Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is action-oriented. We confront challenges like opioid abuse, human trafficking, internet fraud, and racial profiling with strategies fueled by multidisciplinary collaboration and groundbreaking research. Our Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSCJ) program equips professionals to build a more just society through improvements in policy, outreach, and law enforcement.

This flexible program — available on campus, online, or in a combination of both — teaches advanced skills in research, analysis, and problem solving. By taking advantage of the extensive resources at a globally renowned research institution, students can apply qualitative and quantitative insights to prevent crimes and reduce harm in the justice system.

“The approachable faculty, flexible degree plan, and co-op opportunities make our school a place where students feel welcomed, heard, and pushed to put their best foot forward.”

Natalie Surette, MS ’20

Northeastern MSCJ at a Glance

  • Flexible options to take courses on-campus, online, or move between modalities.
  • Program can be completed in just one year.
  • Optional cooperative education experiences available.
  • Three opportunities to start the program each year, in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • The upcoming start date is September 4, 2024. We are now accepting applications.
  • Tuition: $1,046 per credit hour; $33,472 total without a co-op experience.
    • Courses taken at Northeastern University outside of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities are subject to different tuition rates. This includes courses in the cybersecurity concentration.

Master’s in Criminology and Criminal Justice Program Overview

This master’s program considers all aspects of the criminal justice process and also allows students to build their knowledge in specialized topics like victimology, security management, psychology, incarceration, and juvenile law. The curriculum, which can be completed in one year, offers professionals the knowledge and skills to lead in policymaking, research, analysis, or law enforcement roles. Courses are taught by world-class faculty members who make discoveries at the forefront of the field and provide individualized mentorship. Whether students earn their degrees online, on campus, or in a combination of both, they benefit from becoming members of Northeastern’s global alumni network.

The MSCJ program features a range of options for customization, including a cybersecurity concentration, the ability to complete a graduate certificate in a related field, and experiential learning. The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice offers guidance and support for cooperative education (co-op) experiences, helping to find full-time placements in organizations such as law offices, federal agencies, political campaigns, police departments, and research centers. In addition, many graduate students make valuable contributions to our highly collaborative scholarly community by joining multigenerational research teams.

Master’s in Criminal Justice Admission Requirements

  • Completed online application
  • Application fee ($100)
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample
  • Resumé
  • Evidence of English proficiency for international applicants

Applicants to the MSCJ program are not required to submit GRE scores.

Visit our admissions page for more details about application requirements, tuition, and financial aid.

“In our program, students think about how to make the system of justice more just for a larger number of people through practice, research, intelligence, and policy.”

Amy Farrell, Associate Director and Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Criminology and Criminal Justice Master’s Program Curriculum

Our highly customizable MSCJ curriculum covers a wide range of concepts and skills that are crucial to success in professional or research careers. This 32-credit program, consisting of four required courses and four electives, can be completed in one year. By the time they graduate, students should:

  • Have a nuanced understanding of crime based in comparative social science and insights from multiple disciplines
  • Understand how data and qualitative research can be applied to analyze, predict, and explain issues related to crime and the criminal justice system
  • Be prepared to contribute to public policy development and compliance

Our criminal justice and criminology courses delve into topics such as:

  • The criminal justice process
  • Qualitative and quantitative research practices
  • Capital punishment
  • Human trafficking
  • Corruption and accountability
  • Media portrayals of crime
  • Psychological insights
  • Crime mapping
  • The roles of gender and race in the justice system
  • Causes of criminal violence
  • The effects of incarceration
  • Addiction and recovery

Master’s students have the option to complete a concentration in cybersecurity. This 12-credit hour track provides a deep dive into an interdisciplinary field that could shape the careers of the next generation of criminology and criminal justice professionals. Courses from Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, internationally renowned for excellence in research areas like network science, teach effective methods for preventing and responding to cybercrime. This holistic approach encompasses both technical principles in computer science and contextual knowledge for addressing the real-world impact of illegal activities like identity theft, data breaches, and phishing scams.

