Master of Science in Criminal Justice

Gain specialized skills and open new professional opportunities with a fully-online or hybrid master’s degree in criminal justice at HSU. Emphasizing real-world learning and enlightened by faith, our program prepares ethical, engaged, and confident servant leaders.

Our master’s in criminal justice offers unique opportunities to work with faculty across diverse disciplines, at HSU’s campus or online, preparing you for laboratory, analyst, and other leadership roles within the criminal justice system.

You can focus your criminal justice master’s degree in one of three concentrations: forensic science, criminal behavioral analysis, or justice administration and management. We also offer a thesis and non-thesis option.

Who Is the Master’s in Criminal Justice Designed For?

The field of criminal justice is changing, and there is a growing need for professionals skilled in forensic science, criminal behavioral analysis, and justice administration.

Our program is designed for students who wish to advance in the field, gain specialized expertise, or open doors to different career options. Earning your master’s degree can put you on a faster track to promotions, and help you build technical, analytic, and leadership skills essential for long-term career growth. It can also boost your earning potential: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that, on average, master’s degree graduates earn $12,000 per year more than those with only a bachelor degree.

Program Contact

Dr. Karin Brown-Head of Criminal Justice Department

Dr. Karin Brown

Head of Criminal Justice Department, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Request Information


Why Earn Your Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Degree at Hardin-Simmons?

A criminal justice student fires a shotgun at a gun range.

Flexible Options

We offer a 36-hour thesis program, and a 30-hour non-thesis program, both of which lead to a M.S. in criminal justice. The thesis option is ideal for students who want to focus more on research, while the non-thesis option is a strong choice for working students who want to advance in their careers. Offered fully online with the option of select face-to-face and hybrid courses, the program provides the flexibility that students need.

Criminal Justice student conducting examination in classroom

Career Specialization

Advance your skills and knowledge in a specialized area of criminal justice. We offer concentrations in forensic science, criminal behavioral analysis, and justice administration and management. Each of these options represents some of the fastest growing segments (and most sought after skills by employers) in the criminal justice field.

Criminal justice students talk to a potential employer at a job fair.

Experienced Faculty

Our faculty bring proven experience to the criminal justice master’s program, along with strong connections to criminal justice professionals and alumni. When you have a question, your instructors are here to help. You’ll also benefit from one-on-one academic and career advising as you work toward your master’s in criminal justice.

Criminal Justice students in Norway

What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice?

Advance in your law enforcement job. Work in a crime lab. Serve youth and families in the juvenile system. Pursue law or other professional school. When you earn your master’s degree in criminal justice at HSU, you open doors to diverse career options.

Our M.S. in criminal justice program alumni are sought after by justice agency chiefs, directors, and other leaders. One of our graduates was recently offered a job by the FBI. Others include the Chief of the Taylor County Juvenile Probation Department, and a Texas Game Warden of the Year. Some have also gone on to successful careers in law.

If you’re thinking about long-term job security, criminal justice is an excellent field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for law enforcement, private investigators, correctional and parole officers, and forensic science technicians will experience continued growth throughout the next decade.

Jobs for M.S. in Criminal Justice Graduates

  • Forensic science lab technician
  • Child victims forensic interviewer
  • Criminal investigator
  • Victims advocacy center manager
  • Social policy director
  • Justice agency administrator
  • Federal law enforcement agent

Program Details

To be eligible for admission to the M.S. in criminal justice program, students must hold or be pursuing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester hours and a 3.0 in the undergraduate major. Students may hold an undergraduate degree in any field.

A writing sample and a written statement of professional purpose and goals must be provided. No GRE required.

Learn more about admission criteria and graduation requirements.

Featuring guest speakers, field trips, and more, HSU’s student-led Criminal Justice Association offers a great opportunity to engage with the many aspects of the law enforcement and corrections systems. You can also participate in a variety of activities designed to enhance your knowledge of the field while networking with criminal justice professionals in the community.

HSU offers a unique scholarship opportunity for criminal justice master’s program students through the Carl Wesley Owen Trust.

If you’re thinking about a master’s in criminal justice, here are other graduate programs available at Hardin-Simmons University you might be interested in learning more about: