Master’s Degree

Criminal Justice (MCJ)

The master of arts in criminal justice online program provides a foundation in criminological theory and research methods with a focus on developing knowledge for practical application.

Criminal Justice Students

Program Overview

In Widener's master of criminal justice (MCJ) program, you will learn from criminal justice leaders and practitioners with years of teaching experience, expand your knowledge of the criminal justice system, sharpen your critical thinking and research skills, and find unique opportunities to nurture a rewarding career in criminal justice.

The MCJ degree curriculum allows students to explore why crime occurs, discover how components of the criminal justice system work, and critically assess ongoing challenges faced by various parts of the system. Built on a basis of intensive study, the curriculum encourages the development of effective analytical and problem-solving skills in the areas of:

  • Criminological theory
  • Operation of criminal justice agencies
  • Research methodology and data analysis

MCJ Degree Program Options

View the Loading... for information regarding the master's program requirements.

Our flexible curriculum, with a variety of electives, gives you the opportunity to choose a specialization tailored to your personal interests and career goals.

Specializations include:

  • Loading...: Develop expertise in fraud analysis and forensic accounting with a specialization in white collar crime.

  • Loading...: Students whose professional and career goals are in organizational leadership or working in government or nonprofit sectors can specialize in public administration by completing courses from Widener’s masters in public administration program. [Please note: MPA courses are offered in-person on our Chester campus.]

Students pursuing careers that require clinical experience in the psycho-legal aspects of criminal justice can choose to graduate with a dual degree in criminal justice and psychology (PsyD/MCJ). This program is designed to fit within the 5-year duration of our doctoral program in psychology.

For more information about this dual degree, view the Loading....

The criminal justice certificate is designed to provide an introduction to criminal justice for students interested in gaining entry into any area of the criminal justice field and for established professionals in the field looking to advance their careers. After completion of the certificate program, students can apply to the master's program, and if accepted, courses can be transferred to that program.

Admissions Requirements

  • Applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • A completed application form
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • A personal statement describing reasons for applying to the MCJ program and expectations of the program
  • GRE scores will be considered as part of an application but are not required

We review applications on a rolling basis.

Program Highlights

The flexible MCJ program offers classes taught by full-time faculty members who hold PhD degrees and have published research in the field of criminal justice, or by adjuncts with master’s degrees or law degrees and are practitioners in the field.

Flexible Online Program

With online courses, the MCJ program is designed to meet the needs of busy professionals. Whether you're established in a career or a recent graduate looking to pursue an advanced degree, you can earn your degree with courses tailored to your interests and professional goals.

Distinguished Faculty

Learn from professors whose leadership and research are shaping the criminal justice field. Our instructors include full-time faculty and practitioners in the criminal justice system, each with diverse research experiences, published research, and expertise in their field.


Our criminal justice professors stay up-to-date on recent technologies and research shaping the criminal justice field.

Nancy Blank

"Our criminal justice programs provide students with one-on-one individualized attention to nurture the student's growth academically and professionally. I enjoy the small class sizes and teach by facilitating discussions and welcoming diverse worldviews. This pedagogy fosters student participation, listening, and critical thinking skills."

Shana L. Maier

"I enjoy mentoring students inside and outside the classroom. It is a pleasure to watch individuals grow from being criminal justice students to criminal justice professionals, influencing and bettering the system. Seeing their success as alumni is so rewarding for me! In addition, our flexible curriculum allows students to direct their academic career in a way that makes the most sense for their career goals."

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Launch your criminal justice career—or prepare to rapidly advance in the field—through our flexible graduate program.

Recent Employers & Industry Connections

  • George W. Hill Correctional Facility
  • Delaware Valley Intelligence Center
  • Montgomery County Adult Probation
  • Delaware County Juvenile Probation
  • Diakon Youth Services
  • State Correction Institution - Chester
  • Numerous local police departments

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Law enforcement (local, state, and federal)
  • Probation/parole officer
  • Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor
  • Victim's advocate

Pride Perspectives

Hear from our students about their experience in the criminal justice master's program.

Samirah Thompson watches security cameras

To have people like that in your corner is amazing. They helped me gain the confidence to go into the field and to be on my ‘A’ game.

Samirah Thompson

Samirah's Story

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Visit Us

To visit Widener is, more often than not, to fall in love with the place. To fit your timeline and schedule, we offer a variety of ways to get to know us.

View Tuition and Fees

Explore program costs and payment options.

Financial Aid

At Widener, opportunities for financial aid extend to graduate students. Discover how Widener can help make obtaining your degree possible.

Next steps to apply

We are glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.

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