify participants in the policy process, and discover how policy is made. Evaluating the impact of cultural and global criminal justice trends and challenges, students will assess various crime control models and develop proposals to address accreditation, white collar crime, public health and transnational challenges.

CJAD 670 - Victimology (4)

This course is a seminar/survey course on victimization in the United States. Emphasis is placed upon the impact of victimization upon the victims and society. In addition, the response of the criminal justice system and of society to these victimizations will be explored. Theories of crime prevention and victimization will be discussed throughout the semester to encourage students to analytically consider the factors which cause victimization, and which factors can possibly prevent victimizations from occurring.

OR CJAD 680 - Grant Writing (4)

This course introduces students to funding sources and grant writing. Students will be expected to locate funding options and write a grant application.


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Microcredentials Align with Job Essentials

In today's dynamic work environments, adaptive professionals thrive. A microcredential - either as a stand-alone course or integrated into your degree program - is a short, skill-specific recognition that enables you to demonstrate your competency in a distinct area. Like Franklin's degree programs, microcredentials are aligned with market and industry demand to ensure what you learn can be put to use right away. Microcredentials are easily shared via digital badges and can be stacked to create a unique portfolio of in-demand skills.

M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration Program Details

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Criminal Justice Career Opportunities


Sheriffs oversee county jail operations, transport prisoners, investigate illegal activities, supervise deputies, and command field operations as necessary.

FBI Agent

FBI Agents examine interstate and national criminal activity, including bribery, cyber crime, drug trafficking and terrorist threats, investigating and solving cases involving violations of federal statutes.

DEA Agent

DEA Agents control and enforce federal drug laws, investigating the manufacture, diversion, distribution, and use of illegal drug activity.

ATF Agent

ATF Agents perform investigations which involve surveillance, interviewing suspects and witnesses, making arrests, obtaining and executing search warrants, and searching for physical evidence.

Federal Probation Officer

Federal probation officers conduct pre-sentencing investigations to help judges determine appropriate punishment for offenders, as well as monitor individuals who have been convicted of crimes to deter from further criminal activity.

Community College Professor

Community college professors teach courses and advise students at two-year institutions, where students are generally more focused on immediately applicable, career-oriented education.


Criminologists work in labs and offices analyzing data to determine why crimes are committed in order to find ways to predict and prevent similar crimes in the future.

Director of Court Services

Directors of court services manage non-judicial aspects of the court including operations, budgeting and personnel matters. 

Criminal Profiler

Criminal profilers review crime scene evidence to determine how crimes are committed, as a way to reveal a criminal’s characteristics and behavior patterns in order to help law enforcement during an investigation.

Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analysts are government employees who work with local governments, corporations and private individuals to document and interpret information collected by field agents in order to assess threats and prevent attacks.

Command-Level Law Enforcement / Corrections

Command-level law enforcement or corrections personnel oversee administrative functions like operations, training and performance evaluation, and compliance.  

Police Chief (with in-field experience)

Police chiefs are visible community leaders who hold the top managerial positions in police departments with ultimate responsibility over operations, budgeting and personnel matters.

Our programs offer a range of skills for different careers. Specific job requirements vary by employer and location. Some positions may require additional qualifications beyond earning your degree.


Employment Outlook


From 2021-2031 jobs in Criminal Justice Administration are expected to increase by 7%.

All Occupations

3,682,029 jobs
3,948,342 jobs
Show Details >

Emergency Management Directors

14,653 jobs
15,505 jobs

First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives

133,072 jobs
141,523 jobs

Source information provided by Lightcast.

Criminal Justice Knowledge & Skillsets

Gain in-demand skills sought by employers with curriculum that teaches you:

Get College Credit for What You Already Know

The certificates and training listed below are relevant to this degree program. Search our database to view pre-evaluated credentials and see how a license, certification or professional training saves you time and money toward your degree.

Master's in Criminal Justice Frequently Asked Questions

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