Master of Science in Criminal Justice

With a focus on analytics, data interpretation, and crime analysis, our Master of Science in Criminal Justice degree will get your career going in the right direction.

Careers with this degree include crime analyst, criminal justice intelligence officer, data diagnostics, and others in the criminal justice field.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Small Class Sizes
  • Dual, Accelerated Degree
  • 1-on-1 Attention From Professors

student and professor in classroom

SAU campus

professor in class

More Information about the MS in Criminal Justice

What Will I Learn?

Courses for this degree center on decision-making, analytic techniques, and data programming languages. These are intended to strengthen your analytic and writing capabilities which are important for careers in data diagnostics, crime analysis, and criminal justice intelligence.

As is customary in the criminal justice department at St. Ambrose, you will conduct research on a regular basis with SAU faculty. Our students have co-authored manuscripts with faculty and presented papers at national academic conferences and journals. 

Once you've completed the required coursework, you will complete a thesis or internship. Your thesis will be a research project that involves data collection and analysis, followed by a defense to your thesis committee. An internship will occur during your final two semesters of coursework and includes 240 hours of on-site work plus a comprehensive exam.

If your goal is an upper-level career in law enforcement, security, corrections, or human services, our Master of Criminal Justice program can prepare you to be a skilled, effective, and ethical leader.

If you are an undergraduate considering a career in criminal justice, learn more about your first step and our Criminal Justice program. 

How much does this degree cost?

A limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships are available. Check with the program director for details.

In addition, the St. Ambrose University Financial Aid Office provides information on loans for graduate studies.

2019-20 Tuition

  • $970/credit hour/seated (some discounts may apply)
  • $546/credit hour/online

Refund Schedule: Students are obligated for the full amount of tuition for courses for which they are registered, subject to the refund schedule. Exact refund dates for each term are located in the campus Academic Calendar.

  • You have 10 days to make changes to your enrollment without penalty.
  • You will be charged 50% of tuition through the 20th day if you drop below 9 credit hours (full-time); or, if you are already a part-time student and you drop below your original enrolled credits. If you received financial aid of any kind, your package will be re-evaluated and possibly adjusted to reflect your new enrollment status.
  • Any changes made after the 20th day will result in a full charge of tuition.

This rule does not apply if you fully withdraw from the university. In that case, your tuition will be prorated based on the number of days attended.


Nicole Pizzini, PhD, Chair and Professor

Patrick Archer, PhD, Professor
Chris Barnum, PhD, Professor
Regina Matheson, PhD, Professor
Jeffrey McCraw, JD, Lecturer
Waylyn McCulloh, MA, Asst. Professor
Shane Soboroff, PhD, Asst. Professor
Grant Tietjen, PhD, Assoc. Professor

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (33 credits)

MSCJ 500 Advanced Criminological Theory, 3 credits
MSCJ 530 Research Design and Methods, 3 credits
MSCJ 531 Advanced Data Analysis and Data Driven Decision Making, 3 credits
MSCJ 670 Contemporary Issues in Law and Juvenile Justice, 3 credits
MSCJ 671 Contemporary Issues in Law Enforcement, 3 credits
MSCJ 672 Contemporary Issues in Corrections, 3 credits
MSCJ 675 Ethical and Social Responsibility in Criminal Justice, 3 credits
MSCJ 680 Thinking Critically About Criminal Justice, 3 credits
MSCJ 685 Research I, 3 credits
MSCJ 700/690 (2 semesters) Internship/Thesis option Fall/Spring MSCJ 690, 6 credits
Internship option Fall/Spring MSCJ 700, 6 credits
Spring MSCJ 701 Comprehensive Exam, 0 credits

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested course sequence to earn your MSCJ degree.

Junior year:
Fall - MSCJ 680
Spring - MSCJ 530

Senior year:
Fall - MSCJ 500 and MSCJ 531
Spring - MSCJ 685

Graduate (5th year):
Fall - MSCJ 671, MSCJ 670, and MSCJ 700/690 Internship/Thesis
(The internship option, MSCJ 700, includes the comprehensive exam MSCJ 701 for 0 credit.)

Spring - MSCJ 675, MSCJ 672, and MSCJ 700/690


To gain admission to the MSCJ as an undergraduate – with the aim of completing a bachelor's and master's degree within five years – students must submit a University application for admission, one letter of recommendation, and meet with the program director.

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested course sequence to begin graduate studies during the junior year at SAU.

Junior year:
Fall - MSCJ 680
Spring - MSCJ 530

Senior year:
Fall - MSCJ 500 and MSCJ 531
Spring - MSCJ 685

Graduate (5th) year:
Fall - MSCJ 671, MSCJ 670 and MSCJ 700/690 (Internship/Thesis - you will choose one. The internship option includes the comprehensive exam MSCJ 701 - 0 credit).
Spring - MSCJ 675, MSCJ 672, and MSCJ 700/690

Apply Visit Info


Chris Barnum, PhD, Program Director

Criminal Justice and Sociology
McMullen Hall 012
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 29 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!