Master of Criminal Justice


Why St. Ambrose?


Established in 1989, the St. Ambrose Master of Criminal Justice program is Iowa’s first and only MCJ program. Rooted in the university's values-based tradition and commitment to social justice, the curriculum offers a variety of classes – including ones you can take online – from correctional counseling to comparative issues in race, class and gender. With a focus on professional development, graduates become skilled leaders in criminal justice and related fields.

The criminal justice master's degree provides a theoretical basis for the processes of the criminal justice system, empowering students to analyze the world around them. Students also develop strong writing and research skills through thesis work, student-faculty research projects, and classes like Research Design, offered to aid students through the completion of their thesis project.

The program is ideal for those interested in upper-level careers in law enforcement, security, corrections, and human services. It also prepares those wishing to teach criminal justice, or to serve as personnel and training specialists in justice-related organizations.

Only at Ambrose

  • Students regularly submit their thesis work to conferences, for publication or as evidence for a PhD application. Recent thesis titles include "How Virtual Visitation Effects Criminality" and "Baselines for Racial Profiling."
  • Students can design their own course of study – within structured guidelines – for achieving a Criminal Justice master's degree. This personalization allows students to tailor their education and meet career goals.
  • A capstone class provides a guided review of areas that will be covered on the comprehensive exams, including a review of statistics, methods, theory, and practice. 
  • Our exploration of criminal justice doesn’t stop at the U.S. border. The Women in Irish Film course looks at the subject of criminal justice—not only in a different country but also in a different time. A follow-up study trip to Ireland allows students to examine justice at work in the modern era. Take a look at other classes