Visit our curriculum page for more information, including a full course list with descriptions.

Cooperative Education Experiences

Cooperative education is one of the most distinctive aspects of earning a degree from Northeastern, leveraging the university’s many relationships in the public and private sector to offer unique experiential learning opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranked Northeastern as the best in the country for programs that combine classroom learning with real-world experience. MSCJ students may choose to add a co-op to the required curriculum, extending the program by six months.

These experiences consist of full-time work in a field related to criminology and criminal justice, such as law, courts, corrections, human services, investigations, loss prevention, or social services. During this period, students must also take a two credit hour, online cooperative integration course, resulting in a total of 34 credit hours for the program.

Visit our experiential learning page for details.

Additional Certificates and Degrees

In consultation with the graduate program director, students may opt to supplement their education with a graduate certificate that’s relevant to their interests or career goals. See our certificates page for details.

Northeastern offers two advanced dual degree programs for students who are interested in studying both law and criminal justice and criminology: a JD/MS in criminal justice and a JD/PhD in criminology and justice policy.

U.S. News & World Report Rankings

No. 1 for Co-ops/Internships

No. 12 for Graduate Criminology

No. 53 for Best National Universities

Why Pursue a Master’s in Criminal Justice and Criminology?

Issues like the opioid crisis, racial disparities in law enforcement, and immigration law involve high levels of complexity with life-and-death consequences. By completing graduate education in criminology and criminal justice, professionals acquire the advanced knowledge and methods to excel in careers that make a difference.

The MSCJ gives professionals the tools they need to deliver results, using qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the needs of diverse communities and individuals and determine what policies or initiatives can lead to improved outcomes. Students who come from an array of educational and professional backgrounds have the chance to focus on the challenges that interest them most.

By earning a master’s and taking advantage of Northeastern’s unique co-op opportunities, students who may have little or no experience in the field can prepare for a new role while growing their networks. On the other hand, the MSCJ program also allows professionals who are already working in criminal justice to further their careers by cultivating specialized expertise, communications skills, and leadership abilities.

What You Can Do With a Master’s in Criminal Justice and Criminology

  • Crime analyst
  • Case manager
  • Compliance director
  • Fraud investigator
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Paralegal
  • Police chief
  • Program coordinator
  • Legal assistant
  • Intake coordinator
  • Victim witness advocate

  • Security analyst
  • Security administrator
  • Security manager

Graduates with a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice may find roles in a diverse range of organizations involved in public policy, advocacy, and law enforcement. Northeastern’s worldwide network of faculty, students, and alumni helps professionals to make invaluable connections. Some top employers in this field are:

  • The National Institute of Justice
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal law enforcement
  • Police departments
  • Nonprofit research and policy organizations

Northeastern students benefit from the lifelong connections formed through their coursework, participation in research teams, co-op experiences, and joining our chapter of the national criminal justice honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma.

Criminal Justice Research Opportunities

The faculty and students at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice are deeply engaged in groundbreaking research. The School collaborates with external partners such as public safety organizations, law enforcement agencies, and community groups to develop fresh perspectives on urgent problems and offer insights to policymakers. By participating in multi-generational research teams, graduate students gain first-hand experience in the vital work like gathering data, performing field observations, engaging with communities, and analyzing findings.

The SCCJ houses several research centers and initiatives that investigate some of the most crucial issues in the field:

  • Center on Crime and Community Resilience
  • Institute on Race and Justice
  • Violence and Justice Research Lab
  • Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study
  • International Self-Report Delinquency Project

Under faculty-led research grants, master’s students can become directly involved in projects that uncover issues ranging from racial disparities in policing to human trafficking.

The MSCJ program offers the advanced education that professionals need to achieve results in organizations and communities. While completing their degree, students can access myriad opportunities to start making their mark by drawing on the connections and resources of an internationally renowned research institution. A multidisciplinary, experiential approach to graduate education prepares MSCJ students to lead the future of research and reform in criminology and criminal justice.

MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice

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